Condoms on Campus

This year Texans are celebrating the 146th anniversary of the battle of the Alamo--commemorated as a historic test of courage. Meanwhile, at the University of Texas at Austin, there was another test of courage for the heirs of the Alamo heroes. A test some passed, while others failed pathetically. It all started when medical surveys found that students at the university exhibit a higher-than-normal rate of HIV infection. Students panicked. The threat of AIDS seemed to loom over them. They demanded that the administration do something. The governing body of the university duly met and came up with a predictable solution: They would encourage safe sex by selling condoms in vending machines across the campus. Now, stop right there. Remember we're not talking about minor children here, we're talking about young adults. And the trouble they've run into--the threat of AIDS--stemmed from their own behavior. But did they respond as mature people who realized they'd created a problem for themselves? Did they say, Ok, let's take stock and see what we can do to change our behavior and solve the problem? No, they went running to the administration to bail them out. The students couldn't even be bothered to take the minor responsibility of going down to the corner drug store to buy their condoms. No, they demanded that the university put up condom vending machines all around campus. So now students at the University of Texas can buy condoms alongside Snickers bars and Tootsie Rolls. They can buy them in the dormitories, the gymnasium, the libraries, and even the Dean's Office. What happened on the Austin campus is a microcosm of what's happening in our larger society. People are demanding the right to make any moral choices they like. And if their choices create problems in any way, why, they turn to the powers that be and demand to be bailed out. The prevailing mentality is that people have a right to any lifestyle they choose and still be as healthy and happy as those who live by principled moral standards. Now, not all the faculty at the University of Texas concurred in the condom decision. A group of 31 professors petitioned the University Council to reconsider. They wrote that students are people "created in the image of God," who are capable of examining the consequences of their behavior and making intelligent choices. The role of the university, these professors said, should be to challenge students to think, not just to capitulate to their demands. But when the dissenting professors offered their petition to the University Council, the student representatives on the Council were incensed. How dare anyone stand up to their wishes? The students strode up and lectured the professors. We have to face reality, they railed. "We cannot legislate morality at our university." And when the vote was taken, the students won. Well, certainly no one is legislating their morality. Or even challenging them to think seriously about it. By giving in to the students' demands, the university authorities were sanctioning a mindset that says everyone has a right to make bad moral choices without ever suffering the consequences. Or even suffering a minor inconvenience. The dissenting professors were right. It's a mindset that's demeaning to people made in the image of God.


Chuck Colson


  • Facebook Icon in Gold
  • Twitter Icon in Gold
  • LinkedIn Icon in Gold

Sign up for the Daily Commentary