At its deepest level, guarding against worldly influences means wrestling back from public schools the authority to educate children in all the deepest questions of human life. This means also in the smallest questions. American public schools are based on the assumption that the public raises children—and only after parents and churches deferred to the public schools generally did they cede the duty of sex ed to schools. Now that the full radicalism of that sex ed is apparent, Christians must act accordingly and walk away from the schools that have usurped parental duties.
Families and churches relinquished control over sex ed to public schools in the early 1970s. Now families and churches are reaping the whirlwind.
Initially, at least, public schools assumed control over sex ed to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and halt teenage pregnancy. Parents were not doing a good enough job—and public health was at stake. Or so we were told. Public school mandates have expanded, however, to recommending non-vaginal sex, then to tolerance for same-sex sex, active affirming of same-sex relations as virtually normal, and finally to the affirmation of transgender identities.
David Ayers’s After the Revolution: Sex and the Single Evangelical catalogues the loss of authority over sexual matters among Christian churches. Ayers, a sociologist at Grove City College, slices survey data to show that most evangelicals—and all varieties of Christians—have increasingly adopted “worldly attitudes and practices” on issues related to sex and sexuality.
White evangelicals and black Protestants are more likely than other groups to think sex before marriage is always wrong or almost always wrong, but that number (now 40%) has declined for each age cohort. Unmarried and divorced evangelicals tend to think sex out of wedlock cannot be wrong. Christians of all varieties think cohabitation before marriage is acceptable, though black Protestants (47%) and white evangelicals (35%) are least likely to. Again, younger Christians of all varieties are much more open to shacking up than older ones.
As attitudes change, so do behaviors. Nearly 60% of evangelicals aged 23-32 now have had more than three sexual partners, numbers still lower than other religious traditions but still very high.
White evangelicals are more likely, over time, to embrace same-sex marriage and to bless same-sex sex and relationship than in the past. Ayers also shows evangelicals engage in more oral sex and over 50% have cohabited with a member of the opposite sex by age 28. 52% of evangelical females have cohabited by age 28, while 64% of those without religion have.