4 minute read

The Serious Comedy of Keith Deltano

Last Updated: April 16, 2015

Luke Gilkerson
Luke Gilkerson

Luke Gilkerson has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an MA in Religion. He is the author of Your Brain on Porn and The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. Luke and his wife Trisha blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

Keith Deltano stands before hundreds of high school students mocking the locker-room talk so many guys engage in. Many male teens face the peer pressure to prove their masculinity by sleeping around: “When are you going to be a real man?”

Deltano shouts, “You tell that loser: ‘My dog had sex. He didn’t turn into a man.’”

The assembly bursts into laughter as Deltano continues, “Come on! Being a man is paying your bills, serving your country when called, paying your taxes, going to a job you don’t like to support a family you love, answering complicated questions like ‘Does this dress make me look fat?’, changing diapers at three in the morning. Being a man is difficult, and sex has very little to do with it, thank you.”

This is just example of the “serious comedy” of Keith Deltano. Keith believes that one of the best ways to get through to youth is not to bore them with the stats and lectures but use comedy to “make it real” to them. Keith’s fast, energetic style and creative use of role-playing leaves a lasting effect on the teens who see his shows.

Abstinence Education

Keith believes that the approach of “safe sex” or “comprehensive sex” education is a foolish way for schools to guard against unwanted pregnancies and STDs. Telling teens about the dangers of sex and then telling them that they are bound to have sex anyway is like telling a little kid not to eat a cookie but then handing him the cookie jar and a napkin.

Instead, Keith is a part of a growing, grassroots abstinence education movement. As he travels from school to school, assembly to assembly, Keith encourages students to “make one strong stance for virginity” and abstinence in their school. The name of Keith’s website says it all: VirginityRocks.com. Keith aims to inspire teens to be “the true rebels” by practicing abstinence.

In addition, Keith is the author of the parent workbook, Fighting Back, which contains simple strategies for parents to protect their children’s sexual purity in a sex saturated world. Keith conducts parent/student workshops on teen culture and how parents can help their teens guard against the sexual messages that surround them. For his work with parents, he was awarded the National Impact Award by the National Abstinence Clearinghouse.

Who Is This Guy?

Keith Deltano has been a military police officer, youth leader, and private counselor. Keith was also a sixth grade teacher and is a winner of the Teaching Excellence Award. He has been listed in Who’s Who of America’s Teachers. Drawing on this varied background, he reaches out and shares positive messages with today’s youth. Now as an “educational comedian” he covers a host of topics for teens and parents of teens, including:

The New Sexual Revolution a.k.a. Abstinence Is Cool – Through high energy comedy and audience interaction Keith shows the social, psychological, and health benefits gained by practicing sexual abstinence. He exposes the sources of peer pressure and how to beat it. Keith demonstrates how love and sex are not the same thing.

Labels Lie – Keith exposes the root of cliques and racism.

Why Bully? – Keith exposes the mindset of the trash-talkers, the bullies, and the underdogs.

Don’t Be Stupid – This is Keith’s talk about the realities of drug and alcohol use. Using his experience as a military police officer, Keith stages a “traffic stop” in front of his audience.

Keith Brings Covenant Eyes to Teens

Recently Keith partnered with Covenant Eyes because he sees how the widespread use of pornography is contributing to the desire among teens to experiment sexually, creating a thirst for sex that proves difficult to combat. Teens who want to take the extra step to be accountable to their peers and mentors about where they go online will benefit from using the software. Keith plans on promoting the software among parents and church audiences.

Oh my, does the ACLU love this guy . . .

As a “Christian comedian” who promotes abstinence education in public schools, Keith often is suspected of having a religious agenda.

Before Keith came to Loudoun County High School, the Virginia ACLU wanted assurances that he would not use the platform to preach a spiritual message to the students. Executive director Kent Willis writes,

“There is nothing wrong with abstinence as the topic of the program, and there is nothing wrong with the fact that it is being performed by a self-described Christian comedian or paid for by a faith-based organization. But this is a public school, and we are naturally concerned that the religious views of the speaker and the sponsoring organization, both of whom make faith-based arguments for abstinence, will seep into the presentation.”

