Friday, July 13, 2018

Sex Ed and Religious Hysteria

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I listened yesterday to a radio interview an opponent of what is now the previous sex ed component of the health program for Ontario schools. She cheered the new government's decision to revert to the program which was developed twenty years ago before sexting, social media bullying and easily accessed online porn. Her two children are teens and probably well aware of all these aspects of the internet. But her objection was to teaching children in Grade One the proper names of their sexual body parts. When she was asked why she objected she stated that children than young shouldn't be taught those names she could muster nothing more than that they shouldn't. It was entirely her opinion, not based on any reasoning. I was amazed, not only by her lack of logic, but that the government for nearly 13 million people, the majority of whom supported the scrapped program, has thrown it out because of the vocal opposition of those who often can't explain why they are against it.

There was an article in the Toronto Star, also yesterday, by Edward Keenan, who says he can't find any of the dire claims about the program content by critics who have bordered on hysterical at times. Others have noted the same thing, and pointed out that what is on the internet about teaching anal and oral sex in the curriculum is nonsense.

Another contention is that the program was written solely by a paedophile, which is also false. One member of the team was eventually convicted of a crime related to online pornography, but this wasn't until after the program was developed and he was one a number of experts who worked together. The irony is that one of the goals of the now abandoned curriculum was to help children and youth avoid predators, who could be emboldened by the changes.

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I am saddened, once again, that conservatives in different religions, including Christianity, have led the fear-mongering. Ironically, many of them are Roman Catholics, including Doug Ford's opponent for the leadership of the PC's, Tanya Granic Allen. There are also elements of the Islamic community which have deliberately promulgated misinformation.

The way I read the bible, God invented sexuality in creatures, including humans, and through the narrative there is coercive and destructive sexuality, as well as the good stuff. Religions have often used sex to control people even as the clergy have made up their own personal rules about sexual propriety at times. There are untold numbers of the victims of sexual abuse by religious leaders, often children who had no preparation to deal with predators.

I can just add this decision to the list of "promises kept" by the new regime which should never have been made in the first place. This is a huge step backward.

How do you feel about all this?

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