Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Yet Another Petty Assault on Reason

The Washington Times today published a letter by Ellen Castellano, one of the founders of the group that hoped to recall the school board, and until recently an officer, I believe, in the CRC, who have campaigned to stop changes to the MCPS sex-ed curriculum.

Ms. Castellano is complaining because the American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued a sensible statement in support of sex education that includes training in contraceptive use. As we just saw, even 86 percent of the people of Alabama, the ultimate Red State, support teaching about contraception -- it's not a crackpot idea but a mainstream one, everybody agrees it should be included.

Ah, but the CRC's Ms. Castellano sees these medical professionals as "caving in" to liberal interests who want to encourage children to engage in sexual activities.

Here, read this, then we'll talk about it:
Don't back away from teaching abstinence
As a registered nurse and mother of seven, I say, "Shame on the American Academy of Pediatrics for throwing in the towel when it comes to teen abstinence." Cheryl Wetzstein's article "Group changes tack on teen abstinence" (Nation, yesterday) is a sad notification that the AAP has caved in to the popular misconception that teenagers are unable to control their sexual drives and should be provided with everything necessary to pursue sexual activity.

Recommending emergency contraception before it has been thoroughly tested for teenagers is evidence of how deeply the academy members have drunk of the liberal philosophy poured out by groups such as the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States.

William Smith, vice president for public policy at SIECUS, is all for the AAP move. His organization's "Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education: Kindergarten Through 12th Grade" includes positive messages to children beginning at 5 years of age about masturbation, abortion and pornography.

Everything about these guidelines is to encourage sexual activity in our children. Doctors in the AAP surely don't understand the goals of the groups with which they have aligned and how recklessly they toss the aside the risks associated with sex in favor of promoting a variety of sexual pleasures to the young.

Montgomery Village

Look at her logic:
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement
  • A monkety-monk at SIECUS is "all for it"
  • SIECUS has literature that teaches five-year-olds how to masturbate
  • Conclusion: pediatricians don't understand the goals of the liberal groups they are aligned with

As Charlie Brown used to say: Sigh.

You know, the SIECUS Guidelines document that Ms. Castellano rolls her eyes over is available on the web. You oughta go look at it: Guidelines for Comprehensive Sex Education. I'll warn you, it's pretty long -- 112 pages. But it appears to be a very well thought out set of guidelines, with a fully developed rationale, clearly explained, for what should be taught in a sex-ed curriculum and why. You may or may not agree with every word of it, but it is a serious endeavor, a serious attempt to put together a package that can help educators figure out how to teach students of various ages about the many facets of sexuality, as they are prepared to understand them.

By the way, I found this document by following a link from the National School Board Assocation. This is something respected in the education community, something ... mainstream. Just look at that document, look at all the work and clear thinking it represents, and then look at Ms. Castellano's dismissal of it as including "positive messages to children beginning at 5 years of age about masturbation, abortion and pornography."

To someone like this CRC spokesperson a statement by a respected medical organization can be refuted -- refuted, think about that -- simply by associating it with an organization that has produced a document that can be described in incriminating terms.

I sometimes describe our debate as a struggle to preserve common sense. More and more I have become convinced that the theme of our historical era is the assault on reason. I intend to write more fully about that later, but this is an example of what I'm talking about. This letter to the editor seeks to persuade without even trying to make a coherent argument. Its intention is to alter the reader's opinion by making some negative statements about one object (SIECUS' Guidelines document), and then trying to associate another object (AAP's policy statement) with the first one. Then somehow the negativity attributed to the first object is supposed to attach itself to the second.

Maybe it is my own deficiency, but I cannot imagine having a mind that works that way.

And I definitely do not want my children taught this kind of brainless stuff.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, these nuts have obviously suckled at the teat of Dobson. You smear smear smear (facts be damned) then go wash all that bull-oney off your hands.

I gotta say it takes a special kind of registered nurse to think that keeping information about health from children somehow makes them better, wiser and safer. You don't "encourage sexual activity in our children" when you teach teens how to protect themselves and others from disease and unplanned pregnancy. Quite the contrary, you educate them when you accurately teach them the many potential results of sexual activity.

About half of all teens will become sexually active in high school whether they receive any sex education or not. Our teens must know how to protect themselves and others so that our society will be better equipped to maintain good public health.

I'll stick with reason, thank you very much.

Aunt Bea

July 14, 2005 7:27 AM  

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