Friday, April 4, 2008

God, Schools, PR, and Sex

Faith-addled thinking creates ridiculous public policy -- in this case abstinence-only sex education -- and feeds deadly ignorance:

Some Florida teens believe drinking Mountain Dew or smoking marijuana will prevent pregnancy and that swallowing a capful of bleach will prevent HIV/AIDS ...
I admit that expanding the sex-education curriculum beyond shrieking about the evils of sex won't negate the fact that, from time to time, teenagers fail to consider the fullest possible range of ethical, scientific, psychological, legal, and other considerations. But knowledge works better than ignorance and reality serves better than bullshit.

I can only guess that Matt Nisbet would not like what I've said here, but at the risk of roiling "publics," I say the proper "frame" is that teenagers should be told the truth about sex, and should be made aware of its actual ramifications and concomitant responsibilities. If that bothers some or other "public" out there, or detracts from E.O. Wilson's attempts to build bridges to evangelicals for the sake of climate change or whatever, tough cookies. Telling half-truths to teenagers is a form of lying, and these lies have serious consequences. They need to know that, yes, never having any kind of sex will prevent sexually-transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and a host of other downstream consequences. But they need to know more than that.

God-drunk fanatics should keep their hysterical anti-sex nostrums to their private lives, where they can act out the abstinence they claim to adore or limit sex to listless procreation-minded congress with a god-sanctioned spouse. At home, at church, in the mosque, and while nose-down on the prayer mat, sex can be attached to as much awkwardness and self-hatred as they care to bring to it, and that should be more than enough for anyone who thinks god is monitoring everyone's mental states. But this insipid cant does not belong in public schools.

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