Tennessee legislates ignorance of sex into a requirement

In a Nashville, Tennessee, high- school classroom, about a dozen students watched as a woman from an AIDS prevention group demonstrated how to apply a condom using only her mouth.

The scene in an elective class two years ago angered opponents of sex education, and so Tennessee in May adopted the nation’s first state law defining activities that legislators said lead to intercourse –mutual masturbation, fondling and oral and anal sex — and banning their “promotion” in public schools.

The law targets groups such as Planned Parenthood, which discusses those behaviors on its website and provides sex education in Tennessee schools. The National Abstinence Education Association says it’s encouraging lawmakers to adopt a similar restrictions to ensure that teenagers all across the U.S. keep their hands to themselves.

“We’ve never seen anything like this become law,” said Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the New York-based Guttmacher Institute, which describes its mission as advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights. “It’s so weird, it’s more of a spoof than anything else.”

The Tennessee law bans teachers and outside speakers from promoting or demonstrating “gateway” activities. The term is defined as activity that involves the groin, upper thighs, buttocks, breasts and genitalia…

I suppose this could be the spot for one more discussion of politicians, priests and pundits who believe that ignorance is bliss. I hope anyone who wanders through this site is well beyond such arrogant stupidity.

Wowee – pretty scary!

The law lets parents bring complaints against teachers or organizations that violate the ban. It creates civil liability for outside groups, which can be fined $500 if the parents prevail in court…

In Nashville, Planned Parenthood teaches about 1,000 students a year, said Lyndsey Godwin, education and training director for Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee. The group provides five hours of training that includes discussion of the risks of touching above the waist and oral sex, she said. Parents can keep their children out of the classes.

Planned Parenthood discusses “outercourse” as a form of abstinence and birth control, said David Fowler, president of the Franklin-based Family Action Council of Tennessee, which led the push for the law…“Outercourse” is defined as “sex play” without vaginal intercourse on Planned Parenthood’s website. It includes all of the activities the law says now can’t be taught.

Tennessee since 1991 has required high schools to offer sex education if the pregnancy rate among 15- to 17-year-old girls in a district tops 19.5 out of 1,000. Abstinence must be the main lesson, with contraception second.

Any state which clutches foolishness like this to its bosom deserves only laughter and contempt. Our educational system continues to devolve into the laughingstock of the world. The United States drops further behind all modern literate nations; our politicians follow the lead of the least competent money and vote sources in their bailiwick – writing laws like this into the holy writ of state law – accelerating our march to the rear of the parade of progress.

Developing nations look around for a model to build an educated class of new young leaders and have to turn away from our nation to hide a smirk. Europe’s 19th Century imperialists weren’t this backwards and they fell by the wayside of history. I hope they left room in the ditch for American politicians.

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