Written by Ryan Neuhaus, April 18, 2019. Originally published in The Daily Signal.
Brigham Young University is known for a lot of things: a great football team, superior academics, but most of all, being the flagship school of the Mormon church (also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
Yet today, BYU’s identity is being challenged. Not by political forces from Washington, but from within its own student body.
What began as an effort to reform the enforcement of BYU’s honor code has morphed into a movement that could end up opening bathrooms to the opposite biological sex, and would compromise the school’s unique and defining mission.
The honor code is a voluntary contract that students agree to before enrolling at the university. It contains a set of standards that students and faculty agree to uphold while attending BYU.
The #RestoreHonor movement, led by a group of students who garnered support after creating an Instagram account (@HonorCodeStories), which went viral, has attracted over 37,000 followers and prompted hundreds of students to submit anonymous stories to the page’s creator.
This student-led movement has now resulted in a petition that has garnered over 22,000 signatures and is calling for the university to self-impose a ban on discrimination on the basis sexual orientation and gender identity.
That might sound fine, but in practice it would be very bad.
In other schools—and, in fact, in other U.S. cities and states—similar policies have been used to require institutions to open up their bathrooms, locker rooms, and other sex-specific spaces to members of the opposite biological sex. This would create obvious privacy and safety concerns for many students.
Some have also taken advantage of this ambiguity to use these policies as a weapon against those who hold traditional views about marriage or the reality of biological sex.
Such a policy would also undermine BYU’s religious mission. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints continues to uphold a traditional view of marriage and sexuality, and Brigham Young should remain free to operate consistent with these religious beliefs.
Beyond the school’s own mission, this policy would do a disservice to students by adding to confusion over sexual orientation and gender identity.
Since sexual orientation and gender identity are fluid and subjective by their very definition, it’s hard to determine what constitutes discrimination on these terms. It’s much easier to determine discrimination on the basis of an immutable and objective trait like race or biological sex.
#RestoreHonor organizers are not just calling for a sexual orientation and gender identity anti-discrimination policy. They are also asking the school to change its policy on same-sex relationships, which would mean breaking with the doctrines and teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And those teachings are rooted in reality itself.
The traditional understanding of marriage is based on the fact that children deserve a mother and a father, that men and women are complementary, and that biologically, reproduction can only occur when a man and a woman comprehensively unite to procreate. BYU’s policies on romantic relationships reflect this truth.
This truth is not discriminatory. It is never discriminatory to recognize and uphold the unique and important roles that mothers and fathers play in the lives of children.
Speaking as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and a current student at BYU, I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that this conviction should not considered discriminatory by those who live the LGBT lifestyle. Understanding that others may have different opinions on marriage, I also believe that everyone ought to be treated with dignity and respect, including LGBT individuals.
My beliefs are founded in the principles that this country was built upon, and the knowledge that God loves each and every one of us as his children.
BYU’s current policy is consistent with these beliefs. The school welcomes any and all students, regardless of their identity. It also encourages us to live our lives consistent with our beliefs. It is up to students to decide whether or not BYU is the right fit for them.
Not everyone agrees with me or my church on the meaning of marriage, and that’s OK, so long as we all remain free to speak and act in accordance with our different beliefs.
If we are all to remain free, we must recognize that the traditional view of marriage and sexuality is a legitimate point of view to hold. But sexual orientation and gender identity policies are increasingly used to punish that view until it is no longer welcome in the public sphere.
Self-imposing a sexual orientation and gender identity policy and putting BYU’s code of conduct in conflict with the church’s broader teachings would be a mistake.
A healthy understanding of human dignity should lead us all to treat others with respect and compassion, even when our beliefs conflict. In an attempt to negotiate and find common ground, BYU has publicly discussed the honor code, publishing a Q&A and privately meeting with the disgruntled students leading the movement.
True tolerance is not a one-sided affair. It requires the understanding of both parties involved. BYU has done its part to hear out the concerns of the #RestoreHonor movement, and #RestoreHonor should recognize that. People should remain free to disagree with BYU’s policies, but we should not misconstrue a disagreement over marriage and sexuality as an attack on the dignity of LGBT people.
One can hold to principled, traditional views on these matters while approaching LGBT issues with great compassion. The other side, like many of us, want to protect the right to live and speak according to one’s beliefs.
For that right to truly extend both ways, Brigham Young University and the church it represents must be free to disagree with the LGBT community.
Ryan Neuhaus is a graduate of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation and a graduating senior at Brigham Young University.
When asked if they favored Capitalism or Socialism, the Florida International University students had glowing things to say about the idea of socialism. But once Cabot Phillips from Campus Reform spelled out how the idea of socialism implemented on the schools grading system would effect their own GPA, i.e. how they would be forced to share their GPAs with disadvantaged students getting lower grades, suddenly attitudes changed. Watch and ask your own kids these questions.
