Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pushing for Real Sex Education: Let's Not Blow It, Folks

When last I checked the website of the Unitarian Universalist Association, I noticed this newsnote about our movement's role in training young people and their allies to be effective advocates for comprehensive sexuality education.

"Fantastic!" I'm thinking. "Maybe they can take this training from three dozen people at one national meeting, to thousands of people in scores of grassroots meetings all over the country."

One can only hope...

When it comes to educating teens and children about sex, I'm very much with other progressives about giving young people -- all people, in fact -- completely accurate information and critical thinking skills so they can make choices. But when it comes to the nuts and bolts of it, that's when I raise some questions.

Hence my observation above. We tend to focus a great deal of our efforts at the Federal level, when it's the local and state levels where those decisions are made. How do you think the Religious Right succeeded in pushing their "abstinence-only" programs? They worked from the grassroots up, and continue to push from that direction.

Not to mention the fact that so many evangelical and fundamentalist churches have been pushing their own indoctrination programs, up to and including purity pledges. So why can't our churches do something? We already have a highly praised sex-ed program, Our Whole Lives -- why not train more and more folks to teach them, and have classes in our congregations open to all?

We also focus on sex education for young people. News flash, folks -- there are lots of adults out there who need sex-ed, too! "Abstinence-only" has been around for a long time, and there are already a goodly number of people who have grown up sexually illiterate, and who are suffering as a result. Just look at the recent boon in "Christian sex therapy" -- the chickens have come home to roost, and it will take considerable time and effort to clean up the mess.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the efforts which are going on now, with Obama and his crew behind us. But I hope we won't stop there. I hope we'll have the vision and commitment to take this effort as far as it can go.


  1. "I hope we'll have the vision and commitment to take this effort as far as it can go."

    And how far is that?

  2. Well, I believe I outlined this in the original post -- grassroots training and outreach instead of just working at the Federal level; doing more education ourselves, not just waiting for the public sector; and educating adults as well as kids.