State Sen. Charles Perry, a Lubbock Republican, speaks as the Texas Senate debates a contentious “sanctuary cities” bill that would compel local police to enforce federal immigration laws. Perry said the bill “ensures that there is predictability that our laws are applied without prejudice.” The Senate approved the bill, 20-10.

In his treatise on government, Aristotle wrote, “It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens.” Commonly known as the Rule of Law, this principle states that governance of a community is dictated by mandates from the state.

All of us — even those who legislate and uphold the laws — are held accountable and must not be given preferential treatment. As Aristotle wrote, “if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians and the servants of the laws.”

The Rule of Law is what separates a free and independent society from one that is dictated based on the fanciful whims of individual government officials. It seems like an easy enough concept to understand: An individual must do what the law says and must not do what it says not to.

However, a segment of our population seems to believe laws can be arbitrarily ignored if they deem such laws are discriminatory. A recent petition has been circulating around the Waco area calling on Baylor officials to make Baylor University a sanctuary campus. Among its many demands is to “Declare Baylor University to be a sanctuary campus that will refuse to comply with immigration investigations or deportations to the fullest extent possible, including denying access to university property.”

The blatant disregard for the state’s authority in this statement is appalling to me, especially in light of recent accusations that have surfaced by some liberals that President Trump acts as if he is above the law. The petition also states passages from Scripture that the petitioners feel justify their beliefs in harboring illegal immigrants.

Among Scripture quoted: Exodus 22:21 — “You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.” Another: Ephesians 2:13-14 — “For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.”

All this comes amid the backdrop of the Texas Senate’s passage this week of a bill that would penalize local and state governmental entities — and, yes, university and college campuses — that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials or enforce immigration laws. Not only could these entities be shorn of critical state funding but certain officials leading any resistance to our laws could be subject to prosecution.

It’s particularly galling to see individuals such as those in the Baylor effort employ religion as a prop to further their political agenda, only to turn around and bash members of that same religion as intolerant bigots in issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion.

Imagine if a city suddenly decides that it will refuse to comply with regulations laid down by the Environmental Protection Agency. There would be threats and countless fines imposed upon the city by the federal government — and rightfully so. Despite my many issues with the EPA and its over-regulation, I cannot simply ignore those mandates just because I wish to.

The easiest and most effective way for an individual to enact change is to head to the voting booth, not ignore laws.

I strongly urge President David Garland and the rest of the Baylor administration to reject the petition and uphold the just laws of this nation. As President Eisenhower so succinctly put it, “The clearest way to show what the rule of law means to us in everyday life is to recall what has happened when there is no rule of law.”

Jay Young is a junior nutritional sciences major at Baylor University. A native of McKinney, he is involved in several campus organizations, including chairing Baylor’s Young Conservatives of Texas. His goal is to one day graduate from medical school and become an otolaryngologist at a local hospital.