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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE: Mormons are homophobic, and other advice from UNCG

UNCG hates Southern Baptists. Despises Muslims. Absolutely can't stand Mormons. Don't believe me? Check out UNCG's Safe Zone website (shs.dept.uncg.edu/programs/safezone). [Two days after the initial publication of this column, the part of the policy I reference, and most of the following quotes, were removed from the website]

Safe Zone is a program made up of "gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning individuals supported by student, faculty, and staff allies" which teaches university staff and faculty how to "provide a safe, comfortable environment for anyone who seeks it." And it's a very necessary program. Any form of support for the LGBT community is desperately needed, as they're the minority most openly discriminated against in America today (just look at the suicide rates for gay youth).

Safe Zone programs are instituted by a number UNC schools. They're good programs run by well-meaning people. But, somewhere along the way, the person putting together UNCG's program lost their damn mind.

The problems with our Safe Zone program is that it - it being a program ran by a public university - condemns any religion as homophobic if they simply morally disagree with homosexuality. In fact, it says specifically that one of the causes of widespread homophobia in our culture today is "promotion of homophobia by our religious organizations."

Which religious organizations? They spell that out for you as well.

In 1987 the Southern Baptist Convention condemned homosexuality as a manifestation of a depraved nature and a perversion of divine standards. They also linked homosexuality to a general problem with moral decline in modern society.

Southern Baptists are homophobic.

The Muslem [sic] religion has a long tradition of severely proscribing homosexuality in theory.

"Muslems" are homophobic.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) has the most anti-gay policies of any religion widely practiced in the United States. The current stance of the Mormon Church is very strongly opposed to equal rights for gays and lesbians. Mormons refer to homosexuals as being same-sex attracted.

Mormons are the kings of the homophobes.

Full column

The main problem I have with these inane and stupid policies that UNCG has is not that they are stupid and inane, which they are, but that UNCG does creates them under the guise of tolerance. "Watch us fight discrimination by discriminating!"

More than that, the past school year has shown the student body one clear fact: UNCG does not review its policies. By that I don't mean that University Counsel "Skip" Capone doesn't do his job and keep the administration informed of what they legally can and cannot do. I have every confidence that he does. The impression that I get is that Skip tells the administration that they can't do something, and the administration thanks him and asks him to go back to his office. It took how many months for UNCG to change its anti-discrimination policy after UNC-CH, a school that's right down the road from us, lost a court battle?

How many more illegal policies does the school have? How many more protests, letters and columns do there have to be? I'm just asking for reference; I've got plenty.


Blogger Sam said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/03/2006 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Hey Luke,

I have some issues with your article... No suprise there.

First of all you do realize that safe zone is funded by a private organization and not the university correct?

Second of all did you read the Alliance Defense Funds actually read the legal complain they filled? If not I suggest you do its on the IDF website.

I finally ask Luke if honestly believe that these arguments have merrit how can you support or do you support a religious studies departments existance? Doesn't that cross that line as well?

The summaries you refer to are simplified statements of belief by these organizations. Sure some biast opinions are encoded into them but given the mission statement of that group thats to be expected.

If that is your real problem that this group discusses religion at all then how should a group with such an expansive goal propose handle the issue of homosexuality and religious expression?

Sam L.

5/03/2006 09:17:00 PM  
Blogger Luke McIntyre said...

Hey Sam,

Who funds specific parts of the university is immaterial. Classes are paid for by tuition and tax money, Housing is paid for by their self-instituted fees, most campus construction is paid for by specific grants. It's a public university, so the buck stops there.

I did read the legal complaint several weeks ago. (I've had this column planned for some time, but haven't been able to fit it into the section.)

A religious studies department does just that, studies religion. We have classes that examine the Bible as a literary work and as it applies to the Christian faith. We do not have a class that teaches students how Jesus is their lord and savior, because that is endorsing religion. The difference between students learning about religion and the university endoring one over another is clear.

I'm not sure what you mean by "group." If by "group" you mean people who have gone through the Safe Zone program, then that "group" is members of UNCG staff and faculty.

Since you asked, my solution is that there is absolutely no reason to list religions and their beliefs on homosexuality, so the list should be deleted and an apology should probably be made to the students of UNCG for the idiotic decision and unnecessary risk the person who instituted that specific part of the program put the university in.

5/04/2006 12:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Muslim, Muslem, and Moslem are all generally accepted spellings as the word writting in arabic is S-L-M. Arabic doesn't have vowels like the english language, so it is a rough transliteration. Anyway, point is, you don't need the [sic] behind it. Regardless of how it is spelled, however, it should be pronounced moos-lem as muz-lem is a type of fabric.

5/04/2006 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger Luke McIntyre said...

Actually Moslem hasn't generally been used since the 80s because of the tendency to pronounce it as "maw-zlem," sounding a lot like the Arabic word for "oppressor." "Muslim" is the most correct transliteration of the Arabic word, but that's ultimately a semantic point and not worth arguing.

The [sic] was included to indicate that the spellings were presented as they appeared in the UNCG and Georgia Tech, since they are spellings not commonly seen nowadays.

5/04/2006 03:53:00 PM  

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