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Sex Talk in Schools

Aired December 2, 2004 - 16:30   ET


ANNOUNCER: CROSSFIRE. On the left, James Carville and Paul Begala; on the right, Robert Novak and Tucker Carlson.

In the CROSSFIRE: sex, lies and abstinence? Teaching teens about saying no to sex. A new report says some federally funded abstinence- only programs are selling our kids a phony bill of goods.

And a special guest host on the right. CROSSFIRE's James Carville faces off today with a new adversary.



ANNOUNCER: Live from the George Washington University, James Carville and, sitting in on the right, the Reverend Jerry Falwell.


Now I have heard it all. A new report says that federally funded programs promoting abstinence-only education are based our children lies and mistruths. While President Bush is no stranger to telling half-truth, he continues to throw more money at abstinence programs and ignores the fact that he's leaving children unprepared to deal with the real world.

I need to catch my breath before I hash out with one of today's special guest hosts on the right and welcome to our show the Reverend Jerry Falwell, president of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Welcome to the show.



CARVILLE: Reverend Falwell.

And we have a lot of students from (INAUDIBLE) Liberty University here today also.

Right now, the best little political briefing in television, our CROSSFIRE "Political Alert."

Remember when Dick Cheney said on "Meet the Press" that U.S. troops in Iraq would be greeted with roses and Paul Wolfowitz told the Congress he was certain that we would be greeted as liberators? Remember during the campaign, we were told about how well things were going on Iraq and how freedom was on the march.

Now we find out the truth. The only thing marching in Iraq will be about 12,000 more U.S. troops over the 138,000 we have already got there. Hats off to retired Army Colonel Paul Acula (ph), former adviser to the Iraqi Defense Ministry, who said -- quote -- "Plan a, what the U.S. actually did, failed, and plan B, the adaptation since the end of major combat, has not worked either."

And I can assure you they don't have the foggiest idea what plan C is. Why don't they just tell us the truth, that they have messed this thing up beyond recognition or repair?


FALWELL: Well, James, President Bush, because of him, three million Afghan women voted already this year for the first time in their lives.

CARVILLE: Right. Right. Great.

FALWELL: At the end of January, millions of Iraqi women and men will vote for the first time in their lives.

CARVILLE: Right. Right.

FALWELL: And if left to finish the job, I believe that, in reasonable time, that region of the world will know something about democracy it doesn't know now, thanks to George Bush.



CARVILLE: Why are we already there for so long and we need more and more troops if it's going so well?

FALWELL: Well, it's going -- it's going -- I think it is going well. You know, CNN does not always get it right, but it goes pretty well if you watch it on Fox.


CARVILLE: It's going so well, we have got to send more troops over there. Everybody must be -- it must be really going well.

OK. Go ahead.


FALWELL: The United Church of Christ has launched a controversial new ad campaign.

It depicts a bouncer at the door of a church turning away a young black girl, a Hispanic man, a person in a wheelchair and a same-sex couple. The message is that the Church of Christ denies entry to no one, not even those whose very lifestyle is a sin against God. NBC and CBS are rejecting this spot. I'm not sure why the networks refuse to air the ads.

But one thing is clear. The United Church of Christ is making two statements. One, everyone is welcome to attend the Church of Christ, which hopefully is true in every church in America, though I doubt that it's true. And certainly it is at Thomas Road Church in Lynchburg.

And, No. 2, that a same-sex couple is a bona fide minority so ordained by God and to be equated with ethnic minorities and the handicapped, which I do not believe is true. I don't believe that heterosexuals who are promiscuous or homosexuals should be rewarded for their misbehavior, but they should be, should be invited to, allowed into church and preached the Gospel to.


CARVILLE: Well, then you agree with -- that they should have run the ad.

FALWELL: Well, I think they should have run the ad, because I got one I want to run tomorrow.


FALWELL: And if they run the United Church of Christ ad, I get mine in.

CARVILLE: Right. But Jesus, he would spend a lot of times with sinners, didn't he?


FALWELL: That's what church is all about. We have a home for unwed mothers. We have a hospice for people with AIDS. We work with the poor. I'm for all those things. It's just, the United Church of Christ believes that gay is OK...


CARVILLE: OK, well, let's continue with the religion theme.

