Comments about ‘Liquor suit seeks to muzzle LDS Church’

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Published: Tuesday, Nov. 1 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Heres the thing about liquor laws (or almost any law for that matter). They are in place because someone did something stupid and caused harm to another. Maybe no one is arguing that point but when one entity has information to create any law shouldnt that come into play? Do we not consider ALL the facts before making a choice? Do we also not consider the moral consequences ? In reality what should be happening is that the legislators should be required to ask more religious groups and more MADD groups, and other groups(who support the freedom to drink) while considering these laws. We are supposed to be a government of the people that means ALL groups should get a say. Limiting this actually goes against the consitution.

Tucson, AZ

The LDS church is free to influence the legislators on Sunday, but as a religious institution they should not get preferential input on bills.

Salt Lake City, UT

Why should the LDS church have special access to legislators? I can't call my state senator(John Valentine) and have a meeting about liquor laws before the legislative session starts. Heck, I can't even get a form letter from his office when I write in about an issue. Do you think he would treat Pres Monson the same way? I would eat my own face if he did. However, I think this speaks to a bigger problem in politics. The rich and or powerfull(think lobbyists for large companies and just plain old rich guys) have a much easier time pushing their agenda on the rest of us than the average man does and the LDS church falls into the catagory of both rich and powerfull.

John C. C.
Payson, UT

They want a judge to "block Utah legislators from considering input from the LDS Church."

This would be an effective denial of free speech.

Exactly where do they feel the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints crosses the line in exerting "too much influence?"

Do they threaten the lawmakers' good standing in the Church? Do they promise to increase or decrease political funding? Or do they just say, "We feel this is or is not a good idea?"

Think of it this way. What if a single person has no official power of her own, but expresses an opinion that almost everyone chooses to agree with? Would that mean that she exercises excessive influence?

If so, perhaps all popular, wise, educated, experienced, intelligent, thoughtful, and/or inspired individuals need to be muzzled to keep us from listening to anyone we choose to respect.

Perhaps the next step is to muzzle God's influence by outlawing prayer or forbidding us from referring to our better judgment when voting, lest their be something in the better judgment section of our brains that exercises excessive influence.

Beaverton, OR

The Church likes to legislate morality. It should pay taxes for the privilege.

Provo, UT

@ DSB 3:40 p.m.

Thanks for hitting the nail on the head about what is the real issue here. Somehow people seem to think that the views of the majority about community standards and many other kinds of legislation ought to be ignored just because their views are influenced by their faith.

Liquor laws are one of the ways we as a people decide what kind of community we want to be. I've been in plenty of places in the US where there's a bar on almost every corner and drunkards ambling unsteadily around every street. If that's the kind of community you want to live in, you ought to move to one of these locations; you'll find plenty of people who share your opinions and you can have the community standards you want. In the meantime we in Utah will choose to have different standards.

Cowboy Joe
Encampment, WY

How come many posters are saying it is ok for the church to chime in on alcohol, but these same posters say the church should not get involved in the immigration debate?

Many hypocrites are posting here.

Provo, UT

I attended a VIP get together at Abravanel Hall the other night where they served alcohol. The event was sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Foundation. Free wine was served, both red and white.

Beaverton, OR

Prodicus is a perfect example of a Utahn wearing blinders. As if my safe, family-centered community, with it's liberal liquor laws, has a bar on every corner and drunks stumbling around. You think Utahns have better community standards than anywhere else? Come on.

Sacramento, CA

First time I voted was in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the voting age was 21. The issue--liquor by the drink. The good citizens who lived in Virginia were leaving the state to enjoy dinner out with a glass of their favorite alcoholic beverage elsewhere, since we didn't allow it sold other than at state stores Monday through Saturday (Blue Laws). Where I lived, people went to the really fine establishments in D.C. The revenues, of course, from the fine meals (and we did have nice restaurants), theaters, and other activities available were going to other places, instead of our state. That was the backstory of the issue. I was a thoughtful, voting, LDS woman. I voted with my conscience. It's a secret ballot, but I am sure the hospitality businesses in Virginia did better later that year.

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

The fact that so many people (on these forums and elsewhere) are so bent about the possibility of not being able to get their precious alcohol tells you a lot about what a dangerous vice alcohol is.

Temple City, CA

The issue, according to the article, is whether or not the Church, which is both a constituent of the Utah State Legislature, and which represents the strongly held beliefs of more than half of Utahns, may express itself to the legislature.

I cannot see why anyone would reason that it should not be so. People who oppose the Church may join with like-minded individuals and elect representatives who share their views, thereby limiting any perceived influence the Church may have. If that is so, the contrary may happen as well (if you forbid one, you must forbid the other).

Churches, just like large, secular organizations (such as The Sierra Club or the National Rifle Association), ought to be given access to those who potentially represent them and their members. If any such organization is able to persuade the members of their group to support or oppose whatever law, either through direct election or through election of representatives, more's the power to them.

Limiting one group's access to government must inevitably lead to all groups' access.

