Sex, Discourse, and Harvard

When I arrived at Harvard, I did not appreciate the need for a group known as True Love Revolution. Yet, I did not know what it represented or the important role it served on campus by endorsing premarital abstinence and sexual integrity, upholding the institution of marriage and the family, and advocating true feminism. The group, which was formed in 2006, introduced a view regarding sex-related issues that often goes unheard. While these topics are incredibly salient in college, I was amazed by how often they are presented in a way that ignored the moral dimension of human sexuality.  This concern stimulated my interest in the group and motivates my involvement today.

This semester, the True Love Revolution seeks to continue the conversation, but we have renamed ourselves The Harvard College Anscombe Society. We have named ourselves after Elizabeth Anscombe, a Cambridge professor and celebrated British philosopher of the 20th century. In her work, Anscombe defended many principles shared by our organization, including chastity and the importance of marriage and the family. Inspired by her intellectually rigorous support for the group’s beliefs and by her witness to those values as a wife and mother, our group has renamed itself in her honor. The Anscombe Society joins other universities such as Princeton, Providence College, University of Texas, University of Pittsburgh, and Stanford in honoring Anscombe’s legacy. Although our group’s platform remains unchanged, our new name highlights the philosophical foundation and intellectual mission of our group.

Over the past six years, we have noticed that too often, “consent” is upheld as the only standard for determining what behavior is acceptable.  There is very little discussion of whether or not any choices are morally good or right, depriving students of an important lens by which to judge their own behavior. Thus the rejection of the notion that our sexual choices have a significant moral component seriously harms our peers. We believe that the views we espouse are not only morally true in the abstract, but also better choices for a health and fulfilling life. Thus, we have taken our role in presenting our views seriously, through such means as guest speakers, editorials, and debates. We have also found creative ways to spread our message, such as the Valentine’s Day campaign in which the True Love Revolution distributed chocolate kisses to freshmen with a note that said, “Why wait? Because you’re worth it.”  This semester, we have invited Karin Agness, the president and founder of the Network of Enlightened Women and the director of academic programs at the American Enterprise Institute, to discuss true feminism.

The Anscombe Society remains a secular organization that looks to what sociology, psychology, medicine, philosophy, and human experience suggest are the best ways to acheive the good of the person and the common good in the realm of sexuality. We seek to continue a tradition of stimulating campus and national discourse on a conscientious view of sexuality that strengthens marriages, fortifies civil society, and contests the merits of a hyper-sexualized culture.  We are excited to find support among national leaders, our faculty, and students, and we urge our classmates to think deeply about these issues and to subject the prevailing orthodoxies of our society to real scrutiny.

Luciana E. Milano ’14 is a government concentrator living in Pforzheimer House. She is President of The Harvard College Anscombe Society.

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