The Education of Shelby Knox

Two years ago I wrote about watching the documentary Texas Teenage Virgins. One of the comments on that post recommended The Education of Shelby Knox as another good documentary on the same topic. Last night it was shown on ITV4 so I watched it.

It’s set in Lubbock, the same Texas town as the previous documentary, and tells the story of Shelby Knox. Although Knox is a committed christian (and it’s hard to see how anyone growing up in Lubbock could not become a christian) and although she has personally signed the “true love waits” chastity pledge she still believes that teenagers in Lubbock are entitled to a reasonable level of sex education. This doesn’t go down well in Lubbock where the official sex education policy is just to teach abstinence. This shortsighted policy has lead to Lubbock having one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the USA.

One of the most interesting parts of the film is the truely astounding level of ignorance shown by Lubbock teenagers when discussing sexual matters. In one case a girl claims that gays never live beyond the age of forty. The source of a lot of this misinformation is local minister Ed Ainsworth who we see running prayer meetings for teens where he tells them the most incredible lies about sex in order to scare them aware. In one scene we see him telling a meeting that a sexually transmitted disease can be caught by shaking hands.

After watching this documentary, you should watch the second part of Richard Dawkin’s The Root of All Evil? where he describes religion as a virus. It’s clear to me that children should be kept away from any kind of religious influence until they are old enough to make rational and informed decisions about whether or not they want to get involved in the religion. It’s only by effectively brainwashing children at a young age that religions continue to gain followers.

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