Christians who once fondly admired Surgeon General Everrett Koop are upset about his anti-AIDS sex education policy (CT, Apr. 3, p. 34). Their primary concern is legitimate: Does teaching sex in public schools attach inappropriate values to otherwise technical information?
In measuring the prospects of avoiding non-Christian values in public school sex education, we feel a bit like Blaise Pascal as he remarked during his struggle to affirm the existence of God: “Seeing too much to deny and too little to assure me, I am in a pitiful state.” We are assured by the fact that historically, public schools have augmented Christian values such as honesty, fair play, hard work, and commitment. Perhaps the same could even be true of the schools’ treatment of sexual values as well.
Yet evidence suggests public school support of Christian values has slipped drastically in recent decades. The track record on sex education is even more dismal. From our point of view, sex education has not been successfully taught in public schools.
So we are left with the question of how to teach children about sex—a question exacerbated by the alarming truth about AIDS.
The surgeon general’s recommendations regarding sex education are good ones. Christian values are not compromised, and may even be promoted. But much additional work must be done by Christians to clinch the positive identification of Christian values to sex education.
First, those values must be taught even more forcefully in our homes. If the school’s specialization should be technical information, it is up to Christian parents to attach the proper values. The surgeon general’s call may not be the ideal solution. But if, as in this case, the law is ...1
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