Pedophiles Against Sex Ed!
Pedophiles Against Sex Ed in Schools, Keep the Kids Ignorant and Vulnerable!
An altar boy who has not learned what constitutes inappropriate sexual behavior is easy prey for an adult authority figure like a pedophile priest. Surely we can all agree it would be lovely if every family taught their children at an early age about the boundaries of acceptable sexual behavior, but even the most well-meaning of parents often find these topics difficult and tend to put off addressing them.
The same goes for discussion of sexual health as children approach adolescence. Many a sexual encounter and many an unintended pregnancy could be avoided if every family provided a realistic orientation to sexual health rather than children learning about sex from their friends or from graphic videos on the internet. For most parents sex is a delicate subject easy to avoid and put off, necessary "homework" delayed.
In my youth, my first serious relationship was with a young woman I met in the context of the Methodist Youth Fellowship. My parents provided me with a detailed, realistic discussion of the realities of sex around the time I turned twelve. It was a talk that kept my friend and me out of dangerous territory. Later we went off to different colleges and drifted apart. Years after that we met and shared our stories. She confided that she had been entirely ignorant of the details of sex, that her actions in our relationship had been governed by natural urges, urges that, a few years later, led her to a surprise pregnancy with an irresponsible man several years her senior, a pregnancy she would have avoided had she possessed the necessary information. Her parents, well-intended, God-fearing, church-going Methodists, lovely people, never got around to having "the talk." At that time in this country abortion was only safe for the well connected for whom it was quietly performed in hospital and labelled a D&C (dilation and curettage). With family financial and emotional backing she flew, alone, to Japan, where she underwent an early and safe abortion. Needless to say this was no tourist trip. It was terrifying. The message of her story is indelible: to be informed is to be empowered, ignorance is dangerous.
Every young person needs sex education to function safely in our society. I was pleased when ENGROSSED* SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL 5395, mandating comprehensive sexual health education in Washington State public schools became state law in March. I've written about it before. The law is entirely sensible with multiple options for communities to chose among curricular options or adopt their own.
My happiness was short-lived. Even before Governor Inslee's signature was dry on the Comprehensive Sexual Health Education Law, Republican political operatives were hard at work on Referendum 90, a referral of the law to the voters for approval or rejection,.They advocate a vote to "Reject," which would prevent the law from taking effect. Signature gathering during the pandemic was accomplished through Evangelical (Fundamentalist), Mormon, and Roman Catholic church congregations purposely riled up with an online campaign of misinformation about what the law says. The campaign to "Reject" relies on people's squeamishness around sex and on their protective instincts concerning children--and completely ignores that many children will remain ignorant and vulnerable because their parents are uncomfortable with the information and never provide it.
Political operatives (and marketers and sociologists) know that anything with sexual content immediately captures attention, even more so if it also contains a perceived threat to children. Knowing that virtually none of their signers would read and understand the law, they are comfortable framing sexual education to ignite the worst fears of sex, sexual exploitation, and governmental overreach among their followers.
Referendum 90 is a means to stir up enthusiasm among a certain kind of right wing religious voter without running afoul of campaign finance law. Repealing the Comprehensive Sexual Health Education law is not about protecting children. On the contrary, withholding information endangers children.
There is great irony in a celibate Roman Catholic cleric, Bishop Muggenborg, lecturing us on the evils of sex education (https://www.facebook.com/mindie.wirth May 24th). A church beset by scandals involving predatory priests is solemnly arguing to keep children ignorant?
This needs an airing--and soon. Tell your friends and acquaintances about the new "movement." Someone with the skill to do so needs to construct a meme:
Pedophiles Against Sex Ed, Keep the Kids Ignorant and Vulnerable!
Or, perhaps, since irony is lost on many, perhaps just
Vote Approve on Referendum 90. Protect the children. (Voting "approve" means approving the law.)
Keep to the high ground,
*"Engrossed" in a legal sense means "produced (as a legal document) in its final or definitive form."