Stop Using Religious Literature for Sex Ed

Target: Papanui High School Principal Jeff Smith

Goal: Stop using biased religious literature to teach adolescents about sex.

Women who live with men outside of marriage are nothing but “cheap prostitutes” exchanging sex for shelter, according to a Baptist pamphlet given to students at Papanui High School in New Zealand as part of a segment on sexual health. Such rampantly hateful material should never be used to teach adolescents about safe sex. Demand that the use of these pamphlets be ended at once.

According to a local news outlet in Papanui, New Zealand, Papanui High School has been using pamphlets from the American Bible Baptist Publications organization titled “Safe Sex” as part of its sex education curriculum. The trouble is that these pamphlets take a hardline conservative Christian stance instead of a scientific one.

“The only SAFE sex is MARRIED sex between a man and a woman,” the pamphlet reads. “Any other form of sex is SINFUL sex… This make-believe game may fool people, but it doesn’t fool God. This is a sin, and it will be punished!” It also railed against gay people, saying that those who engage in gay sex awaited “death and hell.”

When confronted with complaints about this content, the school’s principal, Jeff Smith, said that is was all an “unfortunate misunderstanding” because they were just trying to make sure the students were “informed.” He is standing firm and promising that the pamphlet will continue to be used in the future. Sign the petition below to make sure that it’s not.


Dear Principal Smith,

I am writing you today about the “Safe Sex” pamphlets your school is using to educate students about sex and healthy intimate relationships. This pamphlet is not sound educational literature and has no business being taught in your school.

Sex education needs to be founded on real science and empirical truths. This pamphlet is obviously not based on those principles. It is religious conjecture and opinion, and makes no attempt at hiding that fact. The personal beliefs of religious denominations should not be confused with science.

This material has already been widely condemned in your country. Labour education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says that it should not be used, and Secular Education Network coordinator Peter Harrison has pointed out that its use could be in violation of your Bill of Rights and Human Rights Act.

No matter how much you think this material is okay to share with adolescent students because it is just “one of many views on sexuality,” that does not mean it deserves to be taught in an ostensibly-impartial public school. I demand that you stop using this pamphlet in your sex education courses at once.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: David Shankbone

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