North Carolina Republicans want to change state law to allow religious fanatics to dictate public high school sex education.
Current law requires that materials must be “accepted by professionals and credentialed experts in the field of sexual health education.” New language proposed by Republican representatives Chris Whitmire and Skip Stam would allow for just about anyone to sign off on the material, WRAL reports.
The bill, SB 279, will be heard Wednesday in the state House. New language only specifies “credentialed experts” have to sign off on sex education curricula materials. That means anyone with any kind of certificate can approve them.
“It’s absolutely true that, as written right now, [sex education curricula] could be determined by your auto mechanic, your hair dresser or your preacher,” Elizabeth Finley, communications director for SHIFT NC, a nonprofit focused on preventing teen pregnancy and curbing sexually transmitted diseases, told WRAL.
But the Republican lawmakers don’t want mechanics or hairdressers teaching sex ed, necessarily. They pointed specifically to the conservative Christian group, Focus on the Family.
The group, founded by James Dobson, advocates abstinence-only education, a method advocated by conservative Christians but rejected by the scientific and health care community as, at best, ineffective.
Whitmore said he’s pushing for the change because under the current language, Dobson’s group wouldn’t meet standards.
“Clearly there’s a hidden agenda here,” Rep. Tricia Cothamsaid (D) said. “We need to get our hands out of this.”