Remember how the University of Notre Dame used to lecture others about how they were morally superior to other universities and that they stood for something above and beyond what those of us that did not go to Notre Dame did. Ty Willingham, the former head coach of Notre Dame who had two years on his contract and by Notre Dame's own admission was producing higher quality human beings than ever before produced in the Notre Dame football program, was summarily fired for only one reason. He didn't win enough football games.

He actually won more than he lost. I'm reminded of the great line in "The Godfather II," when Michael Corleone told a fictional Nevada senator -- and I quote -- "We are all part of the same hypocrisy, Senator." Welcome to the hypocrisy of win-at-any-cost college athletics, a passion which I wholeheartedly embrace. And I'm also for LSU head coach Nick Saban's $3 million contract because he's 20-3 over the last two years.

So, Notre Dame, shut your mouth on any morally superior argument, because the truth of the matter is, everyone associated with that university would slap their grandma to win a football game.


FALWELL: Well, I have a hard time arguing with you, because I happen to be a fan of Ty Willingham. But there are only two kinds of coaches in America, those who just got fired or who are about to be fired. That is the vocation.


CARVILLE: I agree completely.


CARVILLE: All I'm saying is, I don't want to hear anybody from the University of Notre Dame saying that they are any better or any different than anybody else. They are the same as all of us, win at any cost, to hell with the contract, to hell with the graduation rate, to hell with the quality of kids that you are producing there. That's the nature of big-time college athletics. I understand it.

And, to some extent, I embrace it, although I have to say, coach Saban, he has actually done a lot better with our graduation rate at LSU and is winning a hell of a lot of football games.

Please stay, coach Saban. We'll pay you anything, man.


FALWELL: Once again political correctness has run amuck in our public schools. And once again, God gets the short end of the stick.

A high school principal in Athens, Georgia, has apologized for a poem he read over the intercom before the Thanksgiving break. Tommy Craft said he meant to promote thought, not religion, among his students when he read the new school prayer. The rhyme mentions that students may study witchcraft and totem polls in school, but the Ten Commandments are not allowed. Parents complained that Craft violated the principle, the nonexistent principle of separation church and state.

So Principal Craft had to take it back. Did I say God got the short straw? Now that I think about it, it's our children who are really losing out when they are barred from even contemplating ideas that smack of spirituality. Isn't diversity of thought the whole idea behind learning?

(APPLAUSE) CARVILLE: Well, I don't -- again, I don't know that anybody can't -- I don't know that anybody can't teach. I don't know what -- what does a totem pole got to do with anything? I say go and teach totem poles all the way.

FALWELL: I teach the children massive, massive resistance. If you want to pray, pray out loud. They can't put everybody...


CARVILLE: What does a totem pole got to do with anything?


FALWELL: Well, I was just thinking of...



FALWELL: ... and thinking of witchcraft.

CARVILLE: Does a totem pole -- I'm serious. It all beats me.

FALWELL: It's just a part of the...


CARVILLE: All right. OK. The totem pole is part of the liberal eastern establishment.

FALWELL: It could be.

CARVILLE: News to me.

FALWELL: It could be.

CARVILLE: Are your tax dollars being spent to teach our children about sex or to mislead them with myths? Coming up on CROSSFIRE, I will take our guest host to school and teach him just to say no to what the government is peddling.

And later, the president and first lady at the Mall in Washington for the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. CNN will have live coverage of this historic event.

ANNOUNCER: Join Carville, Begala, Carlson and Novak in the CROSSFIRE. For free tickets to CROSSFIRE at the George Washington University, call 202-994-8CNN or visit our Web site. Now you can step into the CROSSFIRE.



CARVILLE: A new federal report says federally-funded sex education programs are telling our children that abortion leads to suicide, that AIDS is transmitted through tears, and that masturbation can result in pregnancy. Do you believe it? Are our tax dollars going to raise a generation of ignorant boobs?

Joining us in the CROSSFIRE, conservative commentator and Republican strategist Genevieve Wood and Patricia Ireland, former president of the National Organization for Women.


FALWELL: Patricia, if -- if we have no problem telling our children no violence, no knives, no guns in school, no alcohol, drugs, tobacco, why is it so ridiculous to tell them no sex before marriage?

PATRICIA IRELAND, FORMER NOW PRESIDENT: I don't think it's ridiculous at all to tell them about abstinence and to encourage it.

But all the scientific studies show that abstinence and information about contraception and prevention of STD is what is most effective in reducing the pregnancy rate of teenage girls and in postponing their sexual activity.

