McCain Ad Misrepresents Comprehensive Sex Ed


"Don’t teach kindergartners how to count to ten," the
argument seems to go, "because they’re too young to learn calculus."

This is the backward logic now employed by the extreme right wing, and its new standard bearer, Republican presidential nominee John
McCain.  It flies in the face of logic, overwhelming scientific evidence,
and the common sense of the American people. 
Instead of trying to find common ground on the issue of sex education
and having real, open discussions about what educational materials are age
appropriate and community appropriate, the Right Wing has again launched a
smear campaign. Today, the McCain campaign released a new attack ad against
Sen. Barack Obama’s sex education policies which was clearly designed to mislead
Americans about what comprehensive sexuality education really is and how it can
serve families and communities.

The foundation for a healthy life and understanding of
sexuality starts with early childhood education and a discussion of the
basics.  And we are talking about the
basics here, folks.  Every child, even as
young as kindergarten, has the right to a certain level of education about his/her
body.  Messages included for Level 1 (5
to 8 year olds) in the SIECUS Guidelines
for Comprehensive Sexuality Education
, include:

  • Bodies
    change as children grow older
  • Everybody
    can be proud of their body
  • Individual
    bodies are different sizes, shapes, and colors
  • Girls
    and boys have many similarities and a few differences
  • Boys
    and girls have different body parts
  • It is
    ok to say "no" to adults who are touching you or make you feel
    uncomfortable

I am always shocked when the Right tries to make Americans
afraid of statements like these — statements that are designed to instill in young people a sense of self
worth, respect for diversity, and ability to make safe decisions.  The
Guidelines
also provide messages for children on friendship, love, parents,
and values — issues that we all care about.

So why the no-holds-barred attack from the Right on the
basic American values of education and smart decision making?  Because, the more you know about
comprehensive sexuality education, the less afraid of it you will be.  And, right now, fear is all the right wing
has to offer.  Sen. McCain, organizations
like the National Abstinence Education Association, and other members of the
abstinence-only-until-marriage industry are trying to sell the American people
on their extremist view of the world by misleading, distorting, and, yes, even
lying about comprehensive sexuality education and the policy makers who support
it.

It is time that the American people said, "Enough."

The truth about Obama’s record in the Illinois legislature is that he supported a
bill that would have amended the state’s sex education law by allowing more
students access to age-appropriate instruction and requiring that all materials
be "medically accurate."  Of course
students should receive instruction on all subjects that is age appropriate,
and I have yet to meet anyone with the chutzpah to say they are against
medically accurate information.

As this election season moves forward, the opponents of
comprehensive sexuality education are going to grow more and more desperate,
and their attacks are going to grow more and more vicious. It is the duty of all of us, not just as
educators, parents, or policy makers, but as citizens, to move past the fear
mongering and concentrate on putting the health and well being of our children
before short term political gains.

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To schedule an interview with Joseph DiNorcia Jr please contact Communications Director Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • invalid-0

    Why don’t you actually post the level one sex education syllabis and let the American people decide. Teaching issues relating to sex are by no means comparable to counting and calculus. If, using your comparison, and level one sex education is like counting, what does calculus level sex ed look like? Let us see what this sex ed looks like, before it is implemented!
    The thing is that there is a community that believes that God is in control and one that does not( or that there is not one). Who decides what moralities are appropriate for a kindergartener to deal with? Same sex couples, abortion, pre marital sex, masterbation, and on. Are these issues a school teacher should be addressing at any time? Only if we are trying to create one culturre while destroying another.

  • scott-swenson

    Anonymous,

    It is because I believe in God that I do this work and your efforts to divide the world into people you agree with as being moral, and people you disagree with as being immoral is a political distraction attempting to divide the country. Studies show the just say no approach does not work, and that Catholic Schools that have taught kindergartners about wrong touching, as any good parent should, have tremendous success with the program. The problem is not all parents do what perhaps you have done with your children, to help them understand how to avoid a pedophile or a predator. So in essence what you are saying, as a morally superior position, is that we should not use our God given brains to try to help children who come from homes that don’t teach these basics, and let them be vulnerable to child predators and molesters. If you really believe that’s moral, I’m happy to debate that with you, as a Christian. In the meantime, I’ll stay on the side of people, of any faith or none at all, that want to protect kids from priests, teachers, family or others who would abuse them.


    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

  • invalid-0

    Why don’t you actually learn how to spell or better yet, utilize spell check!

  • harry834

    that’s your best rebuttal? 

  • invalid-0

    Changing the law in Illinois is about providing youth – at appropriate ages – with their parents’ permission – the full range of information to start the journey towards a healthy life. And parents overwhelmingly support that. In 2003, a diverse coalition of public health, community and women’s health organizations supported this bill – including rape and abuse prevention agencies. These organizations wanted to protect kids and arm them with the best information possible. And that is a goal worth fighting for.

