'Sex Ed' written on blackboard
Sex Education, Coming Soon to a Washington State classroom near you!

Washington State's legal push toward more comprehensive sex education is causing all manners of religious indignation nationwide.

The passage of Bill SB 5395 would require public schools to instil a sex education program that would include teaching kindergarten children about inappropriate touching, grade-schoolers about behaviors contributing to sexual violence and high school students about “affirmative consent” by 2021. The bill is intended to battle rising rates of sexual assault and STDs amongst Washington state youth.

After a lengthy battle with state Republicans, it passed, and simply awaits Governor Jay Inslee’s signature - which it is likely to receive.

But if evangelicals have anything to say about it, the battle has hardly just begun.

Evangelicals Object to... Pretty Much the Whole Bill

Religious objections to the bill come despite the fact that parents can excuse their children from these any lessons with no questions asked.

And yet, Christians like Caleb Backholm of the non-profit group My Faith Votes paints the bill as nothing short of a moral disaster, and the furthest thing from comprehensive.

"All the major theistic religions of the world teach that sex between “two consenting people” is still usually wrong. If our children get the impression that consent is all that matters in their sex lives, they will have been horribly miseducated." The crux of his grievance arrives a bit later: “Students will be taught that homosexual sex is just as normal and good as heterosexual sex.“

Backholm goes on to pick apart every other detail in the bill, bemoaning the thought of teaching children about birth control - and not just abstinence - as an affront to Christians.

He then goes on to opine on whom exactly might be doing the guest teaching called for in the bill. "I know from personal experience of my own children at the high schools that the guest speaker is often a Planned Parenthood representative. The giant abortion provider is given a significant influential platform to market to our children," he says, noting their goal is to "eventually to turn these students into their customers."

And it isn’t just potential teenage pregnancy he objects to. The bill also teaches students about LGBT issues.

"What if a student or teacher states that homosexuality is among the list of sexual desires that should be resisted, or that biology teaches that there are only two genders and humans can’t change theirs? Will those people be reported for harassment toward a child or staff member who identifies as gay or transgender?  Yes, they will be."

In other words, Backholm seems bothered that there will be students in his child’s public school secular classes who don't share the same Christian beliefs as he does. As he says, "I don’t want [my son] opted out — I want all the other kids opted out."

The Sex Ed Battle Continues

Those in favor of the bill say it's one thing for Christians to allow their religious principles to guide their children's education - even keep them in the dark about sex. It's quite another to expect all American parents to do the same.

The cold hard facts can go a long way to help teens learn about contraception and avoid STDs and unwanted pregnancies, particularly because many parents feel uncomfortable talking to their kids about sex. This ensures kids don't get all their info from the Internet or friends, both of which can be highly unreliable in times of need.   

But Christian lawmakers in Washington refuse to back down. Rep. Matt Shea is already planning a referendum for voters to overturn the eventual law.

This is the same Spokane Valley Republican - it should be noted - who apparently penned a leaked manifesto that envisioned enlisting conservative Christian "patriots" (read: militias) to fight a literal Holy War against Muslim and Marxist "terrorists."

What do you think? Should Christians have the right to determine what children - even those that aren't theirs - learn about sex in public school?

Or is all this opposition a little excessive? Is it better to leave God out of the sexual education debate, and let science do its thing?

42 comments

  1. Paul J. Fumero's Avatar Paul J. Fumero

    I have a negative view of evangelicals. They are insane and not christians by any count that really counts for God. These people use the Lord to justify their own narrow minded views.If the Devil existed and hea was working against God's plan, he would be pushing what the evangelicals believe and push on the weak minded and foolish.

    1. Kurt Lorin Nelson's Avatar Kurt Lorin Nelson

      How do your statements line up with those of the Lord? When The Word says to love your brother, to even love those who don't love you: are not evangelicals part of those groups? Does not love hold no record of wrongs? Is not love patient and kind? The quest is to be on the side of The Truth and what is right in the eyes of God, not men.

    2. flugo's Avatar flugo

      'pee fumes': ' . . .. insane and not christians by any account . . .' Your posting reveals what an uneducated hothead you are. Your rantings and ravings have little validity; and are largely false and erroneous sweeping generalizations.. You have stepped on it, and shown your immature and biased ignorance. Shame on you for your senseless blather. !

