Monday, December 29, 2008
File Under... Duh
Who coulda guessed?! Virginity pledges, not unlike abstinence-only sex education, don't keep kids from having sex. They do, however, not unlike abstinence-only sex education, lower the likelihood of using birth control. Family fricking values.
The reason I consider it at all newsworthy is that it's but another example of religious thinking entering into the arena of public policy, and screwing things up. As it were.
I get that the idea of sex education is controversial. Difficult. Nor is it surprising that people who are uncomfortable with it willfully ignore the data showing that comprehensive sex education lowers the number of teens having sex, and getting pregnant. After all, ignoring data is exactly what such discomforts are all about. It would make more sense to me if a school district decided to have no sex education at all, than if it chose to teach abstinence only. What sort of policy is it that opts for an approach that is obviously wrong?
Religion, is what it is. In our schools. In the public square. Where it neither belongs nor adds to the common weal.
What makes the most sense, of course, is teaching based on facts. If parents don't want their kids so educated, they can opt out of those classes; or -- the refuge of the most unrepentantly indoctrinaire -- home schooling. (Sex is perfect metaphor: of course I'm not just referring to that.)
And yet, we must be tolerant. Even-handed. Inclusive. Fairness dictates, so we are told, that the weight of decades of research, of science, of irrefutable fact, is to be countered equally by fantasy. As is the left hand, so is the right. It's not enough that, in this (formerly) great nation people are free to believe and practice as they wish and to pollute their own; since they're not satisfied by that, neither must be the rest of us. We must allow those ideas, from the silly to the severe, into our lives as well: into our schools and into our politics. No matter how much it might wound us all.
Me? I'd rather abstain.