I publish a free monthly homeschooling e-mail newsletter, formerly called HEADSUP (Homeschool Educators on Active Duty Sending Upward Praises) but now simply entitled Biblical Homeschooling. I recently moved it to YahooGroups and divide each month's issue into four parts, one of which is e-mailed out each week. Anyone is welcome to receive it. All that needs to be done is to send a blank e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org (you will receive an invitation to join the group and must either reply to the invitation or click on a link, but when you do you will be automatically subscribed) or to join from the web at http://groups.yahoo/biblicalhomeschooling . The theme for the August, 2006, issue is sex education and homeschooling. A few small items from the newsletter have been posted on this blog previously, but here is my lead article (following the heading).
(formerly Homeschool Educators on Active Duty Sending Upward Praises)
Monthly newsletter of general interest, encouragement,
and information for homeschooling Christians
% Wayne S. Walker, 9024 Amona Dr., Affton (St. Louis), MO 63123
E-mail: email@example.com; phones: (314) 638-4710 home, 544-1612 office
August, 2006; Volume 9, Number 1
1. HOMESCHOOLING AND SEX EDUCATION
by Wayne S. Walker
One reason why many Bible believers, including a lot of us associated with churches of Christ, have chosen to homeschool our children is the presentation of sex education in the public schools. When I was in grade school (1960 to 1966) our teachers would not have dreamed of trying to deal with so delicate a subject as sex in school. That was something for parents to discuss with their children at home. Even when I was in junior and senior high school (1966 to 1972) there were no “family living” courses. We boys had a tenth grade health course (the girls had one too) in which the teacher, also a coach and driving education instructor, spent most of his time talking about hygiene. There was no mention of condoms, abortion, homosexuality, or any such thing. Again, parents were supposed to deal with that at home
However, during the 1960's and 1970's, there was a growing call to include comprehensive sex education in public schools, from kindergarten to twelfth grade, and materials were prepared for such courses by an organization known as Sex and Information Education Council of the United States and related agencies (more about them later). The reason given for such a call was that something needed to be done about the growing number of teenage pregnancies, rising venereal disease rates, and generally younger ages at which young people were beginning sexual activity, most of which was undoubtedly the result of the “sexual revolution,” increased raciness on television, rock music with sexual overtones, and the general growing permissiveness of society during that era.
These programs were gradually introduced, sometimes disguised as health or family living, especially when parental complaints began to be raised. In fact, I have heard stories told by parents whose children were in school classes where Planned Parenthood (the number one abortion provider and promoter in the United States) was brought in to tell students how to have “safe sex” and obtain an abortion (if “safe sex” did not work) without any prior parental notification or approval–and the students were actually told not to reveal what they were studying to their parents. Federal legislation known as the Hyde Amendment was supposed to stop that kind of thing, but the fact is that different districts have varying “opt out–opt in” policies, and many educators still resist any parental interference.
What is so interesting is that during the time that the public was being sold a bill of goods about the need for comprehensive sex education in schools to reduce teenage sexuality, pregnancy, venereal disease, and even abortion, statistics show that the inclusion of sex education in schools was not reducing anything. In truth, that really just stands to reason. You expose children to sexual material at younger and younger ages, when they are not really mature enough to comprehend it, and it will arouse their curiosity so that they start dabbling in it a earlier and earlier ages. I am now convinced, although I cannot prove it, that the original call for sex education in schools had as its ultimate goal the introduction, promotion, and final acceptance of homosexuality in our society. But I will discuss that more in detail later.
While there have been recent attempts to promote abstinence in sex education, there are many who ridicule and oppose it, and some courts have even ruled it illegal as a violation of “church and state” (since abstinence is supposedly associated with Christian teaching). The mindset of the sex education industry is that young people are going to have sex–we cannot stop them, and in fact we have no right to try and stop them because they have the right to do what they want to do. Therefore, what we have to do is to help them do it as “safely” as possible. We can tell them not to drink, not to smoke, and not to do drugs (would classes that help teenagers drink, smoke, and do drugs safely because they are going to do it anyway be tolerated?), but we could never tell them “just say no” to sex–at least in public schools.
