Human Life International e-Column
Volume 06, Number 34 | Friday, August 19, 2011
Human Life International.
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When Government Promotes Immorality
For years the Church has denounced the evils of modern secular sexual education. We can see this concern in the valuable document of the Pontifical Council for the Family, The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality, of December 8th, 1995.
Now we have to express our very serious concern for the decision of the New York public schools to have mandatory "sex education" classes. Regrettably this program is part of a national and international trend to impose an immoral ideology on our children. California has imposed a homosexual history curriculum for its public schools, and Massachusetts is distributing in its public schools sex education materials that can be considered pornographic. Overseas, SPUC denounced the fact that in the United Kingdom:
Explicit sex education in schools is priming young children to become sexually active once they reach their teens, or even before. Sex and relationships education (SRE) in secondary schools is directed towards teaching teenagers where to get and how to use contraceptives and abortion services.
New York City's new mandate goes beyond the state's requirement that middle and high school students take one semester of health education classes. The mandate calls for schools to teach a semester of sex education in 6th or 7th grade, and again in 9th or 10th grade.Eleven-year-olds will be provided explicit information about sexuality and in particular how to use contraceptives and condoms.
This program is based on the unwarranted assumption that a majority of the youngest teenagers are sexually active. Really what this program is doing, however, is encouraging sexual activity, while trying to convince the ignorant that if they only take precautions, they can avoid unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. This program is designed to break down children's natural modesty, and as we have seen time and again, will undoubtedly result in an increase the number of youngsters that are sexually active.
There is a clear connection between the sexual education programs and the "sexual revolution" that started in the 1960s. These programs are grounded on the materialistic and hedonistic views by groups that promote all sorts of false rights, like "sexual and reproductive rights" which entail the promotion of abortion, contraception and "free sex" between consenting adults. Now far down the slippery slope towards unchecked immorality, these groups are promoting the so-called "right to sexual expression" of teenagers.
Behind all those programs there are different hidden agendas:
1. The conviction of many contemporary liberals that young persons are not capable of controlling their sexual instincts, and as a consequence, these programs try to exercise some degree of damage control through the prevention of pregnancy and the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases. At the same time it is known and demonstrated that condoms are of limited value in stop the transmission of diseases.
2. To strengthen the control of the members of a society, because a man that is dominated by his animal instincts will be less inclined to indulge in original or critical thinking, and as consequence less inclined to challenge the ones that control society.
3. To destroy the influence of religion, because sexual education programs aim the destruction of man's natural values. This is the essential foundation for the growth of supernatural virtue.
The Church has always taught that parents are the primary educators of their children; thus, the government violates the rights of the parents when it imposes programs that are contrary to the faith of parents. The Blessed John Paul II, in Familiaris Consortio, underlined that, "Sex education, which is a basic right and duty of parents, must always be carried out under their attentive guidance, whether at home or in educational centers chosen and controlled by them." (37)
In this spirit, the Director of Communications of the Archdiocese of New York, Joseph Zwilling, pointed out that, "This mandate by the city usurps that role, and allows the public school system to substitute its beliefs and values for those of the parents." The program has an opt-out clause for parents who find it objectionable, but we have to see how the clause works in real terms. Edward Mechmann of the Archdiocesan Family Life/Respect Life Office of New York also underlined that "New York City Betrays Teens and Parents" with its lamentable decision.
Such trends are not inevitable. Florida's Department of Health has promoted an abstinence education program that encourages children between ages 9 and 18 to abstain from sex before marriage. The program educates young people in ways to reject sexual advances, and about how alcohol and drug use increase vulnerability. It is both ironic and telling that a representative of Planed Parenthood in Florida had the arrogance to criticize this program while Planned Parenthood is promoting immorality under the cover of false rights. International Planned Parenthood recently released "Exclaim! Young People's Guide to Sexual Rights: an IPPF Declaration," which is basically a handbook on how to teach young people how to have sex, and how to teach parents to be comfortable with it.
We must insist that the only solution is to promote abstinence before marriage, and fidelity within marriage -- behaviors which together represent the only sure way to avoid undesired pregnancies and sexual diseases. But abstinence programs alone are not sufficient -- we have to provide young people strong reasons to be committed to leading chaste lives until marriage, and afterwards through fidelity. We cannot prepare young people to face the dangers of modern views on sexuality by purely natural means. The most powerful reason to be chaste is faith. So these programs, to be truly effective, have to go hand in hand with the promotion of the faith, which is one of main responsibilities of the Church. The government should promote abstinence programs, and the Church should provide the higher reasons for leading a chaste life.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula
HLI Interim President