If you attend Brigham Young University, you have to abide by a few faith-based rules like no drinking alcohol, no pre-marital sex… and no beards.
That last one was put into place more than four decades ago because, back then, beards were seen as signs of “protest, revolution and rebellion against authority… They are also symbols of the hippie and drug culture.”
Even if you accept that reasoning, that’s certainly not the case anymore. But leave it to religion to keep with a tradition long after it ceases to make any sense. It’s especially ironic given that Brigham Young (below) and several other Mormon Church leaders sported beards in their time:
When even Brigham Young would be kicked out of Brigham Young University, you know there’s a problem.
On Friday night, approximately 50 BYU students held a protest against the beard ban claiming it was no longer needed:
“Bike for beards!” they chanted, some wearing cardboard versions fastened with elastic, others sporting real tufts. The group of mostly men unraveled a petition asking the school to rethink its no-fuzz policy.
Junior Shane Pittson, a 23-year-old international relations major, said he considered organizing such an event for a few years but finally decided a few days ago to make a website and plan a rally.
“I love BYU, I love being a student here,” he said, “but the rule on beards I find particularly outdated.”
University spokeswoman Carri Jenkins noted that students agree to the grooming standards before their first day of class.
“It’s nothing against beards,” she said of the policy. “It’s just how we choose to represent ourselves at the university.”
That’s a pleasant way of saying, “We just want to control our students as much as we can.”
It’s nothing against beards. But if you have one, we’re going to expel you.
There are some exceptions to the rule — like if you have a scar or you’re unable to shave for whatever reason — but that just makes the ban even sillier. If there are reasons when a beard is allowed, why bother with the restriction in the first place?
It reminds me of the old joke about why Baptists oppose pre-marital sex: Because it might lead to dancing.
Nothing bad’s going to happen if some students have beards. Just like BYU won’t come crumbling down if students have some coffee. Unnecessary, irrational restrictions like these are precisely why many Mormons end up leaving the Church. They finally realize that their faith is more interested in micromanaging their lives than searching for the truth.
(Image via Wikipedia. Thanks to Jaynee for the link)