BYU Professor Speaks Out 5 June 2006Posted by Todd in Academia & Education, Gay Rights, Mormonism/LDS Church, News.
As I wrote last week, the Mormon church has urged its members to lobby congress about the upcoming Senate vote about the marriage amendment, which would enshrine discrimination in our Constitution for the first time since the original document differentiated between Americans and “slaves” (i.e., “other persons”) and Native Americans.
A part-time philosophy professor at Brigham Young University has published a response to the First Presidency’s problematic call to action in the Salt Lake Tribune, LDS Authority and Gay Marriage. In some ways, Prof. Jeffrey Nielson is having an “insider” argument with fellow believing Mormons, an argument I can simply no longer have. But the arguments are interesting and will definitely push some buttons. The mormon apologist forums at Nauvoo-L are hopping this morning with responses. (I won’t link to them because the moderators over there are notorious for spamming people they don’t like.)
Regardless, I have to give Nielson his due for speaking out. Since 1992, the administration at BYU has been enforcing an anti-intellectual gag on its professors, firing any who speak out against what the university considers to be sacred cows, who offer alternative interpretations of LDS scripture, tradition, history, or culture. The American Association of University Professors has had BYU on its shit list of universities who regularly violate academic freedom for over 10 years now. For example, they have dismissed feminist scholars, scholars studying LDS missionaries, a creative writing professor whose fiction was deemed dark and violent, and scholars criticizing the church’s historical and current racism. [At this point, attending BYU is my biggest regret in life, to the extent that I harbor regrets.]
So a respectful hats off to Prof. Nielson for taking this stand at this time.
[posted with ecto]