Sexual Education

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No, babies are not brought by a stork. We all know it. And we knew it long before “sexual education” classes with dubious content were introduced in school curricula.

There is no doubt that educating children includes the delicate task of acquainting them with the facts of life. But why is that task delicate? Because it is about much more than just passing on knowledge. It is about teaching children to accept themselves and others. This includes teaching them to discover and accept their nature-given identity as either male or female, and to live in accordance with it. It includes explaining them that sexuality is not an end in itself, but that it is ordained towards a far greater purpose: to pass on the gift of life from one generation to the next. Ultimately, it is about helping them to become good spouses, mothers, and fathers.

This is therefore a part of education that has more to do with the forming of a child’s personality than with merely technical knowledge. It pre-supposes an intimate and at the same time respectful relationship between the educator and the child. The best way to educate is to serve as a good role-model and, whenever a child has questions, to answer them with due consideration for the child’s age and level of maturity. It is therefore from the outset questionable whether the best place for a child to learn about the facts of life at school rather than at home.

Over the last decades, there has been an increasing pressure to politicise sexual education. The post-1968 Cultural Revolution is, as we have to recall here, first and foremost a “sexual” revolution. To be successful politically, it has to conquer the class-rooms. That is why, wherever they come to power, left-wing politicians (which, in the EU includes social-democrat, liberal, green and communist political families) will always make it one of their priorities to introduce compulsory sexual education programmes into school curricula. These programmes will pretend to be “neutral” with regard to cultural and moral values, but this pretended “neutrality”, which is characterised through the complete and deliberate absence of any ethical foundation, is in and by itself a moral statement: sexuality, it implies, has no inherent purpose, and all possible uses one can make of one’s sexual organs are therefore equally “good” and legitimate. Children should, above all, not be “judgmental” about any matter related to sexuality; they should be encouraged to test every possible form of sexual “experiences” and then settle for what they like best. This means that the three most important “competences” to be learned are: (1) to maximise one’s sexual experiences, (2) to avoid the contraction of sexually transmissible diseases, and (3) to avoid unplanned pregancies.

This form of “sexual education” is not education. It is, in the best case, a reduction of education, in which only the “technical” aspects of sexuality are dealt with while the most important part, namely the true purpose of it all, is deliberately left out. In the worst case, it is a veritable anti-education, delivered with the intention of making children unwilling and/or incapable of being good spouses and parents, and serving the purpose of undermining the institutions of marriage and family and, ultimately, society at large.

We should therefore be wary of pressure groups and politicians who keep drumbeating about the importance of “sexual education”, inserting the text into legal or semi-legal texts whenever they see an occasion for it.  Those references may seem innocuous, but their true purpose is quickly understood when one looks at how the proponents, once given the opportunity, will put them into practice.

Standards for Sexuality Education in Europe

One key document deserves particular attention in this context: the so-called “Standards for Sexuality Education in Europe“, published in 2010 by the WHO Regional Office for Europe jointly with the (German) Federal Centre for Health Education (Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung, BzgA).[1]

The title of this document, together with the fact that it stems from a UN Agency and a German public authority, might make one  believe that it is, in one way or the other, legally binding. In actual fact, however, it is a mere “recommandation”, drafted by unelected bureaucrats with, it appears, a particularly strong ideological motivation. It has never been endorsed by any of the United Nations’ decision making bodies, nor by the German Federal Government. It is co-sponsored by pro-abortion lobbies such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation (from whose sources it abundantly draws, and hose website it recommends), the Guttmacher Institute, the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU) and other groups of similar notoriety. 

Taking a closer look at the content of these “Standards”, it becomes quickly apparent that “marriage” and “family” are mentioned not even once as a positive objective of “sexuality education”, and be it as one among many others. On the contrary, whenever reference is made to the family, it is in a rather negative sense: “family background” is quoted as a reason why  children are prevented from freely expressing their sexuality, “preparation for marriage and family” is mentioned (with negative connotation) as an incomplete and unsatisfacory form of  sexuality education, and  it is stressed that “modern styles of sexuality education” must be “different from family life education”. If children are to be taught something about “family”, it is that there are nowadays “different kinds of families”, and that they must accept that. In short, marriage and family are outdated concepts that must be left behind.

A very positive emphasis, by contrast, is put on all forms of alternative “sexual orientations”. As from age 15, children should be taught the “skill” of “coming out” to others (i.e., admitting to homosexual or bisexual feelings) and to “celebrate sexual diversity”. The notion that homosexual activity, though by nature sterile and laden with severe health risks, might not be a commendable form of using one’s private parts has obviously no place in this curriculum.

