Chris Herrod on: Utah’s higher education employee compensation

Since I’ve already mentioned Utah’s leftwing cellphone ban, Utah’s ultra-high state employee ratio, and Utah’s extremist liberal non-partisan school board elections laws (excuse the over-the-top descriptions…nobody seems to flinch when such over-the- top modifiers are used by the mainstream media to describe conservatives), as well as Utah’s moderate position on abortion, there certainly couldn’t be any other positions that are out-of-whack with Utah’s conservative populace…or could there be?

Oh yes, I almost forgot I said I would talk about business subsidies, but let me first address Higher Education…which in many ways could be considered the largest business subsidy in the state.

HIGHER EDUCATION IN UTAH

The absolute necessity of increased funding for Higher Ed is being pushed by the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. Some have implied that the rightwing has taken over the legislature and starved Higher Ed from their entitled funds. Higher Ed is important, but after listening to some, one might think that the University of Utah’s and other Higher Ed institutions are on life-support because Utah’s radically conservative legislature has taken a hatchet to their budget. Well, hold on, because some facts will flabbergast you—they certainly flabbergasted me.

THE FACTS

Utah spends the 4th highest in the nation on Higher Education per capita according to a report based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau for Economic Analysis, released in March of 2014.   Let me repeat that and let it sink in a moment…Utah Taxpayers spend the 4th highest per capita in the nation on Higher Ed. Heard that lately on the radio? In the newspaper? On TV? This fact is all the more impressive when one considers that Utah ranks 46th in the nation for per capita income at $34,173.

According to the data compiled by the National Education Association, Utah State Government has the 5th highest education effort in the nation (educational effort equates to the amount spent on education per $1,000 income by citizens) for Higher Ed and K-12 combined. LINK HERE Utah has the 7th highest spending on education when local government spending is added per $1000 earned by Utah citizens. Utah has the 8th highest percentage of state budget that goes to education. I wouldn’t call this a “take-over” by conservatives—would you?!

We do, however, value Higher Ed much more than we do K-12, or, maybe it’s just that Higher Ed has more $300,000 taxpayer funded lobbyists. (They don’t actually call them lobbyists, but they should… more like vice-president of government relations…but all agencies have such taxpayer lobbyists but that’s a discussion for another day.)

Back to the poverty crisis at the University of Utah. Many are dumbfounded when the see the over 22 pages, with 50 employees per page, making over $200,000 at the University of Utah (1,122 to be exact).   To be fair, many of these work for the University of Utah Hospital, but still I’m not sure one could call such salaries “living in poverty” or “ignoring” higher education.

LINK HERE

If it makes you feel better, only 491 University of Utah’s employees make over $300,000. I feel better, don’t you? So, there’s no need to investigate further. If you look through the 87 pages of 50 employees each, you’ll find a grand total of 4,328 making over $100,000 at the University of Utah.   And, I thought working for government didn’t pay well!

Ranking. Concerning funding of universities, Utah is on the very left of all states education on per capita basis, and, very left for Republican States.

As a side note, the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce January 27, 2015 press release included the following statement:

Referring to Utah’s declining educational attainment, Hall said, “We see advanced warning signs that if not changed will have a lasting negative impact on our economy. Utah students are losing ground nationally and rank poorly among states. In the last two decades, Utah has lost the advantage it once held for being among the most highly educated states in the nation as we have seen our college completion rates dropping. We have to do better.”

Maybe Utah’s declining educational attainment has more to do with Utah’s recent past when Utah had the fasted growing illegal population in the nation and Utah’s declining educational attainment is the natural result. Some of us cautioned the public that scores would drop, but we were ignored and labeled “extremists” or “hatemongers.” Yet, despite being warned of the consequences, the Chamber pushed tolerance for illegal immigration (and discrimination against legal immigrants) and now they want you to pay for their mistakes. Is that fair and balanced?

BUSINESS SUBSIDIES

Republicans, especially conservatives, have traditionally believed that government should not compete with the private sector (as shown above this obviously doesn’t apply to universities).

THE FACTS

According to Good Jobs First, Utah ranks 30th for the total dollar amount of subsidies given. LINK HERE  One would expect Utah to be ranked 33rd, had an average amount of subsidies been given, on a per capita basis. Utah ranked three places higher than we should if Utah just provided an average amount of subsidies for our population.

Such a moderate philosophy showed up during the 2014, when the Utah Legislature and the Governor authorized a large subsidy to a proposed mega hotel in Salt Lake City.   Salt County officials assured legislators that numerous developers were interested in bidding on the project, which would supposedly drive down costs, but as so often happens when government bureaucrats get involved, competition actually decreases and costs go up. According the Utah Taxpayer Association, only one developer has responded to the Request for Proposals (RFPs). LINK HERE  Only 21 representatives out of 75 voted against the giveaway, which can hardly be construed as a rightwing legislature. See how your legislators voted.

HOUSE VOTE

Ranking. Utah ranks as moderate for the nation.

Umm…I think a pattern might be developing? It’s certainly not a rightwing ultra-extreme pattern if it is.

– CHRIS HERROD


Chris Herrod on: Defining who is and who isn’t a Nazi.

I’m amazed how often people don’t see the relationship between their actions (or inactions) and future events.  Similarly, we act surprised when others say something, even write about their intentions in books and in speeches, and then actually follow through when they get elected or come to power.  These phenomena seem most common with my moderate friends . . .  and unfortunately are rampant here in Utah.

When Paul Mero and Doug Wright compared Trump supporters to Nazis last month, I realized the better historical analogy would be to compare Mero, Wright, and others who push for amnesty, to Neville Chamberlain.  Hitler wrote in his book, Mein Kampf, about his goals and intentions, yet world leaders did nothing and were ill-prepared for what was to come.  We now consider Neville Chamberlain a fool for his naivety and statement “Peace in our Time” for we all know what happened . . .  over 50 million killed . . .  the world left in ruins . . .  and the foundation laid for Eastern Europe’s enslavement during the Cold War.

In our comfort, we now mock the ignorance and naivety back then and openly wonder how leaders could be so dumb.  “We are so much smarter and wiser” we opine  . . . and yet we do the exact same thing now.  Utah leaders even lead the charge in laying the foundation for our loss of freedoms . . . and yet these same leaders act surprised at the changes in our country despite Barack Obama openly saying that he fundamentally wanted to change America. Just like Chamberlain, we repeat to ourselves, “Obama and other progressives really don’t mean what they say!” and yet they do.

