Monday, January 9, 2012

The Prohibition of Romantic Displays of Affection is Harmful to the Christendom Community

Published on Facebook 02/16/2010.  I had spoken (rather poorly I thought) at a debate about the RDA Rule at Christendom College, as it stood in 2010.  This was intended to be a better argument than my speech, but I'm not sure it worked.

Debates are not for solving problems, but rather for developing strong thinking and speaking skills. (Feel free to elaborate if you wish, Mr. J-ski.)

The debate was about the Christendom community as such, not people after or before being in the Christendom community. Therefore the argument that people may or may not have been scarred for life really does not apply. The argument which states that the prohibition forces people off campus and into possibly near occasions of sin does apply, for the students are still currently a part of the Christendom community, and the Church herself teaches that every sin is harmful to the community as well as the individual. Though there is a valid point for the pro side, that the people here at Christendom have enough prudence to determine what is appropriate and in what circumstances as well, which leads one to believe that the rule is unnecessary. Further, though this may be a bit of a digression, we as the community are called to restore all things in Christ, and this cannot be truly done if we are coerced to do so from the outside. Also, there can be great virtue and graces found in fraternal correction for the sake of the other person, and not just because some rule must be upheld. Plus, there is an inherent difference in the values which the secular world holds, and those which we as a student body at Christendom hold, even without the rule, so a comparison between Christendom society and secular society appears to me to be an unimportant one. But that may just be me. *shrug*
Anyway, the rule as it stands, either as stated in the book or as enforced, does harm the community. It is a total and complete ban of all physical manifestations of affection between a man and a woman who are in a "romantic" relationship, both in public and in private. Even the manifestations of affection which are proper to friendship are prohibited, and subject to punishment, lest such actions cause division among the community of the student body. Such a prohibition in itself naturally causes division, for it causes couples to seek out places where the rest of the community is not, even to the point of being driven off campus, so that they may participate in the physical aspect of their relationship. The Christendom institution does do a good job at assisting the mental and spiritual growth of its students, but quite often the physical health of the student is overlooked. We are physical as well as spiritual, and the prohibition of romantic displays of affection, at least as it is currently interpreted, indirectly but strongly impresses the student body with the idea that all physical signs of affection are somehow wrong, whether they be manifested in public or in private. A couple feels as though they are doing something wrong when they are participating in acts which are proper and good for their state in life. Such a mindset is unhealthy, and breeds suspicion and secretiveness, both of which are detrimental to community.
Furthermore, the existence of the rule prevents people from learning what physical manifestations of affection are and are not acceptable in public. If Christendom is really to restore all things in Christ, we must not forget the physical part of man's nature, and teach ourselves and the world what proper courtship and dating behaviour is, but we cannot do that if we are not allowed to practice anything but complete and utter abstinence from all physical touch in public.
Now if I can just find my points to try and wrap up, I think we'll be all set. Sorry it is so scattered...kinda like my speech was...
Sin is always harmful to the community. The rule in itself forces people to separate themselves off from the community, breeds suspicion and secretiveness among peers, and inculcates in students a faulty conception of things which are right and proper and acceptable as being sinful. The rule reduces the opportunity for people to grow as a community and is actually a hindrance to our mission to restore all things in Christ. Therefore, the prohibition of romantic displays of affection is harmful the Christendom community.


  1. A lot of my good friends and relatives are Christendom alumni. I used to visit Front Royal all the time when I lived on the East Coast. I would ahve to agree with your points here. No PDA can be valid as a free choice of an individual, but as an enforced standard it tends to shove into the darkness what ought to be allowed as much light and fresh air as possible. Things that grow in the dark tend to be twisted, or stunted, or both.

    The point about fraternal correction is one I hadn't thought of before, but I like it.

    1. Thank you much, Ryan, for your feedback. It really means a lot. I think your writing is SUPER, by the way. :)