Sunday, May 29, 2016

COGIC Delivers & Withdraws Comprehensive Sexual Education To Youth


Updated 6/6/2016: READ The COGIC Response To This Issue HERE


Yes, you read the headline correctly. The Church Of God In Christ, otherwise known as "COGIC", the largest organized Pentecostal/Holiness church in the United States primarily led by Black ministers and leaders, was at least until recently, offering through the National Youth Department, comprehensive sex education in what was called the "Young Men Of Valor Training Manual" (with a creepy cover to the right). 

Since many individuals don't know the difference between or how to identify various sex education programs, please allow me to define what is meant by a comprehensive sex education program. Advocates For Youth.org defines a comprehensive sex education program in the following manner: 
"Comprehensive Sex Education teaches about abstinence as the best method for avoiding STDs and unintended pregnancy, but also teaches about condoms and contraception to reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy and of infection with STDs, including HIV. It also teaches interpersonal and communication skills and helps young people explore their own values, goals, and options."
Careful attention to the part about helping young people "explore their own values, goals, and options." is the defining feature of the sexual health information that was placed into the Young Men Of Valor manual. Providing comprehensive sexual education seems to be EXACTLY what this program was designed to do at least in the sexual health section.

To be clear, COGIC has since removed the manual and produced a statement dated May 24th, 2016 as follows:

However, according to additional REPORTS from Dr. Earl Carter, who seems to have first examined this issue, COGIC has since distanced itself from the publication with all leaders claiming that they did not know what was being printed and delivered to our youth through the International Youth Department Manual.   
"If you do decide to have sex, you should: Use condoms 100% of the time. You need to make sure that you use a new latex condom (or dental dam) correctly every time you have oral, anal or vaginal sex. If you're allergic to latex, use a polyurethane male or female condom"~ COGIC International Youth Dept. Young Men Of Valor Training Manual Pg. 69 (yes-page 69 see below)
Dr. Earl Carter, who has an outstanding call to our church to reform and reject the leadership Of Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake for various reasons which I will not elucidate here, recently revealed the COGIC youth department's teaching manual, in which  young men were taught how to have sex rather than how to avoid sex and sexual activity, or even examine sexual consideration in light of scripture. In fact the booklet even suggests making provisions for sexual acts normally associated with homosexual behavior.
Not To Beat A Dead Horse...'Cause This Horse Ain't Dead!

Though the manual has been pulled and a statement issued from the church regarding it, this is a huge issue and one worthy of great ongoing concern. Why? In part because as a church we trust our leaders...ALL of our leaders, to guard and watch out for the best interest of our youth, especially in the auxiliaries they serve. 

As a Supt. in this church, I feel that if we cannot trust Departmental leaders and their committees and teams to review, approve and stand by material distributed to millions of children and members in the church, those same department heads should be immediately removed from position and replaced by individuals who take their duties with more diligence.  

The Information Has Already Done Much Damage:

Pulling the information after the fact does not change the fact that the information that has already been distributed, has done its damage. In fact, from the review that I have seen of the pages of the manual, not only did the manual teach young adults how to make sexual decisions, but made no reference to the biblical teaching that sex without marriage is sin. In fact there was no reference to any biblical mandates or consideration for the integrity of the word of God in the life of the believer. It was a secular writing, from a secular point of view based on secular information, and human moral values. At a glance, one could see that the information contained within this guide was not biblically centered. 

 At one point the authors of the manual assume that the young men that they are training are involved in same sex relationships among other relationships. 
"If you are sexually active, you also need to think about:
  • Gender of your sexual partner 
  • Kind of relationship you have with them
  • Type of contraception and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention methods you use".  
             COGIC International Youth Dept. Young Men Of Valor Training Manual Pg.                67- 68 

While I have not received the complete "Training Manual;" it seemed like a "how to" journal instead of an actual teaching on "valor", especially as it pertains to youth sexual activity and functions. One could rightly ask, is the only reason that the manual was removed and taken down because it was revealed or spoken of publicly? Can we afford to passively sit by while our youth, who are constantly bombarded with the message of sex and sexual immorality, are under attack?

In addition, since it didn't take anything more than Dr. Carter making this known on his video, how in the world did subscribers both to the publication and to the Youth Department, who were aware of this MESS, think that this book was valuable or of a resource to our youth or consistent in any manner with teaching our young men encouraging them to be strong and courageous in this world? This is what makes the revelation of the material so shocking and the response of our church so lack-luster and wholly inadequate. 

