The United Church is objecting to a family life program offered in Regina schools called Teen-Aid, reported the March 6 Western Report. The program recommends that sex be reserved for marriage and refuses, therefore, to present “the contraceptive alternative.” This, the United Church says, is heavy-handed, narrow, moralistic and demeaning to students. Teen-Aid teaches that abstinence is the best policy, says provincial co-ordinator Cheryl Kachmarski: “Say ‘No’ to sex is the central lesson to students…” The young people look for support, she comments, and they’re not going to find it on television.”

However, Norma Hextall, author of the UC report, argues that the program fails to meet Saskatchewan education criteria. Because it does not allow for freedom of choice it puts heavy “psychological pressure” on students and “presents a very negative view of human sexuality.” She states sex should be considered a pleasure rather than “to be feared.” Moreover, the school boards get Teen-Aid free because of help from the Knights of Columbus and pro-life associations and “we just don’t want one pressure group’s values,” she said.

Teen-Aid spokesmen have responded that they plan to go on promoting chastity as a healthy lifestyle before marriage. They are disappointed “that the United Church of Canada no longer holds this view.” It was hard to see the United Church position, they add, as anything but “an attack on parents and the family unit.”