Saturday, February 07, 2004

The Religious Right as the "Other"

I was listening to public radio in the shower this morning. There was a report on the controversy over sex education in the public schools. The story told was that of how the "Religious Right" had been so effective over the past couple of decades at influencing the content of sex education courses. Apparently, many of the more "progressive" sex education programs and educators are now on the defensive, with abstinence-only courses in the ascension.

Of course, the report was completely devoid of what I would consider substantive discussion. It did not talk about the effectiveness of programs at curbing teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease. I am not surprised that it did not give a full accounting of the questions that burn at the heart of the controversy, for these questions are deep and profound, and can not be reasonably presented in a three-minute report. These questions regard the nature and meaning of sexuality. And we can not seriously discuss the nature and meaning of sex without talking about the nature and meaning of being human. It is frustrating, though, that there was not even the slightest hint of recognition that these issues are at the core.

The entire report was about the political action of the "Religious Right" and how it mobilized to counter many public school sex education programs. The sense throughout, although you could tell the reporter was attempting to appear objective, was that conservatives were "other". It was painfully obvious that the reporter was not speaking of something he knew, or to which he could begin to relate.

Oops, I must go. See you later.