Religion has always been at best, a path on the road to spiritual awakening which encourages empathy, ethical living, and love. At it’s worst, it’s a bastardized tool wielded by the hands of power-hungry lunatics.
Spirituality belongs in school because we are all spiritual beings in human bodies. Religion belongs at home because of the long history of being used to gain power and dominate other human beings. It continues to be a mess of misunderstood translation, twisted cultural laws, and most importantly, something that you have the freedom to teach your children or not. At home.
Last night on the news two protestors on the sex-doesn’t-belong in school-side spoke to a reporter about their religious rights, and that it’s a parent’s job to teach kids about sex at home. First of all, if you wish to live by religious law, move. That’s right, go to a country that honours religious law unlike Canada’s secular law. It is because Canada enforces secular law that everyone is, on the surface, offered equal rights.
No? You don’t want to move to a country filled with fanatics willing to slit your throat in the street? You don’t want to be a woman covered and bound as property to her father or husband? Then sit down and have a good think darling.
You see, sex education from a woman’s point of view is healthy. I must agree that despite teaching about biology and the mechanics of it all, institutional education lacks the more subtle, but just as important aspects of emotional intelligence, sexual ethics, and personal morals and values. Those things are indeed a parent’s job to discuss.
What I find very sad for both men and women is that culture within religion often perpetuates myths that can cause physical harm and psychological trauma. Most people who adhere to fundamentalist translation of holy scripture in any religious tradition value a woman’s virginity. What they don’t preach well to those young girls are the risks, health concerns and precautions to take when their protective male counterparts convince them that blow jobs and anal sex aren’t really sex. What they don’t preach well to boys are the same things. They don’t have the knowledge to seek help when they are raped, molested or infected.
Consent? What is that when one gender is the property of another? And ‘God’ forbid there may be more than two genders. Gasp!
Regardless of gender and religion, every person in this country is entitled to knowledge and resources when it comes to a whole picture of health. That includes sexual health. Chances are you’ll have more experience with sexuality than with calculus during your years of mature adulthood.
Chances are the irate, red-faced fathers on the news would go into convulsions explaining the transgressions of the flesh that their children face. The same goes for their mothers. Memory is a slippery trickster, remember, it was less than a hundred years ago that women were considered persons and successfully fought for the right to vote right here in the true north strong and free.
God does not belong in school. Spirituality does. Education does. If you are God-fearing, religious, or otherwise follow a moral code, it is your duty to help your children experience the beauty of spiritual living, including the real meaning of sexual desire, intimacy and relationships.
If you really care, may I suggest adjusting your priorities instead of talking smack. Instead of bowing down to the almighty dollar, be home to share a meal around the table. Spend time with your kids and get to know their friends. Teach your sons and daughters about personal respect, compassion and leadership.
Knowledge is power, especially for young women who still live in a world where rape and the onus for birth control weighs solely on their shoulders. Now, could that be the reason that men of certain religious and cultural traditions poo-poo public education, because it gives women power? Why yes, I think we have the winning answer right there darlings.
Knowing the risks and reality of sex does not take away from religious life. It never has and it never will. It only takes away power from power-hungry leaders and the weak.