"Abstinence-Only" Sex Ed Programs: Yes, and Maybe


Comes this article from Fox News today:

Critics Push to End Abstinence-Only Sex Education

First, the “yes”: people who don’t have sex don’t contract sexually-transmitted diseases. Abstinence, it has been noted, works every single time it’s tried, in this regard. Further, abstinence-only education appropriately treats people as people created in the image of God, instead of as animals, the accidents of evolution. Young people, despite what some of our liberal friends would have us believe, do have the ability to resist having sex outside of marriage, as does every person. Indeed, we can “just say ‘no'”, because we have that ability as human beings created in God’s image. Any notion to the contrary, that young people are slaves to their “animal urges”, is poppycock, and I say that from experience.

But now, the “maybe”: the problem with “abstinence-only” is that it is difficult, in a climate such as the public school system, to answer the “‘Why-Should-I’ question” correctly. Did I say “difficult”? I might as well say, “impossible”, for the real basis for saving sexual relations until marriage can only be found in an understanding that God has created human beings (and that He will hold them accountable for their actions), in an understanding that we can speak, in concrete terms, of “right” and “wrong” with regard to sex outside of marriage. The problem, of course, is that invoking God is verboten in our public schools, at least in any meaningful way, such as to buttress arguments for sexual abstinence outside of marriage. Appeals to “self-esteem” are bogus on at least two fronts: one, they present a false rationale, one diametrically opposed to Christian teaching, and two, when it comes to acting upon such a flimsy foundation, the urges of the flesh are likely to prove too strong in most cases. The article says that the state of Georgia is willing to continue funding such, absent a dime of federal support (hey, what say we jettison every dime of federal money for everything, declare ourselves an independent state as the Constitution provides for, and…sorry, a little fantasizing there). It further goes on to say that “abstinence-only” has worked in Georgia, and I’d bet that’s correct–but only because there exists in this state a strong moral base, supported by a significant percentage of people, so that in effect Christian teaching is smuggled into the system without it being explicitly stated. Take the very same teaching to Berkeley or Cambridge or Boulder, and chances are the conclusion will be that “abstinence-only” doesn’t work at all.

None of this even touches on the appropriate role schools ought to play in addressing such a volatile subject. Philosophically, I don’t believe that the state ought to have a role in educating children, that education is best left in the hands of parents, who then would make choices in educating their children that would be reflective of the values they wish to instill in their kids. Many parents, including my wife and myself, make this choice; the Obamas do as well, but like other liberals, believe by the policies they support that poor parents ought not realistically have that same choice, instead kowtowing to the most anti-education forces in this country, the teachers’ unions, in opposing “school choice” (best accomplished, it seems to me, by tuition tax credits, rather than vouchers).

But I digress; we won’t be doing away with public education anytime soon, nor will liberals act in the area of education with the actual education of children as their first concern. That being the case, a fair question to ask is whether public schools have any real role in addressing a topic such as sexuality, when there exists among their constituency such a wide-ranging spectrum of viewpoints.

But that’s a topic for another time.

Leave a Comment