There is something very strange going on here, at the Edmund Burke Institute’s web-based Reflections: A New Generation of Conservative Thought. Julia Duin, whose book, Days of Fire & Glory, I reviewed briefly in the March/April 2011 issue of Touchstone, writes at Reflections, asking “Where are America’s Virgins?” Her subtitle and subtext: “Discouraging the Virtuous.” So, she writes, lamenting the lack of support chastity and virginity:

No one credits the abstinent with trying to follow some very unpopular precepts. Virginity may not say much about sexual compatibility, but it does say a lot about character.

This past spring in Touchstone, a conservative Christian publication, Russell Moore, a Southern Baptist minister who is dean of Southern Seminary’s School of Theology in Louisville, penned “Like, A Virgin?” His essay criticized a chaste female who wanted her husband to be a virgin like she is. He hinted she was being unrealistic and judgmental for judging a potential mate on his sexual history rather than his Christian commitment. This hapless woman resisted the spirit of the age and yet, her Christian leader denigrated her values. So much for seeking out a pastor’s advice.

And then there was that charming New York Times article last January: “Single, Female, Mormon, Alone,” about a 35-year-old who wrote that her virginity had brought about arrested development akin to children from Russian-speaking countries whose lack of physical contact had stunted their brains permanently.

Somehow Touchstone is in league with the New York Times in discouraging chastity? Moore’s article in Touchstone was written in response to questions about how and when to have “the conversation” about past sexual history. He is clear throughout the article about the Christian teaching about sexual activity, that fornication is “damnable”, and the sad necessity that couples even have to have “the conversation,” one “fraught with peril” because it is one that should not have to happen. (What kind of guidance can you give someone for doing something that shouldn’t have to happen and in many ages past didn’t?) Moore also blasts MEN for most often breaking a relationship when they find out that a woman has “a history” about which she is repentant. Duin makes it sound as if a “hapless” needy woman approached Moore, and he gave he a pastoral brush-off. (As in “Get over it.”?)

S. M. Hutchens describes Duin’s use of Moore’s article to make her point about the denigration of virginity:

Julia Duin’s attack on Russell Moore’s article in Touchstone, in which Russell imposes the just claims of the virgin upon the larger background of the redemption of sinners which includes the virgin herself, can only be described as perverse.  It is like claiming the Prodigal Son is a tract against faithful and consistent performance of filial duty.  I can attribute this kind of misbehavior only to malice or incompetence, and I don’t think Ms. Duin is incompetent.