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U.S. News

Church's Sex Education Campaign Stirs Calls, Controversy: Flashy Ads Aimed at Young People

May 7, 2010

A Christianity-inspired sex education campaign sponsored by a local mega-church known for edgy advertising aims to capture the attention of teens by addressing what concerns them. The campaign uses billboards, TV spots and other outreach to drive students to the Web site and encourage them to attend two seminars at the nondenominational CedarCreek Church.

Church officials said a key goal is to create buzz around the campaign. "We're getting more talk and more concern and more inquiries from this campaign than from anything else we've ever done," said Steven Whitlow, student ministries director for the Perrysburg campus. Some respondents are supportive, while others consider it inappropriate, he said.

According to Whitlow, a high percentage of teens engage in sex and even more are exposed to sexualized messages in popular culture, so churches need to address the topic to stay relevant to youths.

At the seminars, entitled "Sex is bigger than you think" and "Messing up to making up," speakers discuss sex from God's perspective. "You can only best understand sexuality when you have a healthy Biblical view of who God is," said CedarCreek's Ben Snyder.

The campaign is getting mixed reaction from the faith community. "They do a great job advertising, and I would imagine this program's going to be pretty good," said the Rev. Russ Merrin of Monclova Road Baptist Church. "I think what CederCreek is trying to do is find an appropriate place to talk about sex with their people," said Daniel Bellavia, senior pastor at First Baptist of Greater Toledo.

The Rev. Andrew Edwards, pastor of Northwest Baptist Church in Toledo, voiced strong opposition to the campaign. "What they're using is the sensual, not the spiritual," he said. "They're just using it to market to teenagers."

Back to other news for May 2010

Adapted from:
The Blade (Toledo)
04.22.2010; Claudia Boyd-Barrett

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
More on HIV Prevention in Young People


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