For the record, VALOR is defined as the following:
"boldness or determination in facing great danger, especially in battle;heroic courage; bravery:" Dictionary.com
"strength of mind or spirit that enables a person to encounter danger with firmness : personal bravery" Merriam-Webster.com
"Courage and boldness, as in battle; bravery. boldness or determination in facing danger." The Free Dictionary.com
This manual, designed to teach children in a Pentecostal/holiness church, was teaching anything but valor. It taught children how to conform to the world rather than to conform to Christ.

How did this material get by screening? Was the material even screened at all? Were our leaders so enamored with their job duties, recognition, fame, conferences and the "department program" that what they were actually teaching our youth was of no consideration? Is there commonly no vetting of material by the Presiding Bishop's office? What of General Board officials? Have they no duty to review church programs and materials to make sure there is harmony with church and biblical values in materials distributed? With all of this surrounding material given to our young men, what in the world may be in the Young Women Of Excellence material? Does it also contain challenging and ungodly suggestions? The church and the leaders of the church have a greater duty to the members of this church than what they are showing and have shown in this matter? A statement of apology from these department leaders is in order as well.  

Now, was this not the same basis for the chastisement of Dr. Earl Carter from the beginning? Remember, his Convocation message was released, but when criticism started to occur, the leadership, the Presiding Bishop's Office in particular, vocally and forcefully condemned Carter's message and terminology, even making a video which was released from West Angeles on the issue. 

In this case, we have a generic statement written by who, we don't know, saying that the information was not properly vetted, which we already know, and that it is being investigated as to what happened and simply saying that, it won't happen again. How do we trust that? WE CAN'T!

My problem...


First, the Youth Department has violated both its Objective and the YPWW Pledge. From it's website:
"This charismatic department will design, develop, and implement programs and ministry opportunities that meet the spiritual needs of the youth of our church. Rallies, workshops, and pertinent seminars will be tools used to effectively teach our youth how to apply the Word of God in their lives."
That objective was clearly missed by the acceptance of such a manual. Secondly, focus on our YPWW Pledge:
"We pledge our unselfish devotion and loyalty to the principles and doctrine of our COGIC faith to be representatives of holiness in our everyday life; and to let our lives be the mirror that reflects the image of Christ."
Missed on BOTH accounts!

We have a list of persons associated with this department and at least 4 involved in the "Education" section of the department. I would like to hear from them, how this material got by them or what they were told was contained within the material. 

I would also like to hear from the Presiding Bishop, Charles E Blake, assuring the church that information pertaining to SEXUAL HEALTH that was placed in this manual, was wholly inconsistent with church teaching and that the church further REPUDIATES such teaching as was in the manual under the guise of "sexual health". In other words, I would like to see our leadership approach this matter with the same vigor and intensity as the matter of Dr. Earl Carter was addressed. 

As of now, we do not know how many young people were given this information with the blessing of adults who either did not know what was in the manual, or who did know and were ready, eager and willing to teach kids about sex! The manual was on sale for $30.00. How many manuals were sold and how much in profits were already received and delivered?  believe this church, the Grand Ole Church Of God In Christ, has a greater moral duty to ALL of its members and especially to our youth and families. I believe we should expect and demand better from this church. 

Supt. Harvey Burnett
Blessed!

The Infamous Pg. 69

     

7 comments:

  1. The truth be told, leadership knew about it. But, they have turned their backs on Pastor Carter because he has the audacity to come against Blake and his board. Jesus help us!!! Leadership should be held accountable for every word printed in that sex manual. Ever since Pastor Carter preached the unadulterated Word of God in the 2014 Convocation, the church has cast him away. There are some of us that believe and support Pastor Carter's findings and the things he has exposed. The worst is yet to come. This is just the tip of the iceberg. God be with Pastor Carter and keep him safe and provide every thing he has need of is my prayer, as he fightsaid against the Kingdom of darkness and the rulers of darkness in high places. Our church needs deliverance from the current leadership and return back to the doctrine and principles of holiness and sanctification.

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    1. Sister, you are on point! All these "Chiefs", but nobody knows anything??? As I stated in the article, if Carter had never mentioned it, how long would this manual have been available for distribution? I mean, prior to it being taken down the webpage was full of all kinds of comments praising the book and the youth leaders...either them folk were lying or their were blind and stupid! Either way, I doubt if anyone that praised this publication was saved at all...They certainly WERE NOT adherents to the doctrines and teachings of holiness.