FALWELL: Well, for example, Planned Parenthood is in most of our schools, and they have condoms to pass out to middle school and high school kids. Isn't that sort of like passing out cookbooks at a fat farm?


IRELAND: Well, let me just say I don't think that actual sex education that educates people about sex -- now, there's a novel idea -- is any more likely to make them have sex than giving them driver's education is to make them crash their cars.

If they are going to learn to control their sex drives, which are very strong at that age, they have got to have complete information. And I want them to trust the people who are giving them the information. If they are told, hey, 50 percent of the time, condoms fail and then they find out it's actually only 3 percent, what are they going to think? Their teacher is lying to them.

FALWELL: Three percent is a lot, isn't it?

IRELAND: Yes. But their teacher is lying if they are saying 50 percent. So why would they believe anything?

FALWELL: They will say they are lying also if they say a condom is safe.

IRELAND: Well, it's not...

FALWELL: A condom is not safe.

IRELAND: Well, it's safe 97 percent of the time.

FALWELL: You know, at Liberty University, we just tell them no sex period until you get married.

CARVILLE: Well, I'll tell you what. Right.

Well, you know, one of the things that I would like to see instituted is, no one can preach abstinence unless they practice it themselves. But that's for another discussion here.

One of the things that they teach is, is that you can get pregnant through masturbation. I don't know how to say this, but it's something I have some familiarity with.


CARVILLE: And I have never gotten pregnant.


CARVILLE: I have never known anybody to get pregnant through masturbation.


GENEVIEVE WOOD, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Well, James, I frankly think it's a waste of time to spend time on this show trying to debate mis -- half-truths, misleading information, which is exactly what the Waxman report is. Let's be clear.


CARVILLE: But you can't get pregnant through masturbation, can you?

WOOD: Well, hold on. Well, hold on.

Look, everything in that report that Waxman put out there is taken out of context.


WOOD: I have spoken to people who have talked to all the individuals who do those programs in the schools. They say it's -- they are lying about some of the things they say and much of it are mistruths. Waxman has an agenda. Come on. Waxman...

CARVILLE: Can we agree that masturbation does not cause pregnancy, just -- it's simple enough. Yes or no?

WOOD: I'm not going to debate that thing -- no, I'm not talking going to talk -- that's not what this is about.

CARVILLE: Well, can you...

WOOD: That's not what this is about. What this is about is a political agenda.

(CROSSTALK) CARVILLE: Why are you going tell kids that they can get -- why do you lie to kids?

WOOD: Why is it, for 30 years, the -- quote, unquote -- "comprehensive sex-ed movement," those who want to pass out condoms in schools, for 30 years, have gotten all the federal dollars? They have had 30 years in the classrooms having their way with our kids. What's happened from that? Sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers have skyrocketed.



CARVILLE: Teenage pregnancies are down. Teenage pregnancies are down. Actually, it's working. I don't know how to tell you this, but it's working.

WOOD: Pregnancies are down.


WOOD: But STDs have skyrocketed, which shows you, yes, condoms may help...

CARVILLE: Well, can you catch an STD through masturbation?

WOOD: In some cases, yes. Hold on, James.

CARVILLE: Would you like to teach people not to masturbate? Is that -- what is that, the agenda? You want to teach them that with creationism and all that other nutty stuff you got?

WOOD: I think we ought to be giving our kids the full truth. And for 30 years, the establishment in this country has not been doing that. You've been passing out condoms, saying you're going to be safe.


CARVILLE: So we should lie to them.

WOOD: You've been lying for 30 years.

CARVILLE: We should tell them that condoms can't work and that they can get pregnant through masturbation and all that other goofy stuff?

WOOD: James, well, maybe you don't care about this because you are a man.

CARVILLE: I don't care if they masturbate. They're going to do it anyway, whether I tell them to or not.

WOOD: Maybe you don't care about this because you are a man, but the HPV virus, which is the leading cause of cervical cancer in this country, you are not protected from that by a condom. That hurts a lot of women in this country. And when you tell teenage girls that, using a condom, being with a boyfriend who uses a condom is going to keep them safe, that's a lie. And you guys have to own up to that.

CARVILLE: I'm all for telling people the truth.

FALWELL: Patricia, let me tell you why I believe we ought to teach abstinence in the schools.

