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Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Unitarians in suits.

My friends in Salt Lake City won First Unitarian Church v. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the ACLU lawsuit protesting the city's sale of a section of Main Street to the Mormons. (Their complaint was that the city had kept an easement through the property, but was allowing the Mormon Church to set limits on First Amendment rights in spite of the right of public access. The courts quite rightly sided with the ACLU.) Now they've signed on for a new ACLU lawsuit, this time protesting the city's attempt to resolve the first case.

The mayor, a liberal Democrat, isn't happy with the Unitarians, of course. "Anderson said Monday he thought the Rev. Tom Goldsmith and his congregation — in an effort to heal the city's continuing religious divide — would stand against further plaza litigation," according to the LDS Church-owned Deseret News. "But following a 81-23 Sunday vote in favor of further legal action, Anderson realized he was wrong and now thinks the Unitarians are being divisive."

I love my church, but I would have been number 24. The Unitarians already won the symbolic victory; I say quit while you're ahead and use your publicity to build some bridges. But then, since no one in Utah is a moderate, the logic behind further litigation is that it taps into the grievances of non-Mormons (who always feel shut out) and makes for great press. Of course it stands no chance of closing down the Mormon Church's expensive new plaza, but a new lawsuit sure will give non-Mormons something to cheer for.

Update: I've modified the opening paragraph of this entry.

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 5 August 2003 at 4:37 PM

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