image The American Principles Project just published an Innocence Report in February which isn’t online yet.  These papers are part of the Preserve Innocence Project of which an Iowa Chapter has just started, and one of our contributors, Eric Goranson, has been named the State Director.  I will be serving on the advisory board.

But I digress, this paper was on the history of sex education.  It was eye-opening, and I think if most people really looked to see what was taught in a sex ed class, they’d be surprised.

Mentioning that throughout the 20th century the federal government has played an increasingly larger role in sex education, and funding has increased.  Two major recipients of this funding are Planned Parenthood and SIECUS.  Noting that they listed some notes at the end of the paper and I would like to highlight some of those.  They write:

With respect to government-sponsored sex education, an uncontested common ground is the relationship between the government and the people.  Our founding rests on the “self-evident” truths that sovereignty flows from the Creator to all individuals equally – that is all people are created equal and “endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.”  If further rests on the principle that government, in turn, derives its soverignty from “the consent of the governed” in order “to secure these rights.”

Among the most sacred and fundamental of rights is that of parents to associate with their children and to be principally and primarily responsible for the formation of their world view, their spirituality, their values and their beliefs.  The Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized that right.  That family sovereignty clearly goes to the essence of the Declaration.  And is well recognized by other natural law sources.

The child’s sex education is at the very core of parents’ right to preside over the intellectual and spiritual formation of their children.  That education invokes the parents’ act in bringing their children into the world and is profoundly connected to the expression of religion within the home.  Parents view children as a blessing, and children are one of the greatest gifts parents can hope for their children.  For these reasons, the family home has been called “’the domestic church,’ a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian Charity,” (Catechism of the Catholic Church at 1666).

The paper then goes on to makes points about the State’s role in sexual education.

The state must tread very lightly when it ventures into areas that implicate family sovereignty, especially in deeply personal matters such as instruction in spirituality and sex.  Specifically, the state should respect the primacy of the parent and — except where parents have been adjudged as incompetent – should provide full prior disclosure to parents of all outreach and educational materials directed at their children.

The state should refrain from outreach directly to the child and must not provide indicia of approval to third parties that engage in such outreach, including outreach on the Internet that targets children (my notes: note exhibit A and exhibit B).

With respect to sex education, the state should favor information dissemination directly to the parents.

The federal and state governments should repudiate the sex education profession’s history of denigrating the abilities of parents to their children about sex.

Teaching children about sex is an important facet of parenthood.  Sex education programs should recognize the primacy of the parent.  To do otherwise degrades parents and parenthood.

Sexual relations are profound inter-personal interactions, and thus implicate fundamental ethical issues and values.  This point seems largely uncontested.  The inherent problem, though, is that governmental entities – such as schools – are incapable of discussing the deepest implications of ethical issues and values because it would immediately implicate an individual’s spiritual thoughts.  Ironically, government’s limited ability to act in this regard means that it – rather than the parent – is incapable of fully teaching about sex.

Government should always be wary of unintended consequences of the exercise of its authority.  To the extent that government does engage in outreach directly to children on sexual matters, it should carefully study and consider whether discussion of such deeply personal matters in group settings (e.g., the classroom) and in mixed gender settings degrades the topic or the audience.

In a nutshell, APP claims that history has shown that our government’s sex ed efforts have been built on the premise that parents are unable or unwilling to educate their children.  Currently it’s direct-to-child outreach efforts are an intrusion on the parents’ prerogatives, the parent-child relationship, and the sovereignty of the family.

They say government’s sexual education efforts should center of the parent.  What say you?

2 comments
  1. I thought most sex-ed classes had opt-out provisions. Ideally good parents whose children take sex-ed courses should also back up & expand the instruction with the parents’ own ethics and moral beliefs.

    The problem it seems, is abdication by some parents of their responsibilities to actively participate in their child’s education and less a problem of state imposition.

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