The world of higher education is a prime context for shaping the next generation, and a look at developments on America’s elite campuses reveals a social revolution in the making. In moral terms, we are looking at chaos in the academy.
Prime evidence for this diagnosis comes in the form of a study conducted earlier this year at Harvard University. The Harvard Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Supporters Alliance [BGLTSA] studied the university’s restroom facilities, looking for “gender-neutral” access for transgender or “gender-variant” students and faculty.
The BGLTSA took the issue seriously, focusing particularly on bathrooms in the university’s residential houses and dormitories. As defined in their study, “A gender non-specific bathroom does not specify a gender in any way, or clearly lists both of the leading genders.” As the group explained, “The project serves to identify the location of bathrooms that are gender non-specific and to gather data about certain areas of the undergraduate campus that are lacking gender non-specific bathrooms.”
Of course, the phrase “leading genders” tells us a great deal about this group and its worldview. When male and female are reduced to designation as “the leading genders,” moral insanity is right at hand.
The Harvard BGLTSA declared its manifesto in the report. “Everyone has the right to use the bathroom without fear! Besides reinforcing gender norms, bathrooms that are clearly marked as male/female force many individuals to enter bathroom environments that they consider uncomfortable and unsafe. People face discrimination daily for entering marked bathrooms containing other individuals who perceive their gender to be variant from the social norm. Increasing awareness and identifying the locations of gender-safe bathrooms will prevent people from being threatened by violence and harassment.”
If that statement makes sense to you, you are in big trouble. When the group refers to “individuals who perceive their gender to be variant from the social norm,” they refer to the fact that some women are offended when male transsexuals enter their bathroom. Surprised? The problem, the BGLTSA insists, is with the heterosexual individual who would be offended, not with the offender.
The group’s report detailed the presence or absence of “gender-safe bathrooms” in each facility. It also provided detailed instructions concerning the location of gender-neutral facilities. In Cabot House, for example, one gender-neutral facility could be found by following these instructions: “Go upstairs and turn left. On the right there is an unmarked door across from the Senior tutor suite.” Now you know.
The editors of The Harvard Crimson, the university’s daily newspaper, were thoroughly in favor of the call for gender-neutral bathroom facilities. “The recent College-wide survey of bathrooms, conducted by the Harvard Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Supporters Alliance, brought to light an easily trivialized–yet easily solved–issue regarding gender-specific single-occupancy bathrooms. Having located 24 single-stall facilities specifically assigned to either men or women, the group is calling for administrators and House Masters to alter the existent labeling to accommodate both genders and guarantee that all future Harvard buildings will be designed with at least one gender-neutral bathroom.”
As the editors noted, “The change will likely not affect the vast majority of Harvard students, but that does not mean that it’s not one worth making. While the difference would be minor to most, the comfort conferred to transgender or gender-variant students and faculty could be great.”
The campaign to create additional gender-neutral bathrooms was justified, the editors argued, because of “the severity of the problems potentially faced by avoiding bathroom breaks.”
The Harvard BGLTSA employed tactics and rhetoric the Crimson’s editors recognized as sensational and “ridiculous.” But the editors argued that “the issue is not the BGLTSA’s methods of bringing attention to this problem; rather, the fact remains that there are some in the Harvard community that experience extreme discomfort and pressure when going to the bathroom.”
Just imagine the response of Harvard’s founders to this proposal. A worldview that leads to speech about “both of the leading genders” and resists the designations of male and female is light years distant from the worldview of Harvard’s founders, who established the institution for the training of Christian ministers.
Of course, the same is true at Oberlin College. Oberlin, founded in 1833, was established by missionaries John J. Shipherd and Philo P. Stewart, who were determined to establish a college on the Western frontier “where they would train teachers and other Christian leaders for the boundless, most desolate fields in the West,” according to the college’s website. Oberlin soon became the base for the ministry of Charles Grandison Finney, one of the most famous revivalists of the nineteenth century. In Finney’s words, students would be drawn to his college, “bound together by a solemn covenant which pledged them to the plainest living and highest thinking.”
That was then; this is now. According to Out magazine, an influential magazine of the homosexual community, Oberlin College is now “the best small school in the country for gays.” As the magazine explained, “the tiny Ohio school’s progressive history is legendary. It was the first college in the country to go coed and one of the first colleges in the world to admit blacks. In 2002 it even gave transgender students priority in choosing single-student dorm rooms.” According to the magazine, Oberlin earned its gay-positive qualifications with events such as the college’s annual “Safer Sex Night,” an event “complete with porn projected on buildings and an anything-goes Tent of Consent.”
Ben Feinberg-Gerner, an Oberlin junior, told the magazine: “At Oberlin you’re gay until proven innocent.” Darwin Rodriguez, a sophomore at the college and leader of a gay student group, related his own experience: “At the end of school, I snapped during finals, and so I dressed in drag for a week to make myself feel better. I got no harassment. Actually, I got compliments.” As he continued, “Oberlin exists in a bubble. It’s so disconnected from the real world. Other colleges have football games. We have Drag Ball. Everyone gets in drag–straights, the whole campus–and it’s accepted, not even questioned. It’s just who we are.”
On its website, Oberlin College explains its goals and objectives, including the goal of a “diverse and promising student body.” As the college explains, “Oberlin seeks students who are talented, highly motivated, personally mature, and tolerant of divergent views.” Would belief that God condemns homosexuality fall within the college’s umbrella of “divergent views?”
The Out magazine focus on homosexuality and American college life provides other interesting information. The magazine applauds Duke University for its classes in the “Program in Sexuality Studies,” covering topics including “money, sex and power,” “masculine anxiety,” and related issues.
Public universities, too, are determined to join private schools like Duke and Oberlin in promoting homosexuality. According to the magazine, “Beginning in the fall of 2005, one floor in a residence hall [at a state university] will be set aside for students curious about sexuality studies. Technically called a ‘learning community,’ the floor will host bi-weekly programs such as movies and lectures put on by professors of sexuality studies.”
While Harvard conducts its study of gender-neutral bathrooms, its main Ivy League competitor earns Out magazine’s top ranking. Yale University, the magazine explains, “couldn’t be gayer if its hallowed gothic buildings were dipped in body glitter.”
By now we get the point–higher education is in big trouble. Moral confusion now reigns as a radical elite pushes its revolutionary agenda.
How many parents are aware of these developments? While many Americans see these elite Academic institutions as institutions devoted to the educational task, these developments suggest that the academic world is more concerned with indoctrination into moral revolution.
The dominant worldviews celebrated and tolerated on America’s elite campuses are deeply secular, hostile to biblical Christianity, and dismissive of moral restraint. As these developments make clear, sex is at the very center of the hottest controversies on America’s college and university campuses.
Be warned: Chaos in the academy will produce chaos in the larger society. It’s only a matter of time.
R. Albert Mohler Jr.
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