Let’s have…’the talk’

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Just came back from Ash Wednesday Mass this evening. It was all around a pleasant event right up until the end when a fellow young parishioner announced that there will be prayer rallies in front of every abortion clinic in and around Charleston for the entire duration of Lent. I had no real problems with this announcement, it was the fact that my mother and aunt tried to make me participate even after stating that I didn’t quite agree blocking people out of the clinics.

As a Catholic, I am supposed to be Pro-Life no matter what. This is just one of the opinions of the Church I have trouble taking in. My stance on abortion is a little tricky. One one hand, I believe in a woman’s right to choose whether or not she feels the need to go through with an abortion. If she can handle the mental and physical stress that comes before and afterward, fine. On the other hand, I believe that there are other ways of not keeping a child, such as adoption.

However, my first and foremost belief is stopping the need for an abortion at all through proper sex education. Not just the technical, biological aspect, but the emotional and personal part of it as well. In third world countries such as parts of Africa as well as India, American programs offer sex education which includes the proper use of contraceptives. There are different reasons why this is being offered (to prevent the spread of AIDS, prevent overpopulation of children on the streets, to allow women to regain power over their own body, etc). However, what we teach overseas, is not necessarily what we teach here at home. And that’s a damn shame, to deprive our own kids proper education. And why? There is a reason, one that I continue to encounter even at home, is “God doesn’t want our kids to have sex.”

Yes, religion is a major factor here. Now here me out. I’m not bashing religion. At least I’m not trying to. I was taught abstinence in middle school, then planned parenting in high school. I was fortunate enough to have a teacher (I amazingly had the same teacher both times) with enough sense to know that we were going to have premarital sex. Though the curriculum was strict, she managed to slide in times when a woman was most fertile and how to identify it. “Take that information however you want,” she said. This teacher we all knew was very fertile and has, like, 7 kids. To us, she was also a precautionary tale. But because we weren’t taught about contraceptives, I never saw a condom in person until the last year I was in college.

(Yes, yes. Take in your gasps now. There is a hilarious story behind my first encounter with the rubber, but that’s for another day. Promise.)

Like what we often see on TV, religion sometimes gets put into the forefront of why people don’t want their kids to learn about sex. They want abstinence, the “fear of God” instilled into them, the “If you have sex, you die and go to hell” sort of learning. Hell, my mother, who is the reason I’m so riled up right now, even said tonight that thanks to her own fear of God  that her mother instilled on her (and her 9 siblings) she never had premarital sex — she also thought kissing a boy got you pregnant, an act she did when she was 9 with the neighbor boy.

But why? Why do we need the “fear of God?” It didn’t work for a girl I knew when I was younger, in fact, she rebelled against it. As with everything else, fear doesn’t work. Respect is healthier for everyone. Respect for oneself and for others makes way more sense to me than anything else. I mean, our body is a holy temple, is it not?

I’m losing my train of thought; writing out my frustrations tends to calm me down. And Happy Gilmore is playing in the background.

What I hope people will soon come to understand is that kids NEED proper sex education. In school: the technical, physiological side, complete with the dangers and the consequences. ALL options should be explored, planned parenthood, abstinence, contraceptives. Make it the kid’s choice. They’re not as dumb as we adults think they are. At home, the emotional side and the responsibility for oneself and for others. Have a discussion, a one-on-one for crying out loud. And let’s leave out the fear in religion, okay? That’s Old Testament stuff. Let’s bring in the love (pun not intended, or is it?).

Okay. Rant over. I’ll be good. Maybe I’ll even make a video tomorrow.

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