Before I started law school I was told that the discussions in law classes often challenged your beliefs. I knew that those kinds of situations were inevitable, especially considering I was leaving BYU to study at Arizona State. But for whatever reason, belief-challenging discussions didn’t seem to present themselves until this semester.
In addition to the Con Law class I am taking this semester I am also taking a seminar on free speech. Over the course of yesterday’s class the discussion turned to de-regulating the availability of pornography and allowing more swear words in TV broadcasts. Everyone in the room that contributed to the discussion appeared to be in support of both ideas, at least to a certain extent. I chose to stay quiet on those topics, although I later regretted my silence. Toward the end of class our professor quoted a story about John Stuart Mill and how Mill believed religious questions were irrelevant to his parliamentary duties, after which he said, “I wish the Republicans would take this suggestion to heart, given the recent comments about Mormonism being a cult. But that’s unlikely to happen.” Considering the amount of thought I have given to this subject as of late, I spoke up. I mentioned that several of the candidates in the debate on Tuesday night said things similar to Mill, although not all of them. As it turned out, no one else in the room had seen the debate, but everyone expressed surprise at the idea that a Republican would support an idea they agreed with. At that point, the girl next to me said, “let me guess, was it the Mormons?” After I said yes, she responded with, “it figures” (I wasn’t sure how to take that, and I still don’t).
I’m not saying that I’m opposed to people challenging my political ideologies, or that Mormonism is connected to the Republican Party. However, it’s interesting to learn how to contribute to religious/moral/political discussions when I feel so outnumbered, even at the #1 most “Mormon-friendly law school” of 2010. It causes me to wonder if I will continue to feel like a minority after I graduate. Either way, I’m definitely not at BYU anymore.