Thursday, September 3, 2009

For Conservatives, message more important than solution

UNESCO is trying to reduce the number of abortions and the spread of HIV through new guidelines for sex education. But for US Conservatives and Evangelicals this is outrageous! Because the guidelines actually suggest teaching children about sex and contraception, in age appropriate ways, rather than simply screaming "S-s-s-s, well, you know, THAT STUFF, is nasty...nasty, nasty, nasty!! You shouldn't do it! And if you do, and something bad happens, remember that we told you so! Ha!", Conservative Christians are outraged.

For these Christians (not all, I realize, but a politically powerful group of them), stopping the killing of unborn babies is important enough to kill doctors for, to bomb abortion clinics for, and to vote for a Republican no matter what else he stands for, but it is not important enough to actually try to solve the problem. Maintaining their outrage is more important than solving the problem.

The US has one of the highest rates of abortion in the world. Conservatives would like us to believe that this is because of lenient laws on abortions. If you look at the numbers worldwide, however, you see that the rate of abortion is tied closely to the level of sex education, even in countries that have lenient abortion laws. The math is quite simple, comprehensive sex education does not increase the rate of teen sex, nor does it lower the average age at which teens become sexually active. It does, however, lower the rate of teen pregnancies and slow the spread of STDs. In other words, it works.

For many Christians, however, the fact that something works is meaningless. It is all about sending the right message. The message, for them, is more important then the problem, and far more important than the solution.

No comments: