Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Religious Liberty For All!* (*Except at BYU)

Because I'm a BYU Law graduation, JRCLS (J. Reuben Clark Law School) emails appear in my inbox every month or so, much like the below:

I appreciate these emails, which help me stay up to date on happenings, and occasionally participate in JRCLS initiatives. It was the "Inspiration" portion of this particular "JRCLS Happenings -- Updates and Inspiration" that caught my attention today. It reads:

I couldn't help but be struck, once again, by the sanctimony of BYU Law-founded proclamations about the meaning and importance of religious liberty. The very institution that BYU Law is governed by, BYU, severely burdens the religious liberty of the vast majority of its own 30,000+ students. LDS BYU students, including LDS BYU Law students, are obligated to comply with the honor code. That honor code penalizes disaffiliation from LDS faith as an offense resulting in the inability to (1) enroll, (2) graduate, or (3) have their degrees post. As I have argued almost to excess, and as evidenced by my own brother's getting kicked out of BYU for converting to atheism, this practice unquestionably coerces pretense and inauthenticity among LDS BYU students whose religious convictions change while at school. They are not free "to witness their beliefs in public," for fear their Bishops will withdraw their ecclesiastical endorsements. The are coerced, on pain of their otherwise earned academic degrees, "to act contrary to [their] sense of religious duty." LDS BYU students who feel called to Islam, or to question, or to abandon theism altogether, do not enjoy "the right to change one's beliefs and religious affiliation." Instead, they pledge allegiance to the flag of Joseph with their lips, and populate LDS pews with their bottoms. I find it tragic that so many bow their heads, and say... something other than what they truly believe, because of the religious freedom that is denied them.

I feel that statements like this inspirational thought should be required to have an asterisk by them: "this applies to everyone but us."

My related posts:

The Emperor's Clothes: Religious Freedom and BYU Law's International Center for Law and Religion Studies

BYU's Policy of Kicking Out LDS Students That Convert: Addressed by Managing Director of BYU's International Center for Law and Religion Studies

Religious Freedom? Not at BYU

My rebuttal to Robert George on a different subject:

And They Shall Be One Flesh: Why Robert George’s “What is Marriage?” May Falter

"What is Marriage?" My Response to Robert George

And They Shall Be One Flesh: Why Robert George's "What is Marriage?" Falters

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