By Rev. Mark H. Creech
Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc.
The Christian Action League (CAL) of North Carolina is strongly against HB 88 – The Healthy Youth Act. We share the same concerns as those which have been expressed by our friends and colleagues with the North Carolina Family Policy Council (NCFPC).
In short, the legislation changes the standard from Abstinence Until Marriage (AUM) and creates a two track system, whereby, unless their parents intervene, seventh through ninth graders will be instructed on how to use more than a dozen contraceptives ranging from condoms to morning after pills.
Under current North Carolina law, “abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage is the expected standard for all school-age children.” But HB 88 would change this focus to “abstinence from sexual intercourse.” This is no small matter.
It means the standard would be changed from a “risk elimination” approach to sex education to a “risk reduction” one.
Another standard that would change regards how marriage in our culture would be esteemed. While the AUM curriculum teaches “a mutually faithful monogamous heterosexual relationship in the context of marriage is the best lifelong means of avoiding sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS,” the new curriculum would teach “respect for marriage and committed relationships,” opening the door to present unmarried heterosexual relationships as well as homosexual, bisexual and multi-partner relationships on the same footing as marriage.
The Christian Action League is appreciative of the sensitivity shown for those parents who do not want their children to receive Comprehensive Sex Education, by allowing them to opt out and receive AUM. Nevertheless, we remain opposed to the comprehensive sex-education approach for any of North Carolina’s children. Moreover, we are opposed to efforts to make it the standard by default, which is what this legislation does.
The “risk reduction” (CSE) approach is a dangerous way to counsel teens about sexual activity. It is unnecessary to belabor the point with various statistics that contraceptives do have a failure rate and cannot provide absolute protection from STDs and unwanted pregnancies. But perhaps this analogy can help. Suppose some of North Carolina’s children were risking their lives by jumping off cliffs. They might be encouraged to wear parachutes, but despite any training they may receive, it is well known the parachutes aren’t always going to work nor are the parachutes likely to be used correctly by every teen each time. Should this be the standard approach to protecting North Carolina’s children? Certainly not!!! Instead the standard should be to solemnly warn them: “Don’t be foolish! Don’t jump! Your life is at stake! Eliminate the risk!” Every effort should be made to turn them away from the destructive behavior of jumping off cliffs. This is exactly the approach by the State used with dangerous behaviors such as teen use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs. It should be no different with teenage sexual activity.
Despite the popular myth to the contrary, teens are not sexual robots, incapable of controlling their own libidos. To send a message to teens that implies everybody is doing it and that responsible adults expect them to, but want them to be sure that they do it right, essentially breeds promiscuity and increases the possibility for an STD or unwanted pregnancy. It’s the “Neville Chamberlain” approach to the problems associated with teenage sexual activity. It’s appeasement with the enemies that threaten young teens. Abstinence Until Marriage (AUM) is no more unrealistic to expect of teens than their ideal use of contraception. Therefore, the standard should not be lowered but remain high. Teens need to be challenged to demonstrate the highest forms of discipline during those junctures of life when they are making the most critical choices. To lower the standard is to lower one’s faith and hope in them.
But there is still one other reason for keeping AUM as the standard rather than CSE, it is the Creator’s design. God’s expressed will in the Holy Scriptures for human sexuality does not include protected promiscuity, relationships outside of marriage and homosexual relationships. Sex within the context for which it was designed – a lifelong, monogamous marriage between one man and one woman is perfectly safe! To teach teens anything else not only gives them faulty information, but affirms by law what would only undermine marriage (the State’s most foundational institution) for future generations.
For those who would contend this argument is inappropriately the imposition of a religious perspective in law, it should be noted that public-policy never operates in a moral vacuum. Every time the North Carolina General Assembly enacts or codifies legislation, it imposes someone’s value system on everyone. No matter how well intended the motives of this bill’s proponents, it is misguided at best and a departure from that system of morality that has protected and prospered the State for more than two centuries. To make this proposal as the State’s standard for sex-education would be both a grievous error and a sin – bad judgment of both the head and the heart.
For these reasons the Christian Action League believes that Abstinence Until Marriage should remain the standard for sex education in the Tar Heel State. It’s the only approach that will give children the optimum protection.