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Liberal Western Sex Education:

U.N. IN-SCHOOL
POPULATION EDUCATION
PROGRAMS *

Authored by Fr Richard Cremins, SJ
Presented for info by the PhilFam Committee
15 August 1995



I should begin by apologizing to the Filipinos for coming to lecture in their country about a subject which they are leading Asia and the world.

By "In-School Population" we mean the program designed for Asian and African schools based on the UNESCO Handbook for Preparing Teachers for Population Education (Paris, 1983, and funded by the United Nations Population Fund (formerly U.N. Fund for Population Activities and still known as UNFPA). The whole program is part of the United Nations Development Program, or UNDP.

 
The U.N. Teaching Materials In General

I have in my possession the Training manual on the Methodologies on In-School Population Education, and it is published by the Curriculum Development Center of an African country I shall not name here.

In this Training Manual it says (page 3): "The Philippines is the only country in Asia which is seriously using these non-traditional methodologies in population education. Moreover, it says, "The majority of lessons in this book are derived from the Philippines." That is why I should not really be here to tell you about this -- because this country borrowed your materials.

The internal evidence of these documents which are based on your courses show that the real source of this population education matter is the United States. And the source books which are listed in this manual were published in New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and New Jersey, between 1965 to 1970 -- long before a few document produced in 1972 to 1974, which are mentioned as coming from Quezon City and Manila.

This Handbook came on the scene only in 1983. And that is because it is the fruit -- not the beginning, but the fruit -- of many activities which were promoted by the Population Education Section of the UNESCO Secretariat. It is published under yhe population program mandate by the UNESCO General Conference of 1968. So, the plan goes back a long time. By 1983, fifteen years later, this Population Education Section, it is said (page 1) had "implemented and coordinated a large number of projects at national, regional, global, and inter-regional levels, including the promotion -- both within the school system and in the out-of-school context -- of interdisciplinary programs on population education and related fields. This was accomplished through the Regional Offices for Education and the Population Education Mobile Teams in Africa, Latin America, Arab States, and Asia. The Population Education Section has also carried out research for the promotion of population education."

I quote these rather boring words from the Handbook because they give us the impression of the UN bureaucracy rolling on relentlessly towards this end, and carrying out the aims of those who direct it. We need to realize that the plans of the United Nations are laid well in advance, and they are followed up to conclusion with the brains and the funds at the disposal of the world body.

Ourselves To Blame

We have only ourselves to blame in the outcome of that activity on the part of the UN, finds us unprepared, or takes us by surprise, or they are not to our liking. Let us blame ourselves for not being more alert.

I think that it might be harsh to say that this population education course contains what some people of the First World think the people in the Third World ought to know or ought to do in order to follow the example of the West by planning themselves out of existence.

While there is much that is good to this Handbook, and much that is good is this one course which I have seen and which I have been able to study a little, nevertheless, there are elements in these courses that should give us pause-as pro-lifers, as parents, educators and pastors. Because this program has as its object each of the children for whom we are responsible. They are targetted.

One of the roles which this Handbook sees for itself is, and I quote (page 5): "To build up a world-wide movement for the adoption of population education." Its goal is "To ensure a firm position for population education in the educational systems", and it looks for the permanent incorporation of population education into teacher education programs.

We are talking of a program that targets every child in the world, and certainly the children of the Third World. It is targeting the ones you love and for whom you are responsible. It is targetting those children you have left behind you in order to come here today. So, do think of your own children today and what are they being taught. It concerns us as individuals, as parents, as educators. And I think it concerns in a physical way the pro-life movement.

 
The In-School Population Education Program

Now I am going to talk about the In-School Population Education Program itself, and some of the elements about which I have reservations. This manual itself says (page iv) that "The way in which the child learns about population may be as important as what he learns about." The way in which it is taught is even more important than what is being taught.

I accept that there is a need for properly-spaced families, and I accept that it is a legitimate goal of public policies to bring population control rates into harmony with the rate at which a country's resources can be developed. I have no difficulty in admitting that there may or indeed even ought to be some kind of population education. But we should be on our guard against the way in which this is done. It is on these grounds that I have certain reservations about the i-school population education course. I have ten headings in which I will talk about this course.

 

First Reservation: IT IS TENDENTIOUS.

