As part of joining the EMU community, every faculty member and every student has to sign a lifestyle commitment that they will not drink, have sexual relations outside of marriage, etc. Although the lifestyle commitment tries its best to be a moral ideal for every community member, it falls short in enforcement. If you are caught violating the lifestyle commitment, you might be sent into counseling. You might have to go for a certain number of days. Maybe you promise you will not do it again, and then they send you on your way. This is a slap on the wrist as far as I am concerned. If there are no heavy consequences for breaking the life-style commitment, then do not require people to sign it. If we do not take the commitment seriously, then they are just words on a paper. It looks good. The commitment is about people’s perception, not what the consequences are on the inside.
The EMU community might say, “Wait a minute! Jesus would give second chances.” They would be right. But Jesus would not force people to sign a paper to join his community. I have no problem asking people to sign the paper, but you cannot have it both ways. We should either expect you to follow it wholeheartedly or not expect you to follow it at all. EMU is trying to take the Christian point of view–no sex before marriage, drinking to excess–while compromising on their beliefs so as not to offend anyone.
When I chose to attend EMU, I saw they required everybody to sign a lifestyle commitment, and I was impressed. When I got here, I was surprised to learn many people did not follow the commitment. To the outside observer, EMU looks like a good Christian school with biblical teachings. After signing the pledge, the students learn it does not really matter if they break the lifestyle commitment or not; EMU is still going to love them anyway. The commitment is not taken seriously.
There are two possible solutions here. Either EMU needs to have real consequences or no consequences. If EMU did enforce rules, students would have expectations that they would need to follow. If students did not follow the expectations, they would get kicked out. If EMU does not have heavy consequences, very well, but do not make people sign a commitment they do not intend to keep. Why do we need the paper if it is not going to change anything? To continue to defend an institution which is not accomplishing anything is just ludicrous.
-Daniel Barnhart, Staff Writer
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