Chad Ramos sports his ‘I can’t … I’m Mormon’ T-shirt (courtesy Deseret Morning News)
T-shirts proclaiming the message “I cant … I’m Mormon” are apparently too hot for Brigham Young University, as the college newspaper has yanked all advertisements.
According to the Deseret Morning News, the paper halted the ad campaign after complaints from students, professors and administrators who felt the slogan implied a desire to engage in “objectionable” behavior.
Many thought wearers of the clothing wished they could drink, smoke or have casual sex – but were prevented solely because of their membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
One letter to the editor stated: “I can’t, I’m Mormon, but if I wasn’t, you know I’d be there ’cause it sounds sweet!”
Some reportedly believed the woman modeling the T-shirt in the ad posed in an overly provocative manner.
The objections are surprising to the designer of the shirt, Utah Valley State College student Chad Ramos.
Having grown up in Las Vegas, Ramos says the slogan came in handy whenever he was asked to drink or smoke.
“I found if I told people I didn’t drink, they didn’t know how to react,” he told the News, “but if I said, I can’t, I’m Mormon, they said, ‘Oh,’ and boom, it was over.”
Thus, he was shocked by the BYU backlash.
“I didn’t identify with it. I couldn’t even relate,” he said. “Anybody who’s lived outside Utah has said this a hundred times.”
Cartoon in BYU’s college newspaper pokes fun at “offended” students (artist David Lesue/The Daily Universe )
Jim Kelly, general manager of the Newsnet Advisory Board which runs the student newspaper, says he, not the administration of the university, made the decision to remove the commercial.
“We don’t frequently pull ads, but in terms of declining to run ads, probably two weeks don’t go by that we don’t decline ads for the Daily Universe,” he told the News. “It is universal among newspapers to exercise the right to refuse ads considered objectionable. We’re pleased we have high standards, and we’re never apologetic about it.”