My 17 year old son came home from school yesterday with his hair on fire. His Catholic high school hired a chastity expert (who knew they even existed??) to give a presentation to the entire school—all 1500 kids. Turns out it was mostly an anti-birth control screed.
The resulting discussion we had was enlightening and ultimately allowed me to reinforce our family values as opposed to the Church’s. The presentation was an epic fail, at least for my kid.
Jump below the orange flourish for the deets.
Our family is what the Church euphemistically calls, “Fallen Away” so the religious aspect of Catholic school is something we pragmatically tolerate, most days. He attends this high school for safety and academic reasons.
The Crazy, it Burns
When my son walked in the door after school, he was smoldering. Then it poured out like word vomit and he told me about the propaganda presentation. It WAS bad, like stink on skunk bad.
He was told that all birth control is ineffective except for the Church-sanctioned rhythm method…which produces babies who tap dance, I guess. Also, birth control causes cancer. When telling me this one, my son made a HUGE eye roll as only a teen can do.
Then he heard that contraception is homicidal because a person is created the moment an egg and sperm unite. Birth control prevents these little pre-people from leading full, normal lives. Again with the eye roll.
And there was the usual blah, blah, blah about abortion, which he simply tuned out—a skill he occasionally practices on me!
He was also ‘learned’ the Gardasil vaccine for HPV, one of the causes of cancer, doesn’t work. Um, liar, liar, pants on fire to the presenter. My son had the HPV vaccinations and knows its benefits because we talked to our doctor about it. What a concept—my son made a private decision about his body based on a discussion with his doctor, a medical professional. Get out—that’s so crazy.
For those of you with a strong stomach, you may wish to check out the presenter’s website here. http://chastity.com/... and http://www.catholic.com/... The dude decribes himself as a Catholic apologist. LOL--I think that means something way different to me than it does to him. I wouldn't brag on that, myself.
My son clearly identified the slanted politics of the presentation. He’s followed the birth control debate and understands why this presentation happened now. I must say, using kids as political pawns is really low, even for the Church who..um…historically hasn’t had a high regard for children, especially boys…Must. Not. Go. There. Now.
When he asked around school, he only found two other students who called bullshit on the presentation and then only in whispers. I can only hope when the kids go home and mention that birth control shouldn’t be used, mothers (and fathers) will have an unholy freak-out like I did. After all, 98 percent of Catholic women use birth control. And who wants their teen saying he or she won’t use birth control if they have sex. Seriously. OK, not counting Sarah Palin.
Yes, I will contact the school administration. No, I don’t believe they will care about my opinion. Catholic, remember? They’re not a group that plays well with others.
It looks like there may be a new strategy in place, at least in the Chicago archdiocese, to influence teens with the anti-birth control, anti-abortion message—kids who are being propagandized without their parents’ knowledge or consent. I don't need my tinfoil hat to draw that conclusion.
On the plus side, my son and I had a wide-ranging discussion on truth (liars suck), politics (it matters) God (jury’s out), birth control (yes) and sex (not yet) because of the presentation. It turned out to be an awesomely teachable moment.
While the Church may have a new youth strategy, I can only hope it backfires on them like it did with my son. Yes, he rocks!
Update---For those who commented on our choice to send my son to a Catholic high school, please know that the public high school in our neighborhood has a graduation rate of 58%. It also had two gang shootings that I recall—one was a fatality. Catholic school is what we work with, some days better than others, as you can see in this diary.