Does teaching abstinence in the public school mean he has a religious objective? Keith believes it is illogical to think so.

“Why aren’t those opposed to abstinence education also opposed to teaching children not to steal? Why isn’t the ACLU screaming about the fact that every school system in the country has laws written into all their student manuals against stealing? . . . Think about it, when a teacher punishes a student for stealing or cheating (both activities that are frowned upon by the Bible, Koran, Torah, Wicca, or any other religion on the planet), the teacher is not accused of ‘promoting religious ideology.'”

After viewing Keith’s talk, the ACLU said his program did comply with the requirements of the separation of church and state—he did not promote a religious agenda. But there were further concerns.

According to Mainstream Loudoun, an organization that advocates comprehensive sex education, Keith Deltano used “fear, shame and misinformation” to spread his abstinence-only message. Mainstream president Katherine Hawes argued that Deltano’s claim that “condoms fail 10 percent of the time” is misleading and inaccurate.

On the other hand, it was the principal, William Oblas, that invited Keith to come to the school in the first place. He had previewed Keith’s performance and determined that the message was “identical” to the school system’s emphasis on abstinence education. Oblas thought the presentation added to the school’s curriculum by reaching students in different ways. He reports that school officials have not received many complaints from parents about Keith’s appearances. Oblas said the presentation contained nothing inappropriate and Deltano’s message is one that is beneficial to students.

(Keith also has a Christian website, DefyConformity.com. Keith is a popular speaker in many churches and youth groups.)

What do you think? How do you feel about Keith’s approach to helping schools with sex education? For a taste of Keith’s comedy, click here to watch his MySpace promo.

  • Comments on: The Serious Comedy of Keith Deltano
    1. Equality Loudoun is a small group of gay activists in Loudoun County who – along with Mainstream Loudoun, our local atheist group – agitated ferociously against Keith Deltano’s assemblies at several Loudoun high schools. These assemblies were arranged by parent/student committees and students were given an opt-out privilege. They certainly had no hint of proselytizing – Deltano was under severe scrutiny by them and the ACLU and the very unfriendly WashingtonPost.

      Deltano’s assemblies offered students many solid reasons to resist commercial and peer pressure and to choose abstinence – based on taking themselves and their goals for the future seriously. They also offered solid facts about the transmission of STD’s and condom failure rate. In addition to encouraging girls to take charge of their lives and not be exploited, Deltano was very sensitive to students who may regret decisions they have made and want to change. No heavy guilt trips or judgment – just hope for the future.

      Equality Loudoun – Mr. and Mr. Jonathan and David Weintraub and letters-to-the-editor-writing friends – did not come with open minds and misrepresented Deltano with the help of the Washington Post. Two years later they are still making a fulltime job out of hounding Deltano or anyone else they disagree with through the print media and the Internet.

      Here are my reports on the same events:

      Teaching kids to think for themselves: bringing abstinence education to Loudoun County and a school near you as well

      Keith Deltano answers Mainstream Loudoun on abstinence

      Mainstream Loudoun – now your teen has *real* help!

      Why do liberals hate abstinence education?

    2. David

      While I wholeheartedly agree with the message about what does and does not make one a man and what, on the surface, looks like empowerment content, I have to stand by our assessment that Deltano’s program is fundamentally based on manipulating kids through fear and shame. I also attended his presentation to parents, and some of the “techniques” he recommended were very unprofessional and bordering on abusive. That’s not how to develop an open and honest dialogue with an adolescent.

      And this made me laugh: Far from being an “atheist” group, Mainstream Loudoun has at least two members of its board who are also elders of their churches!

      Barbara is either totally unfamiliar with the people in Mainstream, or is being deliberately misleading; I’d hate to think it’s the latter, since we all obviously care deeply about our community and our kids. We just disagree on the most effective way to help them grow into sexually responsible, ethical adults.

      Thanks for sending me the link, Barbara.

    3. Cadence

      Keith went to my school yesterday & was a really honest & very funny guy.
      He interacted with the students & even did a little skit about bullying,he talked about his two kids,a daughter & son,& had a very lively personality.
      I hope he comes back to our school sometime soon,I tried to talk to him after the assembly,but he didn’t here me call for him.
      He seems like a guy you can talk to.

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