by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th. • ChurchMilitant • April 19, 2017
Marilyn Bergstra: “We have to be realistic”
EDMONTON, Quebec – Sex education programs associated with secular schools are now spreading to Catholic schools. An Edmonton Catholic school trustee wants its sex education curriculum revised to promote “safe sex.”
Marilyn Bergstra, a Catholic school trustee in Edmonton, presented her proposal at their Catholic school board meeting on Tuesday with the hope of recruiting lobbyists for her views. In a run-up to the meeting, Bergstra explained Friday, “I simply want our students protected.” She knows her views are controversial and not entirely Catholic, but remarked, “We have to be realistic.”
She also wants sex education classes to be more accommodating to LGBT students. “The curriculum is approached based on the assumption that everyone is heterosexual,” noted Bergstra.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a major concern for Bergstra. She affirmed, “I’m not trying to promote promiscuity, but I am saying there is an outbreak of disease in relation to sexually transmitted infections in this city and across this province.”
Little is said by bishops and priests, however, about the so-called “spiritually transmitted diseases” of sin and psychological damage caused by illicit sexual activity that’s often taken for granted in sex education programs across Canada, the United States and around the world.
One diocese, which helped parents push back against harmful sex education in public schools, is the archdiocese of Omaha, led by Abp. George Lucas. In 2016, the archdiocese helped parents fight the immoral curriculum adopted by the Omaha Public School district (OPS), which educates some 50,000 students.
Parents first elicited help from Nebraskans for Founders’ Values (NFV), a traditional family advocate group. NFV was then allowed to speak at dozens of Catholic churches in the Omaha archdiocese concerning the moral and psychological dangers of the OPS sex ed program. The archdiocese also hosted NFV content on its official website and put up notices telling parents it was their right to opt out of such programs based on parental concerns for the spiritual welfare of their children.
NFV credits the archdiocese for their victory in getting OPS sex education curtailed. Bentley, a member of NFV, told Church Militant, “OPS officials won’t fully concede the point, saying input on the curriculum came from staff, parents and community groups, including Nebraskans for Founders’ Values and the archdiocese.”
Bentley says concerned parents are likewise fighting across the country. “Since beginning this battle about two years ago, we have discovered that the same battle is raging everywhere,” said Bentley. “We know and have met Catholics and Protestants in Hawaii, Texas, Arizona, North and South Carolina and Missouri who are involved in the same efforts.”