  1. Dave J's Avatar Dave J

    If christians want to have their children ignorant, then we have to let them be ignorant in the current environment. I think that's a slippery slope though. Then we run the risk of "My children don't need a doctor because Jesus." And don't tell me it can't happen. It has happened. Lots of times.

    As for christians, or any other group, saying that my children or your children can't have facts, then no, you have no standing. Get out of my classroom with your bronze age morality. Science and treating people like intelligent creatures will keep more people safe. Teaching about contraception will reduce abortions. (Free contraception and the knowledge to use it properly will prevent even more abortions, but that's not the goal of the pro-invasion of women's bodies crowd. Punishment and subjugation of women is that goal.)

    And the fact that the main opponent of this bill is a right wing anti muslim wacko is indicative of the kind of idiot that ignores science facts in favor of superstition.

    1. Lawrence Dawson's Avatar Lawrence Dawson

      And it is still happening in Idaho!

  1. Clayton Beardmore's Avatar Clayton Beardmore

    The article says: What do you think? Should Christians have the right to determine what children - even those that aren't theirs - learn about sex in public school?

    Or is all this opposition a little excessive? Is it better to leave God out of the sexual education debate, and let science do its thing?

    I say: What do you think? Should Non-Christians have the right to determine what children - even those that aren't theirs - learn about sex in public school? NO!

    Or is all this opposition a little excessive? Is it better to leave God out of the sexual education debate, and let science do its thing? God cannot be "left out" of anything! He is the final judge. Just because man's opinion changes doesn't mean God's did!!

    1. Susan Stumpf's Avatar Susan Stumpf

      As for Clayton's comments -- sorry, but the bill specifically allows for parents to opt out without explanation. They need only tell the school that their child is not to participate -for that child to be exempt. So, non-christians aren't dictating what christian children are learning. It is exactly the opposite -- extremist christians and evangelicals are attempting to force their religious view point on the non-extremists' children.

      Regardless of your point of view on god or religion, it isn't everybody else's. Those that aren't religious or that don't share your point of view should not be subject to what you or others subscribe to based on your principles.

      As for Daniels response to Clayton -- Christians as an organized group (churches, worship groups, etc...), do not pay taxes. They are exempt. PEOPLE pay taxes. People of all religions and beliefs, as well as those without religion -- ALL -- pay taxes. Extremist Evangelicals should not get any preferential treatment in choosing everyone else's curriculum. They've been given an out for their kids. That respects their point of view and doesn't force the education on their children.

      IMHO, sadly, this will be detrimental to their children and society as a whole. Nevertheless, it's there for the choosing. The non-extremists aren't attempting to force their choice of education on the extremists. It's the other way around.

      For both -- this bill was carefully crafted to protect evangelical christian zealots and their children from exposure if that's their choice. In fact, it protects anybody who wants their child to opt out. Why do you feel it necessary to force your viewpoints on others? This is a great big world with lots of different religions, perceptions of what a god or gods are, worship practices, as well as lots of different people, and points of view. Why not respect everybody instead of attempting to force your narrow beliefs and your point of view on others?

    2. flugo's Avatar flugo

      Excellent observation!

    3. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

      Seems your post is far more intelligent and factual then Dave J's is. What Dave and people like him seem to forget, is the "Christians" that are complaining as the same ones that are supporting the schools with their tax monies and as such the schools are NOT Daves schools where he can say stay out of my classroom as they helped pay for it and maintain it. Therefor they have every right to speak up even if the left winger Dave does not approve.

      And federal law does in fact BAN any implied sex ed until the child is old enough to understand it, and that is usually in 4th or 5th grade. So doing this to a kindergartener could and should be classified as a pedophile.

      Let tyhe child be a child for as long as possible before they start brainwashing them like Dave wants to do.

      1. Stewart's Avatar Stewart

        The problem I have with your attitude is if you do not wish your child to attend they say fine do not . What the Christians want is everyone to conform to their dictates . Their are age appropriate things all kids need to know and just say no has not got a great track record .

        Its not the 800's anymore its 2020 the rules back 5000 years ago before we understood why bacteria kill you abstinence was good but today like the ban on pork we know its not needed as when cooked properly safe to eat . Safe sexual practices solve most of the concerns of the biblical bans " well except the control of others issue " .

        And controlling others is the basis of christian objections to everything be it alcohol weed or sex ......

        Public Schools are for everyone and should teach the best information available not just what control freaks think is allowed .

