By Joe Morris
Contrary to the claims of your editorial (‘Message from John McCain’, Sept. 12, 2008), the Illinois sex education bill SB 99 that state senator Barack Obama supported in 2003 was not plain vanilla legislation under which, at most, kindergarteners were to be taught the dangers of sexual predators.
It was aimed, in fact, at changing the entire philosophy of sex education in the public schools of Illinois.
Had the Obama-backed bill passed, it would have deleted requirements in existing law that all public school sex education classes emphasize that abstinence is the expected norm in that abstinence from sexual intercourse is the only protection that is 100% effective against unwanted teenage pregnancy. Instead, it would describe abstinence merely as ‘an effective method of preventing unintended pregnancy’ and would say nothing about expected norms.
It would also have eliminated the following guidelines of current law:
Course material and instruction shall teach honor and respect for monogamous heterosexual marriage.
Course material and instruction shall stress that pupils should abstain from sexual intercourse until they are ready for marriage.
Course material and instruction shall include a discussion of the possible emotional and psychological consequences of preadolescent and adolescent sexual intercourse outside of marriage and the consequences of unwanted adolescent pregnancy.
Rather, it would have substituted the following directive:
Course material and instruction shall be free of … sexual orientation biases.
The bill would have applied to kindergarteners as well as to high school seniors. Although course materials were to have been ‘age appropriate’, even kindergarteners would have been affected by a curriculum that ceased to promote ‘monogamous heterosexual marriage’ and sexual abstinence until marriage, and sought, instead, to be ‘free of sexual orientation biases’.
Despite Senator Obama’s support of the bill, it failed in a legislature dominated by Democrats.
What is unfair is not Senator McCain’s desire to debate the merits of the bill, but the attempt of The New York Times to sweep the matter under the rug.
To see the bill CLICK HERE
Here’s The New York Times Fact-Free “editorial”
The most disheartening aspect of a scurrilous Republican ad falsely accusing Barack Obama of promoting sex education for kindergarten children is its closing line: “John McCain, and I approved this message.”
This from that straight-talker of yore, who fervidly denounced the 2004 Bush campaign’s Swift Boat character attacks on John Kerry’s military record.
What a difference four years makes, especially after Mr. McCain secured the nomination by hiring some of the same low-blow artists from the Bush campaign.
The kindergarten ad flat-out lies: telling voters that Mr. Obama’s ‘one accomplishment’ in education was to favor ‘comprehensive’ sex education for 5-year-olds. “Learning about sex before learning to read?” intones the voice-over, as a blur of respected sources are cited,none of them accurately, as they have proclaimed.
The truth is that as an Illinois legislator, Mr. Obama favored a sensible bill supported by many mainline organizations including the Illinois Parent Teacher Association, the Illinois State Medical Society and the Illinois Public Health Association to provide an â€œage and developmentally appropriate sex education curriculum for older students. At most, kindergarteners were to be taught the dangers of sexual predators. And parents of children of all ages had the right to withdraw their children from the classes.
Surely, Senator McCain knows that all that change he’s promising for the tooth-and-claw Washington culture must start on the hustings. Yet, the kindergarten ad that he’s blessed signals that his goal is shamefully more of the same.
The way these ads work, this one is already playing over and over on the Web as a free-media ‘ghost,’ in professional parlance, too late for any cynical expression of regret by Mr. McCain. And no regret has been offered.
The lesson for voters is to be wary of all ads from the McCain machine. The lesson for Mr. McCain is that if he really believes in straight talk, he should fire his ad writers and any aide who believes that the best way to win the presidency is to lie to American voters.