Sacramento, CA

The LDS Church happens to have a whole lot of members in Utah, and, oh, yes, it's where the headquarters are. So? Just because some people say something or hold an office who happen to be LDS (or Catholic or Druids, for goodness' sake!) doesn't mean they represent that group. When I speak, I don't represent my religion, or left-handed people, or anything else, unless I was chosen to speak as that group's specific representative. Please, before assuming that "The LDS (Mormon) Church" is doing, saying, weighing in, or deciding on something, be sure that is really what is happening, and not that the person/people doing it don't just happen to be members of it. After all, if they were all left-handed, would you say it was a left-handed pressure group?

Bear Lake, ID

Churches all over this land speak out on moral issues all the time. Barring the LDS Church its opinion is wrong on so many levels. The subject of no drinking is no different. If those who drink would live in a vacuum, then that is one thing. Since they have to live with non-drinkers then all who have an opinion are guaranteed the opportunity to opine. Unfortunately, there is a health and safety issue for all, especially when drinking is followed by driving.

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

As fr alchol and its evils there are many. However, there are 18-20 year olds that are dying for their country and are not allowed to drink. They are however, allowed to vote. This is a national age limit. This age limit was decided upon by members of congress and was decided solely on the data that accidents involving this age group almost always involved drinking and speed. They still get their alchol and we still have the problem. Yet, nothing has changed in the 25 years since it was placed into effect.

It is well known that many drink to excess that many can not drink just one drink. I believe that we have made it too easy across this country for anyone to get alchol anytime they want it. In fact there was a time when DUIs were more prevalent after 2:00am. Why because this is how late bars across this country are open. Now with the advent of alchol being sold in grocery stores (Walmart, Sams Club, convient stores, etc.) people are DUI at all hours of the day. Ask the families of loved ones killed by a drunk driver what their feelings are.

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

Many will tell you they want stricter laws to make it more difficult to get the alchol. They want the bars to be forced to close earlier. They want anyone that sells alchol to stop selling alchol at least one hour before they close. They also want stricter laws for those who have more than one DUI. Some states are even allowing Insurance Companies to have lower rates for those who have never been convicted of a DUI. Ask the families that have an alcholic father, son, mother, daughter, etc. what they feel and the answers are the same. In fact, there are teenagers today that are alcholics before they even get out of middle school. Tougher laws are needed and the data I've mentioned is every where on the internet. I agree with the laws of Utah to make it harder for others to get it. Still they will get it if they want. They will still drink and drive. There will still be alcholics but it is up to the common man to try and reduce the threat. Our failure will destroy the society in which we live.

als Atheist
Provo, UT

Bill in Nebraska wrote:

"Our failure [to regulate alcohol] will destroy the society in which we live."

Oh, No! The destruction of society argument...again!

The gays getting married will destroy society.
Loosening alcohol laws will destroy society.
Removing crosses from the side of the freeway will destroy society.
Failing to pay off the national debt will destroy society.

yada, yada...

When you religious people are done crying wolf, please let us know so we can get down to the business of actually solving important problems.

Until then, all you do is undermine your own credibility with your fear-mongering and horribilizing paranoia.


I love when I hear people who move to Utah and love how family friendly and safe it is then complain they can't find beer or porn. There's a reason why its so pleasant here.

Just as any lobby, the LDS church is well within its rights of free speech to chime in on legislation.

Lehi, UT

When my wife moved here from Pittsburgh she was surprised to see beer selling in grocery stores, convenience stores, and so on. I didnt realize that there were places with laws stricter than Utah, but I knew Utah had very low rates of death by drunk driving and was always proud that I lived in a State where we put life above getting tourist dollars. I looked up Pittsburgh stats and they had even lower rates of death by automobile accident.

Some people are always angry whenever the LDS Church does anything, builds anything, or speaks on anything, so it's difficult to do anything good in Utah (even if the LDS Church isn't involved at all). Some people scream that Mormons (the Church is all of us) should only be involved in moral issues, but saving lives and helping prevent other drunken mistakes are certainly moral issues.
I say let them speak, let everyone speak on the issue before letting a few, who might put dollars and profit over life, decide for all of us.

Zona Zone
Mesa, AZ

This is clearly a P.R. stunt because the result the Hospitality Association would have the Court reach would itself be unconstitutional since it clearly limits free speech of the Church, a violation of the First Amendment. Meanwhile, the claim obviously could not implicate the free exercise clause, so it has to go to the establishment clause. The Church is not a state actor, so it can't be precluded from lobbying. At best, the Hospitality Association may claim that Legislators violate the establishment clause when they listen to the LDS Church, but that is too far attenuated from the Constitution to have merit and is open to claims that such a position is (1) unconstitutionally non-justiciable, (2) imposes an unconstitutional religious test, (3) unconstitutionally restricts free speech, and (4) unconstitutionally targets a religion, a violation of the free exercise clause. The only reasonable conclusion is that the Hospitality Association is attempting to bully the LDS Church into being silent because, legally, their case is an embarrassment.

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