by Brandon McGinley

The conservative college news website The College Fix, in an article by Allegheny College student Katie McHugh, brings word of a sexually graphic event hosted in that school’s Ford Memorial Chapel in Meadville, PA.  (See link and disclaimer below.*)

Here’s the Reader’s Digest version: Marshall Miller and Kate Weinberg are “sex educators,” who specialize in maximizing female pleasure in sex acts (especially in the absence of a partner).  Miller and Weinberg presented their explicit material (including photographs and graphic descriptions of sex acts) at in event sponsored in part by Allegheny College student government and “funded by student activity fees.”  Additionally, in what McHugh describes as a “sexual marketplace,” apparel and other paraphernalia with the event’s explicit title were displayed for sale.

In some ways, of course, this is not very new.  Penn State University’s “Sex Faire” has been a topic of conversation for years, with renewed attention brought on by, to borrow a Deep South Civil War euphemism, the recent unpleasantness.  Sexually explicit events abound on college campuses; if one were to become outraged at each instance, one would be in a constant state of disquiet.

What is new here, though, is the venue.  Although one generous Christian student opined that the event organizers “were not trying to intentionally offend Christian students by hosting the event in the chapel,” one cannot ignore the particularly transgressive, almost imperial, symbolism.  In using the chapel, sexual liberationists say: “We have the secular public square, but even that is not enough; we must colonize religious space as well.”  Nowhere is safe.

The head of Allegheny College campus ministry, of course, kept party discipline and defended the event:

I don’t have a problem with it being held in the chapel. The program advocates responsible, respectful decision-making regarding sexual behavior, and includes the option waiting for marriage, a message that resonates with many students of faith. While the name may have some shock value, the event itself is consistent with our policy of opening the building to campus groups. We would love it if students at such an event experience the chapel as a welcoming space, and then feel encouraged to attend a religious service or program.

Putting to one side the feel-good claptrap, let’s focus on the assertion that the event “includes the option [of] waiting for marriage.”  At best, this is Orwellian newspeak; at worst, it is aggressive dishonesty.  How could an event whose primary focus is the art of self-pleasuring even possibly be reconciled with the traditional norms to which the chaplain pays lip service?

And here I need to be clear: the complaint about this event is not some kind of prudish visceral disgust about sex generally, or female sexuality and sexual pleasure in particular.  The exploration of sexuality within the stable bond of marriage is one of the institution’s most fulfilling and attractive attributes.  It is a way of physically expressing that total commitment and of becoming utterly vulnerable to one another–and in the process becoming even closer.

The event under discussion admits of nothing of this nature.  It is focused totally on the self.  Any attempt to connect the values demonstrated in this event to those necessary for marriage is a shameful and vulgar misunderstanding of what that institution is.

A final remark: I would hope that, were an event extolling the virtues of traditional sexual ethics to be proposed, Allegheny College would be just as willing to supply the chapel as a venue, and to fund the event with student activity dollars.

*WARNING: original story very sexually explicit:

Cross-posted at The Family Forum