A Washington state college’s administration pleaded with students Tuesday not to make fun of Mormons in an upcoming school basketball game.
Administration officials at Gonzaga University, a Catholic school in Spokane, Wash., expressed displeasure with students who mock Mormonism by dressing up as missionaries during school games against the Mormon Brigham Young University, The Gonzaga Bulletin reported.
Gonzaga student typically come dressed in costumes to games between the two schools. “There are a handful of students dressed up as Mormon missionaries,” the school’s paper reported.
“[Those costumes don’t] really represent who we are as a university and it shines bad on us and doesn’t show a welcoming community that supports everybody,” Colleen Vandenboom, Gonzaga’s assistant dean of Student Involvement and Leadership, told the Bulletin. “As Catholics, and we’re not all Catholic, but how do we persecute or make fun of another religion when we are sitting here at our university because of that? It just is not right.”
Vandenboom claimed that Gonzaga’s 2017 recruitment of Jesse Wade for its basketball team spurred action to persuade students not to dress in offensive costumes, since Wade is a Mormon.
“The missionary costumes and posters that degrade the Mormon faith that show up in The Kennel every time we face the Cougars makes my stomach twist into knots,” said Claire Murphy, president of the school’s Kennel Club, a group of student athletics fans. “We can’t stop anyone from doing it but we need to put it on people’s radars.”
Such mockery fails to comply with Gonzaga’s Jesuit mission, Murphy asserted.
The student president, as well as representatives from the school’s athletic department, student development division, and others will be starting “conversations” with students who come dressed in Mormon missionary costumes to a Feb. 3 game against the two schools.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to BYU, which is owned by the Mormon church, to learn how the school felt about mockery of the Mormon faith, but received no comment in time for press.
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