This week’s editorial addressed the topic of the need for political associations at BYU-Idaho.
While students should have the right to learn about, and debate politics while at BYU-I, we cannot forget that BYU-I is a school representing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The official mission statement of BYU-I states, “Its mission is to develop disciples of Jesus Christ who are leaders in their homes, the Church, and their communities.”
Alongside this, while the First Presidency of the Church does encourage participation in politics, as quoted in a news release to Mormon Newsroom right before the 2016 election, the Church itself does not take a stance on political issues.
Even if there are student associations for Democrats, Republicans and every party in between, if one of them gains notability, it could come off as the Church taking a stance, rather than students simply learning and debating their personal opinions.
An argument could be made that BYU has political associations and therefore, BYU-I should also.
However, the two universities have diversity in their mission statements, and therefore, have different options for student involvement that coincide with those statements.
Having a political view is important and being free to debate and voice that opinion is a right given in the First Amendment.
However, when representing a church that has a neutral stance, we need to take caution and be wary of how we come off to others.
Politics should be learned and defended, just not in a church-university setting.