Sex and relationships education

Key points

  • Sex and relationships education, like all education, is primarily the responsibility of parents. Therefore parental authority must be maintained, such as through consultation with parents and the parental right of withdrawal from sex education.
  • Sex education teaching and materials that ignore biblical standards are damaging for young people and have long-term consequences for society as a whole.
  • Primary school is too early for the kind of sex and relationships education advocated by the sex education lobby. Some of the materials already being recommended for primary schools are completely inappropriate.

Biblical arguments

Parental responsibility

  • The special relationship between parents and their children is clearly seen throughout Scripture. The fifth commandment says we are to honour our father and mother (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2-3). The Bible speaks of children being a gift of God to parents (Psalm 127:3). Parenthood is given by God and parents carry a God-given authority and responsibility for the raising of children (Ephesians 6:4). This God-ordained pattern of parental authority is a general principle applying to all parents and all children.
  • Christian parents are to teach their children to love God (Deuteronomy 6:4-9), and children are to obey their parents because “this is right” (Ephesians 6:1) and “pleases the Lord” (Colossians 3:20). Children should listen to their father’s instruction and not forsake their mother’s teaching (Proverbs 1:8).
  • So, the Bible is clear that parents have the primary responsibility for training their children. Anything that threatens to undermine this is of great concern and must be strongly resisted if Christian parents are to be able to fulfil their God-given responsibilities.

Moral framework

  • The Bible provides God-given moral absolutes for personal and social conduct (e.g. Exodus 20:1-17; Mark 12:28-31; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Colossians 3:5-9). Christian parents want teaching about sex and relationships to be within that moral framework. All too often, what is taught in schools will be devoid of this. Relationships that are morally wrong, such as same-sex relationships, are put on a par with God-ordained relationships such as traditional marriage.
  • Christians also believe that living according to biblical standards is good for all people, not just Christians. So Christians are not just concerned about children from Christian homes but about any children in our society being taught about sex and relationships outside the biblical framework.

Duty to protect young people

  • There is a duty to defend the vulnerable and the weak: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9).
  • Jesus gave a very solemn warning of judgement for those who lead children who believe in him to sin. Jesus said “it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck” (Mark 9:42).

What current sex education is like

  • Current sex education can often add to the sexualised culture by exposing even children who are protected from inappropriate material by their parents at home to explicit images and discussion topics at school. Even where controversial issues are not raised by the teachers themselves, questions asked by classmates in sex education lessons can expose children to information and discussion beyond what is suitable or age-appropriate.
  • It is clear from our booklet, Too much, too young, that sex education materials can very easily contribute to, rather than counteract, sexualisation.