Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Parent's Right and Responsibility

It was never going to take long for Obama and his team of pro-aborts to cull $200 million of abstinence education programmes, so it comes as no surprise that the Obama Administration’s proposed 2010 budget will replace abstinence education with $110 million worth of safe sex messages for American school children.

Even from purely a fiscal perspective, the use of Federal funds to teach sex in schools is entirely objectionable. This simple fact is often lost in the moral morass surrounding sex education, but is not particularly relevant to this discussion. In a world without sin there would be no Federal funding for such programmes because all such education would occur within the family; the idea of classroom sex ed (and more particularly Federally funded sex ed) would be unprecendented.

Generally speaking, there are two types of sex education that are considered acceptable (by differing groups) to teach in schools. The first is referred to in the US as comprehensive sex education; the second as abstinence education.

Perhaps the most significant difference between the two is that the aim of abstinence education is to prevent pre-marital sexual activity while the aim of comprehensive sex education is to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Abstinence education is often faith-based, with a focus on marriage as the only proper context for sex. Comprehensive sex education teaches that casual sex is a normal activity for teens and focuses on STI awareness and prevention and contraceptive familiarity and know-how.

Because comprehensive sex education is obviously so evil, Christians have been led to believe that abstinence education is not just the lesser of two evils, but a good and healthy alternative.

From a Catholic perspective, neither programme is acceptable. Both reject the premise that sex education is the sole domain of parents. There are even Catholic sex education programmes which take sex education away from parents and place it in the hands of curriculum writers and teachers whose moral views are often less than truly Catholic.

These so-called Catholic ‘chastity programmes’ are humanistic at best and downright scandalous and indecent at worst. In her 1986 Love and Life abstinence curriculum for Catholic schools, Coleen Mast included an explicit description of the sex act, a guide for values clarification and displayed a distinct lack of reverence for sexuality.(1) Today, in the Parramatta Diocese, teachers are expected to teach some aspects of sexuality, such as reproduction, menstruation and sexual identity during the primary years, and to discuss topics like consent, privacy, safe sex, contraception, pregnancy and STIs to secondary students.(2)

It is true that abstinence education is also a motivational programme, which focuses on the family as the central unit of society, encourages chastity and teaches students to “attain self-sufficiency before engaging in sexual activity”.(3) But all of this should be taught in the home and not in a group or classroom setting.

When this argument arises, both sides come forward with studies and stories and both claim the moral high ground. The programme that ‘works’, it is asserted, is the one that produces fewer teen pregnancies, lower incidences of sexually transmitted infections and more ‘tolerant’ students.

Regardless of what ‘works’, we must reject the premise. “There is no classroom sex education that is proper or correct.”(4)

(1)Engel, R. Sex Education: The Final Plague, 1993 TAN, pp. 115-117
(2)Catholic Education – Diocese of Parramatta website: Accessed: 13-05-2009
(3)Administration for Children and Families website (US): Accessed: 13-05-2009
(4)Thomas A. Nelson, page xvi of the Publisher’s Preface to Randy Engel’s Sex Education: The Final Plague

© Eva Whiteley 2009

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