Common sense dictates that if you want to fundamental change America that you need to replace or at least delude the vote of those who are against such change.  If you want to control government then win  elections – it’s not complicated.  If the Constitution gets in your way, simply appoint judges that ignore the Constitution . . . and so seemingly small capitulations make a difference . . .  ending in a crescendo.

For the past century, we’ve ignored the reality that illegal and above-normal legal immigration has been desired by almost every progressive movement.  It’s been part of the Communist Party’s and Socialist’s Party’s platforms for generations, and more recently the Democrat’s platform. It’s there, just like “Mein Kampf”, but we ignore it or think it’s harmless . . . “it’s coincidental” we deceive ourselves. But it’s not out of kindness that progressives get immigrants immediately hooked on government programs which change centuries-old traditions of immigrant self-sufficiency, but out of a desire for power.  We fool ourselves that problems with immigration are “just by chance” and that progressives aren’t aware that 70-80% of immigrants vote Democrat.  We ignore such realities at our peril.

What’s most frustrating to me, however, is that while it’s currently in vogue to bemoan the loss of religious freedoms and the out-right attacks on religious freedoms by the courts, where was the concern decades ago when many of us raised concerns about the strategy progressive were using to effect change?  Why couldn’t leaders see that when the rule of law is ignored in one area that other rights will be eventually taken in another . . . or the natural consequences when immigrants come from primarily socialist countries?

It doesn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to understand that no single political tool of the left has threatened religious freedom as has illegal immigration . . . illegal immigration (and to a certain point legal immigration) has affected  elections, especially Presidential, which determines who gets to appoint Supreme Court Judges. It’s no secret that the left has long had a goal to take over the judiciary system because even the Founders realized that it was the weakest link. It’s not by legislation, but by lifetime-appointed judges that the left has been most successful attacking religious liberties and our traditional freedoms.

Unfortunately, consequences of illegal immigration aren’t felt immediately and so it’s harder for some to seen the correlation . . .  with illegal immigrants, it takes 18 or more years for children born here to vote and effect elections . . .  with legal immigrants, it can be as soon as five. That’s why so many of my friends from California and Arizona especially those in law enforcement, have said, “By the time you know it’s a problem, it’s too late to do anything about it.” Wise leaders should be able to predict not simply react especially when the other side is open about their intentions.

And so just like Chamberlain, we naively think when George Soros pushes for open borders, amnesty, and mass immigration from Central America that he’s doing it out of the kindness of his Heart . . . no pause when we’re the same side of an issue with a man who is well-known for wanting to undermine our system and bring about social chaos.  But instead of self-reflection, we provide Soros and other progressives cover with the Utah Compact and parrot Obama’s claim for the need of prosecutorial discretion.

Let’s look at the results . . . illegal immigration and out-of-the-norm legal immigration has single-handedly flipped California from Republican to Democrat and made other traditionally Republican states in play. In 1970, only 9% of Californians were foreign-born.  Today, it’s over 27% and yet we ignorantly throw up our hands in surprise when values change and say, “How could this happen?” California, with its 55 electoral votes, used to be in play for Republicans . . . now it is not even close.  California is equivalent to the 14 states smallest states, and so when California went Democrat, it dramatically changed the electoral map. So as the U.S. nears all-time foreign-born percentages, we wonder why we’re torn in every direction.

But’s what worse, we, like Neville Chamberlain, pretend it was by “accident” and claim that “no-one could have known” but this is simply not the case . . .  it happened because we pussy-footed around tough issues . . . when we feared to offend our Democrat and moderate friends . . . or to take stands against Keegan, Ginsberg, or Sotomayor.  We feared being viewed as extreme.  Make no mistake, I have many wonderful Democrat friends (some who even read this blog) who are great people with sincere beliefs . . . but it does us no good when we ignore that fact that their party has been taken over by radical progressives . . . who for decades now, regardless of what mainstream Democrats believe, have appointed judges who are antagonist towards religion.  We fool ourselves that such appointments don’t matter

We’ve also been lured to sleep when our newspapers censored quotes that don’t fit their agenda . . .  Hillary Clinton was allowed by the Deseret News to use Mormon quotes however she wanted . . .  but the following quote was censure in previous Deseret News Op-Ed and so we’re robbed of prophetic warnings:

While enemies filter into our nation to subvert us and intimidate us and soften us, we continue with our destructive thinking: “It can’t happen here.”

Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, October 1961, pp. 29-34

So for all the advancement we think we’ve had since the 1930’s, we are no better.  We’re just as naïve as Chamberlain and throw away our freedoms just as fast . . . good intentions will not save our religious and other freedoms any more than naive intentions spared the world from Hitler.

-Chris Herrod


Chris Herrod On: My brand of conservatism is the only brand you should follow.

After looking at Utah’s lack of conservativeness, I’ve often wondered why so many mainstream conservative policies have not been successful in Utah.

Perhaps it’s because Utah does not have a state-wide conservative newspaper. With the exception of the antagonism towards The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and possibly positions on Gay Marriage, little difference is to be found between the editorial opinions of the two state’s two largest papers.  Both condemn what they view as “extreme” conservatism in Utah (something I’ve shown over the past few months to simply be untrue).  Moreover, while the Deseret News is supposedly the more conservative newspaper, many conservative Utah Legislators actually prefer the Salt Lake Tribune for its fairness and objectivity.

KSL News Radio has the largest radio audience in Utah, and has but one political talk program–the Doug Wright Show.  Doug Wright claims to be conservative, but has long advocated against such mainstream conservative positions as partisan elections, school-choice, property rights, standing up to President Obama (e.g. Obamacare, executive Amnesty), the rule-of-law, and fairness to all immigrants and races.  Wright’s favorite legislator is one of the most liberal democrats on the Hill and has long been a leading advocate for the destruction of the caucus system, a system based on our Founding Fathers concept of a Republic.  He’s always given significantly more time to liberal/moderate advocates than to conservatives on the air.  And, unfortunately his voice gets the most airtime.

The constant drum beat of liberalism by the media causes Utah to veer left.  More importantly, the misinterpretation of what is and is not conservative (supported by liberal Republicans attacks on conservatives) results in people believing they are acting conservatively; thus, traditional conservatism is viewed as “extreme conservatism” by the general public, and therefore…undesirable.