I believe that, first of all, what James said earlier is right. Godly parents ought to practice abstinence outside the marriage bond, ought to teach it to their children. They ought to also hear it from the pastor and the Sunday school teacher at the church. They ought to also hear it at the school from the schoolteacher and the counselor. They ought to also hear a little of it on television and from Hollywood, that the only way to guarantee no teen pregnancy, no pregnancy -- here, I'm agreeing with James -- is no sex outside of marriage.

And whether it's premarital or extramarital, God's plan is still the best plan. Why is it such a silly thing that George Bush wants to teach the millions of boys and girls of this country in the school, augmented at home in the church and in the community, that all sex outside marriage is wrong, wrong, wrong?

IRELAND: Well, the Bush administration...


IRELAND: There's nothing wrong with wanting to teach abstinence in the schools. It's wrong to teach abstinence only, just as it was wrong for the Bush administration to take down accurate information from the government Web sites that showed, for instance, that abortion is not tied to a higher rate of breast cancer, that effective sex education programs include not only abstinence, but also comprehensive...

FALWELL: Well, let me shock you and tell you that I would not be opposed to comprehensive sex education in the public schools at the proper age level and the proper age presentation, if a value system is presented alongside that. Anatomy, sexual activity, the process of reproduction, that's all -- for me, that's fine. I have no problem with sex education if we teach them that...

IRELAND: Is there a question here?


FALWELL: Yes. The question is -- I'm going to ask you in a moment if you disagree. I realize that you disagree, because you once were president of NOW, and that is their main thing. But I want to ask you, what is wrong, what is wrong with teaching young people the facts with also a value system alongside saying, don't do it?

IRELAND: Well, I think that's fine. And, as I say, I don't oppose abstinence programs, but only abstinence-only. And why? Because the kids who take a virginity pledge, for instance, 88 percent of them end up having premarital sex.


IRELAND: You can't put your -- 88 percent of the kids who take premarital virginity...


IRELAND: I want to finish. And I'm going to tell you...

FALWELL: And I'm going to tell you, we do our polls, and that is not true.

IRELAND: Yes, well, you don't keep after them until they're married. And I will tell you that 88 percent of them break their vow.

FALWELL: I do...


FALWELL: I've been pastoring them for 49 years. And I say that from 49 years.


IRELAND: Wait a minute. I'm just telling you that -- and I am going to tell you also that the...


CARVILLE: Who was abstinent for 49 years?

FALWELL: And I've been chancellor 34 years at Liberty University.



CARVILLE: Let me ask you, in all honesty, do you really believe that your student body is abstinent out there?

FALWELL: No, but I'll tell you what. They're far more abstinent than they would be if I didn't teach it properly and our teachers and our...


WOOD: And the fact is, look, if you guys were really -- if you are so sure that your side is right on this, why don't you want to have a level playing field? The fact is nonabstinence teaching programs, those that pass out condoms...

CARVILLE: They don't teach people facts.


WOOD: ... government funding. They get a majority of it.

CARVILLE: You don't lie. Genevieve, Genevieve, you don't lie to kids. You don't get kids by lying to them.

WOOD: Who is lying?

CARVILLE: Of course you lie.

WOOD: Who is lying?

CARVILLE: And when you are tell them that they can get pregnant by masturbation, when you tell them that half the homosexual males under 18 are HIV positive -- you are lying when you tell them that condoms fail 50 percent of the time.


WOOD: But, James, you are not looking at these studies.

CARVILLE: You know what? I'm telling a young person, you can not get pregnant if you don't have intercourse. I promise you that. If you...



WOOD: If you really care, why don't you ask for a real government study on this?

CARVILLE: Because we are for the truth. You all want to lie to people, like you all want to lie to them about Iraq, you all want to lie to them about sex.


CARVILLE: You are not going to get young people to -- you are not going to get young people to believe them by telling them they will get pregnant from masturbation.



FALWELL: James, having been married 47 years to the same woman and having never touched another woman except my wife, Macel, and my wife having never touched another man in 47 years, I can tell you that is the best deal. And that's the deal we ought to be teaching. our kids .



CARVILLE: That's wonderful. And I grew up in a house with eight brothers and sisters.

But you know what? I got married when I was 49. I hate to say this. But I ain't going to -- I want to teach people the facts. You are not going to get people to do something by lying to them, which you all want, what Bush and them want to do.


CARVILLE: If abstinence is so good, why didn't he practice is?


WOOD: James, why don't you pay for the facts? Why don't you get a real government study to look at our program?


