Monday, September 01, 2008

Conservative Republicans And Their Abstinence Only Logic

For years the Republicans have touted the virtue of abstinence only education. In fact, programs that promote it received a fair amount of funding during the Bush presidency. Current nominee for Vice President, Sarah Palin, was a big proponent of it in her 2006 gubernatorial campaign. Never mind that studies, including one authorized by Congress have shown a zero percent effectiveness in decreasing teenage sexual activity. Conservative Republicans continue to bang the drum loudly for it.

Which makes the news that Bristol Palin, the seventeen year old daughter of Sarah Palin, is pregnant, particularly interesting.

Now let me be clear, as far as I'm concerned, the media needs to leave Ms. Palin alone. As she prepares for the birth of her child, she has enough to deal with, let alone the fact that her family is now in the national spotlight. She didn't ask for this attention and she doesn't deserve it. But, what her case does underscore is the need for the very education that her mother would deny young adults.

The question is: Why?

The answer is simple. Morality. The proponents of abstinence only sexual education base their argument on religious values rather than scientific data. They argue that comprehensive sex ed encourages promiscuity, promotes HIV and increases teen pregnancy.
Perhaps they should ask themselves, then, why Bristol is pregnant.

In the end, it is really about power. The power of fundamentalists to impose their religious views on the masses. These are the people who are the first to support the "war on terror" because of the need to defeat "radical Islam." What they fail to realise is that they are mirror images of each other. Sure, fundamentalists in the U.S. don't look as scary. They look like us, they speak our language and sometimes, they even sound reasonable. But deep down the message is the same: Our policies are formed by our understanding of the word and will of God. And if you don't share our beliefs, you don't understand the word and will of God.

The difference between John Hagee and Mullah Omar is smaller than most people think.

Many will say that dragging Bristol Palin into the national debate is wrong. Barack Obama himself said that families should be off limit, especially the children of candidates. He is right in the sense that Ms. Palin's pregnancy and the choices she makes regarding it are her own. But the issue that it calls to light and the choices that her mother made around the formulation of her own policies and values are not.

So leave Bristol Palin out of the discussion, but please do have a discussion about what type of sex ed your child should receive in school. And please explore deeply not only where your candidates stand on their positions, but also why.


Blogger 80sMom said...

haha, I laughed out loud at your line about John Hagee and Mullah Omar!

Even the parts of your blog I disagree with are well written and thoughtful. I appreciate that in a blogger. Its hard to find!

5:43 PM  

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