My first objection to the course is that it is tendentious. That is to say, it emphasizes one point to the exclusion of others. It acknowledges that family size is not the only cause of our socio-economic problems. But it then goes on to single out and to concentrate on the problem of population by giving the impression that everything would be well with us if only we had small families.

However, we know that the poor will remain poor if the only thing done is to is to take away their children and not their poverty. And the problem of increasing the family income while leaving them with their children-and I mean well-spaced and healthy children-that problem deserves at least as much attention as the problem of large families.

Let me give you an example of its tendentiousness. Here in the cause of Home Economics (page 16), the teacher is told "to show pupils a poster depicting a large family eating an unbalanced meal, and a small family eating a balanced meal." There is no logic in that, because a large family can eat a balanced meal as well, if they had a decent income; and a small family could eat an unbalanced diet.

Another chart that they ask to show is that of a hungry and unhealthy-looking extended family. Well, you know the Kennedys are an extended family, and they were neither unhealthy nor hungry.
 

Second: IT IS DECEPTIVE.

"Pop-Speak"

My second point is this: that population education is not what it appears to be. In this connection, we may talk of "pop-speak"-double-talk in population issues. It is a special language which uses soft words for hard things. Contraception becomes "family planning", sterilization is "surgical intervention in cases of hyper-fertility", and so on.

Now, it is said in this Handbook that the purpose of population education in (opage 7): "to help learners to understand the close associations between population factors and human welfare, and to encourage them to act in a way to improve the quality of life of the individual, the family, the community, the nation, and the world."

With that definition of population education, we lay people in that field might be excused for thinking that population education is education about population-that it would talk about demography, the factors that affect the rise and fall of populations, population variables, and so on. If we thought that, we would be wrong! Because population education goes far beyond all that.

Sleight-of-Hand Approval

That was the mistake made by one African leader I heard opening a "consultation" (pop-speak for "rubber stamp") on population education, who said, "We must have population education in order to understand the importance of integrating population factors into national development plans, but we don't want sex education western style." Well, after she had read the speech prepared for her by the organizer of the conference, she went away. And to our surprise, we sat down and began to discuss the program that included sex education (whether it was 'western style' or not could be debated).

That was supposed to be a "consultation" about the introduction of population education, and it was some time into the meeting when the people discovered that it was to be based on this UNESCO Handbook for Preparing Teachers for Population Education. This was discovered when somebody asked, "You've called us here to approve the introduction of population education, so what is the syllabus going to be?" Well, there was a UNESCO expert there from Egypt, and he reached into his brief case, pulled out this Handbook and said, "This is the syllabus", and immediately put it in the case again. At least the meeting saw the cover before they approved the book!

The course that was approved by that meeting-without knowing what it was going to be-has not been in place for about two years, and is at the teacher-training and pilot course phase. It is now described as the "In-School Population and Family Life Education Program". So, aside from having the treat of a population program, we now have also a family life education program.

Broad Ethics and Life-View Imposed

The course deals not only with information about population variables, but is also "a means of producing informed and enlightened decision-making on the part of citizens" (Handbook, page 8) --teaching young people how to make important decisions in their lives. And these decisions are to be taken in the realm of reproductive behavior, an area that is recognized as being sensitive, controversial, and value-laden. And so the Handbook necessarily ends up by teaching ethics-the subjects of right and wrong.

The philosophy and methods followed and contained in this Handbook is that of the "humanistic education movement" which is associated with the name of Dr. Sydney Simon and others.

At this point I would like to refer you to a book published in Ireland called "The Facilitators" by Doris Manly and others. That book critiques the Life Skills Program introduced into the Irish educational system through the Health Education Bureau of the Ministry of Health. The parallel between that Life Skills Program and the In-School Population Education Program are striking! To use the words of Mrs. Manly, "They are both not just set (of population) education programs, but they are total mind-formation programs which attempt to form attitudes and inculcate feelings of the entire gamut of moral behavior."

So, population education becomes a catch-all term, not just for population education, but for a moral education that touches the whole of life and every moral decision.
 

Third: IT TEACHES A MORALITY BASED ON FALSE ETHICAL PRINCIPLES.

