Saturday, March 26, 2011

Proportional Penalties

It has taken me a while to digest the news that BYU basketball player Brandon Davies was indefinitely suspended for having sex with his girlfriend. While I'm a fan of BYU sports, I wasn't any more worked up over the impact to their season than I would have been over a season ending injury. Those sorts of things happen to sports teams all of the time and players and coaches are responsible for dealing with them.. What really upsets me is how the church has ruthlessly sacrificed the reputation and career of one man and his teammates in order to score a PR coup for the church.

BYU has every right to set its honor code. Every person applying to BYU signs the honor code and knows what is expected. And the university knows that every student is fallible and that there are bound to be violations. In fact they have a whole department in the administration whose purpose is to enforce the honor code. They get to do important things like monitor students standing in line to get student IDs to make sure that they meet the school's grooming standards. Hair too long? Go get a hair cut. Forgot to shave? Go shave. They get to kick people out of the testing center during finals week for wearing shorts, not shaving, having too long hair, etc. Back in the day the dress code required females to wear dresses on campus. During finals in December a girl wasn't allowed to take a final in the testing center because she was wearing pants. So she went into the bathroom and took off her pants and put them in her backpack. She went back to the counter in nothing but her long coat and properly exposed legs and was allowed to take her test. Her letter to the campus paper raised quite an uproar.

What about premarital sex? Believe it or not, it even happens at BYU. I wouldn't know, but I'm guessing more than a little bit but probably not a lot. People just get married instead. But it happens. People get hot and heavy, things go to far. The next Sunday visits get made to the bishop, teary confessions are made, calls are made to the other partner's bishop, disciplinary councils are sometimes held, etc. I suspect that sometimes the students get expelled. But I know for a fact that if they are repentant they often don't. They stay in school, go through their repentance process, and life goes on. People have their suspicions because they see them not taking the sacrament, but the process is private. It's not public. I don't know that the university is even ever notified. One thing I can say for certain:


So what is special about the case of Brandon Davies? Why is a start basketball player being singled out? Is it because the basketball is ranked 3rd in the country? Is it because they are picked for a #1 regional seed? So why do we have headlines? Maybe because the church just can't pass up quotes like this:
“in an era in which big-time college athletics has run amok, BYU has maintained its core values and refused to sell out.”
The media has got this all wrong. The church completely sold out. It has treated Brandon Davies completely differently than it would have treated any other student guilty of the same honor code violation. It has used and manipulated his "honor code violation" for its own benefit without any regard for the personal repercussions for Brandon, his girlfriend, their families, his teammates, or for that matter the rest of the university. I don't know if Brandon is Mormon or not. If he is his proper punishment might have been excommunication, not being able to take the sacrament, etc. If he's some other religion I'm sure the church would have worked with his ecclesiastical leader for appropriate religious discipline. But the church doesn't typically have authority to suspend you from an athletic team. The church did that to make PR hay.


SkepticalSean said...

Remove "Under God" from the Constitution SIGN THE PETITION!

Here's the link:

The original Constitution of the United States that was ratified in 1789 had only one reference to religion [Article 6] No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust

The motto of the USA, added as part of the Great Seal by an Act of Congress in 1782, was E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One). Congress changed it 174 years later (1956) to “In God We Trust.”
THE ORIGINAL ‘PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE’ was written in 1892 and DID NOT INCLUDE the words “Under God.” Those weren't added until1954 by Congress.

Just after the RED SCARE in the 1950’s, congress changed the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE over FEAR OF COMMUNISM. In a time when fear is traded like a commodity, and the word socialism is being used to create the same fear as the old word communism, let’s remember that our country was NOT FOUNDED ON FEAR. NO, OUR NATION was founded out of HOPE for a better world where people were EQUAL. Don’t give into fear – Sign and Share.



Anonymous said...

Whenever I say the Pledge of Allegiance, I remain silent during the words "Under God" because I, too, think those words should never have been added.