As noted in this essay's source menu, homosexuality is a particularly challenging topic to teach.
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 religion.
It should have:
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 sexuality.
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.
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