  • amanda-marcotte

    Here’s a good starting point for looking at age-appropriate materials. Not that I expect anyone who is scared of sex to be calmed, because sex educators do NOT think it’s good to lie to children about storks or tell them that they should be ashamed to have genitals.

  • invalid-0

    It is telling that the latex-only crowd is trying to hide the real content of sex ed for 5 years olds by claiming that it is all about protecting children from pedophiles. The reason they do this is because if parents actually knew the real agenda and topics covered in the so -called “age appropriate” sex ed they would be appalled. Why didn’t Mr.DiNorcia also mention that a discussion of homosexuality(he refers to this only as “a respect for diversity”) and masturbation are part of the guidlines for children as young as 5? He didn’t becasue he knows that parents would reject this type of liberal sexual agenda being promulgated on innocent children. So while the condoms-for-kids crowd and Obamma hide behind the “protecting kids from pedophiles” spin it is true that these curriculum guidlines from SIECUS turn out to be the real agents of pedophilia.

  • invalid-0

    The previous poster, Mary Anne Mosack, used to be, and still may be, the director of Operation Keepsake, an abstinence-only program in Ohio that received mreo than $700,000 in federal money last year. No wonder she is so afraid of comprehensive sex education — she has a serious financial interest in seeing that abstinence-only rolls on so she can fill her pockets with taxpayer money.

  • invalid-0

    Now you don’t really want to talk about funding issues do you? We know that the Latex Lobby recieves about 5x’s the funding amount compared to abstience education. There are currently three streams of federal funding for abstience while there are at least 6 funding streams for condom-based programs. Further you have had that funding for twice as many years! So money is hardly an arena you should be protesting. I did notice however that you had to change the subject off of those questionalbe SIECUS guidelines- that is the real issue here but I know they are hard to defend!

  • scott-swenson

    Money Only Mary,

    Latex-only? Talk about distortions. Comprehensive Sex Ed teaches — at age appropriate levels — respect for self and partner, abstinence, delayed sexual debut, the consequences of sex, prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, and oh yes, is preferred by 82% of Americans beacuse they understand the reality of what their kids face today. Keep spinning Mary, and maybe you too can become as rich and famous as another abstinence-only profiteer featured in "Abstinence Gluttons".
    Amazing how you are so passionate about your nearly million dollars of US tax payer generated funding.

    Thanks to the anonymous poster for that little tidbit!  You just gotta love these social-con-artists, and tip your hand. They know how to work the system and manipulate their base. Too bad some of that shame and stigma you love so much isn’t reserved for abstinence-only’s ethical lapses.

    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

    • invalid-0

      Well said, Scott – thank you!

      If children are not taught in school, or by parents, where will they learn? The ‘streets’? Friends? From the wall of the restroom?

      Abstinence only doesn’t work. Didn’t work for Palin’s daughter, Palin failed her daughter and failed the young people of the State of Alaska. She wants the same for your daughters – and sons. I would have been more upset about my daughter practicing UNSAFE SEX than getting pregnant. Pregnancy isn’t usually fatal. AIDS is usually always fatal.

  • invalid-0

    you have a a problem acknowledging to kids that touching themselves is totally normal, and that some ppl are married to the same gender?! do you just want to pretend there are no married gays and that kids don’t have genitals?? what about when one of there friends has gay parents? how will you deny reality then?

    i hope you don’t have kids…

  • invalid-0

    Hey Scott , that “only ” word gets under your skin ,no? So let’s talk about distortions. You know it is true that the contraceptive sex ed groups love to refer to abstinence edcuation as “just say No” a repeated distortion that does not acknowledge the broad scope of topics and life skills covered in abstinence classes. It is also telling that in the last line of your reply you claim that we love ” shame and stigma”. Now do you think perhaps that may distort just a bit? Come on – get real, it has been the main objective of abstience opponents to distort what we do so that all those federal dollars can “only” go to one approach. Still must note to those reading this discussion that those pesky SIECUS guidelines have not yet been discussed. Why are you hiding behind personal attacks “only”?

  • invalid-0

    “So money is hardly an arena you should be protesting.”

    I beg your pardon? Abstinence only sex education is primitive, grotesquely ineffective, fundamentally dishonest and just plain nasty. That we are forced to pay for this abomination at all is reason enough to protest. Hell, I protest that people like you are allowed anywhere NEAR other people’s children with your neuroses, your sick ‘purity balls’ and your sad pregnant teenagers.

    • invalid-0

      Dang right!