        1. Gavin Joinson's Avatar Gavin Joinson

          Christians control too much there control freaks totally agree with you 😂😁👍 I am getting my united nations human rights taken away via a hypnotist coz I said something in church.

      2. Rev. Dennis's Avatar Rev. Dennis

        Maybe you should read the bill. The sex education that they will teach in Kindergarten is simply inappropriate touching. This SHOULD be taught as I have been involved in many instances at our local elementary school (law enforcement) where inappropriate touching took place and was not addressed right away so students were exposed to harmful situations which affected their mental well being and did not allow them to enjoy their childhood. By ignoring this FACT and calling it brainwashing enables ignorance and actually harms children. This law will hopefully prevent pedophilia by teaching children to report any form of inappropriate touching to a trusted adult.

        1. Tom's Avatar Tom

          Dennis...well stated...Peace...Tom B

  1. The Rev. Dr. Marion Ceruti's Avatar The Rev. Dr. Marion Ceruti

    Clayton Beardmore has the right idea. If people of one religion object to the way public schools operate, they can form their own private school system. For example, private Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Hindu schools are available for people who do not think that it is in their best interest, or the interest of their children, to leave God out of anything. This is why we need school choice and a healthy separation of government from schools, just like we (are supposed to) have a separation between religious institutions and state.

  1. Reverend Cory's Avatar Reverend Cory

    I wish more states would follow Washington's lead.

  1. Dan Anderson's Avatar Dan Anderson

    If the overwhelming majority of parents would teach Sex Education to their children, having mandatory Sex Education in schools would not be necessary.

    What most seem to not understand is that Sex Education is extremely important, not only for the development of children into adults. It is important health-wise as these classes should be covering STDs and situations which may cause ignorant bigotry, creating hostility and bias in societies.

    1. CB's Avatar CB

      Very good point.

  1. the People's Project 5's Avatar the People's Project 5

    Evangelist's peddle hate and lies. I pray for peace on earth for all of humankind. We must lift and evolve humans. We are Soul's not the containers we live in here on earth commonly referred to as our bodies. But for the grace of God go I. Peace be with you.

  1. Gregory Earl Dickerson's Avatar Gregory Earl Dickerson

    I personally feel that alot of parents need to take a larger roll in the education and the raising of there children. How can we expect our children to become stable, well rounded and educated adults when we send them to a government funded foundation all day and then put a gaming system in there hands the moment they get home all because we are to busy or stressed out or just to lazy to deal with them. If you don't like what they are teaching your children in public schools, get involved and go to teacher parent meetings school board meetings and your local government meetings, home school or even private schools. Before you say we cant afford to, ask yourself how can you not afford to? Our children are the future. Alot of parents for one reason or another have done the hands off approach to raising their children and all of a sudden they want to get upset when they hear about someone else teaching their child something they don't like. Well maybe if you had been more involved from the beginning it would be an issue now. Quit blaming others for the problems of child education if you are not going to be involved in it from the beginning.

  1. arawngraalrd's Avatar arawngraalrd

    Sex Ed is, like most of Public Education, too materialistic. Every teacher should be learning through Karma Yoga, and Sex Ed is mostly convincing children to kill children.

    1. rev.heidianne's Avatar rev.heidianne

      arawngraalrd, how is Sex Ed mostly convincing children to kill children? By teaching children about birth control, less unplanned pregnancies, therefore less abortions, and knowledge about STDS including HIV and AIDS, could help save lives. In these cases ignorance isn't bliss, it can be deadly!

  1. rev.heidianne's Avatar rev.heidianne

    In my opinion to those who don't want their children to learn or take these classes, then let it be an option.

  1. Tom's Avatar Tom

    Respectfully...while this particular issue is important, i feel the over-riding issue is what should be taught in public schools...virtually all the States have assumed the public has abdicated its interest in this incredibly important issue, and allowed education to evolve into the teaching of various forms of technology...i feel this is a disaster in the makeing...i spent 10 years on a Board of Education, and i have come to a couple of conclusions: (1) school should be year round, with quarterly breaks of 2 weeks...the unions do not want to hear this (2) children should be taught ethics, including how to relate to, and interact peacefully with all people, including ethnicities, religions, races and sexual designations...virtually no parents teach these areas, so the schools should...but the decisions should be by unbiased referendum in each State...Peace...Tom B

