In the month of March 1993, there were a number of news articles and programs on television about the fact that 5th-grade girls were being sexually harassed by 5th-grade boys.
Roughly 80 percent of these girls complained about having lewd remarks directed at them and of being patted and pinched, as well as having obscene gestures made toward them. It seems there was a constant bombardment of this behavior. The girls commented: "This makes me feel dirty. It injures my self-esteem."
As you read the above, you can understand why I was so stunned when I picked up the March 28, 1993, Dallas Morning News and read that Judge Frank Thornton said you could not teach a sex-education course in school that used the words "spirituality," "soul" or "moral." You could not even use the word "abstinence" in a sex-education course. The ruling was that this was a "religious" teaching.
We frequently hear the phrase, "You cannot legislate morality." The question is whether that makes sense. We've passed laws making it a crime to steal, to assault anyone, lie under oath or murder someone. All of those are serious efforts to legislate morality. Problem: The courts have failed to recognize there is a difference between freedom of religion and freedom from religion.
Does the approach we're now taking work? The answer is an emphatic no. Does teaching abstinence work? The answer is an emphatic yes.
Example: Elaine Bennett, wife of former secretary of education Bill Bennett, has a course in inner-city Washington called "Best Friends." In one three-year stretch teaching abstinence, there was not a single pregnancy among those students. Results today are less than 3 percent of the young women who take the course end up getting pregnant.
Legislating morality might not work, but teaching morality does. When we all take that approach, it'll be easier for all of us to go to the top!
To find out more about Zig Ziglar and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.
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