Brigham Young University recently suspended its star basketball center, Brandon Davies, for violating the college's strict Honor Code. Davies admitted to officials that he'd had pre-marital sex with his girlfriend, an Arizona State University freshman. Although he currently remains a student, there is still a chance the 19-year-old will be expelled from the school. He has publicly apologized to his teammates and fans.
The Honor Code, which students are obligated to abide by, requires them to be honest, live a chaste and virtuous life, obey the law and all campus policies, use clean language, respect others, abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee and substance abuse, participate regularly in church services and observe a dress and grooming standard.
NCAA Tournament. Reaction to his dismissal is split into several camps; comments on the Salt Lake Tribune's stories range from “[T]his young man did nothing wrong and should not be punished” to “[G]lad to see BYU standing up for its values and holding students accountable for their actions.” The suspension has also stirred up a lot of anti-Mormon feeling on the Internet, with many commentators taking the opportunity to slam the Honor Code as outdated, draconian and laughable.
Was the university right to suspend Davies for an action that many would say was trivial, especially as he's not committed a criminal act? Or should they have swept it under the rug to prevent damage to the Cougars' championship chances, possibly putting off talented athletes from attending?
Students who don't agree with Brigham Young University's honor code shouldn't attend that school. Those who aren't tuition-paying students or parents, faculty or donors can have any opinion and make any comments they wish, but at the heart of it, it's none of their business.
The university was right to suspend Davies. It would have been unfair to the rest of the students not to. And sweeping the matter under the rug would have been unconscionable for a faith-based school.
What is acceptable in the eyes of men isn't always right in the eyes of God. And for people (and schools) of faith, God's ways must take precedence. The apostles Peter and John were criticized by Jerusalem's civil authorities for preaching the good news about Jesus Christ. Their response was a model for us all: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Many people who reject God, or redefine him on their own terms, think that biblical morality is “outdated, draconian and laughable.”
Tragically, it is the very rejection of that morality that has caused an enormous amount of disease, heartache and broken relationships for many of them.
In rejecting God's ways, we deprive ourselves of his best for our lives and invite in a host of negative consequences. We do our young people no favor by allowing them to reject the life-affirming values of integrity, chastity and accountability.
Pastor Jon Barta
Valley Baptist Church
First of all, the question at hand has nothing to do with any basketball championship. The question, as I see it, is one of ethics and morality. Does voluntary commitment to a particular lifestyle lose its validity if it comes up against a failure to live out the commitment?
Commitment is, of its essence, voluntary. Consider the commitment of husband and wife in the sacrament of Marriage. They voluntarily give themselves to one another and pledge faithfulness for life. We are describing here a perfect act of marriage. That means that the couple not only acted voluntarily but fully understood what they were doing and wanted to make such a commitment.
In this example, a failure of faithfulness on the part of either person does not (or, at least, should not) destroy the marriage or the commitment. However, there may of course be some consequences that the person would have to accept along with forgiveness.
Let's take for granted that the young man voluntarily made the commitment and understood fully what he was doing. He failed the commitment by his action. However, one failure did not destroy either the commitment or his relationship to it. There were consequences, obviously, but we also take for granted that there was also forgiveness.
As to the consequences — we also take for granted that these were explained and understood before the original commitment was made. Should there be some recourse? Of course. But whatever are the ultimate consequences — even after recourse — they do not invalidate the original commitment and his swearing to it.
The Rev. Richard Albarano
St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church