The Religious Right and the Battle Over Sex Education in the United States

Desmond A. D. O'Doherty



Sexuality has a way of inciting polarized debates and dividing public opinion. The Religious Right has been successful in influencing elections and legislation, which has helped them obtain the funding necessary to regulating sex education curricula in the United States. Sex education programs in the United States have been profoundly influenced by certain conservative Christian ideologies that are in support of a heteronormative agenda. Through observing how the Religious Right became involved with sexuality politics and how certain conservative Christians sought to control sex education in the United States, it becomes possible to identify the conservative Christian influence on sex education curricula. This project claims that religion has been utilized as a political tool by certain Christian groups for the purpose of combating supposed sexual immorality in the United States. This conservative Christian ideology has had an immense influence on its sex education curricula resulting in the promotion of a particular kind of heteronormativity that has affected the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) community. Determining the future of sex education in the United States is no easy task, however, through educating American citizens about alternate versions of sex education curricula it is possible to combat the Religious Rights religious and heteronormative ideologies. 


Christian Right; Religious Right; Republican Party; Abstinence-only Sex Education; Comprehensive Sex Education; Sexuality; Christianity; Moral Majority; Fundamentalism; Heteronormativity; Homosexuality

Full Text:


Copyright (c) 2017 Desmond A. D. O'Doherty

SYMPOSIA is a publication of the University of Toronto's
Department for the Study of Religion
Jackman Humanities Bldg
170 St. George St. Third Floor
Toronto, Ontario, M5R 2M8


ISSN 2368-9323


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.