WOOD: Hold on. Henry Waxman is a liberal. Henry Waxman is a liberal Democrat.


IRELAND: The government study was changed. They changed the terms. They changed the terms of measurement. They said we don't need to look at behavior. Just look at attendance.


CARVILLE: I don't need Henry Waxman to tell me you can't get pregnant through masturbation. I know that.


FALWELL: James, that's not the issue. You are riding that one to death.



FALWELL: If somebody said that, they're idiots.

CARVILLE: Well, of course they're idiots.

FALWELL: And we will discount that immediately.


CARVILLE: All right. I'm sorry, guys. I'm getting...


CARVILLE: Up next, in "Rapid Fire," we will ask why conservatives never seem to practice what they preach.

And, after the break, Wolf Blitzer reports on a possible break in a decades-old serial murder case.

You are looking at a live picture of the Mall here in Washington. We are awaiting the president's arrival for the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. We will take you there live when it happens.



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

Coming up at the top of the hour, new violence across Iraq casting fresh doubt on the security of scheduled January elections. President Bush weighing in. So do four U.S. senators who have gotten a firsthand look.

Also, a new treatment for low sex drive in women, why some are urging caution over the patch.

And a possible break in a serial killer case dating back 30 years.

All those stories, plus live coverage of the president lighting the National Christmas Tree, only minutes away on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS."

Now back to CROSSFIRE.

CARVILLE: It's time for "Rapid Fire," where we ask questions faster than right-wingers can replace sex education with scare tactics.

Our guests today are Genevieve Wood, Republican strategist, conservative -- and conservative commentator, and former National Organization for Women president Patricia Ireland.

We are both very grateful you all would be here, very knowledgeable guests.

And we also want to again welcome Reverend Falwell to the set of CROSSFIRE.

Have at it.

FALWELL: And, Patricia, quick question.


FALWELL: Would you object to a public school teacher teaching comprehensive sex ed and telling them reserve sex for marriage?

IRELAND: I would not object at all. What I object to is, for example, government studies that take away any measurement of whether the sex education program reduces pregnancy, reduces sexual activity, which is what happened under the Bush administration.

CARVILLE: One of the things that we are taught is that men are defined -- success by men is defined by what they accomplish in life and working. Success for women is defined by success in relationships. Isn't that a bunch of bunk to be teaching females this age?


WOOD: I think you have to look at the full evidence to know what is being taught and what is not being taught.


WOOD: And, James, the reason Democrats lost this last election...


WOOD: And this here is a place to take a note -- is because -- quote, unquote -- "values voters," more and more parents out there care about what their children are being taught in schools.



CARVILLE: If I've got to lie to kids to win an election, I ain't going to do it.

WOOD: You're not -- no.


CARVILLE: I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to do what you all do, go out there and lie and tell people something that is not true. And you know what? It is going to catch up with you.


CARVILLE: You want to tell young girls that they are defined by success in relationships when boys are defined by something else?


IRELAND: Should we just go off some place and have coffee?

WOOD: I'll go with you.

FALWELL: Patricia.

WOOD: Hey, look, if you want to keep running from the truth, you are going to keep losing elections. Parents are willing to teach abstinence education, even when...


IRELAND: That's the longest short answer I've ever heard.


FALWELL: With three children and eight grandchildren, my wife and I, 47 years of marriage, teach them, don't do it until you get married. The Sunday school teacher teaches them that. And they go to a Christian school and they hear that and hear it every day.


FALWELL: Don't you think kids can obey instruction today, like in yesteryear?

IRELAND: I think that kids have incredible sex drives.


IRELAND: Did that ring the bell? And that means that's the end of it?

CARVILLE: OK. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. We have got to go.

Thank you all so much for coming on the show.

IRELAND: My pleasure.

CARVILLE: Since it's the season for giving, I will tell you one thing that Reverend Falwell and I can agree on.

That's next on CROSSFIRE.


CARVILLE: As we speak, President Bush and first lady Laura Bush are arriving at the Mall for the annual ceremony to light the National Christmas Tree. CNN is covering the festivities and we'll be there when they flip the switch on the tree.

There's at least one thing that Reverend Falwell and I can agree on, and that's wishing all of you a happy holidays.

From the left, I'm James Carville. And that's it for CROSSFIRE.

FALWELL: And from the right, Jerry Falwell.

Now to the Christmas tree. And merry Christmas.



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