For years upon years I have been fighting the urge to move out of my state. I have watched it stay in the 1930’s not really wanting to step out of those days. I will say that it has made some progress, but not enough for it to take its place in the 21st century. Its political system is the same system that it had in the 30’s, the “good old boys” system, its people are still some of the least educated because they do wanna go to school, and they settle for menial employment because they are told that is the best they can get.
But now, the crap is really hitting the fan–S-E-X education! The words that every bible banger has dreaded for 30 years. For many, many years teachers and the publiuc and especially the legislaors have avoided uttering the words. But now that bird has come home to roost.
Here comes the religious right’s 19th nervous breakdown–SB 2291
Sex education has emerged as a topic during the first weeks of the legislative session after a recent federal report said Mississippi has the nation’s highest teen birth rate.
Mississippi’s rate was more than 60 percent higher than the national average in 2006, according to new state statistics released earlier this month from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sexually transmitted diseases also are on the rise in the state, and experts say Mississippi’s perpetual poverty is tied to the number of teenage, single parents.
Openly discussing sex, particularly with teens, is still considered taboo in many circles of the Bible Belt state. State law doesn’t require sex education in public schools.
Rep. Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, is among those opposed to sex education courses that would include information about birth control. Any information beyond simple instruction about the reproductive process should come from parents, he said.
“By teaching kids how to have sex and telling them these techniques, they are endorsing the practice. Abstinence is the way to go,” Gunn said. “All of my beliefs stem from my understanding of Scripture.”
Sexually transmitted diseases are a persistent problem for the state’s youth, according to data from the Department of Health. In 2007, there were 432 new cases of chlamydia in youth ages 10-14. The number was 8,444 for ages 15-19. New cases of gonorrhea were 118 and 2,641, respectively. There were 36 new HIV cases in the 15-19 age group and none among the younger teens.
The growing incidence of teen births places an economic strain on the state, Marianne Hill, a senior economist with the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, told the House panel last week.
Hill placed the figure at about $150 million in state and federal dollars, based on providing health care, foster care and other expenditures in addition to lost tax revenue and lower earnings.
It would seem that they, the politicians and the religious right, can no longer ignore that 800 lb gorilla standing next to them in the room and now they have to acknowledge the problem. The old stand-by “ignore it and it will go away” no longer works.
Bad news is that it will be swept under the rug until next session and probably many more sessions to come. It will not be ignored just made to go to the back of the bus…..for now.