In an age of confusion about sexual norms and human nature, literature professors have a unique opportunity and responsibility to communicate Christian ethics to the rising generation. Our students are enveloped in pressures to experiment in their sexuality and forbidden, on pain of being labeled as a hater or bigot, to profess beliefs in normative sexuality, the natural family, or even the differences between motherhood and fatherhood. Classical teachers ought to build reasonable grounds to defend sexual norms by using Christian teaching on marriage and family life. Plato’s Gorgias and Dante’s Commedia can be used in a compelling combination to give students clear and reasonable grounds to believe in sexual norms, resist the destructive pressures of the age, and go on to form Christian families of their own. Never before has a creative defense of this normative vision been more urgently needed.
Dallas Shipp teaches History, Literature, and Political Science at New Covenant Schools in Lynchburg, VA. He was formerly a wine consultant, collects Penguin classics, and keeps American states in specimen jars in his classroom. He especially loves studying the War Between the States and leads tours of historic sites both in and out of school. He studied History and Literature at Liberty University and Louisiana State University.