Teaching about homosexuality in public
Why it is such a difficult topic to teach?
Teaching about homosexuality is like waking through a mine field:
One of the main goals of any educational system is to help students
Armed with this information, students will be able to respond better to cultural
conflicts as adults.
||Their culture's past,
||The diversity within their present culture,
||The ways in which their own culture is evolving, and
||Differences between their culture's past, present and current trends,
when compared with those of other countries.
As noted in this essay's source menu, homosexuality is a particularly
challenging topic to teach.
||Whenever the public holds conflicting and passionately held beliefs,
each side will want to have their own viewpoints included in any school
course that is offered to their children.
||Some will want other viewpoints suppressed.
||Some will want the entire topic to be avoided. They may believe that if
their children remain ignorant of homosexuality, they won't be tempted to
experiment with it, and perhaps become addicted.
||Some equate teaching about homosexuality with promoting homosexuality.
||Some want to teach their children at home; they feel that a school
setting is not appropriate for any topic related to human sexuality.
Homosexuality is one of the most difficult topics to teach in school. Perhaps only the teaching of abortion access is as challenging.
Separation of church and state issues in homosexual education:
The drive to preserve the status quo on homosexual rights, -- or perhaps even to
revert to the pre-2004 situation where homosexual behavior in some states was a
criminal act -- is primarily driven by the conservative wings of Christianity,
Islam, Judaism, and other religions. Thus,
it would be ludicrous to attempt to teach students about homosexuality without
introducing the topic of the diversity of religious beliefs about human sexuality.
Some educators might be concerned about
violating the First Amendment principle of separation of church and state by
involving religion in class discussions. However, the U.S. Constitution does not require that public
schools be religion-free areas.
In order to meet constitutional requirements, the following might be used as
a rough guide for the design of class material involving
It should have:
It should not promote:
||A secular purpose, and
||One religion or faith group as superior to any other.
||A religiously based life as superior to a secularly based life.
||A secularly based life as superior to a religiously based life.
Teaching about homosexuality and other sexual orientations definitely has a
secular purpose, just as teaching about gender, race, etc. All are needed to
produce a well-rounded education. Students need to learn about human sexuality
in general in order to help them avoiding traps that can adversely affect their
emotional and physical health. Homosexuality is a major topic within human
Describing the teachings of a wide variety of religions should satisfy the
second criteria. If the beliefs of both the liberal and conservative wings of
Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc. are taught, then no one religion is being
promoted over any other.
Including the findings of sexual researchers, therapists' professional
associations, secular philosophies and belief systems like Humanism, Ethical
Culture, etc., as well as those of a variety of faith groups, should meet the third and fourth criteria.
Neither secular nor religious information sources will be promoted at the expense
of the other.
The above is not intended as legal advice.
The author is not a
For a legal opinion, we recommend that you
consult a qualified specialist in constitutional law.
Copyright © 2005 to 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally posted: 2005-MAY-8
Latest update: 2017-JAN-23
Author: B.A. Robinson
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