Use of Ford Chapel for sex programming disrespectful and offensive

I, along with other students from all political and religious backgrounds, was offended by the recent hosting of ‘I Heart Female Orgasm’ in Ford Chapel.  I am embarrassed that Allegheny has made international news for this controversy—not the “Unusual Combinations” that I came here for.

I’m not saying that having a sex talk is a sin, but having so little respect for other people’s beliefs sure is.  Yes, I understand that Ford Chapel is not the United Methodist Church that it once was, but rather a nondenominational chapel.  That still doesn’t justify hosting such programming in a place of worship.  People need to respect others’ religious beliefs much in the same way that people need to accept different races and cultures.  One of my friends remarked, “I personally think that is disrespectful, and I’m an atheist.”

I can see the argument—a place of worship is a social construct, so it doesn’t matter.  True, but isn’t societal condemnation of robbery or torture also socially constructed?  Can’t nearly everything be boiled down to a social construct?  Someone else might say that the chapel is used for a multitude of programming.  Yes, like a community discussion on a proposed Tires-to-Energy plant or a discussion on fracking in Bousson.  Nothing sacrilegious there.

I also find it disconcerting that ASG, which is funded through every student’s activities fee and is supposed to represent the interests of the student body as a whole, cosponsored this talk.  Imagine the outrage across campus if an anti-abortion speaker was sponsored by ASG.  I am surprised that even the conservative constituency allowed this to pass.

While I think that Allegheny made a mistake by allowing the sex talk to be hosted at Ford, President Mullen’s timely apology was sincere and well worded: “…we hold respectfulness to be a cherished value as well.  This means we are instinctively thoughtful about how our words and actions impact others.  As a community, we are thoughtful about what we say.  About how we say it.  And also, where we say it.”

I see glaring hypocrisy practiced by the far left at Allegheny, never more obvious than in the past week.  Many staunch liberals on this campus easily take offense. These same hypersensitive students who preach acceptance of all people have no problem offending others, which is both wrong and extremely hypocritical.  Not only do they have no regard for everyone both on and off campus that they have offended, but they have the audacity to aggressively defend Allegheny’s Reproductive Health Coalition for “doing the right thing,” and simply won’t admit when they are at fault.  And when it looks like it can’t get more ridiculous, many are actively bragging about the recent media “accomplishments.”

And these people who preach acceptance have no tolerance for other people’s views, especially those that fall short of the extreme left.  Conservatives on this campus feel oppressed in their own right.  They can’t even express their opinions without being looked at as “ignorant.”  While it is great that a few noble people on campus are championing diversity initiatives, one thing is sorely lacking:  diversity of political opinion.  Allegheny’s recent role in the national spotlight is sure to turn at least a few class of 2017 conservatives away from our school, thereby making it even more liberal and less politically diverse.

Despite how caustic the national political atmosphere is, that doesn’t mean that the same needs to happen on campus.  We need to have more moderate discussions so that people who have different views don’t feel judged and alienated.  That doesn’t mean that we all need to be moderates.  The administration encourages civility—they just gave out the 2013 Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life to Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).  Here two Senators, polar opposites on the political spectrum, were honored for civility. If they can do this at the national level, why can’t we do this on a campus of just over 2,000 students?