Sharing her know-how: Bettina Wulf, then Germany's "First Lady", visiting a "sex ed class"
Sharing her know-how: Bettina Wulf, then Germany’s “First Lady”, visiting a “sex ed class”

Children who don’t choose homosexuality as their preferred “option” must learn how to prevent pregnancies. “The basic idea of contraception” is a “main topic” for children aged 6-9, and detailed information is to be given to children aged 9-10. This apparently is also the age when children should, according to the authors of the guidelines, start thinking of their “first sexual experience”. Later on, at 12-15, they will learn about their “sexual rights”, which are – of course – those “defined by IPPF”(!).

Perhaps the most astonishing part of these “Standards” is the recurring proposition that children aged 4 or below should be encouraged, if not taught, to “discover their own bodies” through “early childhood masturbation” and “self-stimulation”.

The “Standards” have not been drafted with the purpose of remaining the topic of merely academic debates. On the contrary: wherever leftist governments come into power, this is what they will rigorously impose. In Spain this was done in a particularly radical way by the Socialist government led by Prime Minister J.L. Rodriguez Zapatero; in Germany the latest examples are the school curricula adopted by the regional governments of Baden-Württemberg, North-Rhine-Westphalia, and (more recently) Lower Saxony, which have provoked scandal and outrage among the local population. It can  generally be observed that it is never parents who want this kind of “education” for their children, but it is politicians who want to impose it on the children of other people. This is done with the greatest possible rigour: in countries like Sweden and Germany, where home-schooling is not an option the law provides for, parents risk being jailed if they prevent their children from participating in “sex education” classes of the kind described here.

It goes by itself that the imposition of this misguided form of “sexual education” is a severe human rights violation. All major human rights documents – such as the the UDHR (Article 26 (3)), the ICESC (Article 13 (3)), the  European Convention on Human Rights (Article 2 of the 1st Protocol), and the EU Fundamental Rights Charter (Article 14 (3)) explicitly recognize the right of parents “to ensure the education and teaching of their children in conformity with their religious, philosophical and pedagogical convictions”. The Sate’s role in education is therefore merely ancillary: it has to help and assist parents in educating their children according to their, i.e. the parents’, values.

The European Parliament and the “Estrela Report”

Edite Estrela
Edite Estrela

The “Standards for Sexuality Education in Europe” played a decisive role in the defeat of the ominous “Estrela-Report“, a proposed (non-legislative) Inititiative Report on  “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights” submitted to the European Parliament’s plenary by a group of MEPs led by Edite Estrela (S&D, Portugal) in October and then, in a second attempt, in December 2013. Mrs. Estrela’s draft  contained a wealth of legally unfounded, but politically radical statements on “sexual rights”, including on abortion, contraception, the “right” of single women and lesbians to have access to   assisted medical procreation, etc. But the element that, when the wider public learned of it, provoked the greatest outrage was the fact that one of the recitals contained a reference to the WHO document recommending masturbation for children aged 0-4 as a “standard” for sexual education. Later on, Mrs. Estrela and her supporters angrily denied having known that the draft report contained such a reference (which was plausible, given that allegedly it had been written not by herself, but by a group of IPPF lobbyists), and submitted her draft report for a second time (this time without reference to the controversial WHO “Standards”. But it was too late: the EPP had become aware that it could not give its support to Mrs. Estrela’s radical manifesto without estranging wide parts of its own electorate, and instead proposed a very brief alternative motion, which was then adopted by a narrow margin. The text that was finally adopted curtly states that “the formulation and implementation of policies on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and on sexual education in schools is a competence of the Member States”.

Conclusion

“Sexual education” is a code word of the political left; it stands for a programmatic attempt to subvert the institutions of marriage and the family, which are viewed as obstacles to the self-fulfilment of the individual.

There is nothing educative in this concept of “sexual education”; on the contrary, politicians like Edite Estrela and the supporters of her report want to prevent children from receiving education in the true sense of the word. This is therefore the best strategy against any future attempts to use “sexual education” to subvert the family: the public must be told that we are for education, where as they (i.e. Estrela and others) are against.

Estrela Report (1): before the vote

Estrela Report (2): the vote

Estrela Report (3): after the vote. Mrs. Estrela’s angry reaction


[1] While we have linked the English version of this document to this page, it is available in ten other languages at the BZgA’s own website.

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