Featured Image | Young Kwak, Associated Press
Last Saturday, the Brigham Young University basketball team made headlines when they upset Gonzaga’s perfect season, beating the No. 1 team in the nation 79-71. Naturally, BYU fans were ecstatic while Gonzaga fans mourned. However, one Gonzaga student is mourning for a different reason.
Joseph Harshbarger, a Gonzaga senior studying international relations, wrote a letter to The Gonzaga Bulletin, which was published March 1. He begins:
We lost in more ways than one Saturday night. Not only was BYU’s final score higher than the Zags’, but some students showed an ugly, hidden side of the Gonzaga student body that includes using religion as a means of criticism. Saturday night, a simple basketball game turned into a sort of religious crusade: Catholics vs. Mormons. Students filled the kennel dressed in stereotypical missionary clothes, others informing friends of their conscious effort to dress “un-Mormon” and some even using derogatory language to shake the opposing players. Before the game even began, discussions of archaic Mormon policies regarding polygamy and other stereotypes could be heard throughout campus, all in anticipation of the big game of GU vs. BYU. We students used derogatory comments based on the opposing players’ religion in attempts to distract them from performing well. Did this really help the Zags win?
Harshbarger went on to discuss Gonzaga’s own religious affiliations, being a private Roman Catholic university, and how the mockery of any religion debases the school and it’s mission statement.