Joseph Overton describe this phenomenon, which has become known as the Overton Window.  Overton’s model explains why certain political/social proposals are successful and others are not.  Using the Overton Window may be helpful in understanding why conservative proposal have not been successful in Utah.  Because of the relentless bombardment by the media, relatively moderate conservative proposals are immediately labeled as not only “rightwing,” but “extreme rightwing.”  Because of these assertions, the Overton Window is moved to the left and conservative proposals are outside the range of realistic possibilities.

Additionally, Utah has a culture that seems to believe being “nice” means not criticizing people at all.  Comparing votes or even pointing out differences, is often perceived as negative campaigning or being mean-spirited.  This was illustrated in the 2012 election cycle when groups such as FreedomWorks were discredited for merely comparing Senator Hatch’s rhetoric to his actual record.  Politicians are never held accountable for inconsistencies between their campaign promises and their voting records.  Politicians’ adherence to the GOP platform and voting records are simply…avoided.  All politicians have to is profess to be “conservative,” and they’re never challenged.  And, those who actually try to hold politicians accountable are simply branded “rightwing,” “extreme rightwing,” or “extremist.”  Utahn’s don’t want to be part of a group that is ridiculed.

This tactic is effective–dishonest–but effective!

Conservatives’ great weakness has always been that we believe truths are self-evident; however, we forget such truths are only self-evident if the basic principles have been taught, or, if these self-evident truths are seen within the range of possibilities.  In other words: within the Overton Window.

If Utah conservatives want win, or even be in the game here in Utah, they need to step up and “hit back.”  Conservatives need to teach what traditional conservatism truly is and combat the liberal media’s stranglehold on the dissemination of information, and the perception that Utah actually acts like a conservative state.

The good news is most Utahns WANT to be conservative–they simply don’t know what conservatism actually means, or, even how to act like conservatives.

Over the next year, we must help Utahns understand that it’s not only okay to compare voting records to the platform, but it’s imperative to hold our elected leaders accountable if we want good government.

It’s not mean spirited … it’s our responsibility.

– CHRIS HERROD


Chris Herrod: I’ll be your conservative hero. Pick me. Please?

In Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn’s famous address to Harvard University warning of Western decline, Solzhenitsyn stated: “A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today. The Western world has lost its civic courage.”

While numerous examples of this lack of courage are evident today, none is more striking than the Supreme Court’s recent non-decision on Gay Marriage which struck down 6,000 years of societal understanding without having the courage to be accountable for their individual opinions. Many were left frustrated without their proverbial day in court. One talk show host explained the range of emotions best, “Anger, fear, disgust and robbed.”

Despite being arguably one of the most important cases in U.S. History, the justices allowed a few lower court three-judge panels to overturn not only 227 years of Constitutional precedent and hundreds of years of common law, but the vast majority of U.S. voters and further trampled federalism by even overturning State Constitutions. Some justices thought it best to protect institutions rather than truth, what’s best for the nation and even the plain reading of the Constitution. Who cares of the reputation of the court – just do what is right. The primary word that comes to mind – cowardice – but why should we be surprised.  It leaves one lamenting, “Where did all our heroes go?”

But this lack of courage does not extend only to the Supreme Court. Most of our politicians speak empty words while failing to have the courage to tell their true convictions as the Democrats do or forever saying “wait till after the next election for us to act” as the Republicans do. Even our churches seek converts over Americans’ interests and abandon the rule of law and the equity than comes from it for all the world rather for those simply willing to break our laws. Oh, how we long for patriots of the past – the Patrick Henrys, the Lincolns, and the George Washingtons.

Our president simply votes “present” but few thought the U.S. Supreme Court would as well. Our Justices lack courage to give certainty and allow the country wallow in confusion, the US Senate under the direction of Harry Reid, refuses to make tough decisions as well – not wanting to place his colleagues in a difficult position just prior to their re-elections. Even Republicans are afraid – few actually thought the President’s Syrian strategy would succeed, but afraid of appearing partisan and the press accusing them of not compromising remained silent. The President was never forced to understand why he’s losing Iraq and so we double-down on policy doomed to failure as tens of thousands potential allies suffer and die.   As Rome burns, voting “present” seems to be in vogue.

We wring our hands and cry out “how could this happen?!”  One religious leader explained it best:

“It happened first in and to the universities of America. It happened when agnostics and atheists were protected in teaching their philosophy of religion in public institutions of higher learning. Because they claim affiliation with no church, the principle of separation of church and state is supposed not to apply to them. They are free to teach their faithless philosophy at public expense, to shake, even destroy, the faith of their students. Meanwhile teachers of faith are restrained and churches are kept off campus. What happened happened in and to the schools and the churches, to the towns and cities; it happened in the homes and in the hearts of the American people. ***

But lest we blame everything on our leaders, we too must take responsibility. We fail to hold our elected leaders accountable. Many current Senators voted for the Supreme Court judges, but now act surprised and simply shirk the blame by stating Presidential deference rather than taking their Constitutional obligation to “advise and consent” seriously.

What started slowly now builds to a crescendo as we seemingly accelerate toward the cliff of self- destruction. Feeling helpless and powerless is dangerous because it often leads to one of two extremes – either giving up entirely or to violence. This is why it’s important to realize that we didn’t get here accidentally, because if we can’t see it, then we can have no hope that we can get out of it. We CAN do something about it if we but have the courage to act. But, we also must understand that if we abandon the wisdom of our forefathers, we will not be immune from the consequences. Another religious leader (and later Mormon prophet) Spencer W. Kimball stated:

“When enemies filter into our nation to subvert us and intimidate us and soften us, we continue with our destructive thinking; “It cannot happen here.”

Such a prevalent attitude is seductive because it allows us to think that decisions can be postponed indefinitely. This lulls us into thinking that no courageous decisions are ever necessary – that we never have to make tough decisions which may offend someone. We avoid necessary conservations since we have plenty of time and others can take care of our problems. But the border, social security, terrorists, the debt crisis and numerous other problems know no such fallacy. Although urgency is now seen as extremism, Solzhenitsyn further warned us:

“But the fight for our planet, physical and spiritual, a fight of cosmic proportions, is not a vague matter of the future; it has already started. The forces of Evil have begun their decisive offensive.   You can feel their pressure, yet your screens and publications are full of prescribed smiles and raised glasses.   What is the joy about?”

