Washington Post's Bias Seeps Into Sex Ed Story

The Washington Post, reporting on a lawsuit challenging Montgomery County, Maryland's new, graphic sex education curricula for eighth graders and 10th graders, let slip some religion-based bias.

In “Sex-Ed Dispute Aired in Court,” reporter Daniel de Vise notes that “a first attempt to revise the lessons ended in 2005, when a federal judge found fault with teacher materials that criticized religious fundamentalism.”

The materials in question, primarily a booklet called Just the Facts About Homosexuality, produced by a homosexual activist group, criticized by name the Southern Baptist Convention. The judge, a Clinton appointee and a Southern Baptist himself, ruled that this violated the First Amendment.

To the Post, the 18-million-member denomination, which counts among its ranks numerous Congressmen, Senators and Governors, not to mention business leaders and federal judges, is merely “religious fundamentalism.”

The term, which has a legitimate pedigree as a descriptor of certain Christian tenets, has become media shorthand for “religious extremists,” particularly since it is used so often in connection with radical Islam.

As for the program itself, De Vise reports that “Eighth-grade students had two, 45-minute lessons on human sexuality. Tenth-grade students get those lessons, plus 45 minutes on the correct use of a condom.”

Forty-five minutes?  Linda Ellerbee managed to do this in about one minute on her sex special for kids on Nickelodeon a few years ago. Guess there is plenty of time for Q&A.

The article cites arguments from both sides, but fails to identify the group, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), which brought the lawsuit against the school district.  (Full disclosure: I am on PFOX's board of directors.)

De Vise writes that the case became focused on whether homosexuality is innate, as the curricula teach. He does quote PFOX's attorney from the ThomasMoreLawCenter, who made the case that Maryland law requires factual information, and that courts in several states have rejected the theory that homosexuality is in-born.

At this point, it would have made sense to cite PFOX, because its stated interest in the case is to protect ex-homosexuals from discrimination. The argument over whether homosexuality is innate is directly pertinent to that end.  But PFOX is absent from the narrative.

Instead, De Vise wraps up the story with a quote from an attorney from the pro-homosexual group Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, which the article describes as “an advocacy group” that offered the judge “further perspective”:

“There's a big difference between the condom video and the Kama Sutra.”

Ha ha. The Ridicule-the-Traditionalists'-Concerns Strawman strikes again.

Robert Knight is director of the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the MediaResearchCenter.