Liberal Christians in the Making of Sex Education

In the 1960s conservative Christian leaders like Billy James Hargis and his “Christian Crusade” defined the culture wars over sex education as a battle between secular liberals who wanted to teach comprehensive sex ed in the public schools, and religious conservatives who demanded silence on the subject.[1] That framing has stuck in the cultural imagination. But as Kristy Slominski shows in Teaching Moral Sex: A History of Religion and Sex Education in the United States, it is a profoundly misleading representation of the role of religious leaders in the development of sex education for young people. It erases the crucial role of liberal mainline Protestant leadership and theology in the creation of sex education in the United States. It also obscures the strategic secularization of conservative arguments about sex in the form of “abstinence only” sex education in the late twentieth century...

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