December 2015 Church & State | People & Events

A self-appointed “chastity” expert who works for a traditionalist Cath­olic ministry was invited to speak in two El Paso, Texas, high schools last month.

Jason Evert runs an outfit called Chastity Project, which seeks to convince women not to use birth-control pills. The group also takes anti-gay stands and makes claims that are at best medically inaccurate. One video on Evert’s website makes a scientifically disproven claim that birth control pills cause abortions.

Officials at Socorro High School scheduled Evert to speak to their students, apparently unaware of or unconcerned by the right-wing Catholic dogma on his website. Evert’s group describes itself thusly: “Chastity Project exists to promote the virtue of chastity so that individuals can see God, and be free to love (Matt. 5:8). The orange and green colors of the Chastity Project logo are from the tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe, to whom the ministry is consecrated.”

The Chastity Project also takes a rigid stance on homosexuality.

“The Church recognizes that Jesus’ teaching on marriage can be a cause of suffering for those who desire to live otherwise. But by upholding God’s original plan for marriage, the Church is not expressing hatred toward any group of people. Rather, the Church believes that although some things in the Gospel are difficult to accept, we will only find fulfillment by trusting in God’s plan for our lives.”

Elsewhere it adds, “When a man and woman make love, they are renewing their wedding vows and promises with their bodies. Such a concept is easy to understand when you consider the essence of marriage. For a valid marriage to take place, the union must be free, total, faithful, and ordered toward procreation.”

Evert claims that his presentations in public schools are secular.

In light of the controversy, officials at Socorro High School postponed Evert’s presentation. His appearance at another El Paso public school went on as scheduled, however.