Summarized by Kent Larsen
LDS Lobbyist says too much Church involvement in Politics is bad (U. Utah speakers discuss religion, politics)
Excite News (Daily Utah Chronicle) 3Dec99 N1
By Matt Canham: Daily Utah Chronicle
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Representatives of four different religions
spoke at the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics on
Thursday, December 2nd, outlining the responsibility of religions to
speak up on political issues while maintaining the separation between
Church and State.
Speaking for the LDS Church was William Evans, who is a lobbyist for the
Church. According to Evans, the political role of the Church has been
overemphasized, partly because when the Church first arrived in Utah
there was little difference between Church and State. "The history of
the [LDS] Church's role in politics is a history of decreased
involvement," He said that the Church "takes an interest" in about 1
percent of the 1,000 bills in a session of the Utah state legislature.
He said that the Church takes a stance on liquor provisions, tax laws
that affect its organization and same-sex marriages. He also pointed out
that the Church isn't the only group supporting California's Knight
initiative, which would prohibit same-sex marriages in California.
Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City lobbyist Dee Rowland, University of
Utah Professor Laurence Loeb, who represented the Jewish faith, and
Reverend Dr. Jeff Sells, a communications officer for the Episcopal
Diocese of Utah, also spoke at the meetings, outlining their faiths'
involvement in politics. While none of the religious criticized the
positions of another, each did say that too much influence by a religion
on the government has negative consequences.