Last week, I received a call from a writer with The New Yorker.
As part of a controversial LGBTQ+ story the writer is breaking, she wanted to ask me a set of questions about Christian sexual rules at Christian colleges. Her first question was, “Why do some Christian colleges and universities maintain statements of faith and codes of conduct that include a commitment to biblical sexuality?” I responded that the question actually demonstrated a certain kind of secular privilege
. After all, Christian higher education institutions are not weird for having sexual rules for employees and students. Every institution has those rules (e.g., Princeton University
). The only reason that Christian sexual rules are viewed as odd is that secular institutions are understood as normative.
In reality, most institutional sexual rules are now derived from treating liberal democratic political thought as a metanarrative, what I call Meta-Democracy
. Oddly, astute Christian academics who can easily spot the danger of Christian nationalism often fail to see how their own sexual ethics have been shaped and corrupted by Meta-Democracy and not the Christian narrative.
Of course, liberal democratic theory was originally never meant to be the basis for a sexual ideology, but this political expansion is not uncommon. Not surprisingly, deriving rules about sex from political ideology primarily occurs in totalitarian political systems. I remember seeing a survey of Russians after the fall of communism in the 90s–eighty percent saw nothing wrong with adultery. Communism’s ideology of free love has left a lasting mark on sexual morality and marital stability (Russia today has the third highest divorce rate in the world
My guess is The New Yorker writer will use a recent sex controversy at Christian universities to suggest they need to get with the times and adopt the Democratic celebration of sexual autonomy and politically-derived institutional rules–sex is fine as long as its consensual among the individuals involved and there are no power problems (e.g., the person needs to be above 18 and not work under you).
The idea that sex is best practiced in loving marital covenant between a man, woman , and God (modeled in Gen. 1 and reaffirmed by Jesus in Mark 10) is increasingly outrageous to academia
–even though most sociologists know from empirical research
that such marriages, when looking at percentages, are the healthiest place for sex and raising children. Academic elites prefer to ignore the evidence since it conflicts with the Meta-Democratic sexual ethic’s celebration of personal autonomy. Like communism, we’ll increasingly see the tragic results of Meta-Democratic sexual ideology for marriages and families (e.g., the United States has the thirteenth highest divorce rate in the world
). To counter this trend, I believe Christian institutions need to start teaching marriage as a liberal art
in general education.