Therefore, and this is what Christians primarily object to, sex education in public schools must be presented in a “values neutral” setting–nothing is right and wrong of itself but each person must make his own choices totally for himself. To be honest, I almost have trouble keeping a straight face as I write that. The whole concept is absolutely laughable. Because of the very nature of sex, it is impossible to present it in a “values neutral” setting. It will either be presented in a moral setting (Biblical–right) or an immoral setting (humanistic–wrong). “Values-neutral” by default is immoral, and hence wrong. Parents who want their children to learn about sexuality in a Biblical, moral setting do not want to have to fight tooth and nail to keep them from being exposed to the humanistic, immoral setting, or have to be constantly counteracting such an influence. Therefore, many of us have chosen to homeschool.
The debate over sex education has been going on for some time, and warnings to churches of Christ have been issued for many years in various publications. Back in 1969, James Needham, a gospel preacher and great friend of homeschoolers, delivered a sermon entitled “The Bible, Christians, and Sex Education in the Public Schools” at Brandon, FL. The material was later published in article form in Truth Magazine (I thought–I was not able to find it on their archives) and subsequently made into an excellent tract. Apparently it is, unfortunately, no longer in print. Sometime in 1979 I believe, another gospel preacher, James W. Adams, wrote an editorial “The Great Sex-Education Hoax”, citing a newspaper article by Maurice Stanton Evans, in The Gospel Guardian (I did not note the issue; I just tore the article out of the magazine, and it does not have the exact date anywhere on it).
From December, 1980 to June, 1981, David Pratte, still another gospel preacher who eventually became a homeschooling father, wrote a series of seven highly researched and very detailed articles on “Sex Education in the Public Schools” in Gospel Anchor. This material is available in booklet form at http://www.gospelway.com/litepath/orderfrm.htm. In the Dec., 1992, issue of Gospel Truths, Dennis Tucker, also a gospel preacher, had an article on “Sex Education–What Will They Teach?” citing a 1990 Gainesville Sun article which told that the Florida House had passed a bill to fund sex education in the public schools. In the Feb., 1993, issue of The Preceptor dealing with current moral issues such as family values, safe sex, homosexuality, and abortion, among others, Warren Berkley, yet another gospel preacher, began a three-part on “The Sex Education Movement: Agenda of Perversion,” that was continued in the Jan. and Mar. issues. And finally, Harry Osborne, again a gospel preacher, had an article on “Sex Education or Sex Promotion?” in the May 6, 1993, issue of Guardian of Truth (Truth Magazine).
Sex education in public schools continues to be much discussed in the news. In the 12/15/2005 South County Journal, a local weekly newspaper here in the St. Louis, MO, area, Buck Collier, managing editor, wrote, “There figures to be a lot of talk about sex next year in the Missouri General Assembly. Or, perhaps more accurately, a lot of talk about no sex. When it comes to sex education in the classroom, there appears to be a growing movement among lawmakers to take sex out of the equation and promote an abstinence-only focus. That approach has at least one organization fuming.
“House Bill 34, pre-filed by Republican Cynthia L. Davis of O'Fallon, MO [a homeschooling mother, WSW], would remove the requirement that courses on human sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases include discussion on contraception. An abstinence-only approach is drawing fire from a St. Louis-based abortion-rights organization. Carolyn Sullivan, executive director of National Abortion Rights Action League Pro-Choice Missouri, says the move toward abstinence-only comes the same time a national report is highlighting the dangers of abstinence-only education. Sullivan says Davis' legislation would result in keeping critical information about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases away from Missouri teenagers. 'Failing to educate our teenagers is not the answer to decreasing the rates of teen pregnancy or disease,' Sullivan says. “
Well, Mz. Sullivan, what we have been doing for “sex education” certainly has not worked! Maybe it is time to try another approach. About the same time I heard New York Times health and nutrition Jane Brodie in her “Minute with the New York Times” on a local radio station, rant and rave about how these same studies had proven that abstinence-only education does not work. I also remember seeing some articles which called into question the accuracy of such studies. “Condom education” has been heralded as the ultimate answer to teenage pregnancies and venereal diseases, but the fact is that condoms are not fool-proof. They have a built-in failure rate. However, abstinence ALWAYS works–it never fails. It seems to me that the sure-fire way is the one that should be emphasized, not the iffy one.
