The local Church has come in for a severe tongue lashing from one of its own over the controversial issue of sex education.
The provocative educator and Anglican priest Reverend Charles Morris has all but described the Church’s opposition to comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) as hypocrisy, accusing it of seeking to hinder the very practices in which it engaged.
“Given the history of the Church and all the scandals that went on, the Church should be the last institution trying to give anyone advice about sex,” the cleric told Barbados TODAY.
At issue is the controversial CSE promoted by the United Nations (UN) as one of its key strategies for combating the spread of HIV and AIDS among children and young people.
The UN children’s agency UNESCO said the programme emphasized “an approach to sexuality education that encompasses the full range of information, skills and values to enable young people to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights and to make decisions about their health and sexuality”.
Fellow member of the cloth and Government legislator Senator David Durant recently led a savage attack on CSE, describing it as “one of the greatest assaults on the health and innocence of children”, with an almost excessive focus on teaching children how to obtain sexual pleasure or gratification in various ways, including masturbation, anal and oral sex.
Durant, a senior pastor at Restoration Ministries in Brittons Hill, St Michael, added that the programme was a sinister way to introduce children to sex, and he pleaded with the authorities here not to introduce CSE to Barbadian schools.
“I do not think it is anything we should impose on our six, seven, eight, nine and ten-year-old children and even children a little older. The main goal of comprehensive sexuality education is to change the sexual norms of society. I am appealing that we do not allow it to have a firm root in our society,” he had said.
In addition, Ambrose Carter of the Pure Sex Centre founder, whose organization promotes abstinence before marriage, has charged health and family life education programme being taught in secondary schools is turning Barbadian children into homosexuals.
However, Morris, who has a knack for utterances which run contrary to church doctrine, said the churches had a “warped view” of sex in today’s world and were engaging in “Christians’ preach” that was not based on reality.
“The church is the worse institution to get involved in the issue of sex education because it preaches ideals which do not reflect what is really going on with young people. We are at a stage now where people want everything to be taught in schools and there are persons in the schools who are qualified to teach this subject area and I am sure that the quality of the teachers in the school will bring a balanced view. We have to move away from this warped view that everyone must accept that sex is reserved for marriage. That is the view Christians’ preach but in reality it is not what the Christians live by,” the church leader argued.
UNESCO has said that CSE has “a focus on HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for children and young people through in-school and out of school based responses”.
It is a point of view that was strongly supported by Morris, who insisted that the traditional definitions of sexuality had been rendered obsolete, and persons now had choices in the sexual reality they wished to pursue.
He charged that the Church’s “judgemental and hypocritical approach to sexuality” would actually alienate children and defeat the very purpose of helping them to protect themselves while practising their sexual choices.
“The Church believes in ‘do as I preach but not as I do’ even though we all know that there are homosexuals and persons having sex before marriage in the Church,” he said.