By: Alexander Colby
New policies put into place by Eastern University have created the need for new training and programs to create a (mostly) smooth transition. However, the desire to have students discover healthy relationships with drugs, alcohol, academics and other students has caused controversy as it has been deemed “anti-Christian.” The very term “anti-Christian” implies that these policies are actively trying to dismantle the ideals of the faith which many of us are deeply passionate about. However, I can, with certainty, say that these trainings are upholding the very values spoken by Christ in the Gospels. Even if we disagree with how someone interprets Scripture, we are by no means able to say that they are not Christian because they do not uphold the (very toxic) ideas of purity that someone else does; in short, we cannot be prudes.
The topics covered in the Vector Solutions videos contained some sensitive topics and even unsettling depictions of some events, but it is important to see these things to understand what they look like, how they feel to witness, and be prepared. We cannot just expect people to become vigilantes and immediately know what to do should it happen; that is just false hope.
Understandably, these events have happened to students on our campus and it is not right to have them relive trauma by watching these scenes so, better ways to censor them should be found. Nonetheless, for those that just want to say these scenes “are subversive to Christian teachings and hostile to its moral vision,” I ask you if knowing how to fully respect the dignity of another human being made in the image of God is truly subversive to these things.
When we turn to the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew, we are welcomed by the reminder that “thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:36-40). The same love of neighbor is also the love of God and if we begin to step in to judge and shame others, to hand them over, then we are guilty of a greater sin (John 19:11).
It is dangerous to think that if we push a message that encourages students to wait until marriage to have sexual intercourse that it will prevent sexual behavior on campus. If we think like this, then it will only make people be quiet about it and make those who suffer sexually motivated traumas remain silent out of fear of shame. Is it right to hold a belief that causes a beloved child of God to sit in suffering because we cannot free our minds from such a poor way of thinking?
I would like to thank the writer of the previous article for including some Scripture that reminds us to not fall into sins of the flesh; when we look at the Greek meaning of these Epistles and the Gospels, we see an echoing of the Platonic idea of “the flesh” as distinct from the soul and causing us to desire those things which bring temporary pleasure. These verses do not define sex as bad, but rather tell us to be cautious and to respect the image of God in each person and in ourselves. St. Vincent de Paul says it best, “we must love our neighbor as being made in the image of God and as an object of [God’s] love.” Mr. Kwilinski is right, the idea that “we should meet students where they are instead of chastising them” is “nonsense.” We should love these students just the same as anyone else and leave the job of correcting to God for we can only cast the first stone if we are sinless. If we believe God’s love is so bound by our idea of “purity,” then we are teaching and doing something very wrong.