United Church of Christ leaders release statement applauding Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS’ resolution
Written by Staff reports
June 1, 2012

Leaders of the 1.1-million-member United Church of Christ have issued a statement supporting "the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS on its resolution to support comprehensive sexuality education for our nation’s youth."

The council’s resolution, "Support comprehensive sex education for our nation’s youth," requests that only programs with the best scientific information be funded, and that the government should "uphold the rights of young people to have access to information in order to make healthy and responsible decisions about their sexual health."

However, in their response, Ann Hanson, the UCC’s minister for sexuality education and justice, and the Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer, executive for health and wholeness advocacy, pointed out that the 2012 budget includes "$5 million in funding for abstinence-only–until-marriage programs that, as a 2007 Congressionally-mandated study reports, often times withhold information about HIV, are medically-inaccurate, promote gender stereotypes and are not sensitive to sexually active and LGBT youth."

For more than 35 years, the United Church of Christ’s General Synod –– the main deliberative body of the mainline Protestant denomination –– has advocated for comprehensive sexuality education. With the Unitarian Universalist Association, the UCC released the highly-regarded human sexuality education curriculum, "Our Whole Lives." The curriculum celebrates the belief that all people are created in the image of God, and that children, youth and adults need to receive medically-accurate and age-appropriate education in order to make choices that affirm and save lives.

The United Church of Christ, with national headquarters in Cleveland since 1989, has more than 5,000 local congregations across the United States.

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Here is the complete text of the response released by the United Church of Christ’s Ann Hanson and the Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer concerning the Presidental Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS resolution:

"Comprehensive sexuality education gives youth vital information that allows them to make informed decisions about their health and wholeness. As advocates for medically-accurate and age-appropriate information about sexuality, we applaud the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS on its resolution to support comprehensive sexuality education for our nation’s youth.

"This resolution advises President Obama not just on the merits of comprehensive sexuality education, but also on the waste of taxpayer dollars on abstinence-only programs that don’t work and in fact cause harm by withholding information.

"In 2009, a funding stream for federal support of sexuality education programs that affirms a more comprehensive approach to sexuality education was approved. The finalized 2012 funding for these programs includes a devastating $10 million cut to the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health, the only federal funding dedicated to HIV, sexually transmitted infection and unintended pregnancy prevention in our nation’s schools. In addition the 2012 budget includes $5 million in funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that, as a 2007 Congressionally-mandated study reports, often times withhold life-saving information about HIV, are medically-inaccurate, promote gender stereotypes and are not sensitive to sexually active and LGBT youth.

"For over 35 years, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ has advocated for comprehensive sexuality education. The UCC and the Unitarian Universalist Association are among the pioneers in providing human sexuality education in the form of the highly-regarded curriculum 'Our Whole Lives.' This educational curriculum celebrates the belief that all people are created in the image of God, and that children, youth and adults need to receive medically-accurate and age-appropriate education so they can be empowered to make better choices that affirm and save lives."

 

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CONTACT INFO

Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer
Executive for Health and Wholeness Advocacy
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115
216-736-3217
schuenem@ucc.org

Ms. Connie N. Larkman
Managing Editor & News Director
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115
216-736-2196
larkmanc@ucc.org