Tuesday, April 17, 2007

dis-honor code

BYU just changed its honor code.
The changes, which condemn behavior rather than sexual orientation, "remove a lot of the Gestapo atmosphere from the campus," said Brett Condron, a BYU freshman.
The new section of the honor code application reads, in part: "Brigham Young University will respond to homosexual behavior rather than to feelings or orientation and welcomes as full members of the university community all whose behavior meets university standards. . . . One's stated sexual orientation is not an Honor Code issue. However, the Honor Code requires all members of the university community to manifest a strict commitment to the law of chastity."
The honor code is a set of rules students and staff at the school owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are expected to follow in order to live the "moral virtues encompassed in the gospel of Jesus Christ." The honor code's applications clarify the short set of rules. Students who disregard the code can be put on probation and, in rare situations, suspended.
Prior to the honor code application change, the section on homosexual behavior or advocacy read, in part:
"Brigham Young University will respond to student behavior rather than to feelings or orientation. . . . Advocacy of a homosexual lifestyle (whether implied or explicit) or any behaviors that indicate homosexual conduct, including those not sexual in nature, are inappropriate and violate the Honor Code."

While agree it is an improvement, I still disapprove of the singling out of homosexuals, especially on the basis that "Jesus said it was cool."

Jesus said a whole lot of great stuff, but he never said anything about homosexuality. Most religious anti-gay people point to Leviticus, AKA a book in the Old Testament AKA not something in Jesus' teachings, to say that God believes homosexuality is a sin. The Son of Man certainly talked disapprovingly of divorce, something unfortunately quite frequent in the LDS Church.

But the bulk of his gospel was about social justice: poverty, social castes, the sick, the weak, etc. To blame Jesus for the school's anti-gay policies is dishonoring his legacy and his teachings.

"As more and more members of the LDS Church are coming to know individuals who are gay and finding out that they're human, that these are people just like them, that they're good people, it becomes difficult for them to demonize homosexuality the way the church positions do," said Nick Literski, a former BYU student. "Literski, a gay man who has withdrawn his membership from the church, said his daughter will attend the school this fall." I guess there is hope in us all.

1 comment:

Alisa said...

I worry that this language will create further problems at the BYU campus. Straight unmarried students can hold hands and kiss on campus while still keeping the "law of chastity." However, I think similar behavior by homosexual students would fall under the "implicit or explicit" behaviors clause. It's not the same standard for everyone.

By the way, congratulations on being done with classes, and happy belated birthday!