Monday, March 26, 2007

School lessons in depravity

The Government has now pushed through both Houses of Parliament newregulations to make it illegal to discriminate against homosexuals inproviding goods, facilities and services, and in the exercise of publicfunctions. These regulations also cover schools and the teaching of thecurriculum in seeking to ensure the equal promotion of homosexuality in awide range of school subjects. This must be a matter of real concern forparents. While they have a legal right to withdraw their children fromReligious and Moral Education and Personal, Social and Health Education,they do not have such a right to withdraw their children from nationalcurriculum subjects. In Canada legislation extending the same kind ofprotections to homosexuals has been used by homosexual activists in aimingto force the promotion of their perversion in a range of school subjects.The Christian Institute have indicated that some councils already recommendthe promotion of homosexuality in national curriculum subjects such asHistory, English, Art and Music. There is also evidence of this being taughtin some schools.Various materials for sex education already used in Personal and SocialEducation (PSE) actively promote homosexuality as normal and acceptable andpromote homosexual households as 'families'. Many parents are unaware ofwhat is already being taught to their children especially in relation to sexeducation, which is being taught from the later stages of primary schoolupwards, and becoming increasingly more explicit in the early stages ofsecondary education. The prevailing approach assumes that it is unrealisticto expect young people to abstain from sexual activity. Instead the idea isto limit the inevitable through education by promoting contraception. Morethan this, sexual activity outside marriage is said to be a 'right' and a'choice' in such materials and the abortifacient 'morning after pill' ishighlighted as a means of contraception. It is a public scandal that themorning-after pill can be given to girls under 16 legally without anyparental knowledge or consent.

It is little wonder that the Government and the Scottish Executive arefinding teenage conceptions rising fastest in areas where special programmesto combat them have been implemented. Studies in recent years by Glasgow andEdinburgh Universities have shown that this kind of permissive sex educationhas failed to reduce the levels of unsafe sex or unwanted pregnancy despitemillions of pounds being poured into such initiatives. According to ValerieRiches in her book "Sex Education or Indoctrination: How ideology hastriumphed over facts" by Valerie Riches (published by Family & YouthConcern, Jubilee House, 19-21 High Street, Whitton, Twickenham, MiddlesexTW2 7LB, this failure is because the government'sapproach to teenage sexual health is not based on research but on theideology that the state is the parent of everyone's children. She arguesthat sex education has never really been about preventing unwantedpregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, but about changing theshape of the family and increasing the role of the state. Valerie Richesidentifies the exclusion of parents from the knowledge of what is happeningto their children, as a key legal change campaigned for by sex educators andsexual health advocates.

Foremost in promoting this ideology is the International Planned ParenthoodFederation which receives 6.0 million per year UK Government funding. Itpromotes 'freedom of sexual expression' and 'sexual pleasure as a validsexual and reproductive health need for all young people' (defining 'youngpeople' as those aged 10-24) through its network of family planningassociations. These focus on permissive sex education at earlier ages,coupled with the provision of contraception to teenagers, including underagegirls, without the knowledge or consent of their parents. Parents have avital role and should not allow themselves to be undermined in this way. Arecent study of over 400 adolescents clearly showed that where parents,especially mothers, were the major source of sexual information, theiradolescents' sexual behaviour was restrained. The only sort of effectiveeducation which will reduce teenage conceptions and disease is that whichteaches abstinence outside of marriage. When the government wishes to reducesmoking amongst teenagers it promotes abstinence but fails to see that onlythis approach will change the UK's position as the teenage pregnancy capitalof Western Europe. How true it is that "the instruction of fools is folly"(Prov 16:22).

The Standards in Scotland's Schools Act 2000 sets out clear guidelines forschools in their conduct of sex education: materials are to be selected withgreat care and sensitivity to the age and understanding of pupils; schoolsare to consult with parents before introducing any sex education programmeto their children; parents are to be given the opportunity to view anymaterials in advance; schools are to be sensitive to parental concerns andtheir religious views; there is no statutory requirement for participationin sex education and ultimately therefore parents may withdraw theirchildren. Scottish Executive Circular 2/2001 states that, all parents andguardians have a legal right to be consulted when schools are developing orreviewing sex education programmes yet this is rarely if ever done. It isthe local school not the local authority which decides on the detail of anysex education programme. There is little control, however, in what schoolsteach in this subject; they are obliged merely to "have regard" togovernment guidelines. The Executive's "A Guide for Parents and Carers" alsoconfirms: "If you have a particular concern about the sex education beingprovided by the school for your child the first thing to do is to discuss itwith your child's headteacher". Parents ought to take this step and ask tobe be made aware under their legal right to preview sex education materials.It is worth noting that while a school may not be using some of the morenotorious materials, most secondary schools appear to be using other equallyexplicit materials which have shocked not only Christian but non-Christianteachers also.

Parents may not be aware that many of the most obscene materials being usedare not in printed form but are shown on video, given as part of lessonstaken by outside agencies or involve certain web-sites. We would encourageparents to find out not just what is to be taught but who is to deliver it -very often outside agencies like the local Health Authority are involved whohave an agenda of their own, namely the promotion of their sexual healthservices. Parents also have a right to withdraw their children from suchclasses. The UK Government's "Sex and Relationship Guidance DfEE 0116/2000"confirms that when formulating their statement of policy on sex education,the governors and head teachers of a school are required to state withinthis policy the right of a parent to withdraw their child from the school'ssex education programme. There is real pressure from such agencies as theBrook Organisation to make PSE a compulsory part of the national curriculum,meaning that parents would no longer have the right to withdraw theirchildren from it (0-19 Magazine, July 2005, p.14). At present, parents dostill have this right and therefore ought to give very serious considerationto exercising it. The Christian Institute briefing "Scottish Sex and DrugsEducation: What you can do to help at a local level" is very helpful inadvising parents in this regard.

One would question whether in view of the prevailing contempt for marriageand the law of God in society at large there can be many who are fit toinstruct our children in these matters. The Larger Catechism Q130 inspeaking of the sins of parents against their children in relation to thefifth commandment identifies the sin of "careless exposing, or leaving themto wrong, temptation, and danger". The wisest and safest course of actionwould be no doubt for parents to withdraw their children from such classesentirely. Only when we have dealt faithfully in relation to baptismal vowsin protecting our children from such permissive values will we, as parents,be able to say in sincerity: "Cease, my son, to hear the instruction thatcauseth to err from the words of knowledge". (Prov 19:27)