A prominent atheist organization has sent complaint letters to a number of school districts in Missouri over the use of a sex education curriculum provided by a faith-based group called Thrive.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has sent the complaint letters to Missouri school districts last week after it was informed by one of its members that Thrive has been teaching sex education in local schools, Christian News Network reported.
Thrive, a religious pro-life organization, runs several crisis pregnancy centers near St. Louis, including a mobile facility that offers free or low-cost services such as pregnancy testing and ultrasounds.
In its letter, the atheist organization urged the school districts to discontinue its use of Thrive, saying it is a Christian organization that intends to share the gospel with clients.
The FFRF noted that Thrive does not offer abortion referrals or birth control, and it also took issue with the pro-life group's abstinence curriculum.
"The Thrive sex education curriculum, which it calls 'Best Choice,' consists of little more than scare tactics and shaming students who choose to have sex," the atheist group stated.
"The program's activities suggest that sexually active teens are dirty, particularly those who have had more than one partner, suggesting that virtually all of them will contract an STD while apparently offering no information that any activity other than total abstinence can decrease the chance of pregnancy or contracting an STD," it continued.
The FFRF also complained that Thrive only hires Christians, which it perceived as a form of discrimination.
The atheist group expressed its concern that Thrive would promote Christianity to its students, given its "religious mission" regarding sex and pregnancy as well as its requirement that its employees be practicing Christians.
The FFRF asked the schools not to allow Thrive to teach sex education and suggested that the districts use sex education instructors or curriculum designers who are medical professionals and not members of a faith-based organization.
Reports have indicated that a few districts in the St. Louis area have already dropped Thrive after complaints from a handful of parents.
The parents have expressed concern that Thrive's Best Choice program focuses mostly on abstinence and does not provide enough education about safe sex practices.
Bridget Van Means, president of Thrive, asserted that the organization is being discriminated against because of its faith.
"These individuals have started, from the beginning, assuming that because we are faith-based, we have no place in schools. Discrimination and prejudice cuts both ways," she said.