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ACLU Files Suit Over USAID’s Abstinence Programs

posted by nsymmonds

WASHINGTON (RNS) The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit against the U.S. Agency for International Development for not providing information about “religiously infused” abstinence programs the agency has funded.
The lawsuit, which was filed Thursday (Feb. 18), follows a report last July from USAID’s inspector general that found “some USAID funds were used for religious activities” during 2006 and 2007.
According to its complaint, the ACLU twice filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act seeking documents related to programs that promoted sexual abstinence. USAID acknowledged receiving the requests but never responded by sending the requested documents.
“The United States government cannot be in the business of exporting religiously infused abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that we know fail to give young people the information they need to stay healthy,”
said Brigitte Amiri, an attorney with the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project.
“It is essential that the government provide all of the information it has about these programs so that the public has a full accounting of how taxpayer dollars are being spent.”
The inspector general report said USAID funded an abstinence program for HIV/AIDS prevention for African youth whose curriculum included Psalm 119:9 as a Bible memory verse. “God has a plan for sex and this plan will help you and protect you from harm,” the curriculum said.
ACLU spokesman Will Matthews said Wednesday the ACLU had not yet received a response to its suit from USAID.
When the inspector general report was released, a USAID spokesperson said its results are “not supported by the facts and is an unsupported legal conclusion regarding the constitutional requirement of separation of church and state.”
By Adelle M. Banks
Copyright 2010 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.



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cknuck

posted February 24, 2010 at 7:57 pm


abstinence, heaven forbid; oh can I legally say heaven?



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pagansister

posted February 24, 2010 at 10:05 pm


If the US gov’t is teaching sex ed. they need to keep religion totally out of it. Agreed, not having sex, or abstinence is the best way not to spread nasty things like STD’s/AIDS and that should be pointed out as the best form of birth control, disease prevention. Keep religion out of it…no matter what country you are in. Religion has nothing to do with anything when it comes to not having sex…common sense is the guiding light here…no sex, no babies, or spread of disease. What is unfortunate is in some of those countries even if the women wait until marriage, the wives get the STDs from their wonderful husbands. What does god say about that?



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pagansister

posted February 24, 2010 at 10:06 pm


If not abstaining, try condoms. Disease prevention and birth control all rolled into one.



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cknuck

posted February 24, 2010 at 11:09 pm


pagan that is the most ridiculous position I have ever heard. If religion can help as it has in the past for this country then why not use every tool available. I am a counselor and I am religious but I wouldn’t dismiss my clinical skills for the sake of religion that would be just silly.



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nnmns

posted February 24, 2010 at 11:30 pm


The US government should not be promoting any religion. Nothing wrong with promoting abstinence, though if that’s all you tell them about it’s like sending someone into a long battle with only one arrow in their quiver.
Psalm 119:9 (King James Version): Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
What the heck does that have to do with sex? I read the whole psalm and it says nothing directly about sex. There must be something in the Bible that does urge abstinence; anyone care to direct me to it? Can anyone imagine why someone would choose that part? Was it the word “cleanse”? That would be a mighty tenuous connection.
Good for the ACLU!



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cknuck

posted February 25, 2010 at 12:05 am


using available assets that are proven to work is not promoting, my doctor recently prescribed me some yoga workouts for a shoulder injury and they worked that doesn’t make either of us Buddhist . I never know if I spelled that right, Buddhist.



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jim

posted February 25, 2010 at 12:08 pm


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pagansister

posted February 25, 2010 at 3:30 pm


I’ll ask the same question nnmns did…what does religion have to do with sex …having it or not having it? The only connection I can see is pushing a religion on a group of people who may not be interested, when all they might have come for is a little advice on birth control and disease prevention. So as ridiculous as that is…religion being promoted by the US Government for any reason…be it sex ed or selling peanuts, has no place in a secular situation. That is ridiculous.
Haven’t noticed that religion has stopped many babies, via the abstinence program. Many studies have shown the “just say No” to sex hasn’t worked well. Several kids who graduated 8th grade in the RCC school I taught in,came back with their babies(to show them off)….not married, while in HS. And those kids had a very comprehensive sex ed program….especially for a RC school. Guess they learned the anti-abortion part but not the prevention.abstinence part. But in a religious run school, obviously religion is part of the program…US government program/public schools…keep the holy stuff out.



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cknuck

posted February 25, 2010 at 10:25 pm


pagan and nnmns I am not surprised you have no idea what religion has to do with sex anymore that I am surprise you ignorance of the information does not preclude you from making broad-brush comments about religions. Religion has helped people throughout history.



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pagansister

posted February 25, 2010 at 10:34 pm


And, cknuck, it has brought a lot of misery for people throughout history too. We won’t go into the forced “conversions” etc. done to native Americans, and others in this country(as well as other parts of the world) throughout history.



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pagansister

posted February 25, 2010 at 10:37 pm


Oh, cknuck, just what information are nnmns and I ignorant of? I had enough indoctrination in my early years, so that statement isn’t accurate in my case.



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cknuck

posted February 26, 2010 at 12:25 am


conversions and indoctrinations? yeah you know what you are talking about.



