Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Sister Wives celebrity faces investigation

The Utah police recently launched a bigamy investigation into a polygamous family that is starring in a reality TV show. The show, Sister Wives, premiered Sept. 26 on TLC. It depicts the lives of 41-year-old advertising salesman Kody Brown, his three wives, 13 children and three stepchildren. Brown is legally married to one woman but calls two others his “wives” in a spiritual sense. In the plot of the show, he is also courting another woman, Robin, a 30-year-old divorced mother of three, who has the possibility of becoming his fourth wife. According to The Washington Post, “God has revealed to Kody that he should ask Robin to wed him and join the family.” As one could imagine, conflict ensues between the three wives as the show develops. I can understand how Brown and the people at TLC thought this lifestyle would make an interesting television show, but a show that praises polygamy and portrays it in a positive light is degrading the moral values of society. A person cannot marry someone else while they are already married. Not only is it unethical; it’s a crime. Bigamy is a third-degree felony in Utah. Anyone found guilty can serve up to five years in prison. Under the law, bigamy does not only constitute legal marriage contracts but also cohabitation. Marriage is a sacred relationship meant for one man and one woman. Not only does the Bible portray it as a union of two people to become one flesh, but it’s just common sense. On the opposite end of the spectrum, while this man wants to have multiple wives, the number of people who are married has actually dropped in the rest of the country. In 2009, just 52 percent of adults 18 and over said they were married, as opposed to 57 percent in 2000. These issues can both be attributed to the current lack of respect and understanding for the institution of marriage in the U.S. Marriage is a relationship unlike any other on earth. It is a life-long commitment to love, honor and cherish the other person, not just put up with them. Over the years, the divorce rate has risen higher and higher. Many people who get divorced were either not ready to get married or do not understand the covenant they made with their partner. It truly means “for better or worse.” A marriage is about what you can give to the other person, not what you can take from them. In our society today, many people need to relearn the importance and value of marriage instead of abusing this sacred covenant. Marriage is a relationship...

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France to fine for face covering

France’s senate recently passed a law making it illegal for Muslim women to wear burqa style Islamic veils in public. The veils, which cover the face except for the eyes, are part of the traditional dress for some Muslims. This new restriction is not simply taking away a piece of clothing. A burqa is a deep-seated symbol of spiritual identity as well. The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, dating back to 1789 allows for religious freedom as long as that freedom does not prove to be harmful to French society. A woman wearing a veil is no more harmful to society than a teenage boy wearing his pants around his upper thighs. There is no difference in her garb marking her as a Muslim and his marking him as a thug. Both are expressions of who people are and how they wish to be viewed and defined. The same goes for a businessman. He walks around in tailored pants, a button-up shirt, tie and jacket, giving the impression of professionalism and importance. A Muslim woman walks around with a thin fabric covering her face, giving the impression of devotion, sacredness and modesty. The French bill’s language isn’t specific and clear on what is being banned because of legal issues, but the implied meaning is definitely being heard by Muslims and others around the world. According to CBS News, “the words ‘women,’ ‘Muslim’ and ‘veil’ are not even mentioned in any of its seven articles.” If they were included, the bill would be seen as discriminatory. If the writers of this proposition had to tiptoe around so many words as not to break their own discrimination laws, the intentions of this bill should be thoroughly observed before the Constitutional Council approves it. If the French really wanted to preserve their national identity and values, they would be passing bills outlawing clothing that gives a specific identity to people from all segments of society, not just this one relatively small group. They hope that by forcing women to get rid of their head coverings, they will be more accepted and respected in their communities. But for Muslim women, this stripping of the outward sign of their characteristic values does the opposite and may cause them to seclude themselves from society. More than that, the French government is trying to uphold the secular foundations of the country. This should mean banning all religious identifiers, so why the focus on Islam? Secular infers no religion, not every religion except for one. These women would no longer be able to find their respect and identity behind the cover...

