Why College Campuses Need to Start a New Sexual Revolution by John Stonestreet
To paraphrase the old professor in C. S. Lewis’s “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” what do they teach students in college these days?
We’re now seeing the consequences of the boozy, out-of control hook-up culture on college campuses. From wild allegations of gang rapes at the University of Virginia to Yale’s infamous “sex week,” to the kangaroo courts that can get students accused of rape booted off campus without due process, it seems like undergrads are learning more about “rape culture” and sexual consent than they are philosophy or mathematics.
All in all, according to David French, a senior counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice, “The only thing that’s truly clear about the raging sexual-assault controversies on campus is that it’s a royal mess.”
And that’s an understatement. Here’s what Heather Mac Donald, the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute, writing in The Weekly Standard, says: “Sexual liberation is having a nervous breakdown on college campuses.” She adds, “It is impossible to overstate the growing weirdness of the college sex scene.”
That being the case, I won’t even try—but I will mention how the sexual revolution won the day, and how we can begin countering it with a new revolution.
Mac Donald points out that before the sexual revolution took hold in the sixties, for women who associated sex with love and commitment the “default setting” on sexual advances was “no,” and society, including the colleges, backed them up.
However, the sexual revolution held that this was a stifling, patriarchal arrangement and that men and women actually have the same sexual desires. “From now on,” Mac Donald says, “males and females would meet as equals on the sexual battlefield. The ideal of female modesty, the liberationists declared, was simply a cover for sexism. Chivalry was punished; females were assumed to desire sex as voraciously as males.”
We see the sad results of this so-called equality on campus today, and as Mark Regnerus shows in his video “The Economics of Sex,” women are usually the losers, though all pay a price.
So what to do about it? French offers several insights, saying too many universities have created a college experience that’s little more than “an ideologically charged Disneyland, where real academic work is deemphasized, traditional values demonized, and the party became even more important.”
So French has a few suggestions: Schools should toughen their academic standards so that young people won’t have time to get into trouble. He also thinks that schools should rethink the idea that “there are no meaningful emotional or psychological differences between men and women.”
More importantly, he adds, traditional Christian voices on campus need to be defended—not chased off the campus!
So what does all this mean for us, the people of God? At a minimum, it means that now is no time for the church to stop pretending that violating God-given sexual norms is innocuous. Now is not the time to change our views in order to be “relevant” or “heard.” The chickens are coming home to roost, you might say. We need to strengthen our voices about God’s design for human flourishing, tell our young people as clearly and consistently as possible that sex is a beautiful gift of God intended for marriage—that is, that permanent union of male and female, which is intended as a picture of Christ and His Church. And we need to be quick and ready with the offer of Christ’s redemption to any life broken by these lies of the sexual revolution.
Now that’s a tall order, isn’t it? Well, the fact is we’ll never overcome the sexual revolution simply by instituting a new series of rules and expectations, as good as they might be. We need to change hearts, minds, and worldviews. And we need to live this sexual ethic. For as C. S. Lewis said: “If followers of Christ live as people with chests—strong hearts filled with God’s truth—the world will take notice.” Especially a world broken by these bad ideas.