Dr David Satcher was the nation’s Surgeon General during the Clinton administration and is now at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta where he heads the Satcher Health Leadership Institute and the Center of Excellence for Sexual Health. In 2001 Dr Satcher issued a remarkable Call to Action to Promote Sexual Health and Responsible Sexual Behavior. This Call to Action recognized that sexuality and religion are profoundly intertwined in the U.S. Religious institutions are critical to public understanding of sexuality and sexual health and how these things are essential to a person’s mental, spiritual, physical and relational health. We are not a sexually mature nation. This is partly why 19 million Americans annually are infected with sexually transmitted diseases (STD); 1 In 4 teenagers have an STD which can lead to grave complications and infertility; 1.1 million are infected with HIV; 1 in 4 teenagers are victims of sexual abuse.
I know from personal experience over the past 16 years working in Georgia through my organization, the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (G-CAPP), that adults are not trained in these matters. Parents, ministers, teachers, rabbis, the very adults youngsters should be able to go to for guidance and answers to questions about sexuality, are clueless for the most part.
My friend, Baptist minister Rev Bill Stayton, was unable to answer the complex questions about sexuality that his parishioners asked him and so —early in his ministry–he did something very unusual for a minister, he became a therapist in family life and sex education and was a founder of The Center for Religion and Sexuality. Several years ago, Dr Satcher invited Rev Stayton to move the Institute to Morehouse School of Medicine.
Last night’s fundraiser was to support the endowed Chair in Sexuality and Religion at Morehouse, a position that will provide national and international leadership for sexual health and religion. There were many fascinating people who toil in this same vineyard: a catholic priest, a rabbi, sex therapists, teachers, politicians. Dr Linda Mona, for instance, is a clinical psychologist for the Department of Veteran Affairs at the Long Beach VA hospital. She provides services for the Spinal Cord Injury Service and told me that a good part of her work addresses issues of sexual dysfunction experienced by returning veterans. I was proud when she told me how useful my film, “Coming Home,” is in her work with veterans. James Griffin Jr, also at Morehouse School of Medicine, was there and commented on the fine program created by the Jane Fonda Center, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to stop dating violence. If you are interested in knowing more about all the amazing programs, trainings and curricula we have created, I encourage you to look at the Jane Fonda Center website which you can access on the front page of this blog or by clicking here. And, check out G-CAPP’s website. We are working in school districts in many parts of Georgia helping schools choose the appropriate health and sexuality curricula for their needs and training teachers in how to present these curricula. G-CAPP is the non-profit that will benefit from The First Annual World Fitness Day on May 1st.
Interesting work Jane,
Your so right, we are a nation without learning and we have payed the price. As a child development specialist and educatior and education media specialsit , I have had that experience of lack of information and willingness to use it. I did post this book at Twitter The Sex Side of Life
An Explanation for Young People
by Mary Dennett is was Published:1919. Mary Coffin Ware Dennett (April 4, 1872 – July 25, 1947) was an American birth control activist and pacifist.She formed the Voluntary Parenthood League and the group lobbied until 1926 for a bill that would exempt birth control information and materials from federal censorship laws. You can get more on Mary Dennett , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Dennett , would make a good movie.the free ebook The Sex Side of Life by Mary Dennett – Free eBook: http://bit.ly/blYoJi
I think it’s so wonderful that you talk about how intertwined religion and sexuality are in (North) American culture – and how the consequence is sexual immaturity.
We need voices like yours to help ‘keep it real’.
Keep up the good work.
(Rev.) Brad Newcombe
America has been well-served by it’s Surgeon Generals, especially on the issue of smoking. Thanks for sharing this important story.
Jane, may I please share my blog post here where I personally thank Dr. David Satcher and out other Surgeon Generals for work they did that saved my life? Here it is: http://tinyurl.com/yb3t5sy
Thank you for championing this wonderful cause. I had not met the fantastic Dr. David Satcher until that evening.
Mary was thrilled to meet you—and to have her photo taken with you. And I was delighted to finally meet you. For years (decades???—we were born, I think, in the same year)I have admired you and applauded your values and your courage—your energy for justice and for peace and for rational, sane living. The inspirational work you are doing with young people in pregnancy prevention is so terribly important.
I’ve had email contact with our amazing friend Jane Olson—and mentioned having met you.
Jane was with us in Malawi helping in our rural village women’s empowerment and village orphan care work Mary and I do as volunteers with the Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance.(www.thegaia.org)
Too long to tell now, but one day you must hear the story of compassion and courage when Jane’s blood type was the right blood type for a woman bleeding out after childbirth, in a rural Malawi hospital where I worked. Knowing Jane, you will be right in the way you fill in the blanks in this story.
I also have this information for you about the Annual UNION STATION Dinner when Rev, George Regas and his wife Mary will be honored.George has been my spiritual mentor, a man of integrity and courage who has given us all lessons and modeling (as you have) about speaking out for truth and justice and peace—with a loud and powerful and eloquent voice.
A PLACE TO CALL HOME
A Benefit for Union Station Homeless Services
On Saturday, May 22, 2010, actress Jane Kaczmarek will host 300 Union Station supporters for our A Place to Call Home benefit at The California Club in Los Angeles.
The celebration honors the contributions of George Frank Regas and Mary McCaslin Regas and Gene and Mindy Stein to Union Station’s work.
View the event Fact Sheet or the Save the Date postcard.
Please call our Development Office at 626.240.4557 to receive an invitation to the event.
It would be wonderful if you could make it.
Let me or Jane Olson know if we can facilitate that in any way. Union Station is a place that works miracles through compassion and commitment.
Thank you again for all you do to make this world a better place, a more peaceful place where the needs of everyone are held as equally important.
Unfortunately, Don, I leave for New York the 21st. So sorry to have to miss this for George. Give him my love. xx jane3
I know that George Regas and the good folks at Union Station will be disappointed that you are not around for this event—but George will be delighted to hear from you.
You may view our segment of the Union Station event, currently on the homepage of http://www.culturaldiplomat.com.
I feel the parents have a right to teach their children the way they want to about sex and birth control. I dont care who else interferes with it, a child will get pregnant if they want to have sex. Teaching them and them being responsible are two different things to me. I think teaching them responsibility to begin with is the answer. If you skip that step then you have problems with over sexed kids. If they are responsible before they hit that sex stage, you should be ok.
I formerly worked for the State of Ga. in Dev. Disabilities and Behavioral Health and have been in non profit Exec. Dir. positions there and now in Naples, Fl. for at risk youth aged 12-18 and a foster home for pregnant teens. I’ve seen a lot of issues first hand and wanted you to know that I appreciate your work!
I came upon your website while getting to know my new friends. I met the Rev. and Dr. Mona at the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes this week, where we were all speakers. I can’t tell you what a joy it was to be in the room with them and Lou Paget. These wounded Vets and their wives got more out of that breakout session then most any other part of the conference. Sex not only creates new life…it saves lives! Would love to tell you what we’re collaborating to do online and your involvement would be fantastic. Email if you are interested in learning more?
Blessings to you and your’s this holiday season!