But despite this reality, we continue to lack the courage to do that which is necessary to protect ourselves and protect our children’s future. We fail to secure the border from illegal aliens, Muslim extremists and even Ebola, but in reality deadly effects have already occurred. As we worry about Ebola, many have already died from Human enterovirus 68 likely spread from our Southern Border. Who needs terrorists when thousands of illegal aliens fill our prisons for murder, rape and other violent crimes or stress our already vulnerable healthcare system?

Churches unwittingly are used as pawns. They clamor for amnesty although research shows that those coming overwhelming (according to PEW 80%) want bigger government which will lead to policies that further restrict religious freedoms. Supposed compassion trumps reason, yet the folly won’t protect us from the consequences of such charity or naivety.

But was does the left have to fear? There’re no consequences to offending the right. We don’t riot – nor should we – but does this mean that nothing can or should be done? Churches aren’t afraid because where else will the religious go yet the left successfully lobbies them.   Since we don’t boycott, businesses aren’t afraid of offending the right; we simply continue shopping while the left cunningly executes a plan. The Executive Branch doesn’t care about us as is evident by the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups so why should be surprised about the Supreme Court.

In the same address, Solzhenitsyn stated that “from ancient times a decline in courage has been considered the first symptom of the end?” On this point I hope we prove him wrong. It doesn’t have to be the end but we must not shirk our responsibilities. We must realize the direness in which we find ourselves. Although worried, I still have hope for the great nation, but we must realize that courage will be required and that one cannot sit on the sidelines any longer.

The middle must come to realize that they cannot continue to straddle the fence any longer. In reality, the greatest battle is for the middle – to help them understand that with the left’s tolerance only goes one way.   We must wake them up and help them understand that its naïve to think that they can hide their opinions much longer or forever not take a stand. Yes, principled compromise is good but compromising on solutions that will not work is simply dumb. Good ideas must prevail, but this requires convictions to speak up. Political correctness can no longer keep us from even having needed conversation in the first place.

The next Presidential election will determine if the court can be turned for good, or, will forever forsake the recognition of the laws of nature and the laws of God upon which this nation was founded. Rather than shirk into the comfort of anonymity, now is the time to let our convictions known.

– CHRIS HERROD


Chris Herrod On: Your freedom being under attack by not-really Republicans! #Panic!

LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE RADIO SEGMENT [Start at Marker 8:37 minutes, Tuesday, December 2nd, Second Hour]

DOUG WRITE SHOW

Over the past ten days, Doug has included as guests on his radio show a number of advocates for the “restructuring” of the Caucus/Convention system in Utah.  Although Doug considers himself a fair and balanced moderator of political issues on his show, clearly he’s strayed from that practice during the SB54 debate.   A rough analysis of the time allotted for guests PRO and CON for SB54 has revealed that supporters of the Caucus/Convention System have been afforded significantly less air time.  (See graphic.)

No less than 17 times Doug spoke-over the top of or interrupted (former Utah State Senator) James Evans – the Utah Republican Party Chairman.  Three times Doug laughed out loud in the most debasing way (which is usually an indication that someone has lost control of the argument).

Doug began the segment by dishonestly describing the SB 54 as a compromise and even claimed that “everyone got behind SB 54.”  This is simply NOT true.  And, ironically, Doug later called James out for using the term “everyone” during their discussion.  James began by calmly stating that he disagreed with Doug’s “erroneous setup” before their dialogue began, which quickly elicited a strong response from Wright.  Doug started by saying “Okay, correct me…” but wouldn’t restrain himself and immediately went on the offensive by saying “I don’t know why (you) always come out blasting both barrels.” I assume when he says “blasting with both barrels,” he means speaking the truth.

Then came…“Geez James! Get your act together!” and… “Hold on here James! You may be able to bully your way through other things but you are on MY radio program right now!” – Doug Wright | KSL Radio

At one point during their exchange, Wright zealously interrupted Evans and retorted “How dare you treat me like this!”  Treat you like what–I would ask?  Again, who is Doug Wright.  Yes, he’s been a republican party delegate, and, he claims to be a life-long member of the Utah Republican Party.  As with anyone, his opinion should be considered and respected.  But, respect is not what is being asked for here.  Wright want’s us to relinquish, or at least make subservient our opinions and principles to him and other “prominent” republicans.  It seems he wants his opinion amplified on a greater frequency than everyone else…which is elitism.  Doug is the king of name-droppers: Kirk Jowers, Mike Leavitt, LeVarr Webb, Senator Curt Bramble, et. al, and, expects that such names will pull extra weight simply because of his association with these people and their positions – not because of the strength of their arguments.

“It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the People against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern; they promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.” – Daniel Webster

DOUG’s AGENDA

Doug is used to controlling the debate on his radio show.  He’s used to framing the “dialogue” in a way most helpful to him and his agenda.  He often invites guests who support his viewpoints and principles rather than offering the listener a true exchange of ideas.

THE LAWSUIT

When asked by Chairman Evans why Doug was being so hostile, Wright mentioned he was concerned about the timing of the lawsuit and why it wasn’t filed earlier.  (Interestingly enough, Doug never questioned the timing of those individuals who challenged Amendment 3, the Marriage Amendment– nearly ten years earlier.  Neither did I hear Doug express concern, or anger, toward those filing the lawsuit about the costs incurred by taxpayers – only concern of the state defending the law.)  Doug interjected such words as “disingenuous” and “irresponsible” to describe the lawsuit.  I am not sure what’s “disingenuous” or “irresponsible” about protecting one’s civil rights, because if Government can take a political party’s First Amendment Rights away, then certainly it’s only a matter of time before government will take away Our religious freedoms (oh’ it already has) and freedom of the press, as well.

What WAS disingenuous, to use Wright’s words, is when Doug feigned concern about the schism within the Republican Party.  Well, let’s look at the facts.  For the past several years, Wright’s camp has pushed the demise of the Caucus/Convention system issue in the Republican Party.  The Party dealt with the schism and Wright’s camp lost.  But, like a spoiled child with a skinned knee, the Count-My-Vote (CMV) folks ran away and sought relief from their government.  In fact, the CMV folks are jeopardizing the party by being sore losers.

So, how about this CMV folks…why not try take over the Republican State Central Committee, again…and then change all the rules to your liking?!  That would work.  And, it’s how to get things done in Our Republic.  But, don’t use the force of government when you can’t prevail by reason.

As Republicans, I hope we can unite around George Washington’s belief that, “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force.”

