In the classroom, God is more appropriate than safe sex.

Last week, my Public Speaking professor told me that I could not give a persuasive speech urging my class to have safe sex. (The topic of the speech was “a call to action” and all topics must be approved by the professor.) Professor X told me that she did not want to be “morally responsible” for anything my speech might lead to, and compared allowing my speech on safe sex to allowing a speech on how to find the best wines, given to a student who already drinks too much.

Figuring that this analogy was confusing as a result of my recent illness and fatigue, I agreed with her that yes, it was a hard position to be in. Yes, I could do another topic if necessary.

“Why don’t you give a speech on abstinence instead?” she suggested.

I felt defeated. She always told me my topics weren’t good or interesting enough. I didn’t have much time. I yielded. As I walked out of the classroom, it occured to me what had just happened. Instead of advocating safe sex to a classroom of college students, I was now advocating abstinence, for a professor who had implicitly made it clear through the past few months that she was a Christian. I grit my teeth. I had too many other things to do and not enough time to think of a new, acceptable topic. I decided to go with it, and spoke on Monday about the physical and emotional risks of sex, and the benefits of abstinence. I made a B-, which is acceptable, but I still felt upset that I hadn’t stood up for myself more.

(Stay with me here.)

I walked into class today, volunteered to time the speeches for the rest of my classmates, and after a few persuasive speeches on the danger of heart disease and the importance of good oral hygeine, there it was.

A speech about God.

It was a call to action-- to reconcile with God. Student X’s (required) three points were as follows:
[li]God exists[/li][li]God gave us a moral code to follow[/li][li]You need to reconcile with God[/li][/ol]
In five minutes, Student X gave a decent speech that attempted to point out the logical reasons for believing in her three contentions. I learned something I had never learned in my entire Christian upbringing – that when we sin, we become “enemies of God.” That’s a new one on me.

The kicker, to me, was that one of her (required) visual aids was a target (like a bull-eye), which she used to discuss sin. (It didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but that’s what she used.) Her closing sentence was “Do you want to be seen as a target by God, or clothed in his love?”

I suppose I should have seen it coming: that God is more appropriate and legitimate to discuss in class than safe sex. I still wasn’t expecting it though. I feel very frustrated that a topic I find to be perfectly valid to be discussed, a topic that impacts all of us (whether we are having sex currently or not) – was turned down while a personal testimony was considered acceptable.

[Note: I attend a college in a relatively liberal part of a conservative southern state. Public Speaking is a required course for my major/minor and it is too late to withdraw from the class without putting my scholarships in jeopardy. And no, my Professor is not an X-men character, unfortunately-- I chose the label for convenience.]

Wow I’ve never seen a more appropriate username/post combination.

Chin up, we’re working on it. But I agree, safe sex should be taught to everyone. Especially in college - these are adults.


I don’t know where to start–there is too much material here!

Is there any way to go to the Head of the Dept about this poor excuse for a college professor?

Is there any way you could emigrate to New England? It sounds to me like you are surrounded by pod people.

And I would check my back for a target, daily.


I’d be happy to help in any way I can! Where do I sign up? :smiley:

I’m rather inclined to say safe sex shouldn’t be taught in college - these are adults, and they should already have been taught about it, in school.

You should have given a speech on the well-documented ineffectualness of abstinence only sex education.

I disagree. When I pay thousands of dollars for my schooling, I want classes that pertain to my major. I don’t want to hear the same Sex Ed crap I’ve been hearing since I was in 5th grade.

Besides, like you said, these are adults. If they don’t understand safer sex by the time they’re in college, it’s a lost cause.

Anyone you can complain to? I don’t think she should be using her position as a professor to preach her religious beliefs.

What if it isn’t taught in schools? I wasn’t taught how to have safe sex. I had Sex Ed, but it was basically about periods and how babies are gestated. Nothing at all about how condoms, pregnancy, STDs, AIDS. Nothing.

It’s possible, but since she’s been teaching Public Speaking since the 60s, I’m guessing that by now she’s tenured. (She is older, and very traditional and conservative, from what I can tell.) There is very little information about her on the school’s website, (besides that she is part time), probably as a direct result of her ignorance of technology. (We’re forbidden to use electricity in our presentations in any way, because “if it can, electricity will get you!”)

