Is the LDS Church Directing Utah State Senate President Waddoups?
February 2nd, 2009
Bar owner believes Utah State Senate President Waddoups' decision to defy Governor Huntsman is due to LDS Church leadership influence.
Bob Brown is an outspoken critic of the idea of trading Utah's private clubs membership laws for a database tracking system that could store information on patron's drinking patterns, "If they intend to actually store the information from the driver's license it's an incredible invasion of privacy[..] This law will infuriate all tourists who come to Utah." Brown says he is in favor of abolishing Utah's Private Club membership laws, which he calls "silly". But he says the scanning of patrons drivers licenses should only be allowed if the scan does not track or store any information. Brown also had some opinions about State Senate President Michael Waddoups, who is causing a huge stir over his ideas to make Utah's liquor laws more harsh, deifying Governor John Huntsman's attempts to loosen Utah's liquor laws.
Brown believes that State Senate President Michael Waddoups is not opposing Governor Huntsman by his own accord but is doing so because LDS Church leaders are influencing his decisions. Brown says he has proof: "I have a recording of and interview with Waddoups from three years ago during the smoking debate, where Waddoups said, 'private clubs are an outdated concept and probably need to go away.'" Brown says he has forwarded this tape recording to the hospitality industry loby to demonstrate to Waddoups and others the confusing 180 degree change in thinking.
If the LDS Church is directing orders to Waddoups on his Senate Leadership decisions, this could be a violation of the Church's status as a non-profit 501(c)3 religious organization. This is also a violation of the first amendment of United States Constitution, which defines the separation of church and state powers.
Up until just recently Utah Governor John Huntsman Jr. (who is also a practicing member of the LDS Church) has stood all alone in his attempts to reform Utah liquor laws. But last week the Deseret News reported that Huntsman has recruited Rep. Greg Huges (R) -- a non-drinker -- as an ally in his work to remove private club laws, which Huntsman believes hinders Utah's tourism potential.
From silly to beyond obsurd! Why not just shoot for prohibition?
I left Utah about 7 years ago and reading a story like this confirms my decision. Unfortunately the religious divide between LDS and non-LDS is lightyears apart now and I don't foresee that ever changing. What happened to the concept of seperation of church and state? Why is the state of Utah exempt?
It's sad because it really is a beautiful place and I do have fond memories. But the divide and scrutiny for a non-LDS individual is one I do not want to subject my family too. A law requiring restaurants to "hide" alcohol seems borderline childish. What's next, will the state require a prescription for the purchase of condoms?
Since leaving, I've lived in the Northwest and currently reside in Boise and have been surprised what a high mormon population there is in both. The biggest difference compared to Utah is the mindset. Non-Utah mormons are very strong and consistent with their religious beliefs, but minus the judgement you receive in Utah.
The liquor laws are only the tip of the iceberg.
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