However, is a public school the right place to handle such subjects? The truth is that God gave the parents the responsibility of teaching, training, and raising children (Deuteronomy 6.4-9, Proverbs 22.6, Ephesians 6:4). Even the enemy understands that. In an Oct., 26, 2005, South County Journal article to observe October as “Family Sex Education Month” Julie Randle, Lifestyle editor, quoted Karen Omvig, director of education for Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis region, as saying, “Parents can set examples about how to develop healthy relationships in their own home. Our children learn through observation and communication. Teens look at their parents as being wise and trustworthy. Because children and teens reflect on things that they learn from their parents, parents should identify their values on sexuality and share their beliefs with their children.”
By the way, I hate to say it, but I do consider Planned Parenthood the enemy. What Mz. Omvig said in the previous paragraph is true, but in a side bar article, one of her tips for parents when addressing sex is, “Recognize that your children are sexual beings. Sexuality is a part of every person's life. It is perfectly normal for children to have sexual thoughts and feelings. This can make parents uncomfortable about giving their children too much information too soon, but studies show that you can't harm children by giving them information about sexuality.” Oh, really? Then why do we not take them to X-rated movies and give them subscriptions to pornographic magazines? What ever happened to the idea of providing the right information gauged to the child's level of development at the proper time? Asking Planned Parenthood how to teach about sex is like asking the fox to guard the henhouse.
At the same time, if we do not want our children getting their sexual information from their buddies on the street, “values-neutral” sex education teachers at school, or the humanistic Planned Parenthood, then it is a responsibility that we as parents will have to fulfill ourselves. In the July, 2005, issue of St. Louis Christian Parent Magazine, Emily Limbaugh wrote an article, “Your Kids Are Listening, Are You Talking?”, in which she correctly notes, “Times have changed. Our sexually saturated society doesn't allow you the option of not talking about sex and sexuality with your child, because so much information (or should we say misinformation) permeates the culture around us. Today the options are clear. You can either choose to initiate and direct the conversation, or you can let our culture's preconceived ideas dictate your child's beliefs about sexuality.”
Homeschooling provides the ideal setting in which to accomplish this goal. And there are materials to help. Please understand that I have not personally reviewed the following resources, but they come highly recommended from several sources. “The New Learning About Sex” series from Concordia contains seven books: five for students, with one each for ages 3-5, ages 6-8, ages 8-11, ages 11-14, and ages 14+; and two for parental resource. It is “praised by teachers, parents, ministers, and doctors as the leader in Bible-based sex education for more than 30 years.” The “God's Design for Sex Series” from Nav Press has four books: one each for ages 3-5, ages 5-8, ages 8-11, and ages 11-14. “These illustrated books give you age-appropriate information to help you talk comfortably with your kids about sex and answer their questions, as well as discuss issues like homosexuality and pre-marital sex.”
The “Total Health” series by Susan Boe from Rivers Edge has student text, teacher's edition, and quiz master book for both middle school and junior high. It is intended as a full health curriculum “that gives them the whole picture based on Biblical truth and input from hundreds of kids.” Also, Fearless Love: Making Sexual Choices that Honor God by David L. Scherrer and Linda M. Klepacki looks like a good parent resource. “This 8-session study exposes prevalent cultural lies, explains what the Bible teachers, helps parents and youth leaders answer tough questions, and more.” All of these are available from Christian Book Distributors and are identified as coming from a uniquely “Christian” perspective. I would add that the books by Josh Harris, I Kissed Dating Goodby, Boy Meets Girl, and Sex Is Not the Problem–Lust Is, while one might not necessarily agree with everything that he says, would make excellent resources to a homeschool sex education curriculum.
