However, the Church's reaction to her column is quite telling. For its aggressive attacks at critics. Touched a nerve have we?
Whatever the personal views of individual students or other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the invitation is seen by the university’s board of trustees as one extended to someone holding the high office of vice president of the United States rather than to a partisan political figure.
The Salt Lake Tribune ran two articles...
One, a prominently displayed personal opinion piece...criticizes the Church, in intemperate and disrespectful language, for inviting Vice President Dick Cheney...
The reporter’s central point seems to be that inviting the vice president — presumably this particular vice president — is inconsistent with the Church’s often-stated political neutrality.
The other article — in the same newspaper — is an editorial that urges that the vice president be allowed to speak because "this is democracy at work" and that an audience of college graduates is capable of assessing what he says. The newspaper further says that the decision was for the BYU board of trustees to make, "just as it is the right of anyone who disagrees with the choice to say so."
So far, the are whining over an overall neutral editorializing of the choice of Cheney. She used mean, bad words WAAAH! And please when you skim Walsh's column, find me some of that "intemperate and disrespectful language." I guess they are not used to being treated without kid gloves by the local media. Even though the Tribune editors fell over themselves to do so after allowing Walsh's column.
One could argue that a editorial by the paper versus a column means that the paper's true feelings like more with the Church and less with Walsh.
The invitation to the vice president of the United States is not a violation of [the Church’s political neutrality policy], any more than inviting the majority leader of the Senate would be. In fact, Senator Harry Reid — a Democrat from the opposite political pole to the vice president — has already accepted such an invitation for this fall. That invitation has been in process for many months — long before the announcement of the vice president's visit.
Even if I believe you about Reid's pre-planned fall visit, there is a big difference between a fall speech and a graduation speech. The later gets a lot more attention from students, faculty, staff, and the media than the former. Moreover, speakers see graduation speeches as more prestigious than other speeches before Universities/College, because it is. They are simply not equivalent platforms.
Moreover, Sen. Majority Leader Reid is LDS. He is the most powerful LDS politician in the US (if not the world), even if there are high powered Mormons in the Bush administration, like ex-Gov. Leavitt. Cheney, however, is not LDS. But he sure is powerful. He is more like a co-president than a vice president. More importantly, he was and still is the biggest supporter of this war in Iraq, one that only 44 percent of the Church's members agree with. And they haven't invited a war critic to balance out Cheney. Reid voted for the war, but is now leading Senate Democrats in pushing a non-binding timetable.
But wait, the Church's press release isn't done yet. It asks a question:
Is it appropriate for a university — even one that espouses a policy of political neutrality — to have as featured speakers the holders of some of the highest offices in the land? Of course it is. And whoever the visitor — the vice president, the majority leader of the Senate or the chief justice of the Supreme Court (another scheduled fall speaker) — the university and the student body will listen, evaluate and react to them as intelligent citizens capable of making up their own minds about their messages.
So now we learn that Reid will be balanced out by CJ Roberts, a ultra-conservative partisan justice nominated by George W. Bush. So much for claiming Reid was there to balance out Cheney. Moreover, when was the last time the Church allowed differing views on things like Women's Rights, Abortion and Gay Marriage, etc. to be displayed at BYU/Church functions? They have ex-communicated professors at BYU, one who taught Feminism, another who thought gay people should be able to marry and have children. I will just wait until some one posts an example.
All in all, I am pleased with the groundswell of support by BYU students, faculty, and alumni, who wish to protest Cheney's speech. I am not surprised at BYU's choice for their speaker, but disappointed nonetheless.