In case you guys missed it, Katie Lady over at the Readers Blog has a post on Montgomery County, Maryland and their recent decision to include promotion of “anal sex, homosexuality, bisexuality, and transvestitism as normal sexual variations.” The article she references is from the Thomas More Law Center.

The only thing that separates me from Montgomery County is a river, but it’s a powerful river. I sincerely hope this sort of nonsense doesn’t make its way over here, but I know if it happened in Montgomery County, it’ll happen in other equally liberal counties in the U.S. I do believe that counties have the right to determine their own school curriculum without higher-up Government (especially Federal) interference, but am wondering what the difference would be if a school district, say in Middle America County, Oklahoma, decided they were going to teach that anal Sex, homosexuality, bisexuality, and transvestitism were decidedly NOT “normal sexual variations.”

My hunch is there would be an uproar. Is there any reason that a position on this subject MUST be established by the public school system to our 8th and 10th graders?


Normal Sexual Variations

9 thoughts on “Normal Sexual Variations

  • First let me point out that this article is more misinformation from the Right. The headline “Montgomery Public Schools Say Yes To Anal Sex…” is entirely (and intentionally) misleading and immediately draws the wrong conclusions. The first sentence of the article says that the school district’s “program” is “promoting” anal sex, etc. This of course is bullshit, and if you do some fact-finding, you’ll recognize that right away. It is not a program. It is a single course, namely a Health Education course. This course does not “promote” anal sex, homosexuality, etc. It covers this topic the same way it covers heterosexual sex and heterosexual relationships: in a factual and informative manner.

    More bullshit in the article:

    “I’m impressed with the principled and steadfast opposition by these pro-family groups to this outrageously hedonistic and life-threatening sexuality curriculum…”

    Again, more rhetoric. The inclusion of facts about homosexuality and anal sex in a Health Ed class does not make any curriculum “hedonistic.” And “life-threatening”? This is a joke. You may think it wrong, but anal sex and homosexuality and no more life-threatening than heterosexual sex and relationships.

    The article also states that “this curriculum is full of factual inaccuracies and runs counter to sound educational policy. It should not be taught in the public school.” What are the factual inaccuracies? The article does not state any.

    I’m pretty unsettled by the amount of unchecked material that gets passed around and posted on websites. Butch’s response that this stuff is “shoved down people’s throats” might have been avoided had more reliable information about this subject matter been posted. It’s irritating to have to constantly address lies and half-truths that are being ground out by the Right-wing propaganda machine.

    (Also, Butch, if you have some actual numbers to back up your assertion regarding the wishes of the majority versus the wishes of the minority, I’d be interested in seeing them. In fact, any time you make statements like that, I wish you’d provide some supporting data.)

    Check out this official news report for a better understanding of what’s going on.

    Opponents to this very surprising legislation will no doubt consist of Christian conservatives. Who else has a moral dilemma with homosexuality than the Church? They will whine about how this is entirely contrary to their beliefs and therefore it should be banned. While the Church has managed to marginalize gays for the better part of 2000 years, they are struggling to maintain continuing public condemnation of homosexuality. In this country they will assert that it is somehow a violation of their religious freedom. Well, it is not. Let me quickly dispel the myth that this nation belongs to Christianity.

    My mom loves to tell me during our occasional political bouts that this is a “Christian” nation, that our founding fathers meant for this to be a country of Christians following Christian law. Christianity, she believes as do many religious conservatives, is somehow inherent to our Constitution and integral to our laws. This, however, could not be further from the desires of the men who drafted our Constitution.

    It seems that many people forget the insistence of our founding fathers that church be separate from the state. Consider Thomas Jefferson’s extensive writings on this very topic. For example, he wrote:

    “Believing that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their Legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State
    (Letter to the Danbury Baptists, 1802).

    What about good old George? Was this colossal founding father devout? To what extent was this great man’s religion a factor in his involvement in the moulding of this country? Hardly any at all. Washington is argued by many to have been a deist. An Episcopal minister and contemporary of George Washington once remarked about our first President:

    “I have diligently perused every line that Washington ever gave to the public, and I do not find one expression in which he pledges, himself as a believer in Christianity. I think anyone who will candidly do as I have done, will come to the conclusion that he was a Deist and nothing more.”

    Still not convinced? Let’s hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. When a group of clergymen complained that the Constitution made no mention of Jesus Christ, Washington replied:

    “I am persuaded, you will permit me to observe that the path of true piety is so plain as to require but little political direction. To this consideration we ought to ascribe the absence of any regulation, respecting religion, from the Magna-Charta of our country.”