Now let me make a couple of other, somewhat related, points. It used to be generally understood that “public” schools, as being “in loco parentis,” along with other government agencies, should strive to reinforce the values of the parents with whose children they were entrusted. Not any more. It is statistically verifiable that the majority of parents do not want their children exposed to the promotion of homosexuality in school. Yet, whether the original purveyors of sex education had this as their goal or not (and as I said before, I think that they probably did), “sex education” today is almost synonymous with the pro-homosexual agenda. The June, 2005, issue of the Education Reporter cited a Montgomery County, MD, school district's board-approved sex education curriculum which refers to the view that homosexuality is a sin as a myth and compares churches' opposition to homosexuality to earlier defenses of racial segregation.
Thankfully, in this instance, federal judge Alexander Williams, Jr., issued a temporary restraining order against the county school district from implementing the course. He ruled that the curriculum “presents only one view on the subject–that homosexuality is a natural and morally correct lifestyle–to the exclusion of other perspectives.” There will be more about this to follow in an article by Phyllis Schlafly. However, it is clear that not all school officials agree. The July, 2005, Education Reporter told of a Lexington, MA, father, David Parker, spent a night in jail to protest school materials and discussions about gay-headed households in his five-year-old [editor's note: reflect upon that–FIVE YEARS OLD! WSW] son's kindergarten class. The boy brought home a bag of books promoting diversity, including Who's In A Family by Robert Skutch, which depicts different kinds of families, including same sex couples, raising children.
After repeated written requests for advance notice and “opt-out” accommodation on issues regarding human sexuality curriculum according to Chapter 71, Section 32A of Massachusetts state law, Parker said that he was “flat-out denied” any accommodation by the school. So during a meeting to discuss his requests, he insisted that such accommodation be made and refused to leave the meeting room. School officials called the police, who arrested him for trespassing, and he declined to bail himself out of jail. Lexington School Committee Chairman justified not notifying parents by saying, “We don't view telling a child that there is a family out there with two mommies as teaching about homosexuality, heterosexuality, or any kind of sexuality. We are teaching about the realities of where different children come from.”
The Nov., 2005, issue of the Education Reporter said that Parker would not be prosecuted for criminal trespassing, although he will be on probation for a year during which time he will not be allowed on school property. But what is so chilling is the fact that Superintendent Paul Ash had announced in September that he had ordered all teachers NOT to notify parents in advance when discussing homosexual relationships because they are teaching about “diversity and citizenship.” He said, “You're either a full-time student or you're not a student. Parent's can't pick and choose what they want their kids to study.” The school has not retreated from its position that it has the right to overrule the parents about what is taught to the children. That, my friends, is scary to the max! However, more recent news articles indicate that Parker and several other like-minded parents have filed a suit on this issue in federal court. We certainly hope the best for them.
However, on June 16, 2006, Kevin McCullough reported on WorldNetDaily.com the following response by those who oppose Parker. “At the courthouse hearings and many of the protests outside Parker's home, the nasties had used children to hold up hateful signs and demonstrate alongside their nasty parents. They also recruited young children to participate in angry anti-Parker demonstrations outside the school and to engage in letter-writing campaigns. But on May 17, they crossed the line. That was the day that 10 of these thug-kins grabbed David Parker's 7-year-old son, dragged him behind the corner of the school, well out of sight from school officials, and proceeded to punch him in the groin, stomach and chest, before he dropped to the ground when they then kicked and stomped on him. Several of the alleged thug-kins were children of the adults who had been protesting Parker, several of them not even in the same class as Parker's child….The school district 'investigated' and did determine that the attack was pre-meditated. Shockingly, they decided no punishment necessary for the 10 thug-kins who were serving as political hit men for the activists in Lexington. All of this happening because one father wished to reserve the right to teach his own family's faith-based views on sexuality…. It's also very sad that Ash's compadres have sunk to the level of assaulting the 7-year-old child of David Parker in their attempts to shut him up. But then again, liberals don't believe in absolutes, morality or the law so why should we be surprised?”
