• Since President Bush took office, almost $1 billion in federal funds has been committed to abstinence-only education.

• Free Teens USA, which last year received $600,000 to teach abstinence in schools, is linked to the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, who said that “the separation between religion and politics is what Satan likes most.”

• An exercise recommended by Free Teens has students spit into a cup, trade cups with another student, and then drink. Students are told that sex is more intimate than drinking someone else’s spit.

• In 2005, the CDC awarded an abstinence education group $200,000 to develop a sexual-health curriculum for doctors in training. The group tapped Dr. David Hager—opponent of Plan B and author of As Jesus Cared for Women: Restoring Women Then and Now—to head the project.

• The National Abstinence Clearinghouse, whose budget has increased more than 500% since 2001, has received $2.7 million in government funding to develop abstinence-only curricula.

• This year, the Abstinence Clearinghouse’s annual conference had a “Wizard of Oz” theme, including a panel titled “Ding, Dong, the Witch Is Dead! Which Old Witch? (The ‘Safe-Sex’ Witch).”

• Between 2001 and 2005, more than $30 million in federal abstinence funds went to more than 50 crisis pregnancy centers, anti-abortion clinics that give false information to women.

• Cotillions where girls escorted by their fathers pledge chastity are known as Purity Balls.

• At Purity Balls, fathers read this pledge: “I choose before God to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity…as the high priest in my home.”

• Virginity pledgers are much less likely than non-pledgers to use contraception the first time they have sex, are equally likely to contract stds, and are twice as likely to engage in anal sex.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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