A chilling documentary on the ways of the fundamentalist christian right in the U.S.

"American Virgins" is a 60 minute documentary by Richard Alwyn for the BBC that was shown on terrestrial TV in the UK on BBC 2 on January 25, 2004. It explores the work of the faith based U.S. organisation "The Silver Ring Thing", that promotes premarital chastity by telling teenagers to put a ring over their finger and vowing to preserve their virginity until they're married. The film maker gained access to the grassroot members as well as to the leader of the organisation, a charismatic minister, and followed them around, portraying the young, impressionable teenagers (as young as 11) and following the minister to Washington, D.C., observing his attempts of bankrolling his brainchild with federal funds (for which he lobbies Senators and Congressmen from the Christian Coalition).

The film was well done: Almost without background commentary, the author lets his protagonists do the talking: Denny Pattyn, the founder of group, advising one of his kids that they should only lobby members of congress who are "believers" and telling a pro-virginity paediatrician he'll fly her over in a private plane for a discussion with groups promoting sexual health education for teenagers. The members of a sexual health charity venting their frustrations, as they are not getting any federal funding and not getting access to schools because parents block sex education.

It is a chilling reminder of the power of right wing christian fundamentalists, wielded with finacial backup of an US administration fronted by a born again christian.

Scary stuff.

Check out http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/this_world/3419693.stm for more info on the program