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pagansister

posted February 26, 2010 at 11:37 am


So you deny, cknuck, that the Native Americans were considered “savages” and needed to leave their wonderful beliefs, that they should be taught about Jesus Christ and the white man’s version of God? OK. That’s fine for you. Won’t go into the Crusades, the Inquistion, and other Holy Wars. Of course those things didn’t happen on American soil…so who cares? Those Pagans in Ireland,and the savages in Africa, needed to become Christianized …after all JC is the answer (yeah, right.) No indoctrination there.
“Yeah you know what you are talking about”. cknuck
Thanks, cknuck, I’m glad you agree.



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pagansister

posted February 26, 2010 at 3:13 pm


As I was writing my previous post, cknuck, I forgot about all those witch hunts right here in the good old USA, Salem and probably a few other places. All in the name of “THE LORD” or whatever! now that certainly was done due to Christianity. Devil and all that stuff. Does that count as a method to force folks into at least saying they were following the teacing of the Bible etc.? I think so.



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cknuck

posted February 26, 2010 at 3:50 pm


pagan why don’t you go even further back in history?



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pagansister

posted February 26, 2010 at 5:02 pm


Sure, cknuck, where would you like me to go next? I could probably find some more examples of “persuasion.” Perhaps the Christian religion hasn’t been all that great after all, huh? It,like all faiths, have histories that no one wants to mention.



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cknuck

posted February 26, 2010 at 8:11 pm


You are kind of slow pagan, the witch hunts and other things you mention is no more than your own little witch hunt and not valid.



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pagansister

posted February 26, 2010 at 9:21 pm


Excuse me, cknuck….you’re now telling me that there were no witch hunts that were carried out by Christians? Right, and the moon landing really didn’t happen! You are loath to admit that your religion isn’t Perfect. None are. But Christians have been known to bump folks off for a lot of reasons. If indeed it wasn’t those with a great love for God, just who did kill by drowning or burning, women who had gifts that folks didn’t understand thus they were evil, or posssed by satan or other nonsense? As to being slow? What’s the expression that children use? “Takes one to know one?” Have a great night!



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cknuck

posted February 27, 2010 at 2:54 am


pagan I merely meant that you are reaching way into the past to justify something of today and you talk about other radicals who find it hard to operate out of today and it is you who are living in the ancient history. Shame is your name.



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pagansister

posted February 27, 2010 at 3:32 pm


Shame is your name. cknuck
Hey! You can rhyme.
As to the past….proves points. You don’t seem to what to accept or deny.
More recent….religious beliefs backing one African country’s law allowing the death of homosexuals. Is that current enough for you?



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cknuck

posted February 28, 2010 at 1:39 am


pagan you are quick to point out separation of government and religion when it serves your agenda but in Uganda it serves your purposes to view them as one. It was the government that wanted to kill homosexuals caught in homosexual acts not the church or Christians. Get your facts right and stop letting your eagerness to hate Christians blur your truth.



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Mordred08

posted February 28, 2010 at 4:39 pm


cknuck: “It was the government that wanted to kill homosexuals caught in homosexual acts not the church or Christians.”
I’m sure it wasn’t a Christian who told them that homosexuality is a sin and that the bible commands that homosexuals be killed (Leviticus 20:13). The big bad government just came up with this whole thing on their own, right?



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pagansister

posted February 28, 2010 at 5:29 pm


Moedred 08: Good point!
cknuck:
Yes, I’m for separation of church and state, but some countries don’t have that. I tend to agree with Mordred…I doubt if the government in Uganda thought of killing/jailing homosexuals without some “conservative Christian” help. (love those missionaries) Most governments in some African and South American countries are just trying to stay in power and not get overthrown. I don’t think that homosexuals are on the top of their list of new laws. (unless they read Hitler’s laws). Do you happen to remember reading the posts recently from a fellow that claimed to be from Uganda? He was ticked off that outsiders were commenting and critizing Uganda’s laws regarding homosexuals. He certainly sounded like he was a conservative Christian.
Back to abstinence: USA needs to not preach any religion when promoting abstinence….one has nothing to do with the other. :o)



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cknuck

posted March 1, 2010 at 12:31 am


pagan and mordred that is your emotional opinion and not fact, you have not idea how it works there, Christianity could be despised there as in many other African nations and if not it certainly is not a religious country like Israel.



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pagansister

posted March 1, 2010 at 11:49 am


Israel??? No, cknuck, it isn’t a religious country like Israel…Israel doesn’t kill homosexuals or jail them!
“….You have no idea how it works there”. cknuck, you do? Why would I need to know how it works there…the fact that they want to kill/jail homosexuals is enough! I still contend that Christianity is involved. The country (pardon the expression) sucks, IMO. Not a vacation destination for sure.



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pagansister

posted March 1, 2010 at 11:52 am


OH, cknuck, Israel also allows openly gay and lesbian people in their military….guess they’ll be going down hill now, huh?



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cknuck

posted March 2, 2010 at 12:09 am


Israel is already downhill pagan,



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pagansister

posted March 2, 2010 at 3:23 pm


You wish, cknuck, you wish! And I suppose it is because they have gays in the military. Whatever floats you boat…



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cknuck

posted March 2, 2010 at 11:59 pm


no its because of a combination of mistakes



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pagansister

posted March 3, 2010 at 12:01 pm


Oh, I see, cknuck. Combination of mistakes.



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