    That said, I would argue, as perhaps Washington and Jefferson would, that demands from the Church or any religious group on public schools or other State institutions is fully adverse to their insistence that Church be separate from State.

    Far-right conservatives and libertarians want nothing more than the federal government to be diminished. Federal government intervention into the lives of American citizens is their biggest complaint, yet they don’t complain ifit suits their agenda, beliefs or their constituents. A government used as a tool by a religious group (the Church) to pass religion-based legislation is a theocracy. Yet this is what the Church wants: legislation passed to suit its agenda and beliefs.

    Christian conservatives will argue that since they are paying tax dollars to fund public schools and universities, they should have a say-so in what is taught and practiced there. Okay. But we pay taxes as American citizens, not as Christians, not as religious anythings. Religious groups therefore should not try to qualify their demands based upon their paying taxes, which all citizens must pay, including those who are not religious.

    By passing legislation that accepts/allows the concept of homosexuality into public school curriculum does not in any way prohibit anybody from following their religious beliefs. Still, Christian groups howl and complain that this undercuts their beliefs, that it will brainwash their children. Not true. Homosexuality exists, as do millions of homosexuals and bisexuals. Anal sex exists, is widespread, and is not exclusive to queers. These are facts. It is a weak argument that facts about homosexuality in health classes will encourage people to be homosexuals and have anal sex. Can you prove that that sex education/health classes encourage people to have heterosexual sex? The content of this sort of coursework is factual, detached and even a little off-putting (for some). Eliminating information on anal sex and homosexuality would cause the same problems that elimination of regular sex ed/Health classes would cause: people would be ignorant of the precautions they should take when having it, resulting in bodily damage, infection, or disease. Just as there are people who are sure to try heterosexual sex at a young age, there are people who are going to try anal sex and/or homosexuality at a young age. This is a fact. This is inevitable.

    (Of course some might assert that inevitability does not serve as justification. But again, the numbers are staggering. There are millions of people who are gay. Homosexuality is in and of itself not harmful to society or to the individuals who practice it.)

    Allowing anything to be taught in a school that is contrary to your religious beliefs–whether it’s classes on Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Shinto, you name it–is in no way a violation of your civil rights or of any Constitutional law. Nor is it a violation of your religious freedom. If a Geology teacher says that the Earth is 4.5 trillion years old, an assertion backed up by scientific data, thus a fact, why not homosexuality, also a fact backed up by the existence of, well, millions of homosexuals?

    When teaching a summer course I asked a group of students one time, when a fight occured between some of them about somebody being gay, if they liked boys (the class was all girls). All of them admitted to liking boys, and I asked them if it was by choice. They didn’t know how to respond. Clearly the answer was “No.” Not by choice. They simply like boys. It’s natural.

    Did you consciously make a choice to be straight? My guess is “No.”

    What makes you think that people choose to be gay?

  • Interesting comment but I think you are conflating several issues at once here.

    First, a diversion.

    I’ve read that the DARE program to scare kids from doing drugs has the perverse effect of educating teens enough about drugs to feel they can handle it. At best it is ineffective, at worst it acts to promote drug use. By the same token, educating kids about anal and oral sex might take away some of the myths but it will most likely encourage experimentation by providing the imprimatur of the state.

    The interesting contrast between a sex-ed program and DARE is that DARE is not objective and detached; it purposefully tries to make taking drugs look bad. Drug use and abuse is more ubiquitous than homosexuality. Does that mean families and society should condone it?

    Pedophilia, rape, and incest all occur very often in the world today. These things happen. I don’t know that they should be taught in a sex-ed class.

    Throughout the history of pedagogy, sexual education is a very, very recent phenomenon. The value it adds to teenagers, as opposed to learning the classics: languages, science, math, and history, is negligible at best.

    I think libertarians and conservatives are asking for the absence of anal sex education (detached or no)in the classroom. In that I don’t think they are in the minority. They are not asking for a chapel in the school.

    I am pleased to see several quotes from our founding fathers in your comments. Dig around and you’ll note that they didn’t think that universal schooling was a responsibility of the state, either. Of course, back then they didn’t have income taxes, wars on drugs, our entanglements in foreign conflicts. Oh, the blessed constitution!

