Backlash from the Right on Sex Ed

We didn’t have to wait long to start taking fire from right-wingers upset by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund’s new report Just Say Don’t Know: Sexuality Education in Texas Public Schools.

Just five hours after we released the report, TFN staffers received an e-mail blast from right-wing gadfly Donna Garner. You might remember Garner. She’s the person who several weeks ago sent out an e-mail blast that linked accepting the science of evolution with serial murderers like Jeffrey Dahmer.

Yeah, her. (Stop rolling your eyes. Read.)

Garner’s new e-mail screed takes us to task for reporting about the outrageous nonsense abstinence-only programs teach Texas teens about sexuality and health. She devotes much of her e-mail to defending Scott and White Worth the Wait, the most widely used abstinence-only curriculum in the state.

She is particularly upset that our report notes Worth the Wait in the section about abstinence-only programs promoting fear and shame about sexuality. In a review of Worth the Wait’s materials, SIECUS notes pretty much the same thing:

Worth the Wait does incorporate important topics suggested by the Guidelines, such as puberty, anatomy, sexual abuse, and legal issues related to sexuality, and the curriculum is based on reliable sources of data. Despite these strengths, Worth the Wait relies on messages of fear, discourages contraceptive use, and promotes biased views of gender, marriage, and pregnancy options.

Garner argues that “nothing could be further from the truth.” We disagree.

But the really goofy stuff comes at the top of Garner’s e-mail.

First, Texas Freedom Network is behind this supposed “study.” … Texas Freedom Network has been in close association for many years with Planned Parenthood (performed 289,750 abortions in 2006-07) and the Human Rights Campaign (largest homosexual organization in the country). TFN, PP, and HRC are like a “sisterhood” and work in conjunction with one another to destroy any vestiges of traditional marriage and traditional values that are left in our country. 

The Sisterhood is joined at the hip by ex-TFN presidents, Cecile Richards and Samantha Smoot, who work closely with TFN’s present leader, Kathy Miller. 
When reading any “studies” that come from this group we must remember who profits:  Planned Parenthood makes money both ways — either on abortions and/or on contraceptives.  HRC perpetuates its organization with an increase in homosexual activity. TFN keeps its board members happy so long as it grabs the media spotlight with its outrageous allegations against conservative State Board of Education members.

Well, now you know.

We would respond to all that, but Kathy is already running late for her meeting with the Sisterhood’s Politburo.

14 thoughts on “Backlash from the Right on Sex Ed

  1. Donna Garner, you do seem to embody quite a few traditional values. Unfortunately, those values are bigotry, hatred, intolerance, narrow-mindedness, and dishonesty.

    Your grandchildren likely will look back on you with shame, if they are rational thinkers. They will shake their heads and wonder how you could’ve believed such ignorant and hateful garbage. They will laugh about you and say, “Well she must’ve been a product of her times.”

    But times are changing. Society is evolving for the better. Yes, we still have problems to deal with, but not a single one of them will be solved by smug, self-righteous people like you. You drag us all down. You create problems, you don’t solve them.

    It’s not going to get any better for you, you know. It’s a slow process, but society as a whole is beginning to realize how harmful people like you really are. YOU are the one who drags us all down. YOUR values inhibit progress. So it would be better for all of us, including your children and grandchildren, if you’d just keep your mouth shut.

  2. I attended a parents’ preview of my son’s middle school’s sex-ed program here in Austin (RRISD), which is Scott & White’s. I’m 39 years old with two kids, and *I* was scared of sex when it was over. Giant, horrific, extreme-closeup pictures of venereal disease sufferers were what I remember most. The message was clear: sex = death.

  3. The effort to divert attention from the grim findings of this report by connecting TFN to “hot button” words and organizations falls flat. This was a study of sexuality education in Texas…a study of what is going on (or what is not going on) in Texas public schools. I encourage all to read the report before jumping to conclusions about it contents. This is not a left-wing or right-wing product…it was an objectively done analysis of reality. The authors of this report are highly respected scientists and leaders in the field of health education. Their study, in my opinion, was the most comprehensive examination of sexuality education ever completed in Texas. Their methodology of document analysis assured that they were not simply studying opinions, but were examining actual performance at the school level. There is no question that the findings are not what we would like to have seen, but they are honest, factual depictions of the status of sexuality education in Texas and deserve serious consideration.

    The vast majority of the citizens of Texas believe that the school has a role to play in the development of sexually healthy youth. That vast majority should be appalled by the findings of this study. Congratulations TFN for funding this study and for alerting the state to its failures in this regard.

  4. Donna Garner seems to have a seriously warped sense of reality and a disturbingly dangerous perspective of “truth”. Keep on being rational, TFN. It is a long and arduous task but with prayer and perseverance maybe she and those like her will cease and desist their maniacal ravings.

  5. Extremists of any bent are irrational from the ‘get-go’. They can’t be reasoned with because rationality has nothing to with it. The Inquisition was fueled by such intolerance / remember Galileo’s troubles. Those Fundamentalists who feel threatened by scientific truths forget that since God created the Universe, they have nothing to fear from the truths that the scientific method reveals. Otherwise, we should stay on the ground & not fly in airplanes — after all, God didn’t give us wings.

