Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Martha Copp

Committee Members

Joseph Baker, Paul Kamolnick


This thesis examines the rhetoric surrounding sex education crafted by two major types of advocacy groups: the Christian Right and the Liberal Left. I conducted a qualitative analysis of content on sex education produced by six high-profile organizations: The Heritage Foundation, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, American Civil Liberties Union, the Guttmacher Institute, and Planned Parenthood. I found that these polarized organizations do not debate each other; instead, they focus on parents whose political leanings match their own. Sex education is at the center of other issues that also divide the Christian Right and the Liberal Left: healthcare, morality, marriage, education, and STIs. I analyze the arguments advocacy organizations make, the liabilities of their appeals, and their strategies to mobilize parents emotionally. Both conservative and liberal organizations aim to secure the beliefs of the next generation through their parents, not to find common ground.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.