What are California’s new sex education guidelines?

February 8, 2019

California students remain in the bottom tier of academic excellence, ranking 44 out of 50 in K-12 education in the latest Best States survey by U.S. News and World Report. While they may not be faring so well with the basics, children as young as kindergarten are becoming experts in sexual relations, sexual orientation and gender.

All of this is a result of a concerted effort, underway for years but formalized with the passage of several laws. First, the 2011 passage of SB 48, the FAIR Act (Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act), mandates that students as young as kindergarten be taught about LGBT issues. In addition, the 2015 passage of AB 329, the California Healthy Youth Act, also expanded sex ed topics to include instruction on gender identity and gender expression, while also promoting the use of contraception, emergency contraception like “Plan B,” and abortion. It also mandates that all students in grades seven to 12 receive HIV prevention education. The culmination of SB 48 and AB 329 comes this year with final updates to the state’s curriculum frameworks for Health Education.

The new framework, the lynchpin for California’s progressive curriculum, accelerates what unfortunately can only be fairly described as indoctrination to the LGBT worldview at all grade levels. For instance, the introduction to the proposed Health Education Framework clearly outlines the agenda: “[High School] Students will explore and discover their identities, gender expression, and sexuality throughout their education and into and beyond their high school years” (pg 27-28).

The public comment period ended in January and final approval is expected this May.

Up and down the state, parents have been challenging the framework, which includes sexually explicit textbooks and other inappropriate materials. It is especially egregious since state opt-out laws only apply to comprehensive sexual health education topics such as human development, pregnancy, family planning, and sexually transmitted diseases and not topics like sexual orientation and gender identity lessons, which are (by law) woven throughout other curricula. These lessons can show up at any time, in any grade, without any warning.

For example, at a forum hosted last year by the Orange County Board of Education, parents decried curriculum associated with AB 329, saying in addition to not being age-appropriate, the curriculum promoted risky and unhealthy behaviors for children. Parents were also upset to learn administrators were using a graphic study guide to accompany the transgender children’s book, I Am Jazz (recommended for children in kindergarten to fifth grade). In addition to defining various sex terms, the study guide asks students, “What if you don’t have time or money to buy sex toys?” It goes on to offer solutions that include the use of various fruit. The district was also offering a “sexual health toolkit” as a classroom resource.

In addition to the formal classroom curriculum, the state’s education website contains a smorgasbord of sexually explicit resources for students, including where to get condoms and how to use them (with maps and games), acquiring emergency contraception (abortion pill), information about STDs, and definitions for the various expressions of bisexuality and transgenderism. Source providers include Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Equality California, Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD and GLSEN.

Voice of truth

Beyond the ramifications of stifled speech and parental consent, California’s schoolchildren are getting anything but a fair education when it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity issues. That makes it vital for Christians to understand what the Word says about homosexuality so we can be a kind voice of truth to counter the informational blackout at the hands of educators. Scripture calls us to be light in the darkness, (1 John 1:5-9) and it’s not a command we can take lightly. The stakes are too high.

It also matters beyond the boundaries of the Golden State because, as we’ve seen for decades, what happens in California rarely stays there. It happened with same-sex marriage. It happened with all-gender bathrooms. And it’s happening now as lawmakers work to rewrite language in an effort to erase the biological sexes in favor of a fluid perspective on gender. With every one of these “advances,” religious liberty suffers. The good news is that there is still hope.

So what next?

With the public comment period for the California framework officially closed, what can parents and concerned citizens do? Although the situation appears dire, our schools are still redeemable and there are viable options:

Drop a note to the committee. The state’s Instructional Quality Commission will meet March 22–23 to consider feedback from the most recent public comment period. Although the official deadline has passed, it’s still possible to send them a thoughtful note. Make it brief, but kind. Click here for the list of members and contact information.

View the materials. Even with state-mandated instruction on homosexuality and transgenderism now law, California’s local school districts still have tremendous say in what and how these issues are taught. Ask to review your district’s textbooks and other instructional materials. Don’t limit curriculum reviews to health topics. As educators have become more emboldened, the discussion on LGBT issues is no longer confined to sex ed. Many districts are extolling the contributions of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals across all subject areas, including history, social studies, even music.

Know and exercise your rights. In California, parents have been stripped of many rights, even by the hands of the courts. Such was the case in 2005, when a federal appeals court in California ruled in Fields v. Palmdale School District that parents’ rights do not “extend beyond the threshold of the school door.” To help parents navigate through the confusing maze of state opt-out laws, the California Safe Schools Coalition has developed a four-page Q&A guide.

Attend school board meetings. Because these decisions are made at the local level, it is important to stay involved with local school boards. Governing boards are required to give the public an opportunity to speak and if enough people speak out on a topic, boards are often receptive to make changes.

Run for the school board. If your board is not receptive, consider running for the school board or recruiting others with a biblical worldview. Public schools are in desperate need of parents and community leaders with biblical values and a sound respect for parental rights.

For more information, visit Church United, which seeks to transform California for Christ by 1) Disrupting Pastors, 2) Uniting the Church, and 3) Transforming our Communities.

Jim Domen

Jim was raised in a God-fearing home and accepted Christ at age seven. But after he graduated from George Fox University, he was so desperate to love and be loved, that he entered into a homosexual lifestyle. God changed his life forever on June 8, 2002, when he lost all … Read More

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24