(0. I am a secular humanist who was brought up Buddhist, and identify as a middle-leftist in the Singaporean social context.)
1. FotF is a christian organisation that has obviously its own biases, agendas (in the neutral sense of the word) to push. Nothing wrong with that. Schools that intend to back this message can freely seek their expertise.
What’s wrong is:
1.1. Christian or not, the content in the workshop is ridiculous. I’m not asking them to promote acceptance of LGBTQs but basic understanding of human complexity is lacking.
1.2. FotF started off as a conservative right-wing organisation in the US. FotF Singapore, however, fails to reflect any of that, at least in an explicit way.
Eg. on the US website, “faith” is listed on the top as one of their main focuses alongside “marriage”, “parenting”, etc. A picture of a church is among the slideshow below. Good.
On the Singapore website, however, they are not as forthcoming with that information. “How can we help?” leads to “Articles” for Parents, Married Couples and Working Adults (which do not treat prayer and faith explicitly), and “Questions and Answers” on Marriage and Parenting. In “About Us”, the only element that betrays this bias: “Guiding Principles: the Sanctity of Life”. One has to dig deep into their 2013 Stewardship report to find a list of predominantly religious partner community organisations with FotF Singapore and conclude that it is Christian.
Why conceal your bias when you are dealing with such sensitive issues that will most definitely involve sexuality, family planning, and perhaps abortion?
2. I suspect that someone has not been doing their due diligence on the school side. Shouldn’t the materials (if not the background of the organisation, though hardly an easy task in this case) be reviewed before the workshop has taken place, to nip issues like this in the bud?
2.1. Granted, going by the Singaporean modus operandi, it’s probably a schoolteacher who was “arrowed” for this job (whether or not it is right to ask this of a teacher is another debate entirely). I will thus not be too harsh on this point as in the end it’s still the course materials that are problematic.
3. I have no qualms with rote preaching abstinence before JC as (i) Age of consent is 16 (ii) For many, high school was single-sex. However, as we mature both physically and mentally, and (for some) are exposed to the opposite gender for the first time in a while hormones are raging, should we not have frank discussions about issues like (thanks for the thought if you’re reading this!) destructive relationships, conflict resolution, sexuality of course, instead of repeating antiquated and possibly dumbed-down versions of “relationship education” like FotF’s?
I remember with fondness my CT, happily married with 2 kids, sharing with us what he learned throughout his many years of marriage (which while awkward, was actually honest and useful).
4. At this point I realised with horror the number of prepubescent kids that have been preached this same message to by FotF and like-minded people without ever having questioned the premise or stood up for themselves, and my head just exploded.