– CHRIS HERROD | cf


Chris Herrod on: The SB54 Repealer and The Caucus/Convention System

Rep. Jake Anderegg’s bill to repeal SB 54 has now languished in rules for over two weeks.  This can only mean two things . . . either House leadership doesn’t want it out of rules . . . or Senate Leadership doesn’t want it out. The narrative probably goes something like this:  “We don’t want to put the body on record again” or “It’s such a contentious issue . . . let’s just let it be and not waste valuable time.”  Leadership probably believes that they can weather the storm by simply saying “I support the Caucus” and hopes the court will bail them out by not making them face the delegates again.  They must believe that delegates will buy their silence as supporting the caucus or will simply give them a pass.

I think this is foolish . . . here’s why:

This year has all the makings of 2010 which means that it’s going to be tough year for incumbents who are unresponsive to delegates. The leading presidential candidates in both parties are running anti-establishment campaigns . . .  the establishment’s presidential candidates probably won’t even be around by March 22nd  . . . which leaves only those who are already skeptical about politicians going to the caucuses.  Add to this, the recent Utah Policy polls that show that 50% of delegates strongly oppose SB 54 with another 12% somewhat oppose and the fact that 44% of delegates are less likely to vote for a candidate that is gathering signatures (only 5% are more likely to vote for a candidate gathering signatures) and this has all the making for a very bad year for the establishment.

So in all likelihood, legislators who voted for SB 54 and refuse to vote again, are putting their political careers all on the line for a favorable court ruling.  Having attended the SB 54 hearing last week, I believe this is unwise.  There’s a good chance that SB 54 will be thrown out or at very least delayed because Judge Nuffer has already made it perfectly clear that the State cannot tell a party how to define membership.  The numbers set in statute for signatures are clearly unconstitutional and so legislators will thus be forced once again to face their delegates.

This year I doubt that delegates will buy “I voted for SB 54 to preserve the caucus” or better yet my favorite “I voted to destroy the caucuses to preserve the caucuses.” One might have been able to claim they were trying to protect the party earlier, but everyone knows how the party and grassroots feel after two years of fighting and  a state convention.  “I was simply looking out for the best interest of the Party” will not fly.  Besides, it’s already obvious that SB 54 is nothing more than the incumbent protection act and is actually producing less competition . . . not more as was rallying cry of Count My Vote which is not surprising . . . the founders always know more than modern day liberals  . . . mess with the Constitution and bad things happen.

If I had voted for SB 54 (which I wouldn’t have – I testified against it), I would want another chance to change my vote and yet this is being denied to the rank and file.  It’s not leadership that will suffer but the rank and file that will  . . . just like two years ago when three rank and file legislators lost their seats because of SB 54 . . . it wasn’t leadership or bill sponsors who lost their seats and so I hope legislators think long and hard about whose best interest is being looked after.  I worry for those who have just been elect . . .  whose eyes haven’t been completely opened yet because the first re-election is usually the most difficult.

. . . but just when I thought courage was dead,  Representative Justin Fawson rose to the occasion.  I give him kudos to him as well as the 24 other legislators who supported him for their bravery. Rep. Fawson tried to substitute Representative Cox’s bill with a bill that clearly states that Political Parties the right to choose their election process.  I wish him the best with the rest of his bills and hope that leadership will not punish him for doing what’s right and voting his conscious.

I especially appreciate Rep. Ray’s honest comments on the floor when he said that everyone knows where they stand and to not use “cycling” as a way to simply avoid the debate. It now looks like the vote against circling Fawson’s substitution may very well be the last time for Representatives voice their opposition to SB 54 . . . I doubt it will see the light of day despite many claiming that they simply needed more time.

It’s very interesting to see that some who previously voted for SB 54 took the opportunity to correct their vote and will most certainly be used by some to seek forgiveness from delegates.  I say better late than never.

http://le.utah.gov/DynaBill/svotes.jsp?sessionid=2016GS&voteid=189&house=H

The great irony is that County My Vote and SB 54 supporters may very likely produce the opposite of what they intended.  Rather than moderating the legislature, they could very well unintentionally produce the most conservative shift in recent history. It’s going to be an interesting year!

– CHRIS HERROD


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Chris Herrod On: Jon Huntsman Sr. not being a good conservative

Because of my respect for Jon Huntsman, Sr., I’ve had to write and rewrite and then rewrite again this simple post to constrain myself, but something must be said.  Huntsman was quoted…

“All I can say is Mike Lee is an embarrassment to the state of Utah,” Huntsman said in an interview, calling Lee “an extremist” for his role in the government shutdown fight that he said cost his cancer research institute millions in federal dollars and hurt small businesses affected by the closure of national parks. “He’s been a tremendous embarrassment to our family, to our state, to our country to have him as a U.S. senator.”

POLITICO ARTICLE

Mr. or Elder, or simply Jon as a fellow Utahn (whatever title gives the most respect here in Utah), your wealth and your generosity are almost beyond comparison. For this, I am truly grateful. But does this entitle you to speak for all of Utah?  Because you have the opportunity to do so much good, have you the right to pass such personal judgments on a father-son relationship?

But the 77-year-old Huntsman said his real concern is Lee’s policies and position during the shutdown, saying the senator is a “terrible disappointment” who did not follow in the footsteps of his father.

To take such a swipe at Senator Lee, who lost his father to cancer so long ago, I simply cannot comprehend. But this seems to be the acceptable language of the day (at least towards conservatives, anyway).  I often interacted with Senator Lee’s father when I was a student body officer at BYU, while Rex Lee was President of that university.  Mr. Huntsman, I beg to disagree.  Rex Lee would be extremely proud of his son Senator Lee – more than you will ever know.

You lecture us on the need for compromise and open communication:

….we have to get along, we have to work, we have to communicate. I spent several years with the Nixon administration, and one of the things I did respect about President Nixon was we did communicate, we did have relations with both parties and it’s very essential we continue to do that.

Yet recent comments tell us what you really mean, but why not extend the same courtesy for Lee?

Huntsman, who has longstanding ties to Lee’s family, added: “He’s tried to come in and see me several times. … I have no interest whatsoever in chatting with him.”

Why the disdain for conservatives?  Is it because some conservatives have actually kept their campaign promises?   Or, perhaps, because they can’t be swayed with money and power?  Did you not tell Alan Colmes that you stopped voting like a moderate Republican long ago?

