It's increasingly unclear why abstinence-only education groups are still getting federal funding. It's mind-boggling that Project SOS is.
Project SOS, a Jacksonvile-based abstinence education program, has received more than$6.5 million in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services since 2002 — including $454,000 in September 2010. This despite the fact that the group has been cited for teaching false information about HIV and is a supporter of Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa, one of the most outspoken advocates of legislation in that country that prescribes the death penalty for homosexuals.
Project SOS’ federal funding came through the Administration of Children and Families, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, via grants for Community Based Abstinence Education and a Healthy Marriage Demonstration grant. The abstinence education funding is made available throughTitle V (.pdf) of the Social Security Act. A provision of Title V requires that states provide a $3 match for every $4 in federal money.
Project SOS was founded in 1993 by former St. Johns County School Board member Pam Mullarkey and provides abstinence-only programs to public schools in several Florida counties.
In a phone interview with The Florida Independent, Mullarkey said she was unaware of any controversy surrounding Ssempa or his support of the so-called “Kill the Gays” bill.
The Independent provided Mullarkey with numerous links to news articles and YouTube clips, including video of Ssempa calling for the death penalty for homosexuals (whom he refers to as “pedophiles”) while claiming toABC News that homosexuals eat feces.
“I know Martin well enough to know that because of his Christian faith he would never support the death penalty,” Mullarkey said when asked about Ssempa’s support of a bill that would punish “aggravated homosexuality” with death.
Mullarkey went on to praise Ssempa as a “change agent” who took a stand for abstinence education as a way to rid Uganda of HIV/AIDS. “At the university, Martin took a stand — he had them burning condoms as a commitment to abstinence,” she said.
Discussing the fact that Ssempa lost “almost half his family” to AIDS, Mullarkey told the Independent that homosexuals in Africa “have destroyed people’s lives.”
Lovely. This is who is teaching children in Florida, and getting federal funding to do it. That's some funding that would very well be redirected into low-income energy assistance.