Officials of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts co-sponsored a conference on December 3, 1993 in Natick, Massachusetts which was attended by more than 300 public school administrators, teachers and health care personnel. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss adoption of a comprehensive sex education program in all grades of the state’s public schools as well as a statewide condom distribution program and to develop strategies for neutralizing opposition expected from Catholics and the religious “far right.”

Catholic League Operations Director C. Joseph Doyle denounced the conference as “government sponsored Christian bashing.”

“It is outrageous and unconstitutional for state government, which is supposed to be neutral in matters of religion, to sponsor a conference in which Catholics and other religious believers are stigmatized as ‘far right,’ ‘Christian right,’ ‘anti-choice,’ and ‘the opposition,’ and in which workshops are conducted on how to overcome religious believers who choose to exercise their constitutional rights.” Doyle went on to pointedly note, “This is not government neutrality towards religion, but outright government hostility towards religion.”

An article in The Pilot, the Boston Archdiocesan weekly, noted in a boxed warning that the conference’s goal, if achieved, “would shift the responsibility for a child’s sexual education from parents to a circle of like-minded educators who may not represent your religious family values.” In light of some of the outrageous statements made at the conference, this warning should be taken seriously.

Conference presenters seemed to be particularly concerned with opposition from “conservative” groups who would oppose “abortion and homosexuality” and seek “to discourage extra-marital sexual activity in general.” One speaker voiced concern about the threat to their agenda posed by the potential of a broad based coalition made up of “Catholic, Protestant and secular conservatives.” Yet another presenter noted the need to expose the “manipulative tactics” of those who, among other things, would hold that the use of sex is for procreation and should be restricted to marriage.

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