A new rank-and-file dogma surrounding human sexuality is nearly inescapable on American college campuses. So pervasive, many students and faculty holding to traditional Christian sexual ethics hesitate to “come out of the closet” for fear of failing grades, denied tenures, or some other punishment from the academy.
At Georgetown University, a pro-family student club awaits a hearing that could very possibly strip its official standing as a recognized campus organization. Why? Because the student group, Love Saxa, advances orthodox views on sex and marriage.
Thankfully, these bullying tactics didn’t stop hundreds of students from gathering over the weekend at Princeton University to consider the value of traditional sexual ethics among human flourishing. Love and Fidelity Network (LFN), the sister group of Georgetown University’s Love Saxa, united students, scholars, and advocates for its celebratory tenth annual “Sexuality, Integrity, and the University” national conference.
During his welcome address, LFN Executive Director Alain Oliver acknowledged the threats facing Love Saxa. “I’d like to thank and praise the Love Saxa leadership and its members for the way they’ve handled the situation with class, equanimity, and civility,” he said. “It is clear to me they have love in their hearts in their response while never surrendering fidelity to their most deeply held beliefs.”
Threats to conscience freedoms are not isolated to Georgetown’s campus. “Each of you could equally find yourself faced with this challenge or something similar,” Oliver warned his young audience.
“Prevailing Sexual Liberationist Orthodoxy”
LFN’s keynote was delivered by Robert P. George, Ph.D, a distinguished Catholic philosopher and member of the Institute on Religion and Democracy’s Board of Directors (Emeritus), who addressed the root causes of attacks on campus organizations such as Love Saxa: liberation propaganda revising liberal arts learning.
A new orthodoxy is being established thanks largely to the 1960’s “Me Generation” now the “artisans of the prevailing sexual liberationist orthodoxy” in high level positions within liberal arts academia, George noted. However, intellectual freedom must be preserved if the “enterprise of truth-seeking” is to thrive in broader society.
He said before college classes even begin, freshman orientation is the re-training ground for any student who might have carried along their traditional understanding of marriage and sexuality.
“These events are largely exercises in sexual liberationist propaganda, however much they are advertised by University officials as efforts to discourage sexual assault or unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections or bullying or what have you,” he explained.
This liberationist orthodoxy deviates from a classical understanding of liberal arts training where diverse viewpoints are encouraged. Continuing on, George observed:
The point seems to be to send the clearest possible message to students who may, perhaps because of their Christian or orthodox Jewish background, dissent from the prevailing sexual liberationist orthodoxy that they are outsiders who had better conform, get with the program, keep their mouths shut.
George cited the critics of Love Saxa as falling in line with the revisionist liberal arts education and their politically correct dogma.
“You see precisely this in the efforts by totalitarians to shut down Love Saxa at Georgetown. No dissent will be tolerated,” he stated. “Because any such dissent is an attack on me. You think you’re challenging my ideas, you’re actually impugning me. You’re a bigot.”
He instructed his young audience that “courage is what we need” in the effort to preserve intellectual freedom in the academy. Followers of Christ must especially “find the courage to speak the truth in love, but out loud.”
“Religious institutions too need to be concerned about preserving academic freedom, if they want to be something more than catechism classes,” George later encouraged.
Concluding, George stated that preserving the freedom to practice and defend our virtues actually transcends institutions. In the end, we are fighting for truth-seeking and, ultimately, the “freedom from the most abject form of slavery known to humanity: slavery to self.”
Conformity the New College Trend?
On October 30, Georgetown University’s Student Activities Commission will hold a hearing to determine Love Saxa’s official standing. Alliance Defending Freedom’s (ADF) Center for Academic Freedom is currently advising Love Saxa.
Georgetown is “the oldest Catholic and Jesuit institute of higher learning in the United States,” cites ADF Attorney James Gottry over at the Federalist.com. “Will [Georgetown] hold to its deep roots of faith, or cast them aside in favor of a new orthodoxy of human sexuality?” writes Gottry. “More to the point, will Georgetown decide it is Catholic, or not?”
We pray Georgetown heed Dr. George’s advice and takes steps to encourage viewpoint diversity and preserve intellectual freedom. Love Saxa should remain a recognized student group if the university wishes to nourish individual religious traditions, intellectual excellence, and optimal distinctiveness. Because when did conformity become fashionable on college campuses?