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« Gay Boycott of Viacom | Main | Storytelling »

December 02, 2004


JoAnna Kelleher

It's sad, very sad. It's up to us teach love and compassion to a world wrapped in fear, hate and ignorance. And that includes demonstrating love and compassion to those that hate us. If we dont teach them, who will?

Jon S.


I'm all for not forcing people to pay for the promotion of ideas they disagree with. You should not be forced to pay for teaching my kids to not have sex. (But don't worry, you're not; they're not in the public school system.)

Since we agree that "there is no such thing as value-neutral education," and a large group of people will be justifiably upset no matter what the public schools teach, should public schools even exist?

Joe Perez

Jon S.: I assume your question about the existence of public schools is rhetorical. The moral issues are tough, but not unsolvable. If the diverse nations of the UN can agree on a Universal Declaration of Human Rights (, then surely local US school boards can muddle through the complexities of sex ed. From what I've read, the Montgomery County school board's approach to sex ed is an excellent "both/and" solution, despite its mischaracterization by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Maureen Dowd's brother.

Jon S.

Actually, the question's not rhetorical. Can public schools even work in a fair fashion in a polytheistic society such as ours? What is the moral imperative that schools must be government run and managed?


Mattingly frames the issue as a decision as to whether public education should affirm traditional morality or sexual libertinism.


Your readers will want to check out the actual posts at

The quote above is not accuate. You will also see some interesting responses to Joe's take on the actions that public schools should take. My request for accurate journalism on the issue is totally sincere and should be hailed by activists on both sides.

We are seeing some urban legends here in this coverage. But the issues involving parents, their children, public schools and newspapers are real.

Joe Perez


You wrote: "How does an institution funded with tax dollars offer sex-education materials that say that sex outside of marriage is just peachy -- or that it is sin, sin, sinful -- without attacking the moral beliefs on one or the other side of this divide?"

And in response I wrote: "Mattingly frames the issue as a decision as to whether public education should affirm traditional morality or sexual libertinism."

Which you said is inaccurate: "No, that is not what I said... I was saying it would be difficult for truly public institutions -- schools or newspapers -- to deal fairly with such strongly conflicting positions on moral absolutes in programs for children."

I don't think what I said is inaccurate at all. I agree that you said that this is a tough issue about dealing fairly with moral absolutes in sex ed programs. By focusing on the issue as a matter of fairness of handling "moral absolutes" in sex ed, rather than as a matter of, say, how to disseminate medically accurate information, you are framing the issue in exactly the way that I described.

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