In my last post I talked about Dr Miriam Grossman and how her objections to sexuality education were passed off as being about “full information” (clearly the fundy meme for 2012). The other thing that struck me was her insistence on making the conversation not about morals or ethics or even in any way religious. From an article in the Herald:
I’m not talking about morality, I’m a physician
Yes. And you’re also of orthodox Jewish faith, and you’ve also been brought here to speak by Family First, who talk about morality a lot.
And … hang on … the FAQ on Family Fist’s website is “Adapted from “The Natural Family – A Manifesto” – World Congress of Families”. And the World Congress of Families is a “project” of The Howard Centre for Family, Religion and Society, and their site is just chocka with religious writings – writings which are, interestingly, somewhat open to non-Judeo-Christian religious teachings, but only if they’re sufficiently patriarchal and anti-sex, of course. (Please note in the linked article that it’s assumed the divorce rate in highly religious couples is lower than average. Yes, when you’re convinced your choice is between an eternity in Hell or 20 more years with this bastard, I can’t think how that could happen.)
Point is, your fundamentalist faith of choice is there, and it’s the basis of Grossman’s/Family First’s/etc teachings (or, alternatively, their Unbiased Medical Research just happens to correlate with 3,000-year-old dogma) but gosh are they cagey about waving the God flag when they’re telling us what to do.
Let’s face it, the early 21st century is actually a bit of a shit time for fundy conservatives. When the Pope gets out in his Popemobile and says “homosexuality is bad, mmkay” a large chunk of the Western world goes “lol, shut up, you don’t really have a clue, do you?”. Yes, there are also significant areas where religious moral rectitude holds sway – and endangers people’s lives – but there’s not the society-wide “hush, Man of God is talking” reaction that maybe the various churches or Maxim Insitute-esque lecturers on morality used to get in the Dark Ages, or the 50s.
So coming out and saying what they really think – “Our particular deity says any sex outside the hetero married cock-vag style is a no-no” doesn’t get a lot of traction outside their own, already-converted audience.
Hence, the medical information thing. Doesn’t it sound lovely and neutral? “Hey now, we just want accurate, unbiased medical information to be taught to our kids.” It’s so safe! And unpreachy! Maybe they just have everyone’s best interests at heart!
And then we remember that the kind of people who say this are coming from a point of view which says that even acknowledging that sometimes Boys Like Other Boys and Girls Like Other Girls is “teaching morality”. They think that saying “sometimes [basically, all the time] some people have sex before they tie the knot in a god-approved ceremony” is ideological. Not, you know, basic social fact.
On the other hand, skewing the information given to teens so that it’s all about “you only want to shag because of your hormones and they make you dumb” and “who cares if the nerve endings like a tickle, God WAIT NO WE MEANT SCIENCE designed your ass for only one purpose” is just giving them “full information” (TM).
The forces of evil, aka “the moral majority” are very good at a couple of things: incrementalism (oh, we just want parental notification laws, and we only want to make sure you’re sure about having sex, and we’re merely protecting sex workers by forcing them off the streets) and subverting progressive language (full information! Medical issue! I just don’t want my kids preached to!).
They are liars. They don’t care if your kid gets HPV and dies of cervical cancer, or gets another kid pregnant and has to drop out of varsity to support their new “family”. Every time their actions cause you harm they sincerely see that as proving that they were right all along. It’s fucking sociopathic. Don’t buy it.