The war against abstinence education wages on across the country. The comprehensive sex ed crowd was apoplectic with the results of a Mathematica study that showed kids who had abstinence education programs were just as likely to engage in sexual activity with the same rates of “dangerous” behavior. The flip side of the study showed that abstinence education also “did no harm” in that the “risky” behaviors were just as frequent between both groups, but that got ignored. Predictably, the studies that show abstinence ed works also go ignored.

The study itself has recycled some of the same claims that come up every time someone objects to abstinence education. Representative Waxman did a study in 2004 that purported to show all the damage abstinence education does, but between outright stupid objections and showing that some programs do work, his attempt failed.

The push for comprehensive education is nothing more than an attempt to ram values down parents’ throats. The United States is a values pluralistic society that works precisely because other people’s values are respected and tolerated. Except in the narrow case of values that are criminal or quasi-criminal, the government shouldn’t start dictating to citizens what values they must have, religious or otherwise. In short, if government education programs are going to deal with sex (and it’s not clear that this is a necessary area for government to be involved in) they need to do so in a values neutral manner.

A reasonable position would be to allow comprehensive sex ed, abstinence ed, or no sex ed at all to be choices available at the sole discretion of the parents. Parents, as a rule, know their children the best and are best able to make the most informed decisions about them. However, far too often the government turns the school system into a parole office for which parents must issue an accounting of their decisions after committing the crime of conception.

Even the ACLU, an organization that allegedly exists solely to protect the bill of rights, demands that only comprehensive sex ed be taught because that’s supposedly the only legal way to do it. Apparently the Constitution requires nothing less than full and complete courses in sexual technique and pleasuring for six year olds.

The reason for forcing the government to present only comprehensive sex ed from the highest levels is clear when it is realized that parents want abstinence ed for their children by a 2:1 margin. The ACLU always stands ready to thwart the democratic process by forcing their values down the throats (and into the pants) of Americans by going to unelected judges to force the issue.

The message is clear, not only parents can’t be trusted to make this decision for children, but lawmakers cannot be trusted either. All that is left to do is for the ACLU to shop for the right judge to give them what they want judicially for what they could never win democratically.

Instead of looking at the reasons why children engage in sexual activity when and how they do, comprehensive sex ed advocates try to bypass parents to present cookie-cutter values without parental involvement. There are some interesting studies, for instance, that show that intelligent kids don’t have sex.

The school system in this country has enough problems producing students that can compete in a global economy. They certainly don’t need to have days taken out of their classes every year while they are already being left behind by the rest of the world academically. Schools should spend their time focusing on academics, not on being one-step social service agencies.

A constant refrain in politics is anger at the “Christian Right” forcing their values on American society. How about some reciprocity? Let’s leave the parenting to the parents.

John Bambenek is the Assistant Politics Editor for BC Magazine and is an academic professional for the University of Illinois. He is a syndicated columnist who blogs at Part-Time Pundit and the executive director of The Tumaini Foundation which helps AIDS orphans and other children in Tanzania to get an education. He is the current owner of BlogSoldiers, a blog-only traffic exchange.

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