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July 19, 2007
Obama's Radical Ideas on Sex Education (updated)
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., told Planned Parenthood Tuesday that sex education for kindergarteners, as long as it is "age-appropriate," is "the right thing to do."
This is from the man America considers the most religious of the canidates. What is age appropriate for kindergarteners? Does Obama really think kindergarteners think babies are delivered via storks?
"I remember Alan Keyes . . . I remember him using this in his campaign against me," Obama said in reference to the conservative firebrand who ran against him for the U.S. Senate in 2004. Sex education for kindergarteners had become an issue in his race against Keyes because of Obama’s work on the issue as chairman of the health committee in the Illinois state Senate."Every parent knows that at age 6 or 7, a child's ferocious curiosity about everything inevitably turns to the question of "where do babies come from?" The kids don't need an army of public school health bureaucrats to goose them into asking that question. And if there is a more personal decision a parent can make about how and what to tell their child, I can't think of one.
Parents know their children best and can judge for themselves what to tell their kids about sex and when the appropriate time might be. Obama supports taking that decision out of the hands of parents and putting it in the hands of - who else? - government. The argument that "parents don't tell their kids about sex so someone else should be doing it" doesn't wash here. There's plenty of time in a child's development at that age to inform them about the birds and the bees. The idea that government bureaucrats are any better at disseminating this kind of knowledge than parents is outrageous.
Obama is way off base on this one.
The Obama campaign does damage control. CBN's David Brody writes:
And Brody reprints an article from the subirban Chicago Daily Herald from 2004 which substantiates the point, quoting Obama in a debate Alan Keyes:
KEYES: Well, I had noticed that, in your voting, you had voted, at one point, that sex education should begin in kindergarten, and you justified it by saying that it would be "age-appropriate" sex education.
But then on another vote, when they wanted to put internet filters on computers for the schools and in the libraries, you voted to oppose that, which made me wonder just exactly what you think is "age-appropriate."
For instance, do you think that, in the first and second grade, we ought to be teaching from books like Heather Has Two Mommies, where we will be presenting, whether or not parents agree with it, a lifestyle that many folks in the state of Illinois believe is not advisable? Is that the kind of sex education you mean?
OBAMA: Actually, that wasn't what I had in mind.
We have a existing law that mandates sex education in the schools. We want to make sure that it's medically accurate and age-appropriate.
Now, I'll give you an example, because I have a six-year-old daughter and a three-year-old daughter, and one of the things my wife and I talked to our daughter about is the possibility of somebody touching them inappropriately, and what that might mean.
And that was included specifically in the law, so that kindergarteners are able to exercise some possible protection against abuse, because I have family members as well as friends who suffered abuse at that age. So, that's the kind of stuff that I was talking about in that piece of legislation.
Now the only problem with any of this is that once you mandate sex edication and leave 9it in the hands of local schools, the barn door is open. There are plenty of people in the government schools with their own agendas on sexuality. The ability of five year olds to evaluate and communicate to their parents what they are being taught is so minimal that the dangers of this sort approach seem rather serious.
The other question which comes to mind is: since Obama already had problems with this isse, why did make the same sort of comment again? Is this another example of his lack of readiness for prime time?
-update by Thomas Lifson
As is so often the case, the editors at Investor's Business Daily have some very sensible things to say about the kerfuffle:
...if government is supposed to be our doctor (Medicare and Medicaid), our bank manager (Social Security) and our food taster (the FDA), it's no surprise to see a liberal Democrat trying to make it be our mommy and daddy, too.
In this case, Obama would also set up government education czars as our priests or rabbis, since when and how to tell children about the birds and the bees is inextricably tied up with faith (or the lack thereof).
Obama's staff countered the criticism with a low blow (so to speak). "Barack Obama supports sensible, community-driven education for children because, among other things, he believes it could help protect them from pedophiles," the senator's campaign told CBN News. "A child's knowledge of the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching is crucial to keeping them safe from predators."
So if you're against bringing sex into the kindergarten playroom with all those Tonka toys, according to Obama, you're really enabling pedophiles. What else does he think parents are unequipped to warn their kids about? Should teachers be sent home with them to show them what not to touch in their parents' medicine cupboard too, because mommy and daddy are just boobs?
Obama also told Planned Parenthood that "when the statistics tell us that nearly half of 15- to 19-year-olds are engaging in sexual activity, that for us to leave them in ignorance is potentially consigning them to illness, pregnancy, poverty, and in some cases, death."
But it isn't ignorance that's to blame for teen pregnancy — not with condoms (and Cosmopolitan) on the open racks and shelves of every supermarket. It's the values-neutral approach that most of the public school establishment insists on.