This class would pertain to your major, as it is a required class. The subject of a call to action regarding cafe sex would just be a speech, not a subject taught by the teacher, wasting your thousands of dollars.


That was exactly what I wanted to spend some time on in my originally proposed speech. I have done a lot of research and am very passionate about it-- but was not brave enough to defy her openly and give a speech on an unapproved topic, since I am sure I would have automatically failed.

But infinately entertaining and perhaps informative to all the patrons stopping by for their daily mocha java. :smiley:

If only that were the case! But in the good ol’ USA, any secondary school that tries to teach real sex education—safe sex, birth control, homosexuality, heterosexuality, STDs, AIDS and all the rest of it—is generally slapped down by the local school board and/or irate parents screaming that their precious darlings shouldn’t be taught that sort of thing, as it might encourage them to have Sex (and Before Marriage, too, which is even Worse). And all of us know that if we don’t talk about sex to kids, then the kids won’t know it exists or think about it, so they’ll all remain virgin pure until they’re married.

Right now, the USA federal government will not support any program that teaches a method of birth control or halting the spread of STDs other than abstinence. The amount of ignorance out there is terrifying.

Did she say you had to give the speech in favor of abstinence, or just “on the subject of abstinence?” Because if it’s the latter, a speech entitled, say, “Why we must oppose absitenece-only education in our schools” would be on-topic, and would not necessitate any mention of alternate methods of disease and pregnancy prevention.

Damn those liberal college professors!

Well, I have to say I agree with the OP’s premise: in a classroom, God (assuming he/she/it exists) definitely would be more appropriate than safe sex.

Talking about safe sex, however, is IMO at least as appropriate in a classroom setting as talking about God. :smiley: And I agree that your prof has a real nerve thinking that outright religious proselytizing is an acceptable topic for a Public Speaking demo while an advocacy speech on a tremendously important public health issue is not.

SFT: * Professor X told me that she did not want to be “morally responsible” for anything my speech might lead to*

I hope the old bitch keeps that in mind if any of her little “approved-topic” fire-and-brimstone classroom evangelists ever scares a depressed classmate into a suicide attempt with their talk of sin making you “an enemy of God” and “a target for God”. Fucking rank hypocrisy.

So, follow the professor’s dictates and do a ‘call to action’ speech on abstinence. The call to action here should be to shitcan it.

  1. Abstinence is a valid method of birth control.
  2. It doesn’t work very well though.
  3. Because of its high failure rate, emphasis for sex education should be on safe sex and not on abstinence.

You can equate failure to abstain with torn condoms or diaphrams; these failures don’t necessarily lead to pregnancy or STD’s, but the likelihood of the same is higher without any protection at all. That, and the fact that every failure to abstain and use safe practices is a failure.

This speech is about abstinence, not about safe sex.

Try it. Record it. Turn over a copy of the recording to the administration with a statement of what the professor told you about your desire to do a speech on safe sex if there is any problem. BTW, a lower than expected grade such as a C is something that I would consider de minimus and you’d probably be better off leaving it alone. An F would be an entirely different matter though.


Wow. I’m on the other side of the US, here at Virginia Tech, but I had a very similar experience. I am now going to give you the one most important piece of advice that I learned my freshman year at Va Tech:

Lie to teachers.

Now, I should qualify that. I’ve had a large number of passionate, intelligent professors, who are perfectly willing to brook disagreement with their personal views. I’ve also had a bunch of tin-pot dictators who were not competent to educate dirt.

Once you have identified a teacher as one of the second category, any moral obligation you might feel to be honest should be suspended. The teacher is not playing by the normal rules; neither should you. I had a great deal of fun twisting my original position on stem cell research into a teacher-approved one. At the end of the year, when my grade was locked in and we were giving the ceremonial speeches, I formally thanked my dark lord Satan for my success in this class, at length.

Basically: from the sounds of it, the simplest thing to do would be to smile, nod, and twist the facts however you need to to make them say what she wants you to say. If you decide to take the path of integrity, and give a true, valid speech, regardless of what you think the teacher will think, I commend you, and hope you are sucessful.

In favor of, or advocating it. She may have said “until marriage” but I can’t remember.