Thursday, March 01, 2007

My Day at NPR

I taped a 30 minute interview with National Public Radio today.

They are following up on the release of our new "Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Adolescent Sexuality." They have sent reporters to a congregation that is teaching the excellent curriculum "Our Whole Lives" co-written by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ.

The interviewer asked me if I thought sexuality education could be more effective in a church/synagogue than in the public schools. Now there is no research that I know of about that, but I do know that at least in the UU churches we have a freedom to teach values and subjects that the public schools don't. That's part of the reason I think that faith-based sexuality education is SO important -- parents trust us to present sexuality information in the context of the values of our particular faith tradition.

That's why this past week my son's 8th grade OWL class had a homework assignment to go buy condoms. To be clear, this exercise is not to make sure these young people have condoms in their possession but have the experience of buying them LONG before they ever need them. Indeed, the teachers collect them. None of the parents object. As I explained to my son, I hoped that when he was in his late teens or a young adult and was in a loving, committed relationship, he would remember that he had been able to purchase condoms even at age 13 with minimal effort. It will be natural and expected if and when he needs them.

I wouldn't suggest trying this at a public middle school. But that's the point - in my church, we teach our values. In your church or synagogue or mosque or temple, your religious educators could teach your's. What's important is that we talk to our teens about sexuality.

I'll let you know when the piece will air.

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