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Monday, February 12, 2007

Religious leaders call for commonsense sex-ed

The Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing released an “Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Adolescent Sexuality” today. The letter focuses on developing an interfaith response exposing the dangers of abstinence-only sex education. An excerpt from the letter:
We call for faith communities to move beyond silence about sexuality or a fear and shamebased ethic that is only based on rules and prohibited acts. Young people pay too high a price when those in religious communities ignore their responsibility to help them understand, affirm and embrace their sexuality.
The arguments for accurate sex-education are numerous and convincing. But that hasn't stopped right-wing religious groups, and their enablers in government, from winning the day. These fundamentalist groups push these ineffective and dangerous abstinence-only programs because, they say, of their 'strong moral values.' As if it were moral to not provide teenagers with the information they need to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy and STDs.

The Religious Institute is trying to change the conversation, and show that providing accurate sex-ed to adolescents is THE moral position, while supporting abstinence-only programs is dangerous for our young people. It's refreshing - and long overdue - to hear from a faith organization about the best ways to address teen pregnancy and STD prevention.

For those of you who want to read more about the Religious Institute, their director, Rev. Debra Haffner, maintains an excellent blog here.

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