Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Congress Hearings on Sex Education -- Hundreds of Religious Leaders Exhort Congress to Support Comprehensive Sexuality Education

On April 23rd, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is holding its first hearing on the "Public Health and Ethical Concerns with Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs and the Need for Comprehensive Sexuality Education."

I'm trying to put behind me my strong feeling that these hearings should have been held in 1997 when the first federal funding for abstinence only began, but better late than never.

As soon as the Religious Institute heard about the hearings late last week, we developed a statement to be submitted into the hearing record and turned to our colleagues for their endorsment.

In two days, we were able to obtain the endorsements of more than 250 clergy and religious leaders, including the heads of four denominations and the leaders of more than 30 national religious organizations. You can read it at

The statement concludes, "It is time for the federal government to support comprehensive sexuality education programs for youth and to cease funding programs that are not only ineffective but may put our children and teenagers at risk -- for disease, for short changed futures, for denial of the gift of their sexuality. It is time to provide all young people with accurate information that respects the diversity of values in a community. It is indeed a time to speak and a time to act. May our religious voices help you understand that it is also the only moral response."

In other words, it's time for Congress to finally "Just Say No."

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