  6. Greetings to the Sisterhood:

    I left this comment on Garner’s webpage at — “Texas abstinence-only sex education policy and health textbooks was implemented for one purpose: to keep students ignorant. I don’t know what the state’s health and education leaders have against female teenagers in this state, but they really don’t like them. Texas has among the highest rates of illegitimate teen pregnancy and STD infection in the United States thanks to our stupid abstinence-only policy. The only way this program can work is to scare students, but even that doesn’t work. Over 60% of high school age students engage in sexual activity, so contraception must be used to stop this continuing tragedy in Texas, which was started and kept going by the religious right.”

    Keep up the good work.

  7. I just wish I knew as much 50 years ago about sexuality as I do now. I might have spent less time delving into the cat houeses on the border and more time chasing girls on the north side of San Antonio.

  8. I left this comment on Garner’s article at The tone of my comment is pretty harsh; I get very tired of the religious right’s constant lying and distortion, and something about Garner’s lie about Planned Parenthood just set me off. It will be interesting to see if it gets published!

    I do note, however, that I am a proud member of the “Sisterhood”.


    Once again the ridiculous notion that Planned Parenthood is a big money-maker (for whom, pray tell?) rears its head. What is it with you people? Do you not understand the idea of a non-profit? Can you not read a financial statement?

    I’m guessing the answer is yes to both questions. I refer you to PP’s annual report for 2007 (, page 14. Revenue from health center operations is $357 million. Expenses for medical services are $588 million. Where’s the big “abortion and contraception profit”, for pete’s sake? PP’s bottom line looks good because citizens like me give them money every year; they are the best resource for women’s health in the country. You pro-lifers are either too stupid to read a financial statement, or you’re just stone liars.

    And as for sexuality education, I’ve no doubt Patricia Sulak means well. But her materials are biased and do not reflect the latest research. Sometimes they are deliberately misleading. For example, Section 6, for which you provided a link, states that condoms “have not been proven to greatly reduce your chance of getting other STDs”. Yet the CDC, an organization I trust far more than I do Sulak OR Scott and White, says this about the extent condom studies: “Critical reviews of all studies, with both positive and negative findings (referenced here) point to the limitations in study design in some studies which result in underestimation of condom effectiveness; therefore, the true protective effect is likely to be greater than the effect observed.” Nowhere in the Scott and White materials is there an acknowledgement, much less reinforcement, that condoms are absolutely essential equipment for sexually active teens as the first line of defense against STDs. And they ARE sexually active, in spite of the scare tactics. Don’t you think they need this information?

    It’s no wonder that abstinence-only “education” isn’t working. The STD and pregnancy rates in Texas are a disgrace and an obvious indictment of the approach we’ve been taking.

    It’s time to try some REAL sex education for a change.

  9. the truth is TFN ONLY exists to undermine and attempt to DESTROY anything that comes from the Bible or the God of the bible!

    This God that you HATE – still has given life to you – recieve it.


    one day you will bow the knee even if you still HATE the one true God who created you!

  10. “reality,” that is really funny stuff. Great bit of satire. You had me going there for a second. I mean, the way you came across as a narrow-minded, hateful, intolerant, self-righteous zealot was perfect. The “bow the knee” part was genius. Well done.

  11. Hey Reality. I have something to say to you:

    1) But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire (Matthew 5: 22). You just did an official, Biblical “Thou Fool” in your message above.

    2) Also, in my local newspaper today, I read a piece about the newly passed and signed Obama initiative to provide health care services to millions of children with no health insurance. It is my understanding that the right-wing extremist Republicans that you Christian fundamentalists bed down with every night are opposed to this act of love and kindness—just like George W. Bush who vetoed a similar measure last year. Millions of these children are probably the sons and daughers of poor families who attend church every Sunday. I am sure you have some recent, man-made, phoney-baloney religious reason for why these little kids should puke their guts out all night without access to Phenergrin. I know. It’s good for them because it builds character and self-reliance. Right? As a fellow Christian, I think you and your fundie friends need to consider several closely related verses in Matthew 18, as follows from the KJV:

    At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them. And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

    But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

    Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

  12. Reality, we don’t hate God. We love Him. So we take seriously what Jesus told us to do; he told us to show His love in the world. Our actions are intended to do just that.

    But we don’t worship a book. We worship God. We follow Jesus, who is the complete expression of the nature of God to humankind.

    I refer you also to Colossians 3. You seem to have a problem with understanding that unity in the Body does not mean we’ll agree with each other all the time. It does mean, however, that our expressions of disagreement are intended to be civil and our words constructive. I admit I have a problem with that sometimes; my temper and my tongue are unruly. You and I need to contemplate these words from Paul:

    “12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

    15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

    This is the touchstone for behavior within the Body. I pledge to remember that when next my tongue and temper run away with me, as a matter of Christian discipline — especially within the holy season of Lent, when we are called to self-examination.

    Will you pledge to do the same?