Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Truth vs. lies and a lack of faith in the Kansas sex-ed wars

Is the real issue that the ultra-conservative majority on the Kansas Board of Education is afraid of truth?

Josh at Thoughts From Kansas has an interesting, although fairly snarky post on the sex-education brouhaha.

Among other things, he does a good job of pointing out a problem in the story in today's Kansas City Star about the State Board meeting.
On a sidenote of media criticism, this paragraph from the Star's story bugs me:

"The difference between the two groups seems to be the degree to which sex ed stresses abstinence. Abstinence-only sex education would talk about contraceptives in relation to their flaws and rates of failure; abstinence-plus classes would include information about the proper use of contraceptives."

Both approaches stress abstinence. One gives children accurate information, the other keeps information away. As far as abstinence, all approaches give the same information.
Looking at this with an editor's eye, it's clear the Star paragraph is nonsense. I can't believe I missed this before. This issue isn't how much to discuss abstinence, but what information to give about birth control.

Truth and accurate information are only a few of the issues raised by the ultra-conservative's actions.

These folks present themselves as the most moral, religious and family oriented of all Kansans, yet they appear to be acting out of fear. Don't they believe their own PR?

Could it be that they're frightened about their own parenting skills; about their children's honesty, integrity and self control? Could it be they don't trust their churches to teach morality? If they get their way, these folks will be relying on the sheer repression of information to keep their children from getting involved sexually before they're emotionally mature enough to do it, to keep them becoming pregnant, and to even keep them from having sex before marriage.

I may well be wrong. And as a mother, I know how easy it is to be frightened about what your kids might do, but there is an oddness to their logic. There is an intensity to their fear of, well, the truth that seems to be a tad unreasonable.

Perhaps, I'm wrong, and these so very conservative board members are merely parroting a philosophy. Maybe they're simply playing their brand of politics. Honestly, I hope I'm wrong. Because otherwise, what does that say about them and their children and the children of their churches? Do they have so little faith?

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