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It ain’t necessarily so

By Dennis Rice

There has always been in public schools the fight over what to teach, how to teach it, and at what age - especially, today, about sex.

We have the religious views and the scientific views. We have parents and other people crashing school  meetings, teachers and school boards being attacked, and attempts by parents and politicians to say what to teach about sex and what not, and, at what age. 

Local and national politics and the Bible are fueling the fray, never mind what the schools say about student readiness or not. And our local libraries are attacked over what books about sex should, or not, be on the library shelves. It’s ludicrous. (Do you trust your local librarian to be a Sunday School teacher for your kids?).“ The Bible says….” “The Constitution says….”Well, so much for the separation of church and state. But, it’s not all ludicrous. This is serious stuff. It’s about learning to accept people for who they are as people, not for who or what they are just sexually. And this is where the Church (World Faiths) needs to step in with some reasonable sensibilities.

You don’t expect your politicians who want to get elected, or remain elected to solve it, do you? Frankly, I don’t expect much from the Church to solve it. The Church Universal has done a poor, poor job of historically, and, spiritually, educating the faithful globally and locally over the ages and modern times about sex. And frankly, most people are ignorant about the history of their own religious beliefs.

This can be blamed on the better trained religious leaders. "Just have faith.” Or, “Our scriptures say….”That is not enough religious or spiritual education. All of life’s issues are not covered just by faith or by someone’s scriptures. Those scriptures have a history of their own.

In 1991, the Presbyterian Church USA, had completed a three-year study on human sexuality and was ready to present it to the General Assembly. There were those who were opposed to the presentation itself. Those for the presentation succeeded. For how do you solve a “problem’ if you aren’t willing to talk about it?

Some of the concerns were “Women’s Issues, Men’s Issues, Adolescents, Gays and Lesbians, Persons with Disabilities, Older Adults, Sexual Violence, Clergy Sexual Misconduct, AIDS and Reproductive Technologies.” (Pg 49). One would think that teenage sex would have been of most concern, but it was not. It was homosexuality.

Alas, it still is today, locally and around the world.Since that time, there have been many splits within most, if not all, Christian faiths over homosexual marriages and homosexual ordinations in the U.S. We have not all arrived at the acceptance of homosexual marriages or sexual equality. But we have made some progress, just as we have made some progress in our racial equality. Global faiths are also wrestling with these same issues.

Our biggest rage now is over transexuals. The state of Georgia, itself, is judged today to have about 65,500 transexuals – the 4th largest state with transexuals. (Source: “A Guide to Mental Health Care”). The latest Gallup poll puts “LGBT identification in the U.S. up to 7.1% of the population.”

However hardcore we are, however spiritual we are, however self-righteous we are, we cannot ignore this large a population as a part of our country and a part of who ‘we’ are. Nor do these populations exist only in the United States, but, around the world. Both local and global faiths need to get their humanitarian and spiritual acts together in acceptance. Nature decrees these differences in human sexuality and they aren’t going away.For the most part, the kids can handle the issues of homosexuality, bi-sexuality, transsexuality better than can the adults.

No one denies a parent the right to love and protect their child. But the thinking that all homosexuals, transsexuals or bi-sexuals have evil intents around children are incorrect. “The overwhelming majority of abused children are abused by someone they know: a family member, a close family friend, a member of clergy, or a youth leader.” (SOURCE: Association of Marriage and Family Therapy)

Our public schools will do the right thing. They will not indoctrinate our children. Because if they try it, the kids will know it and go home and tell mom and dad. Good-bye teaching job. And for a little levity; I was fifteen years old, just singing away at the top of my voice, “It ain’t necessarily so… it ain’t necessarily so… The things that you’re liable to read in the Bible, it ain’t necessarily so….”

And the voice of Authority (My father’s authority) crescendoed through the air, “Stop singing that boy! There’s no such song.” And I respectfully replied, “Yes, there is Daddy. It’s from an opera, “Porgy and Bess” by George Gershwin. I learned it in school.” And he replied, “Well, maybe there is, but I don’t want to hear ‘you’ singing it!” He was a church-going, Bible-believing man who, like so many others, knew only about the Bible what he had heard all of his life, “Just have faith…” “The scriptures say….”

Too many people of the world's faiths are in this same trap.

Dennis Rice retired as a teacher from the Clarke County School District

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