Tags: The | ACLU | Goes | War | Against | Abstinence | Teaching

The ACLU Goes to War Against Abstinence Teaching

Saturday, 11 May 2002 12:00 AM

The American Civil Liberties Union is in a tizzy again. It is going to court in an effort to halt federally funded school programs that teach sexual abstinence. The organization filed suit against the state of Louisiana for the so-called "abuse" of tax dollars to "promote religious beliefs" because some abstinence programs utilize biblical texts.

This is, of course, unforgivable to ACLU lawyers. The only way they will consent to tax dollars being used in a religious context is if an artist is urinating on a photo of the Cross of Christ or smearing dung on a portrait of the Virgin Mary. But in no way can the Bible be mentioned in teaching kids how to positively conduct their lives.

"This case is yet another example of the state of Louisiana using public money to preach religion," said Joe Cook, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana. "The governor's office has to get out of the pulpit and stop putting taxpayer money in the collection plate."

The ACLU points to the taxpayer-funded Louisiana Governor's Program on Abstinence, which proclaimed that "it's time to restore our Judeo-Christian heritage in America." Can you imagine? This group actually wants to teach the values of our Forefathers. The horror!

The ACLU also charged that the organization has made thousands of dollars in grants to programs that presented "Christ-centered" skits and produced radio shows that "share abstinence as part of the gospel message."

The federal government currently provides more than $100 million a year in taxpayer funds to abstinence-only programs, with about $1.6 million going to Louisiana. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, named Gov. Mike Foster (R) as a defendant. The suit was filed just as Congress is debating President Bush's request to nearly double spending on abstinence curricula.

As part of the welfare-reform act of 1996, Congress authorized $50 million in annual federal funds in state block grants to "teach an unambiguous abstinence message to youth." When combined with required state matching funds of $3 for every $4 federal dollars, $437 million will be available to support the abstinence message during the duration of the program. Mr. Bush has asked for $88 million to expand two additional programs that relay funds to community groups.

In 1995, the federal Centers for Disease Control found that nearly half of high school students (48 percent of girls, 46 percent of boys) had never had a sexual experience. In addition, according to Sex Respect, a Bradley, Ill.-based organization that promotes abstinence, a large percentage of students who have had sexual relations indicated they wish they had remained virgins, and would like to acquire information about abstinence. Why shouldn't the government get involved in helping these kids? And why shouldn't time-honored biblical values be utilized in this pursuit?

Advocates urge that abstinence programs teach students the only indisputable way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. In these programs, students learn how abstinence encourages a sense of personal respect and esteem – values that kids certainly need.

The folks at Sex Respect say that in order to remain abstinent, teens need to be "encouraged and equipped with medically and socially accurate information on the consequences of sexual promiscuity and with knowledge, character development and skills on how to remain abstinent."

Another program that has been successful in teaching teens to preserve their chastity is True Love Waits, which is sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. True Love Waits challenges teenagers and college students to remain sexually abstinent until marriage.

More than 1 million young people have signed the True Love Waits pledge, which reads: "Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, my friends, my future mate, and my future children to be sexually abstinent from this day until the day I enter a biblical marriage relationship."

Sure, these programs utilize biblical teachings to convey the message of virtue and self-respect. For this, the ACLU wishes to purge them from schools. However, if we banned every element of society that had a biblical base, we would need to tear up the Constitution and rewrite many of the laws of our land. Just because a value is part of a biblical context, are we to eliminate it from our schools?

We've seen how godless pursuits have altered the course of education in our land. I say it's about time we allow kids to learn the significant values that will protect them ... and civilization.

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The American Civil Liberties Union is in a tizzy again. It is going to court in an effort to halt federally funded school programs that teach sexual abstinence. The organization filed suit against the state of Louisiana for the so-called abuse of tax dollars to promote...
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2002-00-11
Saturday, 11 May 2002 12:00 AM
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