I was disheartened to learn Weber State University is naming their new Center for Family and Community Education (CFCE) after Boyd K. Packer (May 2, "Weber to add new education center"). Naming a public university's program to support families after Packer is a slap in the face for many in the community, given positions advocated by Packer.
In the press announcement for the center, the director of the CFCE said Packer's emphasis on education and family is in "perfect sync" with the center's education outreach programs. Perfect sync? Which of the following positions is "in sync" with Weber?
In 1977, Packer warned against the danger of interracial marriage by saying: "We've always counseled in the Church for our Mexican members to marry Mexicans, our Japanese members to marry Japanese, our Caucasians to marry Caucasians, our Polynesian members to marry Polynesians. The counsel has been wise."
Equally disturbing, in 1993 Packer spewed bigotry at three groups in one blow by stating that the greatest threats to society were homosexuals, feminists and scholars.
And then, in remarks he made this April directed at the possibility of homosexuals being legal family units, he called tolerance of homosexual families a "trap."
In 1994 Packer criticized the public education system for creating atheist children and equated atheists and humanists to people without morals. In a 1996 talk at BYU he claimed public schools are "too dangerous for children to attend" physically and morally, and schools are responsible for "producing the problems that we face."
All these statements after his experience as a student at Weber in the 1940s!
Obviously his time there didn't instill any love of education or tolerance toward diverse families.
Naming a state university program that is supposed to represent and serve a variety of non-traditional families in the community after Packer sends the message that only certain types of families are valued by the state, and that is insensitive at the least. In Utah, where the separation of church and state is paper thin, this naming of a public program sends a loud, clear message to many that discrimination is both acceptable and embraced at Weber.
Salt Lake City