Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What Happened to "Know Thy Enemy"?

So, a group of parents in Maine is upset about the fact that birth control is a topic in a high school biology class. To be completely honest, I often have a really hard time understanding this idiocy. Why, I ask myself, would parents want their children to be uneducated about anything? It seems to me that a good parent would wish for their children to know as much about this world as possible, since not only is knowledge key to coping with the world, but it is also valuable in and of itself. So why fight to prevent your children from learning? But then I remember that the most likely reason that these parents wish to keep their children ignorant is... you guessed it... religion! Ignorance is a driving force behind any religious commitment.

But then I wonder what happened to that insightful old adage "know thy enemy". The religious right in the United States has been fighting for a while now against anything having to do with sex in the public sphere. In particular, thay have fought to restrict access to birth control and abortions. I assume that the parents who are trying to fight this battle today are hoping that their children will continue to fight it in the future. But wouldn't they be better prepared to get rid of birth control if they knew what it was? Isn't understanding what you're against crucial to defeating it? One would think so. And the fact that these parents, and many like them, do whatever they can to prevent their children from learning about "the enemy" is, I think, extremely revealing. Their attempt to guard their children from learning about contraception, evolution, etc indicates that on at least some level, they recognize that "the enemy" is right. If it really didn't make sense to allow women access to contraception, or to believe that life evolved, then there wouldn't be anything for these parents to worry about... especially when it comes to their high school age children. Their terror at the idea that their children might learn about these things reveals an understanding of the tenuousness and unfoundedness of their position. It reveals that deep down they know they're wrong.

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