HUNTSMAN QUOTE

I’m the only one in America who belongs to the “Cure Cancer” party, so if you give money to cancer, like Harry Reid and Max Baucus, some of these guys really helped us raise big money for cancer, I give them big money for their reelections. And I told Orrin Hatch, and a number of Senators, “Listen you help me with cancer, I’ll help you with our re-election,” but I’m a one issue man and I love to see our political leaders help us with things like cancer and very few right wing people do that.

Is this not extreme?  When one brazenly states, with not the least bit of shame, that one can buy politicians with money, then something has gone wrong – terribly wrong.

I too fear for the Republican Party, but not for the reasons for which you seem. To see why Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Bob Dole lost, I need look no further than your comments and your contempt for traditional American values. Most conservatives or even Republicans aren’t rich, they live paycheck to paycheck, but simply hope for the American Dream. While they may not have yet reaped the full benefits, they hold dear that our Founding Principles represent the best means to achieve their dream – if not for them, at least for their children. When you speak down to them, you offend them. When you call Mike Lee an extremist, you call them an extremist as well.

You provide no solution for our ever growing debt. You’ve taken away the only tool the Republicans have had traditionally to control the debt. You ignore the seven government shut-downs under President Reagan and so what’s you plan?   When are you going to say enough is enough?  It’s no secret that the poor, the working class, and the middle class will bear the brunt of our out-of-control fiscal policies.  Who’s looking out for them?

After the all-out attack on Lee, I have even more respect for Senator Mike Lee.  The pressure is far greater than I ever imagined on Lee.  But, in the end, I believe such attacks will backfire, as they galvanize Senator Lee’s supporters even more. It certainly has for me.

– CHRIS HERROD


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Chris Herrod On: Mitt Romney not being conservative… enough?

Dear Mitt:

I say this as someone who endorsed you early in 2007 and 2011 for the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, respectively. I left the hospital early to vote for you on the day my son was born on Super Tuesday in 2008. I campaigned for you in 2012. I made countless telephone calls for you even during my campaign for U.S. Senate. And my son who was 13 at the time, had a gun pulled on him while he was knocking doors on the opposite side of the street from me in a Las Vegas suburb.

I believe you would have been a great President – infinitely better than the one we got. I’ll never forget waking up in a depressed stupor over and over during the early morning hours after the 2012 election. I could hardly believe the nation had chosen Barack Obama over you. I often paused to consider what the outcome of that election meant for the state of our nation—and still do.

I appreciate your understanding of international relations. As someone who has long understood Putin and the danger he represents, I wish you were in office to counter Putin’s meddlesome impact on Eastern Europe. My belief that “elections have consequences” was recently reinforced as my in-laws’ apartment windows were blown in by a separatist explosion in Eastern Ukraine last Christmas Eve.

But if you run again in 2016, I hope you will take advice from different people; and, that you’ll reach out to the grassroots and include them in your campaign management team. Not just token representation, but serious contributors. You’re going to need not only grassroots voters…but grassroots advice as well.

Please, don’t “pull a Jeb Bush” and antagonize the conservative base from outset. Since the election of Richard Nixon, no Republican has won the Presidency running as a moderate. You can’t succeed by throwing down the gauntlet and declaring that you don’t need conservatives. If you can’t bridge the gap with conservatives, how can you expect to bridge the gaps in the nation?!

During the 2012 Utah State Republican Convention, a delegate came up to me extremely disenchanted. He said, “Chris, I don’t understand. I’ve worked for the Romney Campaign, and given what I could, but I couldn’t afford to give $2500. Now, I’m not on the approved list of Romney national convention delegates. I don’t think that’s right. What was I to do?”

Your campaign (hopefully unbeknown to you) had generated a select list of “approved delegates” which included only your top donors and supporters. It substantiated the “out-of-touch” accusations the Democrats so cynically used against you. While money is extremely important (raising over $1 billion was quite the accomplishment), nothing can replace the common voters and the grassroots.

Your campaign made a similar tactical error before the national convention, and, unfortunately, disrespected the Ron Paul delegates. Why? You were clearly going to win anyway. Possibly a smother process was achieved, but why not give Mr. Paul your esteem and provide a prime-time slot to show that you could kindly include the libertarian wing in your tent. Political coalescing is messy, but let the process take place. The delegate process can be painfully slow and often contentious. My experience is that when process is fair and people are at least given a chance to be heard, a loss is not as bitter and eventually most of the delegates will come around. Instead, Ron Paul delegates and other conservatives stayed home. All that was needed was the same number of votes McCain had in 2008, and, you would have won!

These things really matter—especially in the age of “instant sharing” and “high-tech communication.”

Unfortunately, your campaign seems to be repeating the same mistake here in Utah, again. You appear to be supporting the Count-My-Vote Initiative. Supposedly you have been withholding support from your local county party in Park City, which only alienates the rank and file Republican activists you so critically need to win.

Your strongest connection with the conservative base has always been your astute understanding of the harm caused by illegal immigration. Please step up now and show conservatives that you understand Obama’s middle-class economics better than he does, and vigorously argue that you recognize what the middle and working classes are going through by his depression of wages caused by an endless stream of low-income workers. Stopping illegal immigration will increase wages more than a minimum wage increase! Most establishment Republicans are oblivious to the harm this policy is causing because it’s not doctors, professors, and Wall Street executives streaming across the borders, driving wages down and causing unemployment. You won’t gain votes (and support) by abandoning your previous immigration position. All changing your position will do will offend the 29% of Hispanics that did vote for you, anyway. Thirty-three percent of Hispanics are against amnesty, and, 54% of them are against Obama’s recent Executive Order.

Go after the African-American vote. Three U.S. Civil Rights Commissioners have come out against President Obama’s amnesty because it will devastate the Black Community. Call attention to the fact that the Democrat Party long ago abandoned African-Americans. African-Americans represent a greater percentage of the American populace and vote for Republicans at an even lower percentage than Hispanics – therefore, a greater upside potential if you will only stick to your convictions.

Go after the legal immigrant vote. Champion their cause. Show them that you understand the difficulty of getting families here legally – value the sacrifices legal immigrants have made. Come visit the hundreds of legal immigrants, from dozens of different countries, who have expressed their concerns to me about Republicans supporting amnesty. Visit the parents and teachers who have privately expressed their concerns that children can’t learn in classrooms because of the massive influx of children of illegal immigrants.

