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Citizens' Group, Churches Object to Abstinence Educator's Tactics

Loudoun County, VA

Citizens’ groups and churches in Loudoun County, Virginia are speaking out against the “fear-based” tactics of abstinence-only speaker Keith Deltano.1

Deltano, who describes himself as an “educational comedian,” was invited to speak in several public school classrooms by the Loudon County School District in Loudoun County, Virginia.2

In his presentation, Deltano asserts that condoms are ineffective 10-30% of the times they’re used, that birth control is too easy to forget, and that 10% of sexually active females and 6.5% of males in the audience have Chlamydia.3

At times, Deltano singles out specific audience members: when one female student at Douglass High School in Loudoun County suggested that you can make up a missed dose of birth control, Deltano disagreed, screaming at the student, “You get pregnant.”4 

In the same presentation, Deltano asked a male in the audience if he was ready to be a father. The student told him no, and Deltano replied, “Well then you aren’t ready to have sex, right?”5 When the student looked embarrassed and remained silent, Deltano repeated the back-to-back questions a number of times until the student finally agreed.6

Citizens’ group Mainstream Loudoun, the Loudoun Unitarian Universalist Church, and the St. James United Church of Christ spoke out against Deltano’s tactics. The groups said that they did not object to his abstinence-based message, but rather to his fear-based method. 7

A spokesperson for Mainsteam Loudoun said, “Rather than providing students with factual information and trusting them to make responsible choices, Deltano gave a sensationalist lecture designed to control behavior with fear and shame.”8 She continued, “We are all for encouraging abstinence but we just think his approach is not the most effective way… I’m not quite sure why the school system is allowing a comedian to deliver a sex ed. program.”9

After Deltano’s second visit to Loudoun County, Mainstream Loudoun teamed with local churches to sponsor a different version of sexuality education. The groups invited educator Shelby Knox to screen her award-winning film about sexuality education.

Knox, a devout Christian who has pledged abstinence until marriage, describes herself as an “unlikely advocate of comprehensive sexuality education.”10 Her film "The Education of Shelby Knox" won an award for best cinematography at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and was included in PBS’ Point of View Series.11 She will screen the film and speak to the public at George Washington University on March 9, 2007.

References

  1. Charlie Jackson, “Deltano Returns Over Objections to Promote Abstinence,” Leesburg Today, 11 February 2007, accessed 12 February 2007,
    <http://www.leesburg2day.com/articles/2007/02/11/schools/edt85deltano021107.txt>.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Charlie Jackson, “Different Version of Sex Ed. Coming to Loudoun,” Leesburg Today, 1 March 2007, accessed 3 March  2007, <http://www.leesburg2day.com/articles/2007/03/05/schools/edt78knox030107.txt>.
  8. Charlie Jackson, “Deltano Returns Over Objections to Promote Abstinence,” Leesburg Today, 11 February 2007, accessed 12 February 2007,
    <http://www.leesburg2day.com/articles/2007/02/11/schools/edt85deltano021107.txt>.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Charlie Jackson, “Different Version of Sex Ed. Coming to Loudoun,” Leesburg Today, 1 March 2007, accessed 3 March  2007, <http://www.leesburg2day.com/articles/2007/03/05/schools/edt78knox030107.txt>.
  11. Ibid.

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