Condoms are now being made to students as young as first grade in one Massachusetts school. Apparently this story is now getting some play on Fox News (no, I don’t watch that drivel, the headline and link was retweeted by someone in my twitter stream), but I first heard about this story on AJC’s Momania blog this morning.
Because it is getting play on Faux News, expect the conservatives to get up in arms about it. Like clockwork.
We’ve actually got two different issues raised in this one story. One is whether schools should give away condoms at all. The other is whether first grade is appropriate for this.
This whole episode is a perfect illustration of the need for separation of school and State. If that happened and parents had to pay for their own childrens’ schooling, they could pay to put their children in schools where condoms were given away or not, based on the parents’ wishes, without infringing on the rights of other parents who disagree. As is, no matter what decision this school makes, it is infringing on some parents’ rights by forcing them to pay to support a program they do not agree with or by denying them services they want their school to provide.
For the record, I believe sex education should be done at home, and NO WHERE else. That is one of the most personal decisions a person makes, and it should be the parent that teaches the child about sex – not government schools and not their youth pastor. In an environment where school and State were separated, I would not pay to send my child to a school – of any form – that violated that basic rule.
That said, for those that see my personal beliefs here as a cop-out, I offer these thoughts:
I normally think of celebrities talking about current issues as I would anyone else – they’re just normal people like you and me expressing an opinion. May or may not be correct, may or may not be actually based on facts, etc etc etc.
That said, when I know a person has a background in a particular field – regardless of whether they are a celebrity or not – I give their opinion a bit more weight than I do some random guy off the street. For example, when a guy tells me he served in the General Assembly for a decade and proceeds to tell me something about the inner workings of the Assembly, I give him a bit more credibility than someone who may or may not know that the General Assembly is the State of Ga’s Legislative branch of government.
Trace Adkins is a country music singer whose music I have been a fan of for quite a while. His biggest “crossover” hit has been “Honkytonkbadonkadonk” – a song you may have been as likely to hear in a dance club in Buckhead as on B100 in Albany. He also worked as a crewdog in the oil industry for a decade before becoming a famous country singer, and 6 of those years he spent working a rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper recently had him on his show, and this is what he had to say:
Webster’s defines moral as:
1 a : of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior : ethical (moral judgments) b : expressing or teaching a conception of right behavior (a moral poem) c : conforming to a standard of right behavior d : sanctioned by or operative on one’s conscience or ethical judgment (a moral obligation) e : capable of right and wrong action (a moral agent)
Now, in the debate over whose job it is to “maintain moral order”, we must first decide which standard of right and wrong to enforce. Will it be a generic “Punch Principle” standard, famously spoken by Jesus Christ of Nazareth as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and more generically as “your rights end where mine begin”, or will be be some religious standard, such as Shari’a, Mosaic Law, Dharma (Hindu law), or any of several others not named here?
Because religious liberty is one of the founding principles of this Great Nation, we can NOT accept a religious standard as the standard of the civil government. People should be free to live under the religious law of their choosing, not one mandated upon them by government, and therefore government must enforce ONLY the more generic “Punch Principle” standard, some version of which is found across ALL systems of law.
But the question remains: who should be responsible for maintaining moral order?