On other sites where people have been discussing the revolt in the Arlington diocese over “Good Touch, Bad Touch”, some objections to the parents and their concerns have been raised.
For one thing, before judging the parents’ concerns based on a single newspaper article, I think others should examine the parents’ own web site set up for the purpose at http://www.chaste-environment.org . They make some excellent points there, including the objection that an emphasis on “my body” supports the arguments of contraceptors and pro-aborts who claim that my control over my body is inviolate. Rather, a Christian program should emphasize the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit, which belongs to God. It also says that “bad touches” feel bad and “good touches” feel good. Um, anyone else see the flaw in this? Rather a good touch is one in accord with God’s Will. Anyway, there are many more good arguments made there.
As for the opt-out, the parents in Boston who objected to Talking about Touching did fight for the right to opt-out, but not as an end in itself, but as an interim measure. They recognize that the mere presence of Talking about Touching in the schools, with the explicit material it contains, will poison the atmosphere. Children talk with one another. If a child is in the school he will hear of it. Besides, it is a matter of justice. Just because my child isn’t being abused, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t care about other children.
Another objection is the way the program was imposed from above. Priests were told that Good Touch, Bad Touch was the law of the land and no objection would be tolerated. Parents were told they could opt-out, but were also told that in order to review the curriculum they could only do so in the chancery office with a social worker present, as if the parent were an abuser.
Finally, why should religious education classes be sacrificed for this stuff? Do the kids know their faith so well? Or is this an indication of the relative value of religious education? Are CCD and religious ed teachers somehow more qualified to teach this to kids? And why should the diocese get to decide how and when kids should be exposed to this stuff?
Bottom line for me: It is not the Church’s duty to teach kids about sex abuse. It is the Church’s duty to keep sex abusers in the Church away from the kids. Otherwise, why shouldn’t the Church arrogate to herself all kinds of things like teaching dental hygiene or civics or auto repair? There are some things which are properly in the Church’s sphere and some which are not.
Such programs make the children the main line of defense. It continues the lie that somehow children and parents were at fault and deflects blame from the bishops, when in reality if only the bishops had done their jobs and actually listened to people reporting abuse or suspect behavior, none of the Scandal would have happened. These programs are a smokescreen.