A Year in Review: Faculty editorials

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Several faculty and community members sent in editorials which sparked discussion on campus over the past academic year. We encourage dialogue between students and faculty and give experts a chance to share their opinions with the university. Here are summaries of the top guest editorials from the past year:

Critical thinking can lead to unwavering faith

Melissa Wallentine, adjunct professor in the Marriott School of Management

Lemming detailed the importance of learning how to think for oneself, especially in spiritual matters. Her young son was questioning whether he had a testimony of the LDS Church, and while it caused her anxiety, it thrilled her that he was learning to think for himself. Rather than blindly follow instructions, people ought to gain a firm conviction of their beliefs through study and examination. Gaining a full understanding of a situation or a religion leads to faith that can’t be shaken.

Syria, partisanship, and ‘The West Wing’

Bruce Young, associate professor in the BYU English Department

Young expressed frustration with those who had supported the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq but wouldn’t support President Obama’s plan to intervene in Syria, despite the suffering of many Syrian children. He advocated for peace but recognized that if a country has the ability to help, it should.

“Whatever our partisan bias and whether we support military action in Syria, I hope we can agree that Syrian children matter as much as American children and that something must be done to respond to the terrible things happening there.”

A possible answer for towing complaints

Provo Mayor John Curtis

Mayor Curtis addressed the complaints many students have with the towing and ticketing laws. He discussed the new legislation he drafted to eradicate predatory towing and improve the parking situation in Provo.

“I’ve heard too many stories from parents who have been towed on move-in days. Too many stories of confusing situations where signage isn’t very clear. And don’t get me started on the funeral home’s loaded hearse that was towed from a family’s parking space after the funeral director left it to help console a daughter whose father had just passed.”

No need for tension between science and religion

Joseph Moody, professor in the BYU Physics and Astronomy Department

After a conversation with his son, Moody decided he had to address the conflict between science and religion. Moody maintained that religion and science are not mutually exclusive and that scientific theories can confirm the existence of a higher power.

 “Even the mostly atheistic Carl Sagan has lamented how major religions have missed the opportunity to conclude, ‘This is better than we thought! The universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed.’”

Our fading civility

Mark Ogletree, associate professor in the BYU Church History Department

Ogletree referred to several experiences he’d had that seemed to indicate that civility was becoming outdated. He was particularly ashamed of the actions of BYU fans during the BYU-Utah football game, when students pelted referees with trash. Ogletree made a call for everyone to treat others with kindness and make civility fashionable again.

“In his book ‘Standing for Something,’ President Gordon B. Hinckley stated, ‘Civility carries with it the essence of courtesy, politeness and consideration of others.’ To practice civility, we need to be in tune with the needs of others.

The black spot on the holiday season

Steve Thomsen, professor in the BYU Communications Department

Thomsen recounted his negative experiences shopping on Black Friday and criticized the day as being a disgusting show of selfishness and consumerism during a season when people should be trying to be more selfless and generous than usual.

“I’m pretty sure that in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln called for a national day of thanksgiving to be held each November, he didn’t envision a special weekend for greedy shoppers to fight over stuff that would probably be broken or discarded before we even got out the decorations for St. Patrick’s Day.”

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