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MMSD Gender & Sexuality Curriculum (3) – Ethics

The second philosophical problem with MMSD’s curriculum is that it assumes a moral course of action without proving or even arguing on behalf of it. Throughout the curriculum students are time and again taught that they need to “support” and be “allies” of those with non-normative sexualities. It is not my purpose here to argue how anyone should engage with the LGTBQ+ community, but it is a historical fact that different groups at different times have engaged with questions of sexual morality in very different ways and this curriculum simply bypasses this fact. As moderns we constantly think we are in a new situation and so we fail to look to the past for guidance. But sexual immorality is not a new thing and it has been even more widespread at certain times in the past than it is today. To give just two disconnected examples from the top of my head: in the centuries before Christ somewhere between a quarter and half of all Egyptian marriages were incestuous couplings between brothers and sisters; writing in the early 1300s Dante estimated that half the population of his time was engaging in homosexual activity (which is WAY higher than even the highest estimates today). Nearly all moderns would reject the sexual ethics of the Egyptians, but most would support the widespread tolerance of homosexual behavior in Renaissance Italy. Instead of investigating why some of these behaviors are right and others wrong and instead of asking what grounds sexual morality?, a group of nameless, unelected officials has decided that children must be taught to accept, and even actively support, whatever types of sexual activity currently happen to be in vogue. This is not education, it is indoctrination.  

And this indoctrination hinders actual education. The average high school graduate doesn’t know who the architect of the Constitution is, but they “know” that gender is a social construct and that the individual is finally free from it. Most college students can’t distinguish the Spartan and Roman constitutions, but they do “know” as axiomatic truth that an interior feeling of gender trumps exterior biological. Madison students are being taught that it is ok to change genders without their parents’ knowledge, but that it is wrong to not actively support those that pursue non-normative sexual activity.

It is true that one of the easiest ways to create an identity is to define it against “others”. This has led to the forced exclusion of many people because of their gender, race, religion, etc. It is also true that many sins have been committed against LGBT people—things like lobotomies and forced electric shock therapy undermine the image of God that they bear. In response to our past sins of forced exclusion, we as a society are trying to create a social order (of which schools are a part) where no one *feels* excluded. As noble as this may seem, it is impossible to do without completely destroying society.  

For example, right now Dane County’s board is actively discussing whether or not they should start meetings with the Pledge of Allegiance. The worry is that hearing the words “under God” may make atheists feel excluded and hearing a pledge to America may make non-American citizens feel excluded. While it would be wrong to exclude atheists and non-American citizens from meetings and it would be wrong to make people say something they didn’t believe (our 1st Amendment actually protects us against forced speech), we have moved from making sure we don’t exclude (which is generally a good thing) to making sure no one feels excluded. But to do this we are willing to do away with a civic catechism that has united Americans for generations. While the pledge itself might not be a big deal (it also may be a big deal!), we have seen this type of thing repeated many times recently (e.g. as of this year the City of Madison no longer has a James Madison Memorial High School). Rejecting symbols and stories that have united us hollows out society and leaves us with no community. All that remains is a collection of alienated individuals that cooperate only so far as a given action seems to advance a private interest. This isn’t exactly the vision of the founders and it is not a recipe for harmony and human flourishing. 

In the same way, out of a fear of making a potential LGBTQ student or a student with LGBTQ parents feel excluded, we are teaching very young children that there is no such thing as a normal family. But how do we expect children to form healthy, flourishing families if they are taught from a very young age that there is no such thing? In an effort to make sure LGBTQ students aren’t bullied, we are teaching children at a very young age that every conceivable expression of gender and sexuality is moral so long as it does not hurt anyone. How can we do this and expect them to have healthy and moral friendships and marriages? Indeed, how we even expect them to become functional human beings? The first step in education, traditionally, was to “know thyself.” If something so basic and integral as gender cannot be known, but only created, how can anyone know oneself? And if we cannot know ourselves, how can we know others?

Ultimately it is not loving to sacrifice the truth in the name of love. We are called to live in the truth. And as unpopular as it is to say nowadays, we can know what is sexually moral and immoral because the Bible is clear on these issues. Like Christ we can (and are called to) hold fast to these truths and live them out in love.