Thursday, June 08, 2006

Religious university doesn’t kick students out for protesting, but does succeed in running them off campus

Following up on an earlier post about religious universities and the thought police…

Brigham Young University has suspended one student and disciplined four others for taking part in a gay-rights protest at the school in April.

Run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the university did not expel any of the students, which was one of the punishment options available. However, it did succeed in prompting two of them to leave campus.

Matthew Kulisch, one of the local organizers of the Soulforce Equality Ride, and Emil Pohlig are both transferring to the University of Utah.

Kulisch, who is gay, was suspended but the action was put on hold.

"They kicked me out of the university but upon further consideration decided I could stay under certain terms and conditions," Kulisch told the Deseret Morning News.

Kulisch said terms of his withheld suspension included avoidance of all contact with gays.

"That's rather difficult to do because one cannot determine who is a homosexual by looking at them," Kulisch said.

He also would have been required to read talks by Elder David A. Bednar and Elder Boyd K. Packer of the LDS Church's Quorum of the Twelve.

Kulisch and Pohlig said the rulings did little to clear up the vagueness of BYU's policy on gays. BYU does allow gays to enroll but the Honor Code prohibits any gay behavior or advocacy of a gay lifestyle.

The terms provided to Kulisch stated that romantic touching and hugging would not be allowed.

Everything BYU did is legal because it is a private religious school, but it isn't even close to being moral or right.


Pete Codella said...

Actions that are moral and right aren’t often popular.

When Matthew Kulisch and Emil Pohlig enrolled as students at BYU — a private university, i.e., no state or federal funds are used in its operation — they each signed the BYU Honor Code.

BYU and its owner, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, uphold the standard of sexual abstinence before marriage — and we’re talking about marriage as ordained of God, between a man and a woman.

Homosexual acts are in opposition to the BYU Honor Code. A BYU student who chooses to engage in gay or homosexual behavior does so in opposition to his or her agreement with BYU and its sponsoring organization.

I, for one, am truly grateful that there are some organizations and institutions that have morals and teach the difference between right and wrong.

Even if a person disagrees with the action, claiming it’s wrong is, among other things, relative.

If you signed your name to a document that said you’d pay $400,000 for your home, then you choose not to, that action would be ‘wrong,’ wouldn’t it?

Thank you to BYU and the LDS Church for upholding true standards and teaching morals like integrity and chastity to its students.

There are many examples of immorality in our world and BYU is not one of them.

Anonymous said...

"BYU and its owner, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, uphold the standard of sexual abstinence before marriage — and we’re talking about marriage as ordained of God, between a man and a woman."

How many hetero couples have been booted out of BYU for having sex outside of marriage?

Diane Silver said...

Thanks to Pete and the "anonymous" for your comments. I appreciate hearing all points of view, and I most appreciate a calm comment that disagrees with me. Many thanks, Pete!

Anonymous, you make a good point about heterosexual couples being kicked out of BYU. I would be interested in seeing the stats on that.

Pete, I am most interested in your comments. As I said in my post, I agree that BYU, as a private college, has full legal right to do what they did. And yup, you're right that the two students did apparently sign the Honor Code, so in that sense they are breaking their promise to abide by that. I'll give you that one.

However, what I am trying to argue is that the stance on homosexuality held by BYU, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other religions that condemn people for being lesbian or gay is immoral. Period.

Think about this...

If I were a Mormon and followed every rule of the church to the letter...

If I were a saint and sacrificed myself for others...

If I were a parent and raised the most incredible, loving children...

If I went to work everyday, paid every bill, helped my neighbors and never ever broke even the tiniest law (never even got a parking ticket)...

I would still be condemned for no other reason than the fact that I am a woman who loves another woman.

People who oppose fair laws for gays like to trot out many horrible stereotypes, painting us as horrible human beings who hurt others and destroy ourselves. That hasn't been my experience in my life. I haven't seen gays or lesbians being any more destructive or self-destructive than heterosexuals.

Besides, arguments based on stereotypes are all frauds because none of these churches would accept me or my family, no matter how I act or what I do (and yes, I'm one of those very boring lesbians who pays bills, is faithful to her partner and helps her neighbors.)

I am condemned, not for what I do, but for that fact that I dare to love another consenting adult.

Diane Silver said...

OK, I'm home sick with a lousy cold and cough and a bit foggy from the medicine the doctor gave me... let me revise and make this a bit clearer...

I'm condemned, for the fact that I dare to love. Period. I dare to love another adult woman who consents. I dare to live in committed, monogamy even though, I cannot legally marry. I dare to support her in all ways and allow her to support me.

I cannot figure out what the sin is unless it's the sin of ever having sex without allowing it to be possible to procreate. If that is a sin, then many heterosexuals are going to hell along with me.

OK, back to bed with a box of tissues...

Anonymous said...

Good post. As a straight male BYU alum, it sounds like openly sexually active gays are handled in a similar fashion as straights and encouraged to repent and conform with Mormon church teachings before being offered the door. For the record, I was a sexually active single at BYU, but was smart enough to keep a low profile regarding my weakness. Most students there are definitely with-the-program Mormons, and I respect them, my weakness aside. For background, in Mormonism, being gay/lesbian isn’t considered a choice and therefore isn’t a sin, but any sexual activity outside of legal marriage is most definitely a sin. Life isn’t fair, and the Mormon church and BYU are not gay friendly places. Obviously, a straight sexually active couple has the repentance option of marriage in addition to abstinence; whereas the gay/lesbian person is supposed to practice life long celibacy or compromise their desires in a heterosexual marriage (which rarely works long term and is very cruel for the heterosexual spouse and kids when the marriage fails). I do have a real beef with the BYU prohibition against gay dating and PDA revealed in the post. That is clear bigotry, since nobody blinks an eye at the same activity by BYU straights. Enough said. I enjoyed BYU and would go again. But I’m straight.