Baptists Afraid of Boobies???

On of my favorite local religious jokes goes like this:

Q: Why don’t Southern Baptists believe in premarital sex?

A: Because it might lead to dancing.

Apparently this mindset has taken hold at Baylor University. From Reuters:

Baylor University in Waco, Texas, which bills itself as the world’s largest Baptist college, has threatened to discipline female students if they pose for Playboy magazine, which is trying to recruit models from the college.

Playboy photographers came to Baylor’s hometown seeking models for a photo spread on women of the Big 12 college athletic conference, of which the college is a member.

Baylor Vice President for Student Life Samuel W. Oliver sent an e-mail to women students this week warning that any who “associate” with Playboy would be subject to the university’s disciplinary processes.

“Playboy is clearly antithetical to Baylor’s mission and associating with the magazine would be a violation of the code of conduct,” Oliver wrote in the e-mail. University officials said punishment could include suspension.

I’ll be the first to suggest that Baylor has the right to set whatever policies they want, even if they are stupid. This said, Baylor’s actions are incredibly stupid. What their students do off-campus should be of no concern to the faculty.

Restrictive sexual policies frequently lead to promiscuous behavior. Prohibition – whether of alcohol, marijuana or sex – simply doesn’t work and generally increases the amount of crime and riskier behaviors associated with the prohibitied activity.

When I was younger, “everyone” knew that if a guy wished to get laid he should date a preacher’s daughter. I’ve always theorized that preachers’ daughters were more likely to put out because they were rebelling against their restrictive parents. It seems to me that Baylor’s actions are more likely to produce off-campus sex parties than the results they actually desire.

18 Comments
  1. Isn’t Baylor a public university? If so, it’s state funded, and can’t legally punish the free expression of any of its students.

    Not that that would stop government High school from suspending students who use foul language or “show a gang sign” in a blog.

  2. What does this have to do with anything. I thought this was a libertarian site, not an anti-religious pro-gay site

  3. I’m as libertarian as the anyone I’ve ever met, but I have to disagree with you on this one. There is a market for universities that adhere to Christian values, and Baylor is supplying that market. If you don’t agree with their values, don’t send your children there and do go their yourself. Otherwise, they are not the government and are not bound by governmental constraints in the constitution. Just like you would tell a Christian who was offended by MTV, “Don’t turn it on.”

  4. My interpretation of this post is that you probably shouldn’t shine a light on this situation because it’s not going to end well… and could ultimately back-fire.

    Kind of like when the Bishops started blasting Dan Brown’s FICTIONAL book “The DaVinci Code.” Talk about helping out sales…

  5. Everybody’s right. Balance is hard to achieve. Baylor has an opportunity to teach and set an example.

    If a student has not internalized the desired values by the time they’re in college, autoritarian edicts won’t do it. The best they can hope for is the desired behavior. If the spiritual is more important, then they should be prepared to set a good example handling any students who stray (forgiveness, anyone?).

    Funny how we (humans, parents, children) repeat the same mistakes over and over. Good thing we have a right to do so.

  6. Johnny,

    I’m neither anti-religious nor pro-gay. I do call it like I see it and think all people should be treated equally under the law.

  7. CLS — I agree with you and stated that Baylor has the right to do what they wish in the matter. I’m suggesting that what they are doing may well backfire on them, though.

    To be clear, they have the right to be stupid.

  8. I suspect this isn’t over. I really suspect that a vote of no confidence is brewing in Baylor, this is what the vice president of student affairs of baylor is doing, not baylor itself

  9. The writers here at Hammer of Truth extend their libertarianism to opposing all force, whether the force of government mandates or socio-religious institutions forcing their code of morality onto others. We report on and satirize both the government and private sector’s assaults on liberty. During a time in which the so-called Christian Right has canonized for his morality a President who’s hands drip with innocent blood, it seems appropriate to point out the close-minded ignorance of such people.

    As the writer of this piece did, we generally make clear that we are not suggesting private companies or individuals be forced into agreement with us. In this case, however, force is likely to ensue.

    If you don’t agree with their values, don’t send your children there and do go their yourself. Otherwise, they are not the government and are not bound by governmental constraints in the constitution.

    While Baylor may be considered a private institution, they do accept Federal funding including the GI Bill. Therefore the university would likely be in an actionable position were it to discipline or expel a student for modeling, nude or otherwise as such activities would be covered by expression, if not privacy protections. If Baylor doesn’t want to be bound governmental protections of various actions, they shouldn’t be accepting Federal funds. Baylor wants to slap hands they feel are doing mischief while their own greedy hands are extended into the public treasury. That’s not likely to work.

  10. Well said Artus.

    Just because a company is private doesn’t mean I don’t want it to behave in a libertarian manner. I just wouldn’t want to force it by law to do so. I’d rather “force” it through competition.

  11. I have reason to believe the students wouldn’t engage in posing if they chose to go to that school, which obviously condemns pornography.I sypathize with their edict BUT they should ensure their integrity by rejecting, like the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, federal funding. Just like military recruiters must be allowed because of public funds, Playboy should be allowed. To note, I am a Southern Baptist, and don’t dance because I am extremely white.God bless.

  12. If Baylor were entirely private, then characterizing this as “force” in the sense that libertarianism opposes might not be accurate. However, while libertarianism stands alone as a simple set of ethics about when violence is or isn’t justified, a lot of its origins are in a broader rationalist and humanist tradition — the values of which are by no means a “package deal” with libertarianism, but which aren’t necessarily out of place alongside it, either.

    That said, there is a compelling case that no college, with the possible exception of Hillsdale if they have continued to decline government money, is genuinely private — a matter which Artus touched on without explicitly stating that we’re talking about an appendage of the state acting under guise of a private institution.

    This post on Wally Congers blog might provide some additional clarity.

  13. The version of your joke was originally:
    Why do Baptists discourage having sex while standing up?
    Because it might lead to dancing.

  14. Stephen,

    Thanks for your response. While I’m sure you would argue that Christians should not impose their morality on those who are not Christian, I would also argue that those who are not Christian should not impose their morality on those who are.

    Otherwise, I’m a big fan of the site and am happy to see a Libertarian publication getting so much attention. Fight the good fight!

    – Peace

  15. To CLS –

    I agree that nobody should impose morality on who ever, that said, if those girls want to pose for playboy, their morality shouldn’t get them to the point of suspension, otherwise they’re being imposed another morality than theirs…

    -Yeah dude, peace!

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