Thursday, September 30, 2004

"Offensive" T-shirts

BYU, evidently still reeling from Stanford's mocking half-time show, is now banning ads for T-shirts that say "I can't... I'm Mormon".

BYU can ban whatever they want, but I'd like to clarify this point made in the WND article:
Many thought wearers of the clothing wished they could drink, smoke or have casual sex – but were prevented solely because of their membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. [emphasis mine]
Just for the record, membership in the Church discourages, but does not prevent, people from drinking, smoking, or having casual sex. Baptism does not provide any sort of immunization from the temptations of the world. People still have to decide for themselves how they will behave. However, when people around you know you have chosen to be Mormon, they have a tendency to support your decisions not to engage in those activities, even if they're not Mormon themselves; hence the T-shirt.

There is a public perception that Mormonism is some sort of ascetic religion because our list of vices is longer than that of other mainstream religions. Most Mormons who (with a good attitude) abide by the restrictions long enough to realize their benefits will tell you that giving up these things is not restrictive at all, but actually liberating. We constantly combat the stereotype of Mormons as people who live locked in small metal boxes. Coming on the heels of Stanford's mocking of another Mormon stereotype, this grates more than usual; hence the outrage over the T-shirt.