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A Surprising Call
For More Sex Education
by Dr. Dean Edell

October 4, 2000

I'll admit I'm surprised at a new survey that shows a vast majority of Americans favoring more and better sex education in the schools.

This has always been an important issue to me because we're the most unhappy culture on earth when it comes to our sex lives, the reason being we're not open enough about sexuality.

Opponents of sex education are apparently more vocal and organized because this latest survey of 1,500 parents, teachers and students by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that 84 percent of respondents want sex education to explain how to obtain and use birth control. Parents also want schools to teach children how to be tested for AIDS and how to respond to pressure to have sex and deal with the emotional consequences of sex.

One surprising statistic is that 72 percent of all parents believe sex education should cover the issues of abortions and 76 percent want courses to involve discussions on homosexuality.

In countries where there's more openness about sexuality in the schools, there are lower rates of teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, but this country's always been behind in dealing realistically with this important adolescent issue.

The lure of the illicit is very powerful, so it doesn't make sense to hide sexual issues from our youth. It's better to openly discuss sexuality and provide information without making value judgments.

I'm glad to see that a high percentage of parents want protective and informative messages given to our youngsters in sex education because this will result in a healthier outlook on adult sexuality.

Source: Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation survey, Oct. 4, 1999.

Copyright© 1994-2000 HealthCentral.com.

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From : John Brienesse (Canada)
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: sex education
Date: Friday, October 06, 2000 6:41 PM

Hello! Mr. Walker!

I am a Canadian Atheist, and I read with interest about your Country the U.S.A. that people are starting slowly to wisen up! Religion or not.

Sex education is very important for the young people. They talk about abortion, but a person who has had good sex education does never have to get pregnant if she does not want to. But the Religions and their taboos have done a lot of harm.

We here in Canada have the same problems although they are not as severe as in Your Country.

We have anti-abortion people here, but they not are very wide spread. Although we have had some doctors shot.

I also listened to the two debates on the television, and those two guys scared the pants of me. I am very much afraid of becoming an American Citizen. And the way it is going they are going the same way as in Europe with the Euro Dollar. And that is a start in the wrong direction; it might be okay for the Americans but not for us. A lot of people here are sorry we got in to the free trade thing. The Americans and the foreigners are buying up all the businesses in this Country. They can not even leave the banks alone. But !!! If you people are smart; make sure that religion and government does not mix. If that happens there will be hell to pay.

My English is not first class; but if you know that when I came in to this Country from the Netherlands I had to sign up on a farm for two years. And I learned my English out of Classic Comic books comparing pictures with words.

I was in Kentucky last year and was surprised when I started to feel people out about their beliefs and ways of life. They all believe in the Bible, but nearly no one reads it. And they all swear by it; but no one knows what is in it.

I was a preacher in the Netherlands and became an Atheist there. There were too many holes in that Holey book.

With Greetings
John Brienesse
A Humanistic standpoint
Hamilton, Ontario.

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From : "Gregory Tinker"
To: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: FORUM: Parents Want More Sex-Ed. Surprised?
Date: Thursday, October 05, 2000 11:33 AM

Yes. However, they are becoming more desperate and throwing their weight around more.

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

TARKIN: Princess Leia, before your execution I would like you to be my guest at a ceremony that will make this battle station operational. No star system will dare oppose the Emperor now.

LEIA: The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.

TARKIN: Not after we demonstrate the power of this station. In a way, you have determined the choice of the planet that'll be destroyed first. Since you are reluctant to provide us with the location of the Rebel base, I have chosen to test this station's destructive power ... on your home planet of Alderaan.

I've a feeling that this is too close to home. Hypothetical future: The homosexual population will be targeted as first to go once biblical law is reinstated, as they are the ones currently closest to obtaining "acceptance." Hopefully that will give any straight atheists time to escape.

