Irrational Arguments for Ignorance-Only Sex Ed

Focus on the Family has added a new analogy to their laundry list of irrational arguments for ignorance-only sex education — It’s like a forest fire, you see, and you should prevent them rather than respond to them. Uh, what?

Wouldn’t we all agree that it’s better to prevent a forest fire, if and when possible, than treat the immense damage in its aftermath?

These questions are similar to what the National Abstinence Education Association (NAEA) is asking Congress and state legislatures about our nation’s approach toward pre-marital sex … Certain questions arise: Why aren’t our schools, our states and our nation placing a clear and unquestionable priority on sexual risk avoidance (SRA)? Why are we intentionally spending billions of dollars handing kids matches (condoms), which result in careless (sexual) “fires” and treating victims who have been unnecessarily burned by sex (STDs, pregnancy)? Wouldn’t prevention be cheaper and healthier?

“Safe” sex education – or promoting casual sex, while handing out condoms and birth control to kids – is analogous to passing out matches to kids in school, and telling them, “Be sure you play safely with these in the forest and, above all, have fun!”

It’s irresponsible messaging that encourages high-risk behavior at a great cost to families and our entire nation.

Yet our federal government currently pours nearly 16 times as much money into “safe” sex education than it does into helping kids learn how to avoid starting fires in the area of sexuality or SRA. Perhaps this is why we have so many uncontained “fires” caused by sex outside of marriage.

What can we learn?

  • Neither adults nor children should ever play carelessly with matches or fire, especially in forests. Safe places exist to enjoy the warmth of a contained fire in the right context at the right time – started and monitored by responsible adults.
  • Neither adults nor children should carelessly play with sex, especially outside of marriage. A safe place exists to enjoy sexual bonding within the right context at the right time – when a responsible, adult man and adult woman are able sustain a lifelong, commitment to each other within the context of marriage.
  • Don’t get burned by fire or sex; both can get out of control quickly, and both have the potential to harm you – and to hurt many other people, as well. Keep fires in the fireplace, and keep sex inside of marriage.

It’s a terrible analogy, of course, because even if you do try to prevent forest fires — as you obviously should — you don’t disband the fire department and not train to fight them. And they make it sound as though the choice is between whether kids have sex or don’t have sex, but that isn’t the choice. Abstinence-only sex education doesn’t actually make anyone remain abstinent. And comprehensive sex education includes teaching that abstinence is the only 100% effective way to avoid negative consequences. The choice is between keeping kids ignorant and helping them make knowledgeable and safe choices.

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