Contributed by Jennifer Pierce
This past weekend from October 26th to 27th, CARP staff and student leaders attended the Sexuality, Integrity, and the University (SIU) conference by the Love and Fidelity Network at Princeton University in New Jersey.
The Love and Fidelity Network’s mission is to advance the truth about the institution of marriage, the unique role of the intact family, and the value of sexual integrity among college students and in university practices, policies, and norms.
Many of CARP’s values on marriage, family, and sexual integrity align with SIU’s stance, and CARP leaders were hoping to gain some more insight into the people and current research behind these issues. In total, six CARP representatives came to the conference. Staff members, Jinil Fleischman and Jennifer Pierce, were joined by CARP Las Vegas student leaders Chungbom Katayama, Kailey Teo, and CARP Mentor, Akira Watanabe. CARP Board Director, Dr. Robert Beebe, also attended.
The conference started Friday evening with a light networking and outreach period to interact with other participants and sponsors who had set up booths in the hall.
It was immediately apparent that this was not an average collegiate crowd. Most of the students went to very esteemed universities or worked in high profile jobs and, more importantly, had a strong belief in or desire to learn more about the value of marriage, family, and sexual integrity.
“It was amazing to connect to different kinds of people. People from different backgrounds were sharing similar values and fighting the same fight which was encouraging for me.” Kailey Teo, CARP UNLV
After the networking, the conference officially started with some opening words from the Executive Director of the Love and Fidelity Network, Alain Oliver, and the moderator for the conference, Rachel Wagley. Following this was the keynote address by Mary Eberstadt, a Senior Research Fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute in Washington, D.C.
Mary Eberstadt’s presentation focused on how the sexual revolution negatively impacted society and culture. One point that stood out was that even though the original intention of the sexual revolution was safe birth control to decrease abortion and unwanted pregnancy, both the number abortions and unwanted pregnancies have increased exponentially.
Another highlight was her point about the liberation of women. She said that despite the claim that the sexual revolution liberated women, women are finding it harder to get what they want most: a committed relationship in marriage and a family. In addition, there is an increased amount of predation on women from men, evidenced through the #MeToo movement.
After a Q&A session, the conference closed for the night and resumed the next morning with breakfast and speaker Mary Rose Somarriba, Associate Editor of Verily Magazine. Her presentation focused on how the hookup culture has led to dissatisfaction in sex and relationships on both sides. She said, “The whole hookup culture is a lack of trust. It is a scam. Women and men are going in with expectations that are not being delivered.”
The next presentation was a panel of three presenters on the topic of balancing love, marriage, and family and pursuing a career. On the panel was Dawn Hawkins, Sr. Vice President and Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Jonathan Hwang, J.D., an attorney with the law firm Wagenmaker and Oberly, LLC, and Sarah-Vaughan Brakman, Ph.D, an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University. All of them shared their unique experience getting married and having children while also having a demanding and professional career and how that enriched their life.
After lunch, Princeton University’s Robert P. George gave special remarks encouraging the participants to be brave in sharing the truth about sexual integrity and to have hope that society can change.
This was followed by Dr. Tim Rarick of Brigham Young University-Idaho on fathers and their impact on daughters and society. Sharing many facts and anecdotes, his final point was, “Girls are empowered from within [the family].”
Following the afternoon session was a breakout session with two speakers. Adeline Allen, J.D., Associate Professor at Trinity Law School, discussed the potential issues surrounding surrogacy both in law and in an individual.
The other breakout was with Joe Malone, Ph.D., a former professor, who used the perspective of evolutionary biology to show the physical evidence of monogamy. He said, “Lust is a reaction. Love is a decision.”
The conference concluded with dinner and closing remarks from the moderator and Executive Director.
Takeaways and Reflections
The CARP team met after the conference to share some reflections and make some action plans based on what was gained.
Other than realizing that there is a whole group of people dedicated to standing for this issue, the team realized that there are many resources addressing this issue from an academic standpoint that could support CARP in further study or in articulating a stance.
They also made valuable connections that they hope will develop into future partnerships and collaboration.
“It felt like we were the only ones who cared about this issue, but to see all these different faiths and denominations [caring about it, too] is eye-opening. There’s a lot I don’t know, and I’m happy to learn.” - Chungbom Katayama, CARP CSN
“I resonated with the statement that renaissances happen: meaning that the culture could shift once enough data is presented. It’s a matter of time, but at the same time, we can’t wait for it.” - Mi Young Eaton, Family Federation for World Peace, Education Dept.
What CARP Can Do
The CARP team came up with immediate steps and also larger projects as possibilities for the future. The first step was for attendees to share their experience with local chapters and others interested in learning more on this issue.
The team also decided to compile all the resources, books, articles, connections, that they accumulated and make that available for other CARP leaders. Additionally, the team would like to update the CARP Curriculum with what was shared at SIU from both the speakers and materials they used.
The last immediate step is to follow up with the connections made at the conference.
Although the conference was short, the information gained was incredibly valuable and reassuring for our CARP students and leaders. It gave them hope and confidence to share what they believed with the backing of empirical evidence.
“I realize that this is so needed. It’s because we love God and all people that we put ourselves out there [to share what we believe in].” - Kailey Teo, CARP UNLV
All of the presentations from the SIU conference will be available online in a month. If you would like to learn more or connect with CARP about these issues, contact email@example.com.