My third point is that this moral education is based on a false ethical principle. Unit Six of the Handbook deals with "Preparing for Sex Education", and occupies 12 pages (109-121). It wishes to "attend to...fostering an ethic or inter-personal responsibility an concern..."

The ethical principle that we are given is that"...decisions should not violate the trust and integrity of another (others) and should simultaneously seem to enhance the personhood, personality, and welfare of another (others)".

Well, I have no problem with that statement. I think that it is perfectly true. But, at the FINAL ethical principle, it is insufficient. Concern for the welfare of the growth of another person does not judge sexual activity by oneself or with an animal. It leaves no place for that 'adultery of the heart' which is committed by looking on a woman to lust after her (Matthew 5:28), to say nothing of the interior sins we commit-rash judgement, our lack of forgiveness, pride, covetousness, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth. So, it is an insufficient principle. It implies that morality only finds its place in actions that affect other people.
 

Fourth: IT MISUNDERSTANDS THE MEANING OF "VALUES".

My fourth point is this, that in this program, we find a misunderstanding on the meaning of "values". This is very important, since values then are made truly subjective in each one's mind. I want to quote this from the Handbook (page 53): "Values exist in the minds of men. They represent the worth which men place on various aspects of their existence. Thus, values do not exist by and of themselves, but are reflected in specific value judgements or claims that the individual makes." It says in effect that values exist in my mind only, and as a result, every value is just as good as its opposite.

The Handbook concludes, "When it comes to presenting philosophies of life, belief, values, and controversial issues, different viewpoints should be balanced, interpreted against each other, and analyzed in a democratic way." As a result, truth, justice, purity, honesty, and so on become the subject of democratic debate and majority rules and there is no absolute code of right and wrong, because, "Your values are true for you, my values are true for me"-even if they contradict one another.

This Training Manual of In-School population Education Methodologies says (page 22): "There are no population-related decisions which are by nature 'right' or 'wrong'."
 

Fifth: IT LEADS TO ETHICAL RELATIVISM AND SITUATION ETHICS.

This idea on values leads us to the promotion of Ethical Relativism and Situation Ethics. The Handbook says (page 10): "Societies design social and legal codes that regulate sexuality and reproductive behavior to suit the requirements of that society. Since these requirements evolve over time, and vary from one group to another, the value systems attached to sexuality also differ from one social group to another."

Thus, the Program in effect says that there is no absolute and universal code on sexual right and wrong. What was bad for grandparents in their village, or what was bad for their parents in their secondary school need not be bad for me, as a secondary school student in the city in Africa today. In this way, the abandoning of traditional ethics and moral codes by students today in Africa is condoned -because they are 'living in a different society with different values.' I like to show the falsehood of this to African listeners, by asking them what they are appealing to when they talk about apartheid. If the people of South Africa have, as a society, evaluated apartheid as a good thing, and the people of other countries have evaluated apartheid as a bad thing, who is to judge between them if every society makes its own values?

So consequently, the students are told in this Training Manual (page 30) that "there are no wrong answers", that they are "not to moralize", and "not to impose their own judgement on others", or to be "non-judgmental". Well, even the Gospel warns us not to judge people, doesn't it? But that is not the same as judging actions-saying that certain acts are objectively right or objectively wrong. And clearly, if there are no moral principles that impose themselves on us-from outside us-then there are no principles that can be applied from one situation to another.
 

Sixth: IT PRESENTS A MORALITY BASED ON FEELING.

Values clarification as explained in this population Handbook and also as promoted by Dr. Simon is destructive of all morality. It becomes a morality based of feeling. Of course it is correct that we have to clarify our values, if this means that we help our pupils to recognize an objective value, to internalize it to make it their own.

However, if the context of moral relativism, values clarification means this, and quote from the Training Manual (page 2), "involving students in practical experiences, making them aware of their own feelings, their own ideas, their own beliefs, so that the choices and decisions they make are conscious and deliberate, and are based on their own value system." They want each student to make it up for himself.

Now, if we apply that to any moral situation, to an adolescent who is struggling with chastity or wrestling with the problems of authority, or apply that to the pregnant girl who is thinking of having an abortion-if they only have to rely on their own subjective feelings and experience, then of course "there is no single right or wrong answer to the value questions they are facing" (page 17). They are 'justified' by their own subjective feeling in any course of action they choose to take.