  • The remarks about the DARE program and its results are interesting. Probably it’s hard to quantify the results. In other words, is there a way to determine the number of people who heard the DARE anti-drug program and went on to use drugs versus those who avoided them? I’m inclined to say that letting ignorance reign is worst of all. Perhaps DARE has the wrong approach. Telling kids that “x” is wrong is hugely ineffective because kids, including some of us when we were adolescents, loved nothing more than to break the rules and do a little wrong. Simply stating the facts might yield better results, allowing the kids to realize how dangerous drugs are to their health and safety.

    As to whether educating kids about anal sex will also result in uninhibited experimentation, that is perhaps impossible to answer. If there is to be a sex education in any school, leaving out information about anal sex, oral sex, skull fucking (just kidding), etc. in hopes of minimizing experimentation is like teaching a drivers ed course but leaving out information on the dangers of driving while sleepy or speeding on icy roads for the sake of discouraging such practice. Again, leaving kids ignorant about things will probably backfire. Homosexuality is not an abstract term. It is a body of people. Underrepresented groups will always fight for their rights and will revolt when they are discriminated against.

    Regarding your comments that pedophilia, rape, and incest occur very often in the world today but shouldn’t be taught in sex-ed classes, anal sex–whether homosexual or heterosexual–is neither pedophilia, rape, or incest. That’s hardly an analogy. Unconsensual sex is rape. Anal sex is not rape when it is consensual and of legal age.

    To say that religious or political groups asking for the absence of anal sex education is to avoid admitting that these groups are fueled by anti-gay beliefs. Having been raised by a staunchly Christian family, it is not fun for me to say it, but the Church is the primary source of opposition to gays. Though the Church is not the only religious body opposed to gays, in this country it is the dominant one, which is why I keep addressing it. The Church, both Protestant and Catholic, has a long history of banning things: carrying a bible, women in the role of a priest/pastor, drinking alcohol, sex before marriage (who among you have adhered to that?). The Mormons lifted a ban on black priests only in 1978! Women in America were banned from voting up to 1920, because men considered them to be unable to govern themselves and choose their own representative, a notion influenced by Judeo-Christian beliefs. One by one these groups have fought for their rights. Is the country worse off now as a result of it? I do not think so. There are more Christians now than ever: their growth has not been impeded by rights given to such above-mentioned groups. Nor do I think that the country will be worse off if/when it lifts the public taboo on homosexuality.

  • (sigh — eyes rolling) First things first, and the first thing is to check ones sources. The original source for this story is not, as the post indicated, an “article” but rather a press release from the Thomas More Law Center, which is an outfit clearly designed to use the court system to promote the Christian Right agenda. The point is that there might be more than just slight cause for skepticism that the MoCo program actually consists of what the Thomas More Law Center claims. The text of the press release reeks of hyperbolic language, so let’s just say that, going in, I’m going to assume that these guys are exaggering at best, outright lying at worst.

    Hysterical also about the usage of the court system to attack a sex ed program — isn’t the use of the courts to decide policy the grievous sin of which liberals have always been accused?? Haha, let’s make sure it’s clear that the shoe is now on the other foot. What law indeed prevents MoCo from designing its sex ed program any damn way it wants?? Perhaps such a statute does exist, but I’m going to go out on a limb and bet that the Law Center’s motions before the court are scant on legal precedent and statute, and long on hyperbolic language as to how sex ed is an affront to god and country. (eyes rolling!!!)

  • I’m in agreement with most of Rothell’s response, and the parts I disagree with are irrelevant to the subject at hand.

    And I do not have numbers backing up the idea that the majority of the Montgomery County population do not believe that Homosexuality, Anal Sex, Tranvsestitism, etc. should be taught as “normal and acceptable” I withdraw the comment. It wouldn’t be hard to find those numbers on a national scale, though. But luckily the Fed doesn’t directly control the curriculum of Montgomery County.

    I especially like this part of Rothell’s comment:

    “Allowing anything to be taught in a school that is contrary to your religious beliefs–whether it’s classes on Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Shinto, you name it–is in no way a violation of your civil rights or of any Constitutional law. Nor is it a violation of your religious freedom. If a Geology teacher says that the Earth is 4.5 trillion years old, an assertion backed up by scientific data, thus a fact, why not homosexuality, also a fact backed up by the existence of, well, millions of homosexuals?”

    What about the Ten Commandments? or a Valedictorian who thanks God for her successes in a speech, or a teacher who talks about his faith in class, or a school starting the day with a moment of silence, or “under God” in the pledge of allegiance…etc.etc. These things are not violations of students’ civil rights either, but they are cited by secularist/atheists as exactly that.