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U.N. sets unlikely goals

World hunger has decreased … sort of. For the first time in 15 years, the number of people facing hunger is 925 million, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. After the number swelled to 1.023 billion due to the global food and economic crisis, the drop is an important step in the right direction, or least a step of recovery, but it is not nearly enough for 2010. In 2000, the United Nations developed an ambitious program. They called it the Millennium Development Goals. As the calendars rolled into 2000, the U.N. wanted a goal for the future – something to aspire to. They decided to start the 21st century by attacking what may be the most significant world issues. The goals assert that developed nations have the resources and the responsibility necessary to finally provide for the most basic needs of the world’s poorest people. The goals to be met by 2015 are to cut poverty in half, increase education for children, end hunger and defeat HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. The U.N. gathered again on Sept. 20, and the goals must be a major focus of the General Assembly. 2010 is a road mark in the 15-year plan, and the goals are not being met. Not even close. The goals said poverty in developing countries would be slashed to 10 percent. Even with the drop this year, poverty sits at 16 percent. This is far from the goal, and most of the positive results are in a small sample of countries. In Africa, malnutrition and hunger are as daunting as ever. Disease is still rampant, and few HIV prevention movements have had significant results. To keep these goals from becoming just more U.N. rhetoric without action, nations will have to focus intently on aiding the continent. Life in the western world has changed dramatically since 2000, while poverty in developing nations has nearly stagnated. Even luxuries have changed. At the turn of the millennium, cell phones were uncommon, and now even middle school students spend hours texting friends. The iPod became another necessity, as the digital music market soared. TVs got bigger, sharper, flatter and of higher definition. Movies even added a whole new dimension, driving up ticket prices at the same time. Yet the number of people in Africa who die of starvation has hardly diminished. The buzz word “change” has been thrown around in politics. But where is the change in Africa? Young people are rallying behind organizations that aim to get clean drinking water or food for the African people, so why aren’t governments investing like their public? The U.N. has the...

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Raising a white flag
Sep28

Raising a white flag

Editorial by Staff In a display of submission, the newspaper in Juarez, Mexico, raised a white flag to drug cartels last week. The staff of El Diario de Juarez ran a front-page editorial Sept. 19 pleading with drug cartels to stop violence against their journalists. On the day the editorial was published, the image of the Mexican flag, which normally appears in the paper’s nameplate, was depicted dripping with blood. The newspaper’s letter came in response to the shooting of one of their own. Luis Carlos Santiago, a photographer for El Diario, was killed in a parked car outside of a shopping mall in Juarez. He was out to lunch with an intern who was also injured. The editorial ran in the paper on the same day as the photographer’s burial. After Santiago’s death, the Mexican newspaper has decided to cut its drug coverage, concluding the situation has become too dangerous for journalists. “We do not want more deaths,” the newspaper’s letter to the cartels said. “We do not want more injuries or even more intimidation. It is impossible to exercise our role in these conditions. Tell us, then, what do you expect of us as a medium?” El Diario is the most popular paper in Juarez, and it has made a reputation for aggressively covering drug violence in the past. Investigative reporting in Mexico is very dangerous, but, up until now, Juarez has had the best coverage of any border city. Many other cities simply don’t cover crime news anymore. In Juarez, the journalists have challenged and stood up to the cartels. But with the photographer’s death, the newspaper staff appears to have reached its breaking point. It’s a real tragedy to see the last defender of free speech in the area forced to surrender to the drug lords. In the letter to the cartels, the newspaper said, “You are, at present, the de facto authorities in this city because the legal institutions have not been able to keep our colleagues from dying.” The editorial goes on to say, “This is not a surrender. Nor does it mean that we’ve given up the work we have been developing. Instead it is a respite to those who have imposed the force of its law in this city, provided they respect the lives of those who are dedicated to the craft of reporting.” El Diario’s editor, Pedro Torres, reiterated that the editorial does not indicate the paper’s submission to cartels. “We’re not surrendering to the people who belong to these groups. We’re asking for a truce because we don’t want them to kill any more of our companeros,” he said....