Emotions and sentiments are substituted for conscience (i.e., for the voice of reason speaking to the heart) and instead it becomes the voice of the heart speaking to the brain. And so, the Manual concludes (page 5) that "The right decision for one may be wrong decision for another." In certain circumstances this is true. One student may say, 'I am going to the dance tonight' and the other says 'I am staying home to study'. Each one's decision may be right for each. But when one student says, 'I am going to have an abortion' and the other says 'I am not', are they both equally right? Certainly not.

Therefore, although the Manual speaks about leading students to make rational decision, in fact the decisions they are let to make are based on feelings.
 

Seventh: IT MAKES NO PLACE FOR RELIGION.

My seventh reservation is that there is no place for religion in this course. First, the approach to decision-making recommended in the manual is one that excludes what is handed down from authority or any kind. The teacher should "not tell the students dictatorially that this behavior is right or that is wrong" (page 4). What is needed is not the "discovery of an answer lifted from a book, but rather the development of an answer by the learner himself, based on the result of his own investigations" (page 6). Don't forget that we are talking of adolescents.

I think it is true that the learner ( the person making the decision) may be left to take into account whatever the authority figure says or whatever they read in a book. But what if the book is the Bible and the authority is the Church?

In the UNESCO Handbook, religion is mentioned (page 10) together with ethics, biology, society, culture, psychology, and economics, as one of the factors that "mold the sexual and reproductive behavior of the members of a given society," but it is not included among "the disciplines that can develop the knowledge base and curriculum contents for population education" (page 9).
 

Eighth: IT RECOMMENDS VALUE-FREE EDUCATION.

My eighth reservation is that the education recommended here is a value-free education. It says that population education should be 'value-fair' (i.e., don't say 'this is right' or 'that is wrong'). It is the learners' responsibility to ascertain their own positions, to make decisions, and determine their own decisions. So, whatever I decide based on my feelings, and you decide based on your feelings is true -true for you and true for me.

This leads to an education that is based on NON-values, which implies that just as one man's meal is another man's poison, so one man's good may be another man's bad. We know that Hitler had ascertained his own position and had determined his own actions; and we have now no standard by which to judge the Holocaust, except perhaps that it does not fit in very well with the "inter-personal ethic" that we have been talking about. But to what shall we appeal if Hitler tells us that he has "ascertained" that the inter-personal ethic was not part of his position?
 

Ninth: IT IS DESTRUCTIVE OF THE FAMILY.

Population education is not spoken of as a separate discipline, but is incorporated into what are called "Carrier Subjects" which could be Science, Social Studies, Home Economics, etc.

In the Home Economics course which I have seen, there is a section on the family, one of whose aims is that "the children should perform their duties and exercise their rights in the family." This book describes the duties and functions of the father and mother, but only the children are said to have rights. It quotes the 1959 U.N. Declaration on the Rights of the Child (which, as we know, has been modified into the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child). It quotes that in full, except that it leaves out the part which says that the child has the right to be protected before and after birth. Perhaps this was a mistake, an oversight; but then also, perhaps this is a strong wind showing us the direction in which population education is blowing.

Every child knows that it is disloyal to discuss the problems of the family outside the home. This kind of disloyalty is provoked in the population education classes. The children are asked to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of living in a family (Home Economics Course, page 31). "How many of you wish there were more or less children in your family? Which of your brothers and sisters would you like to move to a different house?" (page 73), etc.

And then, after explaining to the children the advantages and disadvantages (which are very many more) on the extended family, then "the pupils are invited to discuss their experience on extended families" (page 39). Students are then to be confronted with inconsistencies in opinions or behavior of experts (including the Church), parents, and themselves, and asked what they should do about them. They are given case studies in family relationships. So, it seems to me that this population education course invites children to think very destructively about the whole family.
 

Tenth: IT IS MANIPULATIVE.

Finally, the population education course seems to me to be a tool for manipulation. It manipulates people and indoctrinates them under the cloak on asking them to "think for themselves". This manual says the course is meant "to educate, and not to indoctrinate" (page VI).

The Manual says (page 21), "We cannot prescribe solutions which might violate people's beliefs and values..." I find that beautiful-that respect for the values of other people. So, since you must not violate people's values, what do you do? You change them. Therefore, that is what is proposed as the "special strategy" which is needed, to get people to think differently, leading to the "regulation on population growth through reorientation of values and attitudes, particularly on the young who will be the parents of tomorrow".