    The last I checked, the Big Bang is still being taught as fact in school and has for decades, with no objections from the “science-good, religion-bad” crowd, even though the validity of this theory has been in question for quite a while and barely has a leg to stand on. The issue to the left is NEVER whether it’s backed by science or not, but whether it supports or doesn’t support a religious view. Because religion is considered more dangerous than bad science.

    All I’m really looking for is consistency. If ANYTHING can be taught in a public school and not be considered offensive, then so be it.

    That means that the teacher in Middle America County, Oklahoma, can teach that Transvestitism is a mental disorder and not worry about offending someone whose mother is a transvestite, right?

    My point is that a position doesn’t have to be taught in school. And IF the curriculum in question in Montgomery County is indeed simply teaching what the “variations” are, but not taking a position on their morality or “normality” than I am in complete agreement with you.

    That there is a lack of education on the subject might be true, but it does not HAVE to be the role of the public schools to teach the acceptable vs. unacceptable.

    According to the article you linked:

    “””Judge Williams said in his 23-page memorandum that based on the evidence presented to him, the curriculum, developed by a citizens’ advisory committee last year, posed a potential “chipping away at plaintiff’s First Amendment (search) freedoms.”

    His arguments centered on resource material for teachers that discusses the moral debate over homosexuality, defining gay-friendly and anti-gay churches and discerning between myth and fact about the homosexual lifestyle based on differing belief systems.

    “The revised curriculum presents only one view on the subject — that homosexuality is a natural and morally correct lifestyle — to the exclusion of other perspectives,” said Williams, a Clinton administration appointee.

    He added that he did not know why the school system felt it necessary to “bound into the crossroads of controversy where religion, morality, and homosexuality converge.” He was also disturbed about one of the resource materials that implied that the Baptist Church’s views against homosexuality are theologically flawed, and that the church once expressed the same intolerance toward African-Americans during the era of slavery.”””

    Maybe the judge is just all wet but that sort of position-taking would be JUST as offensive to a
    Baptist as teaching Creationism to an atheist. Don’t you think?

    {By the way, please keep the language PG…F bombs are not encouraged.}

    And Mr. Anonymous:

    True about the source. Perhaps I should have been more explicit, but had hoped that saying it’s from the Thomas More Law Center would illustrate enough that it had a point of view. And the “shoe on the other foot” comments do not answer the question at hand, but actually speak to my point about the hypocrisy of the far left on these issues.

    Insistence that school children’s “feelings” and “comfort” levels should be completely unimportant if they are offended based on Religious beliefs, and should only be taken into consideration if the offense is based on Anti-Religious or Secularist beliefs…well that’s not exactly First Amendment friendly…don’t you think? regardless of the Religious beliefs of the Founding Fathers?

    BTW, please pick out a handle so we can connect your ideas on other posts…just in case. I have a suggestion:

    Sise Rowling

    Has a nice ring, doesn’t it?

  • Is there room in this sex-ed curriculum for polygamy? Consenting adults and all, tons of historical precedent, I say why not.

  • Are there millions of people living today in this country practicing polygamy? Are there thousands? Are there even a hundred? Maybe a dozen?

  • In recent history, we’re talking less than 100 years, it was not uncommon for a man of age 30 to take a girl at age 16 as a bride. A fifteen or sixteen year old bride was one time quite common. Nowadays this is taboo and sex with a minor is considered a sexual deviance punishable by law.

    You make the argument that homosexuality could be discussed in the classroom because:

    1.) It is a fact that homosexual behavior exists.

    2.) Not teaching kids to put on condoms will result in more unsafe experimentation.

    Well, all fine and dandy. My point is that there are other “sexual variations” that are quite taboo today, and would not be allowed to be taught in school. Regardless, promotion of safe homosexual behavior must be advanced, regardless of what the majority of Americans think.

    Gays, of all people, should be concerned about spreading disease. The fact is that quickest way to catch diseases is to have anonymous sex with strangers in public restrooms. I don’t see why they should leave the chore of preaching safe sex to our nations public schools, on the taxpayers dime, when they could have programs at the local Stonewall club or YMCA, or anywhere else they hang out.

    Yes there are fewer polygamous relationships in America than homosexuals. However, if a detached discussion of polygamy were to take place in a Utah public school, methinks you would object.

    My take is, no amount of formal education is going to prevent risky behavior. People will still take meth and ride bareback once they get started down that road. I prefer public education to be agnostic about all deviant behavior if they won’t promote any taboos. Sex ed can talk about the function of sexual organs and the cycle without even mentioning condoms, which are ubiquitous anyway.

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