A federal judge in Montgomery County, Md., has issued a temporary restraining order to stop the teaching of a sex-education course because it violates the First Amendment. I can't remember any other case in the last 30 years in which a judge sided with parents against a curriculum adopted by a school board.
This sex-education curriculum was scheduled to be taught in three high schools and three middle schools despite parental protests and petitions with 4,000 signatures.
After the court decision, the board voted 7-1 to scrap the curriculum - at least for the coming school year - and dissolve the advisory committee that recommended it.
Judge Alexander Williams Jr.'s decision found that the curriculum "presents only one view on the subject - that homosexuality is a natural and morally correct lifestyle - to the exclusion of other perspectives." This "one-sided information," he said, threatens parents' and children's First Amendment rights.
A seven-minute video designed for 10th-graders shows a girl putting a condom on a cucumber. However, as is typical with many sex-ed courses, much of the objectionable material is in the teachers' guide, which the schools had tried to conceal from parents.
This sex-ed curriculum teaches children that "morality is a more subjective issue" and that people can "form a variety of (sexual) relationships lasting from one night to many years." The curriculum calls it a myth that homosexuality is a sin, asserting that the Bible contains only six passages that condemn homosexual behavior but numerous passages condemning heterosexual behavior.
The ruling in favor of parents and against the school stated that the curriculum would cause "irreparable harm" to the students because of "restrictions to their First Amendment liberties." The judge wrote that "The public interest is served by preventing ... public school (officials) from disseminating one-sided information on a controversial topic."
It's hard to believe, but this offensive curriculum criticizes "fundamentalists" and specifically singles out the Baptists as "theologically flawed" and as "unenlightened and Biblically misguided." The curriculum indicates preference for five other named churches that, "fortunately," are not homophobic and are more friendly toward the homosexual lifestyle.
The Baptists are responding to the challenge. The Montgomery County curriculum is not an isolated instance but is part of a widespread effort in the public schools to teach children that homosexuality is a normal and OK lifestyle.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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