 
What must be done?

I think that the implications of this kind of moral and ethical formation for the pro-life and pro-family movements is already clear.

The Cornerstone of our struggle for the respect for life is, that under God, the human person is a supreme and absolute value; than the right to life cannot be relativized; that no one's life can be considered less important that the life of anybody else; that the newly-conceived human being, as well as those who are weak, handicapped, senile, or of the brink of death all have the same right to be alive as anybody else, and may not be disposed of for another person's convenience.

The ethics which we have been discussing destroys all that. If there are no absolute values, there is no absolute right to life. If your subjective value is as good as my subjective different or contradicting value, then your life can be less important than mine if I decided it is. If right and wrong depends upon my feelings about my situation, then what I can do to you depends on my feelings also. I can be indifferent to it. If I have ascertained that my value system does not include the right of my unborn child or my senile grandmother to live, and if nobody has even suggested to me that may be a wrong answer, and if think that there can be no wrong answers-it has been taught that my answer cannot be "wrong for me" -- then it is too bad for you, if you happen to be that unborn baby or that grandparent I don't want.

Now, if we multiply that attitude in the scale to which UNESCO wishes to extend its population education -- i.e., to every child on earth-then we may in the future be hard put to find supporters or members for the pro-life movement. The 'Brave New World' will have arrived.

 
To wrest the Citadel

In conclusion, I want to suggest to you that a world that respects life will not be achieved by short-term projects, by demonstrations or direct action against abortion clinics, however necessary these may be-just as a war is not won by skirmishes-but by strategy. We should learn from our opponents who know so well how to make plans and devise strategies for carrying them out.

What I admire most of all about the people that I disagree with is their planning, their strategies, their mastery of the situation. They have taken the citadels-they have taken the United Nations and they are taking an increasing number of governments. We will not achieve our purposes until we wrest these citadels from them!

I hope this conference has made concerted long and short term plans doing precisely that: to achieve power in the places where power is important.

Plans for winning the minds and hearts-and money-of people in power, so that the tide of the anti-life legislation is turned back. One day, perhaps UNESCO will publish a Handbook for Training Teachers in Education for Respect for Life.

I would just say this in conclusion. Let us believe the good intentions and the goodness of the people who disagree with us, and who are our opponents. They are not evil people. They are very honest in seeking what is good, but in a mistaken way. I have, to my pleasant surprise, found the goodness and the good intentions of people with whom I deeply disagree, and I believe that everybody is subject to conversion, including myself.


PhilFam Committee Notes

* BACKGROUND: Father Cremins is an educationalist and Director of the Family Life Movement of Zambia. The PhilFam Committee considers this article most urgent in the light of the evident shift of population control propaganda centers from the public health to the public educational sector, targetting Filipino children, especially in the public schools.

* INTEL: A renewed and nationwide program was launched in SY 1996-97 by the Department of Education Culture and Sports (DECS) to institutionalize Pop-Ed, but now in the light of the liberal agendae of the Cairo and Beijing conferences. Cursory reading of the basic curricula reveals a mix of traditional and objectionable. The comprehensive program targets children and youth of all age levels elementary, secondary, tertiary, higher education, vocational training and out-of-school.

* RELATED REFS:   NSSM 200   · Family Planning Communications   · The Homosexual Revolution   · Homosexual Tactics,   · HIV/AIDS: The Politically-Protected Plague   · Pro-Gay Bias of Media   · The Stop AIDS Campaign -- the Pinnacle of Scandal in Switzerland (AIDS Info Switzerland).

* HIV/AIDS REFS: US Congressional hearings on Synthetic Biological Agents (US Government Printing Office)   · Pentagon AIDS and Why Governments Are Covering-up Gulf War Syndrome by David Guyatt   · AIDS as a Weapon of War by Dr. William Douglas   · "Emerging Viruses -- AIDS & Ebola" by Dr. Leonard Horowitz;   · Conférence Horowitz à Paris sur l'origine des VIH (Info SIDA Québec)   · Chemical and Biological Weapons Threat Assessments (Federation of American Scientists).



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