|Title:||God and Country: Politics in Utah|
|Editor:||Jeffery E. Sells|
|Additional Info:||Foreword by Harold J. Berman|
"For the first two decades after creation of the Territory of Utah, elections were consistently one percentage point shy of unanimous: 99 percent in favor of Mormon church-approved candidates. The legislature's record was equally striking—a nearly unanimous vote on all issues during the same period.
"In the twenty-first century, a majority of Utahns still look to the Latter-day Saint (LDS) church for political direction, and the church obliges by weighing in on matters it considers to be 'moral issues'—also flexing its political muscle in recent years by trying to gain control of the Salt Lake Tribune and successfully acquiring a downtown block of Main Street, among other examples.
"Opponents of religious influence in civic affairs have appealed to the doctrine of separation of church and state even though strict constructionists say the U.S. Constitution retrains government only, not the ability of churches to influence politics. This reality, as interpreted recently by the U.S. Supreme Court, leaves civil libertarians and churches uncertain about what path to follow. Ironically, even though the Constitution of the State of Utah is more explicit in prohibiting church influence in politics, attorneys have been reluctant to appeal to state courts, which tend to be more protective of religion than the federal courts.
"But is the role of the church in America limited to what is legally permissible? Here is where theologians and ethicists weigh in by acknowledging that historically much of the grief in the world has been the result of ecclesiastical hubris. Even so, none prefer a world that is devoid of the moral guidance offered by religion.
"Ultimately, the question may be, not what is legal, but how churches, politicians, and individuals might consider what is best for all beyond the narrow self-interest of any particular group, with deference to the moral teachers of the various religious traditions and the vision of the American Founding Fathers, all of whom expressed concern for minority interests and freedom to act according to conscience. In the end, what is best for all is also in the best interest of everyone individually." (From inside jacket.)
Table of Contents
Foreword: The Reconciliation of Government and Religion, Harold J. Berman
Part I: Historical and Philosophical Underpinnings
Part II: The Social Consequences of Religious Dominance
Epilogue: What Would Dostoevsky Have to Say? Craddock Matthew Gilmour
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