Utah’s 2nd Largest School District Bans Pride & BLM Flags As “Too Political”

PROVO, Ut. – Less than a week after controversy erupted over a Mormon Church elder’s anti-LGBTQ remarks at the annual faculty and staff meeting, a student at Brigham Young University was recorded destroying affirmative LGBTQ chalk messages on campus.

The incident took place after a student-led “chalk protest” Thursday night around 6 p.m. at the base of one of BYU’s entrances, the stairs at 800 N. University Avenue. The students had drawn messages of support for the campus LGBTQ + community to the sidewalks and stairwell, protesting what one person described as a hostile environment for queer students.

A few friends who had attended the protest and stayed after to view the hundreds of messages surprised a student, later identified as Connor Ray Murray, taking a large bottle of water and pouring its contents over the messages, effectively erasing them. As the couple were recording their actions, one of them was heard saying sarcastically; “There you go. I hope you are feeling a little less homophobic.

Murray, in response before leaving, told them; “” Oh, no, uhhh, queers are going to hell. “

Utah-based photographer Brock Bolen then posted the video of the couple that allowed Murray to be identified via social media. Murray has since deleted his Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.

BYU officials responded to the viral video on Twitter:

Tensions on campus, which were exacerbated by comments made by Jeff Roy Holland, 80, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a former BYU president earlier in the week. week, had led to the protest.

“We have to have the will to be alone, to be different, if necessary. To be an incomparable university in its role primarily as an undergraduate educational institution that is unequivocally faithful to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. If in the future that mission means giving up some professional affiliations and certifications, so be it, ”said Holland. University professors and staff should use their intellectual “muskets” to defend the Mormon Church, especially “the doctrine of the family and … marriage as the union of a man and a woman.” .

Holland also launched a denunciation of 2019 college alumnus Matt Easton, his grade-year valedictorian who had declared himself gay during his opening address to his classmates. Easton in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune noted that he was proud of what he did.

“I wasn’t trying to make the platform or ‘requisition’ the event. I drew on my personal experiences because they shaped my time at BYU – authenticity isn’t the same as “pushing the agenda,” Easton said.

In an open letter from Easton published this week by the Salt Lake City Tribune, referencing Holland’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, he wrote:

“Last Monday I experienced another flood of messages. Within an hour of your remarks, three current BYU students told me how unsafe and scared they felt knowing that church leaders asked the university faculty to use a Metaphorical “musket fire” to defend the “family doctrine” and push back the inclusion of LGBTQ + people.

I don’t personally know most of the people who have contacted me, but I do know what it feels like to be them, ”Easton wrote.

Paul Southwick, director of the Portland, Oregon Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP) brought up this latest anti-LGBTQ incident at BYU.

“We are horrified to see this hateful display of ignorance at BYU. Horrified, but not surprised after elder Jeffrey Holland authorized such conduct, using dangerous and warlike comments against LGBTQ students earlier this week. This incident shows the terrible ramifications of so-called leaders disseminating hate messages. These messages help put LGBTQ students at risk. We reiterate our condemnation of Holland’s comments and hold him responsible for this subsequent act of hate on the BYU campus, ”Southwick said.

“As students from across the country return to their universities, many are expressing serious concerns for their safety and well-being. They need to be protected.
We call on US Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate the ongoing crisis at BYU. It’s time to end anti-LGBTQ discrimination in religious colleges now. And it is time to end the religious exemption from Title IX protections, ”he added.

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