Thursday, April 20, 2006

My Day at Princeton

I had a terrific day at Princeton University as the guest of the Center for the Study of Religion. I met with a group of students and faculty over lunch at the Women's Center, did a talk in the afternoon in a grand lecture hall that reminded me of "A Beautiful Mind", and had dinner with a group of graduate students who are studying various aspects of sexuality and religion. It was exciting to meet these young scholars and engage them in dialog.

I was told that there is a strong and growing conservative element among Princeton's students, including a society devoted to promoting chastity among students. It was "Pro-life Week" at Princeton, and a visual demonstration of 300 pink and blue tiny flags was in front of the student center. The sign said that they represented those who would have been admitted into the class of 2010 if their mothers hadn't had abortions. A banner hung in the back, asking observers to remember the women who might have died had abortion not been legal.

I wish I had had my camera so I could show you. It was a visible reminder that even on Ivy League campuses the cultural wars thrive. Some students noisly proclaim their virginity and try to recruit others; some students I was told engage in binge drinking and nameless hook ups. Sexual assaults on campus are increasing. And sexuality education is scarce on the campus. I loved talking to these groups about sexuality and religion, but I can't help but think that they need to have me back to talk just about sex.

1 comment:

RGH said...

Debra,

I was so sorry not to be able to attend your lecture yesterday. As an OWL educator and UCC seminarian at Princeton Theological Seminary, I believe that the "sex talk" is needed in seminaries too. Ministers-to-be not only need the information for their own lives, but also for increased sensitivity and knowledge when providing pastoral care. Thanks for all you do!