As I, and others, boarded the buses to Nevada and Colorado to work on your campaign, I noticed for the most part that it wasn’t the establishment Republicans who were donating their time and energy to you, it was the average folks who were simply concerned about their country.

You have much to offer our Country; however, you cannot straddle the fence forever. Decide if you believe in free markets or simply big business. Without the conservative base, you might win the Republican nomination, but you’ll have difficulty inspiring the nation. This nation needs someone who can unite the base AND the mainstream. Do what Americans want, not what donors want, and, you will have tapped an incalculable resource.

– CHRIS HERROD


Chris Herrod on: Throwing fellow Republicans under the bus.

I’ve often found Utah Politics “troubling” at times. I’ve always thought that Utah should have a higher standard of politics, for the news media, and especially for honesty, but unfortunately, I’ve often been disappointed. There seems to almost be a “Porter Rockwell” mentality, where as long as people view their cause as just then anything goes … after all … “if Porter Rockwell could do it, why can’t I?”

With yesterday’s (2/24/15) defeat of SB 43 Substitute Changes to Election Law (Sen. Scott Jenkins) that would have delayed the implantation of SB 54 until 2016 so that basic 1st Amendment Constitutional questions could be settled in court, Doug Wrght’s interview with Senator Bramble is once again relevant (Doug Wright Show, 2nd Hour, February 10, 2015). Doug and Senator Bramble used the word “troubling” to describe the Republican Party’s efforts to delay implementation of SB 54, and even kill it.

So Let’s carefully analyze the facts and see just whose actions really are “troubling.”

Senator Bramble stated:

During the Debate on SB 54 last year, Representative Dan McKay and I met with the Utah State Republican Central Committee for several hours in a meeting in Provo and presented the basis … the rationale and the previsions of SB 54 – The Central Committee did not take a vote on SB 54 or vote to oppose it at that time. Now, revisionist history, there are those in the party that say they clearly opposed it.   They had the opportunity to take action.

Let’s take a look at revisionist history as Bramble describes it.

The SCC did take action and passed unanimously a resolution declaring the Party’s right to defend their Constitutional rights in court. I’m not sure how much more specific the SCC could be. It’ doesn’t take a savant to understand the intent of the resolution – silence cannot be construed as consent for SB 54 If the CMV Initiative or SB 54 passed, the Republican Party was preparing to sue … and Doug Wright acts surprised that the party eventually sued. (LINK HERE)

Many SCC members remained silent on SB 54 because, as Senator Bramble described it, SB 54 was clearly unconstitutional. Since Bramble stated SB 54 was non-severable, passage of SB 54 was seen by some as easier to beat in court than the initiative since only one part of SB 54 had to be ruled unconstitutional for the entire law to be thrown out.

In other words, MANY SCC MEMBERS DIDN’T ACTIVELY OPPOSE SB 54 BECAUSE THEY TRUSTED BRAMBLE WHEN HE SAID IT WAS LESS OF THREAT THAN THE INITIATIVE!!!! And yet once it was discovered that SB 54 was in many cases worse than the initiative, it was too late for the SCC to take an official position against SB 54.   Bramble knowing this, now claims that if the SCC had objections, they shouldn’t have actively opposed SB 54 from the beginning (despite getting information from Bramble in the first place!) That’s classic Bramble, and, what’s caused so much ire in Utah County Politics for years.

When specifically asked, Bramble also told members that the party would still maintain its right to control its primary if it so chose. If the Initiative or SB 54 passed, many SCC members thought the party could simply pay for its own primary or narrow the candidate to one nominee in convention. SB 54 forbids both of these options.

In full disclosure, I believe that the SCC made a terrible mistake in not actively fighting SB 54 from the very beginning. I spoke out against remaining silent on SB 54 and testified against SB 54 on Capitol Hill … I believe that a straight-up fight is always the best and most honest approach (as most conservatives that I know do as well) rather than say one thing to this group and something else to another.   If CMV got the votes to be on the ballot (and the GOP couldn’t remove enough) then the CMV cabal deserved the right to be on the ballot. The Republican Party would have then had the right to try to remove enough signatures to make the initiative fail or take it to court if the initiative passed. But, I failed to convince my fellow SCC members that such a strategy and trusting Bramble was unwise.

But to say that the strategy was dumb, is not the same as saying that the SCC has a moral obligation to uphold a compromise they were not a part, or, to refuse to try to undo a horrible bill once the consequences of the bill are fully known. This is especially true if the silence of the SCC was based on a faulty representation by Senator Bramble.   The SCC took Bramble at his word that SB 54 was non- severable and, that the Republican Party could still maintain its primary.

Who would have thought that one would have to give up rights to keep its legal name on the ballot?   I’m still baffled that in Utah a private organization has to obtain permission to use its own name on the ballot without surrendering its rights of association.

When asked about whether the legislature would “honor” the supposed legislative compromise of SB 54, Bramble said:

I have confidence in my colleagues now …  My confidence goes to the integrity of my colleges and their honoring the agreement that we made … I think that it is appropriate for those that believe that compromise should be upheld to step up and voice their opinion… I certainly wouldn’t give up the faith now that the legislature is going to repeal SB 54.   Personally, I don’t believe that we are going to go down that road … the legislature will uphold the agreement that we entered into. 

So now, despite failing to tell his colleagues how he got much of the SCC to remain silent, Bramble is evoking “legislative integrity” (not quite sure that’s my definition of integrity) to his colleagues so that they resist repealing or even delaying SB 54 while Constitutional Rights are heard in court.

So, let’s put it another way … so, even though there was no integrity in front of the SCC, integrity is expected in other parts of the process. That’s so “Bramble”—and yet the media gives him a pass.

Although I have great respect for most legislators, many of them have been duped by Bramble. Most legislators are honest, and, if most knew what had been said to the SCC, they would feel embarrassed that their votes in support of SB 54 are now seen as endorsing Bramble’s antics by the rank and file.

To me, it is the Audacity of Power – Bramble simply expected others get out of the way and fall in line behind him. He expected to get away with saying something despite a whole room of SCC members hearing clearly what was said. And, he assumed that the mainstream media would be too afraid of him not to check the facts (or just ignore them), because their editorial board supports Count-My-Vote’s objectives.

