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June 21, 2005

Let's Talk About Sex Education

Via the cinetrix comes the news that the PBS show, P.O.V., will be airing the documentary, The Education of Shelby Knox (on Atlanta's PBS Channel 8, it will be airing at midnight on Thursday night, but local times may vary, as they say).

The documentary is about Lubbock, Texas, teenager Shelby Knox, who campaigned for three years to have a more thorough sex education program included as part of the public high school curriculum. According to the New York Times, Knox defies stereotypes for a sex ed champion, who is described as "a conservative Christian teenager and warrior princess for comprehensive -- as opposed to abstinence-only -- sex education." Virginia Heffernan of The New York Times has further details on Knox's story.

As a former teenage fundamentalist, I find these stories fascinating, especially given my frustration at "abstinance only" advocates at my parents' church and at the college I attended (though it's important to note that these institutions are rarely as homogeneous as they might seem from the outside or even from the POV of a disenchanted soul like me), but it sounds like this doc is particularly effective at asking the right questions about sex education. The film has already received quite a bit of acclaim, winning the Emerging Pictures audience award at the Full Frame documentary film festival earlier this year.

Posted by chuck at June 21, 2005 7:07 PM

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"As a former teenage fundamentalist, I find these stories fascinating..." I chuckled at this, but it brings up a good point.

As a former teenage fundamentalist myself, I had similar "problems" with what was going on, except for me, instead of abstinence, it was always the death penalty that didn't wring true.

I always feel like I have a unique perspective on things, because of my background, but the more I realize about myself, and the more I read from others who came up in similar situations, the more I wonder if growing up "fundamentalist" and shifting to, well, the polar opposite, is a much more common tale than we realize.

This isn't a very well-formed thought, but I wanted to let you know I thought what you were saying was interesting.

Posted by: Dylan at June 22, 2005 10:32 AM

The death penalty was an important issue for me, too. I think the shift you're talking about is a little more common than might first appear, and it's worth emphasizing that fundamentalist and evangelical churches are far less homogeneous than they seem, as well.

I've mentioned in the past that my father's political liberalism is actually an extension of his Christian beliefs, and to a lesser extent that's true of my mother as well.

I always tread carefully when talking about this background, but it seems that quite a few people have similar experiences, and it's nice to be able to talk about that.

Posted by: Chuck [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 22, 2005 10:50 AM

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