Some might suggest a society at the University of Dallas dedicated to upholding traditional marriage, sexual integrity and the role of the family would just be preaching to the choir.
Senior Emily Lataif believes otherwise.
“Not every student at UD knows how to talk about [traditional marriage and the family],” Lataif said, adding that the ability to have intelligent dialogue and conversations about beliefs are key.
“At UD, we mostly have the same opinions about marriage and family. Once students leave UD, it’s difficult to be one of the few voices in the culture saying, ‘This is what marriage is; this is the good of the family.’”
Lataif believes the club will provide students with a forum to discuss and learn to express their beliefs regarding marriage, family and sexual integrity.
“This club is going to equip students with the tools to bring [the message of traditional marriage and family] to the world outside UD after graduation,” Lataif said. “We want to show them how to talk about these issues in a different way, not just, ‘This is right; this is wrong.’ ”
She describes the club as “the Alexander Hamilton Society for the family.”
Lataif decided to start a chapter of the society on campus after attending a conference at Princeton University in October 2015 with 300 other college students, most of whom participated in chapters of the Anscombe Society on their campuses.
The parent organization of the Anscombe Society, the Love and Fidelity Network (LFN), hosted the conference at Princeton.
The LFN was founded approximately 10 years ago to combat the predominant hookup culture, protect traditional marriage and provide future leaders with resources and support to safeguard the social importance of marriage and sexual integrity.
Sophomore Jeanne Kuehl, one of the club’s officers, decided to become involved because she considers the family a key component of a strong society.
“I believe that society itself is built on the family,” Kuehl said. “In order for humanity to flourish, its foundation must be strong and secure. The Anscombe Society looks to deepen understanding of family, marriage and sex. I believe that UD’s chapter of the Anscombe Society will be a very useful tool for students as they look to grow in faith and knowledge.”
Junior PJ Hasson, another officer, added that the Anscombe Society has potential to do important work at UD.
“I have friends who run Anscombe Society chapters at larger, more secular schools and they had lots of good things to say about the impact they had had on campus,” Hasson said.
The club has just started at the university, but it already has plans in place for its first semester.
“Our goals for this semester involve getting students excited about the club as we try to get our feet off the ground,” Kuehl said. “Many of the students I’ve spoken with concerning the Anscombe Society are already very interested. I think the club’s ideals are values that the large majority of the student body has taken to heart.”
Some of these goals for increasing student involvement include a Valentine’s Day campaign, three public lectures per semester and small discussion groups with professors.
Lataif added that the support from the faculty, including sponsor Dr. David Upham of the politics department, has been encouraging.
Both Hasson and Kuehl said that they hope the Anscombe Society will come to have a permanent place at the university.
“I hope to see the Anscombe Society flourishing and becoming a resource for students to turn to as issues arise that seem to contradict the importance of the family,” Kuehl said. “With the club as a forum in which to ask questions, learn about different philosophies and hear nationally-renowned speakers discuss prevalent topics, I could easily see the society becoming a loved and respected UD institution.” T
he Anscombe Society takes its name from modern Catholic philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe, a student of Ludwig Wittgenstein and a key figure of analytical Thomism.
Dr. Jonathan Sanford, dean of Constantin College and professor of philosophy, will give a lecture on Anscombe’s work “Contraception and Chastity” for the club’s first event Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. in Gorman Faculty Lounge.