In a similar vein, parents in Shrewsbury, MA, were upset because the local school administered an explicit sex survey to sixth-graders. The survey solicits answers to such questions as “How old were you when you had sexual intercourse for the first time?” and “The last time you had sexual intercourse, did you or your partner use a condom?” The school committee would not allow parents to view copies of the survey because they felt parents would “misinterpret” the questions. Parent David Fisher said, “In the 6th grade these are children 11 or 12 years old they are being asked if they have ever engaged in oral sex, when was the first time that they engaged in oral sex, with how many different people have they engaged in oral sex? And they use the same questions about sexual intercourse, and whether or not they've used a condom.” A similar sex survey being administered to eighth-graders asks students to identify themselves as heterosexual, gay or lesbian, or bisexual.
Of course, the National Education Association is adamantly pro-homosexual. According to the Education Reporter, Aug., 2005, in an article on the 2005 NEA convention in Los Angeles, CA, “The convention handed a victory to the large Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus by easily passing its proposal for the NEA to 'develop a comprehensive strategy to deal with the new and more sophisticated attacks on curricula, policies, and practices that support GLBT students, families, and staff members in public schools.' The stated rationale for this proposal was that “Extremist groups are using increasingly sophisticated and aggressive tactics to attack school districts with affirming GLBT policies, curriculum, and practices.” Resolution B-10 on “Racism, Sexism, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification Discrimination” says, “Increase respect, understanding, ACCEPTANCE, and sensitivity toward individuals and groups in a diverse society composed of such groups as…gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered persons” (emphasis mine, WSW).
Also, Resolution B-42 on “Sex Education” reads, “The Association recognizes that the public school must assume an increasingly important role in providing the instruction. Teachers and health professionals must be qualified to teach in this area and must be legally protected from censorship and lawsuits [editor's note–even if they molest children? WSW]. The Association also believes that to facilitate the realization of human potential [editor's note–now there's something right out of the Humanist Manifesto! WSW], it is the right of every individual to live in an environment of freely available information and knowledge about sexuality and encourages affiliates and members to support appropriately established sex education programs. Such programs should include information on sexual abstinence [editor's note–yet, when that information is emphasized, they cry bloody murder, WSW], birth control and family planning, diversity of culture, diversity of sexual orientation and gender identification, parenting skills, prenatal care, sexually transmitted diseases, incest, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, homophobia.” By the way, anyone who does not agree with their agenda is guilty of homophobia! And this is the group that is largely in charge of our public schools.
While we can applaud Judge Williams's ruling in the Montgomery County, MD, case, not all judges are as accommodating to parents and many actually seem to agree with the elitist public school mentality. On 11/15/05, I was forwarded the following note. “Yesterday the Supreme Court ruling stated that parents who disagree with a school-system's special education plan for their child have the legal burden of proving that the plan will not provide the 'appropriate' education to which federal law entitles all children with disabilities. This unbalances an already unbalanced playing field. Justice O'Conner wrote the 6-2 majority opinion based on legal precedent that claimant has the burden of proof in seeking relief. I don't where this goes from here but this is not good news. It will allow school districts to do what they want with special education students. Dr. Lawrence Leichtman.” Along with a recent Ninth Circuit decision proclaiming that parents' rights over the education of their children terminate at “the threshold of the school door,” this would tend to assert the public schools' right to overrule parents (more information in other articles to follow). These kinds of decisions are undoubtedly the reason that such an explosive number of people are choosing to homeschool.
Admittedly, that time when we as parents must discuss “the birds and the bees” with our children can be somewhat intimidating. However, it is important that parents who want to raise godly children do communicate to them what God has revealed in His word on the subject. At the same time, the fact is that young people were getting married, having children, and raising their own families long before the modern “sex education movement” came along. Therefore, I am convinced that Bible-believing parents can, using God-centered resources available, bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. With God's help, homeschooling Christians can help their children to buck the deviancy of our culture and order their lives according to God's will.