PALATINE - As public funds dry up, abstinence education providers have nowhere else to turn to keep their in-demand programs available other than to ask for direct donations. Thursday night in Palatine, over 500 turned out to support the Mt. Prospect-based Abstinence & Marriage Education Partnership.
While the issue of sex education often makes adults uncomfortable, it's not only a growing health issue in Illinois, the touchy topic involves public policy, education funding, curriculum choice and tax revenue. Over the past decade, state policymakers abandoned once-mandatory abstinence-only education in favor of "comprehensive, medically-accurate" sex education, with controversial topics being discussed as early as kindergarten.
As the state and federal budgets cut funding to abstinence until marriage-only curriuculum and turned to texts that teach birth control methods and same-sex experimentation techniques over abstinence, parents encouraging traditional moral behavior rather than stirring sexual curiosity have become more and more frustrated. The public system - funded with tax dollars - has left few educational choices for their families.
Now the sex education pendulum has swung fully to providing students all information about birth control, sexual experimentation - referred to as comprehensive sex education. For those parents that want their children protected from teachers and administrators that encourage sexual activity for teens and pre-teens, the choices are becoming more and more limited and more difficult to access.
By necessity, the Abstinence and Marriage Education Partnership has moved away from a taxpayer-funded model to charging for their school programs and asking for support from private donors.
Scott Phelps, CEO of Abstinence & Marriage Education Partnership, said he was pleased Thursday night with the attendance at his annual fundraiser in Palatine. After having 200 last year, this year's 500 person-event gave Phelps hope of raising $120,000 for the upcoming year to use for his group's efforts teaching abstinence.
Phelps' event attracted several elected officials and political candidates. Gubernatorial candidate and state senator Kirk Dillard was on hand, as well as State Senator Matt Murphy (R-Palatine). Congressman Randy Hultgren sent his regards to the crowd, although unable to attend, due to the government shutdown controversy in DC. Candidates for office included 11th CD GOP candidate Chris Balkema, as well as a likely GOP challenger in State Rep. Ron Sandack's (R-Downer's Grove) district.
Moody Church Pastor Erwin Lutzer was the evening's keynote speaker. He warned parents about allowing the amoral Hollywood culture against having undue influence on their children. Lutzer conveyed his support for Phelps' abstinence theme "In Such a Time as This," while urging parents to set boundaries for their children and communicate with them openly on issues about which they are curious, such as sex and morality.
Lutzer told the audience to hold tight to Biblical values and traditional cultural standards in parenting.
More about the Partnership's program HERE.