Letters for February 3, 2005

Just say no
Re “Comprehensive sex ed helps kids have unsafe sex” (RN&R, Right hook, Jan. 27):

Mr. Laffery’s article implying that talking about sex will lead to unsafe practices is ludicrous! I decided to do a little research about whether abstinence-only sex ed programs are really protecting more kids. I discovered that one-quarter of 15 year olds and one-half of 17 year olds are sexually active.

Then I took my research down to Texas to an abstinence-only program started by our president in 1995. At Dimmit High School, 80 miles south of Lubbock, 12 out of 330 students are currently pregnant. This town has more churches per capita than any other in the nation, and it also has the highest teen pregnancy rate. It was 36.4 percent in 2002, with a statewide percentage of 28.5. This town also had the highest STD rate in 2003 with a whopping 1,725 cases!

In this same article, I read about an alternative school for students in grades 7-12: 130 girls (some as young as 13!) are enrolled in the “New Directions” program—a program to help pregnant teens and teen mothers graduate. This school has a day care center and two nurses on staff. I know the right wing is awfully concerned with where their taxes are going. I think schools like this could be prevented.

I think these numbers are a clear indication that abstinence-only sex ed programs are failing our nation’s children. Abstinence-only programs do not prevent sex, they just prevent safe sex.

Would you want drug-education programs to not mention drugs? Not to tell kids what they look like or what the risks are? I doubt it. Would you leave drug-prevention programs to say simply “don’t do drugs” and then walk away?

Allison Daines

Dems supported Iraq War, too
Re “Wolf! Wolf!” (RN&R, Editorial, Jan. 27):

In the interest of fairness, here are some statements that will interest your readers:

“We are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line.” —Bill Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998

“If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.” —Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

“We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country. Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter, and we should assume it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.” —Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

“He will use those weapons of mass destruction again as he done 10 times since 1983.” —Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, Feb. 18, 1998

“Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime. … Now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction. … So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real.” —John Kerry, the guy who wanted to be President, Jan. 23, 2003;

Wolf! Wolf! Who misled whom?

Jim Ballard

Religious studies
Re “Is Darwin dead?” (RN&R, Cover story, Jan. 13):

I’m hoping that people who insist that public schools be responsible for the religious instruction of their children will accept the fact that they have to be responsible for at least some part of their children’s upbringing, but I’m not counting on that happening anytime soon.

So I propose a compromise: Schools will have to teach creationism alongside evolution; however, in the name of fairness, we’ll make science teachers teach all the creation myths. After all, it wouldn’t be fair to leave children with the belief that evolution and Christian mythology are the only explanations we have for life on earth.

First, science teachers will be required to teach the Norse mythology, which tells of a primeval giant and a giant cow who licked and sweated into being a race of gods and frost giants, who then found a couple of logs and created the first humans from them. This was, of course, after they killed the first giant and created the earth from his corpse.

After the Norse lesson is over, your children will learn all about the Mayan creation myth, which states simply that in the beginning there were only two beings who sat around all day thinking, and everything they thought about came into being.

There are plenty more creation myths where those came from, too. Just about every religion has one, and there are a lot of religions out there. Your children probably won’t even have time to come home once they start learning about all the possible origins of life on Earth, but I guess for people who can’t be bothered to teach their own religion to their own children during their own time, that isn’t such a bad thing.

Echo Battye