    1. T Kosse`'s Avatar T Kosse`

      There is a reason some school close for the summer months, because those who live in rural need their children to be there to help out on the farm. They can learn some real life lessons while working on a farm like work ethics, they learn not everything is handed to you on a silver plate. how to balance your budget , how to get through tough times etc. I feel our schools are failing, because they set the students up to fail especially "common Core Math" which was supposed be better, but only turn out to be harder and far more confusing, so confusing that no one really can understand or explain it. We should get back to the basics plus teach them subjects they can use in the real world. At NO time should religion be taught in school. Religion belongs in the church and individual students home.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    This is so funny! Who in their right mind would want any church to be involved in decisions on sex education? Perhaps we can hand off that responsibility to the Catholics. They seem to have handled the issue of sex in an incredibly remarkable way. NOT!

    🦁❤️

  1. Hazel Diane Graep's Avatar Hazel Diane Graep

    The U.S. Constitution states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."
    For evangelicals to force their religion on everyone is blatantly ignoring the Constitution. Forcing everyone to follow their religious precepts is unconstitutional. They may not agree with that Bill but the facts are that LGBTQ people are not going to go away just because their religion doesn't approve of them. I think loving LGBTQ relationships are much better by far than the hateful attitudes and actions of closed-minded religious zealots and fanatics.

    As for birth control, I think it's a very good thing to teach the kids about birth control. The fact is, no matter if the Evangelicals choose to be blind to reality, the reality is that our children are indeed having sex at a younger age and with more frequency than in years past. Another fact is that we don't need more unwanted babies in this world with the already burgeoning overpopulation problems we have. Plus, there are a good number of people that do use birth control and still get pregnant. If your god is so powerful, he could override the effectiveness of birth control if he wanted to anyway, so what's the problem?

    1. Jean Bakula's Avatar Jean Bakula

      It's so important that sex education be taught in school. The majority of parents are too embarrassed to discuss it.

      1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

        It is sad that many parents don’t discuss it with their own children.

        🦁❤️

  1. Kenneth J Ferrugiaro's Avatar Kenneth J Ferrugiaro

    Although I was partially raised Catholic, I feel that Christianity (Church has never been separate from the state. When churches pay no taxes, they have more resources to use to proselytize their agenda. With that said, many of Christianities failed ideology on sex should no longer be allowed to influence how sex is taught in schools. We need to teach love, tolerance, and diversity.

  1. Chad Beckwith Smith's Avatar Chad Beckwith Smith

    The Hiney is not a Viginey it is as simple as that.

  1. Barry David Robins's Avatar Barry David Robins

    I would venture a guess that those same ‘Christians’ don’t bat an eyelash if their children are watching violent movies or playing death drenched video games. However try to give those same children a real education about sex, with all its intricacies, complications, beauty, and pitfalls and that’s when all hell breaks loose. What is this irrational fear? Love is what Christ taught and it works for all not just a select few.

  1. Richard Lee Cornell's Avatar Richard Lee Cornell

    Let God decide their fate. If a child gets the AIDS virus his fate is seal. There are more than 50 STD's the child can get. Each one can turn his or her body into some that lives with them forever. The STD's have change over the years they have (God for give me) evolved. Where the drugs to control or cure does not work. These teenagers who really want to see sex they just go online and put in the three letters "SEX" on Google and they have a hundred pages of listing.

  1. Gregory Earl Dickerson's Avatar Gregory Earl Dickerson

    I have read a lot of these posts and I keep seeing a lot of judgement going on here. Christin's this and Christian's that. They want to tell us what to do or not to do. They just want to control us etc... And I'm pretty sure some of that is true. But when you put all Christian's in to that group you are acting no better than they are. I'm a Christian and my God taught that Love was his most important commandment. The Bible goes on to say; Judgement is His said the Lord. It also go on to say to beware the sin of looking down on others for Jesus died for you and I. So what ever letter you pick doesn't matter to me one bit. I'll let God sort that out for Himself.

  1. Susan Stumpf's Avatar Susan Stumpf

    A lot of these comments are counterproductive and way too generalized labeling entire groups as if all evangelicals have extremist view points. I think the underlying tone should be about tolerance, because isn't that what ULC is about?

    Unfortunately there are extreme sectors of every religion and even of all non-religious practices. The extreme sectors of evangelicals and certain sectors of christian practices do try hard to control what everyone else does. That shouldn't be allowed. But don't bash groups as a whole. In my experience, there are as many non-extremists as there are extremists.

