Sex education is an important component of learning to become a responsible adult. All youth get sex education from several sources—some more desirable than others. The world’s large religions have specific teaching about sexuality and morality, which can be a challenge for governments who wish to avoid religious teachings.
A recent bill in the US state of Colorado has caused some concern among Christians (reference below). But a Christian sex educator, April Janae, has looked at the details and writes a post which addresses issues beyond her state. Her opinions are informed by experience and research. With her permission, I have included quotes from her Facebook post. I did not include some text that specifically addressed the Colorado issue. I’ve also included a link to the Sex-Education chapter she co-authored in Christian Morality.
From April Jonae 30 January 2019
-Parents, it is YOUR job to educate your kids about sex. If you’re depending on the public school system to instill biblical values into your children, then you are in for a rude awakening. It is also your RIGHT to opt out your child from sex education at their school. This has always been the case, and the new bill also permits this. Your child doesn’t have to participate. So chill out with the comments on homeschooling your children if this bill passes. Signing the opt-out form will likely be a simpler option.
-Abstinence is NOT being removed from sex education. Abstinence will still be taught as the best option for teens, it will just no longer be presented as the only option. Contraceptives and medically-accurate info on their effectiveness will be taught as well. In my opinion, teaching abstinence-only is a dangerous thing. There will always be a population of teens that choose to engage in sexual behavior, and we are doing a great disservice to those students by not providing information to them that will reduce their risks of pregnancy and contraction of STIs.
-LGBTQ youth are at a higher risk for contracting STIs and engage in risky sexual behavior at a higher rate than heterosexual youth. So I believe that language that includes them in the conversation about the risks of sex can only be a good thing. Many abstinence-only sex ed programs do not address anything but heterosexual relationships, which causes LGBTQ youth to check out...hence the higher rates of STIs.
-My last thought: please do some research on abstinence-only sex education and it’s effectiveness in this country. When I first began researching sex ed, I assumed that abstinence-only education would have produced the lowest rates of teen pregnancy and STIs. I was shocked to learn that the opposite was true. Historically, abstinence-only programs have not delayed sexual activity, and students who have received abstinence-only education were more likely to experience unintended pregnancy and contract STIs at higher rates than students who receive comprehensive sex ed. That being said, I am not advocating that you stop teaching your children abstinence. I will certainly be teaching my children this principle. I am suggesting however, that we need to consider the facts when deciding what type of sex ed is taught in our schools.
See Chapter 10 by April Janae (Montoya) and Shonna Crawford “Tensions and Challenges: Christian Morality and Sex Education.” In Christian Morality. Available at Pickwick, AMAZON, and other bookstores.
FREE exam copies available to instructors and book reviewers from the publisher, PICKWICK – a brand of WIPFANDSTOCK.
You may also be interested in A House Divided: Sexuality, Morality, and Christian Cultures. Also available from PICKWICK and on AMAZON.
Publications (many free downloads)