ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Students who support traditional marriage and religious commitment are part of the new “counterculture” on today’s college campuses, University of Michigan student Ryan Shinkel argued in a recent article for First Things.

The article highlights the Love and Fidelity Network, which helps students stand up for marriage, family and sexual integrity on both secular and Catholic campuses.

In his article, Shinkel observed that the counterculture of the 1960s, which encouraged the embrace of “bohemian lifestyles,” “sexual liberation,” and a rejection of traditional values, has become the predominant college culture of the 2010s.

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“Sexual liberation thrived in the dorms and keg parties, and the ‘60s counterculture became the culture of the college establishment,” Shinkel wrote. He noted that on numerous college campuses today, “casual sex is as commonplace as intramurals, and it has only one rule and moral restraint: consent.”

Today’s “counterculture speaks with the voice of tradition, virtue, and religious commitment,” argued Shinkel in his piece. “There are now more than thirty LFN [Love and Fidelity Network] student groups from colleges across the United States (and Mexico). They uphold the idea that sex comes after marriage, that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that the natural family is the irreducible foundation of all civil societal associations.”

In September, The Cardinal Newman Society interviewed several student leaders of chastity groups connected with the Love and Fidelity Network. Many of the students conveyed the shared reality of widespread resistance from other students. In one scenario, a college’s student congress made open comments about their lack of support for such a group.

Indeed, according to one Georgetown University student, chastity and sexual integrity “is a topic which is not discussed enough, especially with incoming students who can very easily get caught up in the hookup culture simply because that appears to be what ‘everyone is doing.’”

Another student from Providence College noted that “chastity-related clubs have a stigma on [many] college campuses.” Yet this stigma is part of why students continue to witness to the dignity and worth of others, so that “apathetic students will come to realize… the need for a campus-wide discussion on the harm of the hookup culture and the meaning of a healthy relationship.”

Shinkel posited in his article that this new counterculture conducts itself in a different manner from the culture brought about by the sexual revolution, but like its predecessor the new counterculture will not remain quiet. “They carry themselves with decorum and respect. The manner of their actions corresponds to the content of their ideas: unabashedly witnessing to the truth of marriage, sex, and the family.”

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Authored by Kimberly Scharfenberger
Originally published here by Catholic Education Daily, an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society

Published with permission