The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

BIG XII Expansion, BYU, and LGBTQ

To the best of our knowledge, the Confidential has never had a contributor of the Mormon faith.  Frankly, this writer is not even sure what it is to hold the Mormon faith.  However, Brigham Young University has certainly been well known for a long time on the college football scene.  Steve Young is just one great quarterback out of many to come out of BYU.  Of all the schools with no ties to a P5 conference, BYU is the most widely known and most marketable.  If the Big XII could land BYU, and vice-versa, it would seemingly be a huge win-win. To many commentators, BYU is the easy #11 school for the Big XII, with #12 (and maybe even #13/#14) being the major issue.

So what is the problem?  Well, a LGBTQ advocacy group is encouraging the Big XII to reject BYU because it discriminates against openly LGBT students.

Does it?  The Brigham Young University Honor Code specifically states as follows: “Live a chaste and virtuous life.” Elsewhere, the Honor Code states:

Students must abstain from the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal substances and from the intentional misuse or abuse of any substance. Sexual misconduct; obscene or indecent conduct or expressions; disorderly or disruptive conduct; participation in gambling activities; involvement with pornographic, erotic, indecent, or offensive material; and any other conduct or action inconsistent with the principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Honor Code is not permitted.

The Honor Code states that students are not only required to conduct themselves consistent with the Honor Code, they must also not “influence or seek to influence others to engage in behavior inconsistent with the Honor Code.”  Nowhere in this part of the Honor Code statement does it indicate any discrimination to, for, or against anyone based on sexual orientation.

In fact, those who follow sports regularly, rather than just seize on certain instances to advance a selfish agenda, will recall BYU suspending Brandon Davies for admitting to engaging in premarital sex.  As that article discussed, he is not the first to have faced such punishment.  The bottom line is that BYU penalizes the player, team, and school for heterosexual misconduct.

As for homosexual behavior, specifically, the Honor Code states as follows:

Brigham Young University will respond to homosexual behavior rather than to feelings or attraction and welcomes as full members of the university community all whose behavior meets university standards. Members of the university community can remain in good Honor Code standing if they conduct their lives in a manner consistent with gospel principles and the Honor Code.

One’s stated same-gender attraction 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. Homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Code. Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.

Surely, this is the provision that causes angst.

Of course, it specifically states that it addresses conduct, rather than feelings.  Nobody is precluded from having feelings.  It is only when these feelings ripen into physical intimacy and homosexual acts that there is any risk of penalty at all.  Again, however, there are penalties for heterosexual acts, including “indecent acts.”  If a man were to engage in physical intimacy with a woman for the purpose of arousing her interest in premarital sex, this would be conduct seeking to influence others to violate the Honor Code.  So the rules regarding homosexuality are simply an extension of the requirement of chastity.  This is rather plainly not discriminatory.

And nobody is forced to attend BYU.  Everyone at BYU is there voluntarily.  If one is heterosexual, attending BYU means no premarital sex–regardless of how strong the feelings might be.  If one is homosexual, attending BYU means no expression of homosexual conduct–regardless of how strong the feelings might be.  Regardless of the specific nature of the desire, BYU and its students commit themselves to decency and chastity.  That is not discriminatory.

The outcry among progressives is that BYU must change to meet the times.  The Confidential concludes otherwise.  If BYU must abandon a requirement of chastity in order to have its football team make a few more dollars, hopefully BYU will reject the Big XII.  BYU and its Mormon followers will have the true win, proving that its principles are not negotiable and certainly not for sale.  Hopefully, other Christians will see that one need not fall to pressure from outside.

If the Big XII rejects BYU because it will not change its Honor Code, the LGBTQ community can have its win.  Of course, that will not change the Honor Code either.  To be sure, the Big XII can find other schools.  Previously, the Confidential has advocated USF and UCF for the Big XII adds.  The current leaderboard is otherwise, as the Big XII is strongly considering Houston, Cincinnati, UConn, and others.  Maybe those schools will grow under the Big XII umbrella.  And, if that is what the LGBTQ community requires, so be it.

The Confidential will be rooting for BYU.  Certainly, in a conference with “win at all costs” Baylor masquerading as a religious institution, BYU could be a good example for other schools to follow.  If not, BYU will be fine.




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