“Anti-Gay” Sign Causes Stir at BYU
By Ken K. Gourdin
The Big 12 athletic conference (which is actually composed of ten teams, but no one said jocks could count) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recently declined to expand. Provo, Utah’s, Brigham Young University, which is independent in football (unaffiliated with a conference) and plays in the West Coast Conference in most other sports, reportedly was a candidate for expansion.
The conference received heavy pressure from gay activist groups not to invite BYU to join because of the stance of the university’s sponsoring institution, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with respect to gay conduct and gay marriage (that sex outside of marriage is wrong, and that only marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God). I recently commented thus on the stance of the Church of Jesus Christ and its affect on educational institutions run by the Church here (this and all other links last accessed October 19, 2016):
If it needs to be said, the Church of Jesus Christ also counsels all people to treat others with respect and dignity regardless of sexual orientation and different beliefs regarding homosexual activity and gay marriage. See, e.g., here:
The Salt Lake Tribune’s television critic, Scott D. Pierce, who occasionally writes about sports coverage on television, recently wrote about a sign held up by someone in the crowd at the recent football matchup between BYU’s Cougars and the Bulldogs of Mississippi State University.
My first thought was, “Oh, gawrsh. This is serious. Has someone not gotten the memo that the Church of Jesus Christ, its views on marriage and chastity notwithstanding, supports basic human decency and dignity? Did someone hold up a sign with a slur such as ‘k***’ or ‘f**’ on it, for a nationwide television audience to see when the game was carried on ESPN?”
Nope. Nothing that serious. The allegedly-offending sign? “You can’t spell Mississippi without spelling sissy.” (Perhaps I should have written that “s****”?) Worried that perhaps the offending word has an obvious anti-gay connotation of which I was unaware, I then looked it up in the dictionary. See here:
For Mr. Pierce’s handwringing over the alleged “anti-gay” slur, see here:
Alas, I, myself, have been accused of effeminacy. (I don’t think the person who leveled the accusation was attempting to say anything about my sexual orientation, but, in the heat of the moment, I never bothered to ask. Ken, with upraised dukes: “Are you calling me gay? Huh, huh, huh?”)
As for the Big 12 and the pressure to not invite BYU to join? I don’t quite understand the whole idea that if someone doesn’t agree with every single position I hold on absolutely everything, or doesn’t agree with everything I do or ever have done, that disagreement somehow means that I’m “unwelcome” somewhere.
I’m confused. Putting aside, for the moment, that certain behavior probably isn’t appropriate in any public place, are two lesbian cheerleaders from an opposing school going to feel “unwelcome” at BYU because they can’t make out during a game? Are two gay football players from an opposing school going to feel “unwelcome” because they cannot do that? If not, I’m afraid I don’t quite understand what the stances of BYU or of its sponsoring institution regarding chastity and marriage have to do with what athletic conference it belongs to (or not).
Taking legality out of the equation for a second, the Big 12 can invite whomever it wants, for any reason; it can exclude whomever it wants, for any reason. But anyone with half a brain would be able to see right through any protestations that the conference’s exclusion has nothing to do with BYU’s alleged “anti-gay” policies if it were to invite other schools whose programs, facilities, and followings aren’t as strong as BYU’s.
Perhaps, in order to get a fair shake, religiously-affiliated and religiously-oriented schools eventually may have to break away from the NCAA altogether and form their own association. Cue pressure from pro-gay activist groups. After all, people who believe something different than I do (about absolutely anything) should forfeit their very right to exist.