  • scott-swenson

    Mary,
    How do your distortions grow? I love it that you social-cons always think you get under people’s skin. You don’t, not mine anyway. What should bother tax payers is that you and others profit from these programs when they are proven failures, and that we have to keep footing the bill to fund your religio-political agenda. This is proven not by partisans, but by independent, government research — you know, the government you love to bash until it comes time for you to bilk tax payers for more grants.  I thought conservatives didn’t like government ("taxpayers know how to spend their money best, not Washington", and all that). But it turns out when social-cons can impose their narrow values on others AND profit from it, THEY LOVE IT!  I encourage readers to take a look at the ethics post about the "leadership" of the ab-only movement, or do a google search of your own so you can select independent sources. Two of my favorite searches are "abstinence-only failures" and "abstinence-only fraud" — treasure troves of information.  As for "hiding" anything Mary, I’m not, how about you?  I know how you all love to talk about all the "titillating" stuff in sex ed to get your jollies voting bloc riled up to go to the polls so ab-only profiteers can stay on the government dole, but don’t you think after eight years and more than ONE BILLION TAX DOLLARS, you should have more the 18% popular support?  Don’t you think after all that time and money, if 25 cash-strapped states are refusing money from the feds because, at the local level (I know you social-cons LOVE local government) they’ve seen your failed programs and decided the free money IS NOT WORTH IT because it not only doesn’t work, but is harmful.  That’s half the governors in the country Mary, not a good trend line. And you know at the local level, its all those PTA moms in small towns that are saying to their local officials, "this stuff isn’t education, it’s propaganda", that’s causing the local politicians to reject the funding.  So we can discuss the sexy stuff if you like, but the bottom line is, people already know that what has passed for sex ed in this country doesn’t work, and they know about ab-only, and they know it doesn’t work either. That’s why people are ready to teach reality, in age appropriate ways, to protect kids, prevent unintended pregnancies and disease, and help people feel better about taking responsibility for their sexual health.  Go ahead Mary, what "dirty" stuff do you want to talk about?  What is going to shock Americans the most now? I know you’ve got something up your sleeve and I can’t wait to hear what it is.  

    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

  • invalid-0

    Hi Colleen,
    I totally agree with you the abstinence only teachings are not only primitive, but also not effective nor realistic.
    Are we in the 21st century here? If McBush/Palin are elected, the right-wingers will be “delighted” with their primitive beliefs. Maybe women should also go back to being barefoot and pregnant while the man “brings home the bacon”. Give me a break!!

  • invalid-0

    I found this quote very informative:

    Obama’s camp has called the ad “shameful and downright perverse”. And it is–if you consider that the “sex ed” Obama supports for kindergartners is limited to age-appropriate warnings to children about sexual predators. “No one is teaching sex education to children with these programs,” says Marilyn Carson, a prevention specialist for the “Good Touch Bad Touch” programs. “We teach the five rules of personal body safety.” The rules include:

    1. Hey, It’s my body!–I have the right to know ALL the safety rules.
    2. The “Uh-Oh” feeling–If I feel like something’s wrong, then I’m right. Sometimes I need to ask questions.
    3. I can say “No!” to sexual abuse or to bad touch.
    4. I will tell someone if I am sexually abused or hurt.
    5. Sexual abuse is not my fault.

    The curriculum is a far cry from what we usually consider to be sex ed–lectures about contraception and safe sex. And considering the startling statistic that 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 5 boys will be sexually abused before they are 18 years old, shouldn’t early education be key in keeping our children safe?

    And if you think kindergarten is too young to teach these lessons, Carson disagrees: “Our goal is to get it into every possible preschool.” She is currently training the Los Angeles Archdiocese, who uses the program in their K-12 program and plans to expand it to include their 60 preschools.

  • invalid-0

    Hello,
    I’m the nana of 10 beautiful grand kids. I have three girls and seven boys, ages 10mos to 13years.
    I’m unable to locate sex education or Good Touch Bad Touch classes for them. I’ve taught what I could but I’m not trained. The health department want return my numourous calls. Do you have resources in Atlanta?
    Thanks

    • scott-swenson

      Here are some national organizations that should be able to help locate local services and here is a link to Child Help Georgia, which has online resources for parents and local contact information.


      Be the change you seek,

      Scott Swenson, Editor

  • sayna

    I swear, some of the comments on this piece are among the most paranoid and hysterical I’ve ever read. You people are acting like there’s some sort of Latex Mafia (honoes, teh protective barriers!) out there forcing Obama to read Cosmo sex tips to toddlers. Get a grip on reality!

  • invalid-0

    It’s good to see the wackos bear their craziness out in the open…if they continue, it only makes our work easier….

  • truth

    What is your religious affiliation? What do you call yourself – if anything? I am curious because you claim to be religious and/or spiritual… Do you have a denomination or are you just a believer in some kind of Higher Power?

    • invalid-0

      What DIFFERENCE does it make? Fact-based information is fact-based! Facts don’t change because of Religion Affiliation! But since it IS an issue to you – start at the beginning where Scott clearly states his ‘affiliation’.

      Bless you Scott, and thank you for all that you do.

  • invalid-0

    And this your business HOW and WHY???

  • http://www.automatedfitness.com/ invalid-0

    Like I said in another post, Mccain is running a completely dishonest campaign. Of course he doesn’t mind a few completely misrepresented ads–he’s in a position where he wants to do anything to try to win.

  • http://michaelinley.com/ invalid-0

    It was very disappointing to see the McCain camp go nuts about the sex-ed issue. You would think that the person running for president would be able to get it….