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  2. Now, one can criticize the delivery of information all one wants. The fact is that people tend to do nothing until the light is shown on certain actions and activities. Some folk have a clandestine vision of the natural church, as if it always acts or should act with some lofty and majestic actions. The church does not operate or act in that manner. Never has. Dealing with serious issues sometimes takes confrontation. Paul and Barnabas had one. Paul, Peter and the first council of Elder in the NT church as recorded in the book of Acts had one. To say that those things were not done in love is to call into question the very ethic, values and modes of operation of the NT Apostles and the modern church foundation.

    Because this was not done and or delivered privately, there is no need to act as if it needs to be or must be resolved privately. Prior to Elder Carter presenting this, NO ONE made any moves to correct, modify or remove this material. If not for the LIGHT that Carter placed on the issue, with his supporting evidence of the written transcript which was undeniable, the booklet would probably still be up for sale.

    If not for this article being circulated as heavy as it has been, the Saints would yet be uninformed about what their money is supporting.

    Big corporation and big religion MUST be held accountable and The Dunamis Word seeks to serve to do its part in that mission!

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    1. You are absolutely right Pastor Burnett. Now I'm just wondering when or if we will hear from leaders of the International Youth Department and Bishop Blake about this matter? That statement they put out is not what the church wants to hear. We need accountability and if you ask me, everybody in that youth department needs to be fired immediately. It's amazing how the church distanced itself from Elder Carter as if he's not a brother in Christ for preaching that message back at the 2014 Holy Convocation. That message was a call to action and a call back to our original doctrines. We all see it was not long for our Presiding Bishop and his PR team to dissect Elder Carter's message an issue a statement about it on this most critical time of our lives concerning moral values. Once again, we need to hear from our leader and the leaders of the youth department immediately and not talking about no statement either. Be blessed Pastor.

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    2. Bro. Shuler,

      I agree my brother. They distanced themselves from the Carter incident forthrightly didn't they? As I said, within about 72 hours after Convocation they were on it, especially when it was aired on these late night shows. The church wanted to hurry up and "normalize" themselves before the world.

      In this, when the teaching centers around damaging their own children and potentially millions of other impressionable youth, they speak ambiguously. Fact is that is a spineless way to address the issue and one that does not honor God nor the people that serve in the church.

      When there is no accountability in a relationship and one feels that he or she can do whatever they wish to the other, that relationship cannot possibly be centered around love. the love of Christ does not have a value ethic such as that. So to me, this is highly disturbing.

      makes me wonder, what type of advocacy that they do in their community. I think some have been tricked into believing that running around putting on shows and conferences is ministry and all they have to do...What are they doing in their community for their local schools and municipalities? Are they holding their community leaders accountable? i think based on their response to this, we have the answer to the question. Anyone committed through ministry to the community would understand the urgency of this and the conflict that it brings within the church. More than half of these folk are willing to look the other way and dumb down...NOT ME...and thank God for you and others like you too!!!!

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    3. for me, this was the most sober of Elder Carter's ongoing commentary. I actually have discussed this with a variety of Christians across our community because it begs an interesting question. And that is what is the Church's role in counseling young people in the face of increased and rampant teen pregnancy, sexual immorality and increased desensitivity to sex of all kinds? Truth is that teens are "gettin' busy".. we live in the era of "netflix and chill" Is the Church's message falling on deaf ears? Does that mean the Church now succumbs to societal pressure and begin to advance the secular solutions and information (which someone in the COGIC obviously decided to do). In the words of Paul "God forbid!" Personally I agree that we MUST stand on biblical principles as we dialogue with young folk about sexual matters. However, I also think a more potent message needs to accompany our repeated biblical prose as we try to reach the young. This situation is indeed serious, egregious and unfortunate. I see that Bishop Blake has dealt with it. And your point that perhaps the damage is already done to those thousands who have already received this manual is well stated. This is a tough one.

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    4. It seems that COGIC was teaching a single sex, comprehensive sex education program to these young men, rooted in the "theory of planned behavior" This is a "science based" program, but these type of sexual education programs have not proven themselves to be more valuable than abstinence only type of programs.

      Comprehensive sexual education is something that I am familiar with as in my community the local school district set forth this type of program to come up to state law requirements in sexual education. The "myth" is that this sort of information lowers pregnancy and STD's because it gives information that can be used during the act of sex, but sex, especially at youth ages, is hardly ever approached in a rational manner or way.

      What we should do, is develop a program that can be taught at the local level, after leaders and PARENTS of these kids are taught and trained on the issues. Unlike school, church is voluntary. If this is taught to children where the parents are not saved, there is an issue...as well as there should be even if the parents are saved and attend the church.

      The church has the confusion that it should be the repository and dispenser of all things and all information. That is not the case. the church should empower the parents and families and equip them to minister to their children. I believe THAT is the most effective answer to the question.

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