Saturday, February 12, 2005

Christian Lubbock teen fights for comprehensive sex ed

At 18, Shelby Knox has already been fighting for comprehensive sex ed for 3 years. The subject of a documentary making its debut at Sundance and airing soon on PBS, Shelby Knox, along with many of her peers, participated in an abstinence pledge called "true love waits" led by local abstinence-guru, pastor Ed Ainsworth.

But even though Lubbock, Texas, which could be called the abstinence capital because of the emphasis placed on abstinence-only sex ed, teens are not listening:
"Education," which will kick off the new season of the PBS doc series "POV" on June 21, begins with a series of bracing facts. Lubbock has one of the highest teen-pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease rates in the nation. Teenage gonorrhea rates are twice the national average.

"Lubbock is known for three things," says Knox. "Buddy Holly, the Dixie Chicks and STDs." (There's also Texas Tech, but you get her drift.)

Maybe the problem is that teens tend to know instinctively when they are being lied to:
Knox took the pledge as a sophomore, but she now says Ainsworth uses "scare tactics." In the film, we see Ainsworth warning a room full of teens that STDs can be contracted through shaking hands.

And maybe the problem is that teens need facts and not fear, science and not shame, in order to keep themselves safe. Shelby, who is a Christian, recognizes that:
And she remains a proud Christian.

"Christians in general are not like what the religious right portrays," she says. "That is just a very vocal side of it. I believe most Christians are loving, caring and tolerant. They believe in civil liberties and civil rights. It's very sad and detrimental to the Christian faith that some people have decided to use it for political advantage.

"I accept everyone. I don't think there's one right answer."

Full story here: Sundance's 'Education' tracks student's fight for sex ed


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