Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Free Sex Education

Freedom of Speech
OK, so I try and keep pretty well-informed on issues I care about (A.D.D. allowing), but somehow I missed this notion that "abstinence only" sex ed was being taught in our schools. Let me be more specific: it is getting to where it is illegal to teach safe sex in our schools..............
Um, what?
Other nations are scrambling to increase their sex ed in order to lessen the number of pregnancies and diseases, and we are ignoring it? Do not misunderstand me: I am all about teaching abstinence. It is an essential lesson for kids to hear, especially if they have any religious background. However, it is not a replacement for teaching safe sex!
Religious argument: The Bible tells us not to sin. Have you ever noticed, though, that the Bible is also chock-full of "after-you-have-sinned" advice? It teaches us that once we have sinned against God, we should ask for forgiveness, we should pray, we should rededicate our lives to him, etc. God tells us not to sin, but He isn't stupid! He knows we are going to do it, so he gives us instructions for the aftermath. Shouldn't the same concept be applied to sex education? God wants you to wait until you are married; premarital sex is wrong in his eyes. But, just in case, here is the best way to take care of yourself. If you are going to do it, here is what you need to know. God is understanding and forgiving.
Secular argument: Sex is a natural thing, and your body will have the same reactions and desires whether or not you are educated on what they mean and how best to handle them. If you deny a young person that education, or worse allow them to believe they are educated but without all the facts, you are putting them in the path of danger. Allow me to use Spring Awakening (the best musical ever) to emphasize this point (some spoilers). When Wendla, the young ingenue, asks her mother how babies are made her mother slaps her. Later in the story she and Melchior, the handsome young rebel, find themselves alone in the forest overcome with passion. They have sex, and Wendla becomes pregnant. Her mother is dreadfully ashamed of the girl and takes her to some sleazy "doctor" for an abortion. Wendla dies because of the poorly executed procedure. Moritz, one of Melchior's friends, has endless questions about what is right or wrong and can't get a straight answer out of any adult. He tries to get answers from his classmates. The confusion and stress of loneliness and not understanding his own body leads him to suicide. A lack of an education is just that - a lack. If you let children out into a world so flooded with sexual images with a lack of understanding, there is a world of trouble they can get into. YES, of course, an education will not keep them totally safe. Only they can choose their own actions, but we must do all that we can to inform them of their options. If not, their blood is on our hands.

I propose a solution: if we cannot teach them in their schools, we will teach them somewhere else. Where there is a will, there is a way, and I am quite sure that people would flock towards free sex ed classes taught by 'real people' in the 'real world'. I am literally suggesting sex lectures in Starbucks. Meetings in bookstores. Classes in the park. Thanks to the freedom of speech, we can do just about anything like this. Think about it; we could teach about abstinence. We can teach about methods of contraception. We can teach about 'when you are ready', which of course is subjective. Can you imagine an interactive class full of questions and answers? Maybe this dream is too big, but it seems so necessary. It is a crime, in my opinion, for any human to carry a child in their belly and not understand how or why. It is a crime for a person to catch a disease without knowing how to prevent it.
I generally support the Republican side of an argument, but this is too far. This is unsafe, and I for one am unwilling to stand idly by.

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