    This bill and the law that will follow, should be EVERYWHERE - IMHO!! The law allows for parents to simply opt out for their children. That's enough protection for all the extremists - PERIOD!! Kids need age appropriate information and education about sex. I salute Washington State for taking action to stem the tide of STD's, child molesters, and preventing unwanted pregnancies by giving children the appropriate tools to help them navigate this crazy path. If anything, history should have taught us by now that teaching just abstinence or not teaching anything at all is highly detrimental to youth.

    The problem with the overzealous and extreme portions of christians is that their children won't have the appropriate information and tools to make good decisions. I see time and again where someone is given a slap on the wrist for sexual assault - because of their financial or religious standing in the community. Perhaps if taught the meaning of consent -- and the word "no" (which is part of this curriculum and something that seems to be really tough for many young people to understand) - we would see a mass reduction in these happenings as well.

    In any case, being that they've been given a super easy out for their own kids - I do not believe the extremists should get a place at the decision table that affects every other child. They should only be allowed to screw up their own kids.

  1. Cynthia Goforth-Teixeira's Avatar Cynthia Goforth-Teixeira

    I'm glad it passed, as it should have. Ignorance of these AGE APPROPRIATE curriculums puts kids at risk. Saying if a kid gets HIV it's up to God? WHERE in your dogma does it say kids are dispensible? That is one of the most assinine, cruel things I've read- essentially telling kids "you've been abused, you been given an incurable disease by an adult, so be it, it's on God"? No. Nope. No. I think the God I believe in probably thinks you need a lot of work and have a long way to go to understand the teachings of his Son. I hope everyone here prays for those of you who want to impose your dogma on the system and create consequences of irreversible damage to children because you thought withholding information to keep them safe was your GOD'S WILL at work. This isn't a God thing, this is a humanity thing. Let's keep it that way.

  1. Paolo Federico Manfrini's Avatar Paolo Federico Manfrini

    All government schools should be privatized. The government should have no say on school curriculums. Parents should place their children in whichever school they deem best fit to provide their education. People vote with their wallets. Let the free market decide what schools should and should not teach our children. Once that becomes a reality, there will be a wide variety to choose from, just like with any other business. There was never a need for a "Department of Education" to exist. And that is especially true now in our digitally connected world. Let Yelp be the regulator, and not some anonymous bureaucrat with a hidden agenda back in DC or one of the state capitals.

    1. Charles F. Guiste's Avatar Charles F. Guiste

      I think you are headed in a right direction Paolo. The author's question is - What do you think? Should Christians have the right to determine what children - even those that aren't theirs - learn about sex in public school? First I think the question is faulty to begin with by just targeting Christians as if they are the only sector of public school parents/guardians who may have issues with sex being taught in schools. For two years I have been trying to find an author on this blog who isn't biased and who isn't pushing an agenda and I haven't found one.

      Back to this blog. The best way to solve the problem of determining what does and doesn't get taught in public schools is to abolish public schools in favor of parent choice schools; be them online, charter, hybrid or whatever. Until a better system comes along, I still feel a Dept. of Education would still be needed, but a much smaller department and a much smaller role (this is a whole different topic for another blog). Every child deserves the minimum education for a standard fee and beyond that the parents would pay for additional studies of whatever they choose. Sex education could be one of those additional subjects. I taught my children about sex the way I believed it should be and I think every parent should, but if parents want someone else to do this then they can pay for it and let the free market decide if the school's curriculum is value added.

      This really isn't just a "religious" discussion, but rather a free-choice topic. As long as there are public schools being carried by taxpayer money and supported by biased teacher unions, these types of problems will always exist. Sex ed., sports, band, and a host of other subjects and extra-curricular discussions really don't need to be in our schools, unless those who want them are willing to pay for them out of their own pockets. Everyone child deserves a basic education, but anything beyond that is a privileged, not a right and if you want it then figure out how you are going to personally pay for it.

  1. T Kosse`'s Avatar T Kosse`

    Comment removed by author.

  1. T Kosse`'s Avatar T Kosse`

    (0 votes) Funny they don't like others point of view push on them, yet they insist on their point of view push on others.

  1. Susan Claire Schloeder's Avatar Susan Claire Schloeder

    Let the schools teach and the churches preach

  1. Susan Claire Schloeder's Avatar Susan Claire Schloeder

    Comment removed by author.

  1. Susan Claire Schloeder's Avatar Susan Claire Schloeder

    Comment removed by author.

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