Religious traditions and denominations support sexuality education.
Many religious traditions and faith-based organizations support sexuality education in public schools. Ten religious traditions, including Jewish, Christian, and Unitarian Universalist, as well as the Office of Family Ministries and Human Sexuality of the National Council of Churches, have policies that encourage and promote comprehensive sexuality education in schools.
In 1968, the National Council of Churches, Commission on Marriage and the Family, the Synagogue Council of America Committee on Family, and the United States Catholic Conference Family Life Bureau called upon churches and synagogues to become actively involved in sexuality education within their congregations and in their communities. In 1991, six national organizations were founding members of the National Coalition to Support Sexuality Education (NCSSE).
Today, NCSSE is made up of over 140 organizations, including 20 religious organizations, all of whom have publicly committed to medically accurate, age-appropriate, comprehensive sexuality education for children and youth. This partnership between sexual and reproductive health professionals and people of faith is crucial for shaping policies and programs that provide accurate information about sexuality.
Despite the commitment of these faith communities and organizations, religious people are often erroneously thought to oppose comprehensive sexuality education in public schools. In reality, many people of faith support comprehensive sexuality education as part of their religious values.
Nonetheless, conservative religious and political groups have campaigned successfully for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in public schools, citing religion as the basis for their position. Not only have these groups advocated for keeping life-saving information about contraception and STIs from young people, they also have misconstrued the goals of comprehensive sexuality education programs. In order to counteract this trend, religious leaders must speak out in support of comprehensive sexuality education.