North Carolina Caves To Superstitious Nonsense

Lou FCD's picture

Zero Tolerance for Clowns by Mike Licht @ Flickr At the beginning of the semester, my son brought home a permission slip to attend his Sex Ed class. My first thought was, "Oh, good. I hope they catch anything I forgot to tell him, clear up anything I might have..." And that's about where that thought died. I suddenly remembered I was standing in North Carolina, where they don't actually teach Sex Ed, but rather propagandize a useless religious doctrine.

There are few things in the world that get under my skin like superstition used as an excuse to hurt kids. Abstinence Only Mis-education is such a case.

It's not the teachers' fault, in North Carolina they are prohibited from educating our youth by state law. The law is clearly unconstitutional, though the religious fervor that blinds America has not yet subsided enough to hope for a successful court challenge to it here.

But regardless of blame, I had a decision to make about my son.

One need not be a legal expert to figure this out. There is a legal standard in dealing with Establishment Clause cases that has served us well for many years now. If that very simple legal standard is applied in even the most cursory way to the North Carolina law that mandates AO propaganda, the law fails flat on its face in every regard.

Briefly stated, the Lemon Test (Lemon v. Kurtzman, 1971) runs the law through three filters, or "prongs". If it passes all three, the law does not violate the Establishment Clause. If it fails any one of the three prongs, the law is unconstitutional.


  1. The government's action must have a secular legislative purpose;
  2. The government's action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion;
  3. The government's action must not result in an "excessive government entanglement" with religion.

The law fails on all three counts. There is ample evidence that so-called "Abstinence Only" propaganda in our nation's sex education classes is an epic failure. It's a religiously motivated denial of reality that has no business in any classroom anywhere. This is not a matter of unclear evidence, or disagreement among experts, but an enforcement of religious doctrine into public school classrooms.

One need go no further than the law's defenders to uncover the purpose of the law.

"The state ought not to be teaching kids to do things that are not in their best interest, and having sex before they are married in a relationship to have sex and to have children is just not a good idea." - Bill Brooks, North Carolina Family Policy Council

I'll just let the bizarre nature of that misogynistic idiocy roll around in your head for a moment.

One has to wonder about Bill's wife's feelings about the purpose of their marriage, but let's move on.

All that was just about to change, a few short weeks ago, when the North Carolina legislature toyed with the idea of allowing our educators to actually educate. The House version of the new bill would have even allowed parents who deliberately choose to keep their children ignorant to do so under a two track system. Unfortunately, the North Carolina State Senate decided to retain the religious propaganda and disguise it with some Groucho Marx glasses. As is always the case, it's not enough that North Carolina's Ignorati foist their delusions on their own children, but must also enforce their endarkenment on everyone else's children, as well.

So there was my son, holding his permission slip as his sister had held hers a few years ago, and for a moment I considered refusing to sign it. In the end, I chose to allow him to attend, but I gave him a refresher course on real Sex-Ed first. He didn't do as well in that class at school as his others, bringing home a C that kept him off the honor roll. I don't really care about that C, though. His mastery of the Art of Religious Reality Denial isn't really one of my top priorities. I'd really rather he spent his time getting educated.

From whence came the art:

That image is titled Zero Tolerance for Clowns, by Mike Licht and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution license.