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Campus parking battle

When your clothes get dusty walking to class and construction workers greet you around every corner, you know big changes are happening on campus. Over the summer, the university worked hard to put up new buildings. Remodeling is still in full swing with new sidewalks still underway, but the one thing that has most students hot under the collar is parking. Granted, there is always some fuss over this situation every year. Finding a parking spot seems to be even more difficult this fall, and it’s no wonder with a record number of 598 freshmen on campus. Facebook seems to be taking the brunt of students’ frustrations with status updates like “Day 2 of the UMHB student parking battle. Bring it on freshmen, bring it on,” “Seriously, freshmen, walk to class and save the parking for off-campus students!” and “Wow UMHB you’re about 20 million student parking places short!” According to the campus police department, the university has 3,495 parking spaces, 2,914 of which are located on the main campus and assigned to student parking. The number of student vehicles registered on campus is 2,473. Yes, the numbers don’t really seem to add up. Students’ reactions to the situations may seem a little dramatic, but the statements do hold some truth. The need for expansion is a direct result of the university’s growth. With more students comes a demand for new parking lots. This is not to say that the university is not making an effort. After all, more than 250 spaces were added over the summer in the lots by McLane Hall and Garner Hall. Director of Campus Police Gary Sargent suggests that if you live on campus, you should walk to class or use one of the Cru bikes. He has a good point. Part of our tuition goes to those bikes, so save some gas and use them if you live on campus. This means you, freshmen. It seems that no matter what changes are made, students are always going to find something to nitpick about. Parking issues will be here tomorrow and still probably years down the road. The fight will continue, so get up early and fight over that spot, because it might be the only one you find all...

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Stop, think morals first

Eighty-seven days. That’s how long crude oil gushed endlessly into the Gulf of Mexico before BP (British Petroleum) finally managed to cap the hole caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on April 20. After six failed efforts to stop the escape of oil, BP managed to fashion a cap to stop the leak. Eleven lives were lost in the initial explosion, and more than 205.8 million gallons of oil flooded into the Gulf, according to reports by the Flow Rate Technical Group. No one wants to discuss the Gulf oil spill anymore. For two months the nation watched in horror as oil flooded the ocean, disrupting or destroying entire ecosystems. It was painful to watch, and now that the leak is finally plugged no one wants to remember the weeks of suffering. But there is a larger, glaring issue that many people have avoided discussing or only mentioned in passing. It’s because everyone is to blame for this issue, not just BP. The problem, at its core, is technology itself, and how ethics and morals play into science. When BP first began deep-sea drilling, they were required to have contingency plans in case any problems arose. Problems such as oil rigs exploding, or oil gushing out into the ocean. If it takes 87 days to cap a leak, contingency plans have obviously failed. So why is technology allowed to progress at a break-neck pace without ethical checks and balances in place to save people from their own half-formed ideas and shoddy work ethics? Because people are so concerned with the “next big thing” and having the newest device or a gadget more powerful than their friend. If people can make it faster, they will. Stronger? Of course. Bigger? You betcha. But safer? That little word never crosses anyone’s mind until at least 100 people get hurt. BP drilled a hole into the earth’s crust deep in the middle of the ocean knowing their failsafe plans were unlikely at best to work. That’s not even the worst of the technological advances people are making without thought for the consequences. Everyone remembers Dolly, right? The first mammal successfully cloned by humans? Dolly was a sheep that lived for six years and birthed six lambs before being put down because she had lung cancer. It has never been truer to say that someone has played at being God than at the moment of Dolly’s creation. Dolly was a triumph of modern science. Humanity had actually created life outside of biological reproduction. It is amazing. But is it ethical? Scientists are now actively attempting to clone human beings. Where...

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