If the articles which you cited turn out to be the case (backed up by other studies and such), then we can expect that things will continue to improve in the long run, but it will be painful getting there. As atheists, we should take comfort and hope from the strides that "alternative lifestyles" and openness about all sexuality have made in a scant 20 years or so. Our turn will come.

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Benjamin Franklin: "Where liberty is, that is my country."

Thomas Paine: "Where liberty is not, that is mine."

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From: "Gregory Tinkler "
To: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: FORUM: Parents Want More Sex-Ed. Surprised?
Date: Monday, October 23, 2000 9:39 AM

My judgement is based on what I would do as a member of the religious right (hypothetically speaking, of course!). It would seem most logical to take the most outspoken group, the one that represents a "real threat", and "make an example" of them. To me, this would be the homosexuals. They've done a lot in the last 20 years, including making gay-bashing unfashionable. This has got to really be a sore spot for the RR! I don't feel like atheism has yet come as far as the homosexual rights movement, although I don't feel it will be that much longer for us. When our time comes, we'll probably just get blamed for the homosexuals' existence (random conjecturing) b/c of our corrupting satanic beliefs or something equally as lame.

Otherwise, we are pretty much in agreement. While I make jokes about running, I would probably stay here and potentially die here. After all, running would just prolong the inevitable.

Greg

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From : "Gijsbers V.A."
To: "'Positive Atheism Magazine'" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: RE: FORUM: Parents Want More Sex-Ed. Surprised?
Date: Friday, October 06, 2000 3:55 AM

Although there are still many religious people in the Netherlands, we are a very pragmatic people (maybe too pragmatic), and there are almost no fundamentalists. Though there are a few people who want to state in school that evolution-theory is only a theory, they do not even dare to propose to keep it out of school entirely.

When it comes to sexual education I think there are no schools who do not give this to students from 13 to 16 years old. Birth control is accepted in all but the most pious protestant circles, and even there it's gaining ground. The government tells youths to use condoms; morning-after pills are available free of charge.

Abortion is legal, though some Christians did try to stop that. Now there are some organisations that offer to help "both mother and child", but there is no anti-abortion-activism.

It is not only religious fundamentalism that the Netherlands lack; the political parties are often close together in the middle too. (Though our middle is somewhere in the left-wing of your Democrats, I think.) The fact that people do not really wish to fight for their ideals sometimes depresses me, but it has good consequences too; no fundamentalism.

Victor Gijsbers
The Netherlands

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From : Art Haykin
To: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: Re: FORUM: Parents Want More Sex-Ed. Surprised?
Date: Thursday, October 05, 2000 11:21 AM

Since the Enlightenment (and even before) the chuch as been fighting a desperate rear-guard action consisting mostly of damage control. They say they must "adapt" to modern times, which translates to "adopting" modern thought and making the most of it. Anything to maintain some semblance of control and keep the coffers jingling. They continue to cook the books to make anything and everything seem congenial to their bankrupt and patently obsolete doctrine. They live awash in successful science, technology, and plain reality while denying its validity.

Religion has become a social "activity" like lawn tennis and square dancing -- the "thing to do." It's become a memetic imperative, thoughtlessly entered into mindlessly and automatically because of its nearly unquestioned cultural saturation. Yet few really live their faith, and find a million excuses to account for this. It's hypocrisy of the highest order. Simply "believing" makes it so.

Art

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From: "Bob Webster"
To: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
Subject: FORUM:_Are_Fundamentalists_Losing_Ground_9410
Date: Tuesday, January 02, 2001 4:18 PM

Seems to me that a theocracy would possibly lead to a resurgence in the Atheist point of view. At least, looking at the various countries out there, it seems that the ones with an entanglement between religion and state (state church, theocracy, or whatever) have a higher incidence of atheism than our "purely" secular government. For the fundies, it seems to be a case of (pardon me) "Damned if you do, damned if you don't!" Pretty hard on the rest of us in the interim, however...

Thanks,
Robert Webster

"We've got a date with Destiny, and it looks like she's ordered the lobster."
-- The Shoveler (Mystery Men)

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