Watch the video below and don't forget to share:
We would like to thank Representative Cheryl Acton for all her hard work and courageous action in defending life. She has had multiple Interviews (on and off camera) all day because of the injunction filed today to stop the enactment of HB136. She sent the following press release to the media:
Representative Cheryl Acton
Though I cannot say that I welcomed a lawsuit against HB136, I did expect one because the ACLU and Planned Parenthood use the threat and cost of litigation to intimidate states into maintaining the status quo on abortion, regardless of the sentiments of the people of those states.
Planned Parenthood makes a lot of money on the abortion of babies, and HB136 threatens that revenue stream. Both organizations capitalize on lawsuits in their fundraising efforts, so they cannot be said to be unbiased on the issue.
HB136 was passed by elective representatives expressing the will of the people of Utah. That is the proper way for laws to be passed, according to our state and federal Constitutions.
I ran HB136, limiting elective abortion to 18 weeks, for four primary reasons:
1) The physical, psychological, and future fertility health of women, because abortion's risks to women increase exponentially with gestation. The increased rate of suicide and mental health issues, as well as future fertility issues, are especially well documented.
2) Fetal pain perception, which increases over gestation with all circuitry in place by 18 weeks. We can now observe that fetuses do feel pain by monitoring fetal pulse, blood flow, and stress hormones. We also have a real-time window into the womb through advances in ultrasound technology.
3) The abortion procedure used in second trimester abortion shocks the conscience. The abortionist dismembers a living baby in the womb then re-assembles the body on a tray to ensure that all parts were removed. In Utah, we have laws against dismembering a human corpse, but it is lawful to dismember a living unborn child. Interestingly, this procedure was not used in 1973, when Roe v Wade was handed down.
4) Most countries, including most Western European countries, limit abortion to the first trimester, or 12-13 weeks. HB136 preserves a woman's right to choose abortion for any reason at all until 18 weeks, and allows an array of exceptions after 18 weeks (longer than one NFL football season), including one new exception. (Those exceptions are rape, incest, life of the mother, permanent impairment of the mother, fatal fetal defect, and severe fetal brain abnormality.)
Utah should be leading out on this issue, because the vast majority of Utahns oppose abortion, especially in the second trimester. (According to a Gallup poll conducted in May 2018, 72% of people nationally oppose second trimester abortion.) With the nation's highest birthrate, Utah should be the safest place in the nation for all people, especially children, born and unborn.
It is my hope that abortion law will be returned to the states, where it resided prior to Roe, so that the people of each state may decide the issue in the normal legislative process.
Six State Legislators Report on the Utah 2019 Session
You are invited
WEDNESDAY - April 10 , 2019 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm - Provo City Library, 550 N. University Ave.
Senators Deidre Henderson and Senator David Hinkins. Representatives Kay Christopherson, Brad Daw, Marsha Judkins and Adam Robertson
Learn about bills and resolutions - those that passed and those that didn't and ask your questions!
It is often difficult to talk with our legislators while they are at the capitol during the session. Now you will have an opportunity to hear their "take" on the session. This will include a short presentation by each legislator followed by questions and answers.
What bills were YOU watching? What would you like to know?
Please plan now to attend and bring your friends and neighbors.
Get Informed--Take Action--Make a Difference.
"There are 3 great loyalties that have guided my life and everything in it. God, Family and Country" - Major Brent Taylor
Message from Gayle Ruzicka:
This weekend Unplanned stunned the movie industry, it took in $6 million over the weekend, doubling expectations from the 1,059 theaters it appeared in. It will appear in about 1,700 for the coming weekend.
I have seen Unplanned twice. Once with the Governor and Glenn Beck and both times with Utah legislators. We must support this movie. Please take your friends and family and go see Unplanned. Don't take your teenagers until you have first seen it, then you decide if it is for them.
We must defund Planned Parenthood. After you see this show you will want to work with us to do that. Our tax dollars are going to fund Planned Parenthood. I call it blood money. Why should we be forced to fund something that violates our conscience and for many of us is against our religion. Please see Unplanned and then help us fight the battle.
Click here to get your tickets:
Watch the movie trailer below:
About the Movie Unplanned
Unplanned is the inspiring true story of one woman’s journey of transformation.
All Abby Johnson ever wanted to do was help women. As one of the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic directors in the nation, she was involved in upwards of 22,000 abortions and counseled countless women about their reproductive choices. Her passion surrounding a woman’s right to choose even led her to become a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, fighting to enact legislation for the cause she so deeply believed in.
Until the day she saw something that changed everything, a baby fighting for its life. This led Abby Johnson to join her former enemies at 40 Days For Life and become one of the most ardent pro-life speakers in America.
Abby was a woman who was deeply involved in Planned Parenthood until God showed her the truth about this evil organization. She left Planned Parenthood and now speaks out on behalf of life.
Volunteers of Utah Eagle Forum.