Doug Wright even went so far as to vouch for Bramble when Senator Bramble said SB 54 was actually put forward to “save the caucus” (the ol’ “you have to destroy the caucus to save the caucus” argument – which I still can’t comprehend) and that a compromise was needed. (What for? And again, the party wasn’t even involved). Doug went on to say:

I see absolutely no revisionist history happening on your part or on Count-My-Vote’s part. I am seeing it happen elsewhere and it troubles me.

What due diligence has Doug done? Has Doug talked to a single SCC member? If not, is that not journalistic malpractice? By remaining silent on the issue, Doug Wright, the Deseret News, it’s editorial board, KSL Radio, and all of the Deseret Media Group, are in essence also giving tacit approval of Senator Bramble’s tactics.

Oh. And, by the way, while nearly 200 witnesses should be enough for the media, and Doug Wright, to question, the media doesn’t have to take their word for it. Not long ago, my colleague received a package in the mail without a return address on it. It contained a thumb drive with an audio recording of the SCC meeting on it, where Bramble can be heard making his presentation.

By the way, I’ve still never seen a retraction or correction, for Doug Wright’s blatant mistaking and misrepresentation of the facts, and slamming the Republican Party for not keeping some promises with the Contract with America with Chairmanship term-limits.

And KSL’s tag line is now, “KSL News Radio – Everything we do is news!” So much for journalistic integrity.

-CHRIS HERROD


Chris Herrod on: The “gay agenda”

Obviously, the biggest event of the day (and, maybe even of the entire 2015 General Session) was The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ press conference held at the LDS Conference Center this morning. I was impressed with not only the thoughtfulness of the comments, but also the specificity of the written statements. To be honest, at times during the press conference I felt uneasy, but in the end, I felt as though the LDS Church leaders’ recommendations might actually provide the compromise tolerable to everyone. At the very least…it’s worth a try.

But, as this discussion progresses through the coming weeks, and, as everyone begins to place their own unique spin on the statements made by Church leaders (myself included)—both specifically and in general—it’s important to remember what LDS leaders DID and DID NOT actually say.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles began by stating:

To those who follow the Church closely and who are familiar with its teachings and positions on various social issues, it will be apparent that we are announcing no change in doctrine or Church teachings today. But we are suggesting a way forward in which those with different views on complex issues can together seek for solutions that will be fair to everyone.

Despite what will be claimed in the near or distant future, no endorsement of any specific legislation was given by the Church’s general authorities. Although, leaders were more specific than usual, general principles and guidelines were discussed—not explicit language for any bill.   In my opinion, that means there’s room for debate on any bill—anti-discrimination AND religious freedom protection bills. Unfortunately and prematurely, Equality Utah (lobbyists for the LGBT community) has already claimed LDS Church support for Senator Steve Urquhart’s bill SB100 ANTIDISCRIMINATION AMENDMENTS.

The Church maintained its right to discriminate in specific cases and did not concede exclusions (and exceptions) granted to the Church by the anti-discrimination ordinance in Salt Lake City—not only for Church operations, but, for Church owned businesses, as well.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave the most direct and specific comments about the loss of religious freedoms I have heard yet. He expressed alarm at “… the steady erosion of treasured freedoms that are guaranteed in the United States Constitution,” and then listed several situational attacks on religious freedom, and then he added:

Sadly, the list is expanding. Accusations of bigotry toward people simply because they are motivated by their religious faith and conscience have a chilling effect on freedom of speech and public debate. When religious people are publicly intimidated, retaliated against, forced from employment or made to suffer personal loss because they raised their voice in the public square, donate to a cause or participated in an election, our democracy is the loser. Such tactics are every bit as wrong as denying access to employment, housing, or public services because of race or gender…

It is one of today’s great ironies that some people who have fought so hard for LGBT rights now try to deny the rights of others to disagree with their public policy proposals.   The precious constitutional right of free speech does not exclude any individual or group, and a society is only truly free when it respects freedom or religious exercise, conscience and expression for everyone, including unpopular minorities.

Those of us who have had our religious values and beliefs ridiculed on a regular biases (with what seems to be an ever increasing crescendo) and fear things will only get worse, were reminded today that it was not so long ago when violence and other persecution was used against those who are gay. Although I know of no one who believes such violence was ever right, it is important for all of us to remember such violence against homosexuals did happen, and, that it was and always will be, inexcusable.

Violence is the easy line to draw.

However, where to draw the line exactly—between legitimate expressions of religious freedom and claims of persecution—has proven to be the more difficult undertaking.

Simply expressing an opinion of what marriage IS or IS NOT (especially in our democratic process), is not in fact “hate speech”—as many claim.   In general, most people also believe that one’s sexual orientation should not be a factor in issues of housing or employment.

If the Utah State Legislature decides to move forward this session with a non-discrimination law, here are a couple suggestions for our lawmakers utilizing the previous foundational thoughts:

First, the legislature should remember that once rights are given away—especially in the area of religion, free exercise of conscience, and property rights—they’re almost always given away, forever. This means moving through the legislative and thought processes slowly, deliberately, and vigilantly. Err on the side of caution—rather than having to try to “reclaim” precious rights once they’re gone.

Second, make sure that family owned businesses and individuals with deeply held religious beliefs are protected as well.   The Church maintained this right for itself (while negotiating the previous round of anti-discrimination laws in Salt Lake City), and, such rights are not exclusive to the Church. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and the majority of other rights guaranteed and protected within the Bill of Rights, deal primarily with the rights of Individuals.

Special protections and exemptions for the Church, carved out during previous anti-discrimination negotiations, raised deep concerns for many Utahns. When it “signed off” on the Salt Lake City Ordinance, the Church seemed to keep special/exclusive rights for itself, while denying the same protections to others who hold deep religious beliefs (i.e. local LDS and other Christian families who are business owners, or real property owners/landlords, etc.).

Elder Holland indicated:

Certainly, religious rights must include a family’s right to worship and conduct religious activities in the homes as it sees fit, and for parents to teach their children according to their religious values-recognizing that when children are old enough they will choose their own path.

For many family owned businesses, this teaching does not end within the confines of their home, but continues into the business world. (At times, the business is actually operated within the home.) Family owned businesses should be excluded from legislative proposals and mandates. Admittedly, defining what constitutes such a family or home-based business will be difficult, though. Are businesses that employ fewer than 50 people only eligible, or, does a business owner lose such rights because he/she becomes successful (i.e. Hobby Lobby or Chick-fil-A)?! Elder Holland specifically mentioned the rights of LDS physicians to refuse to perform abortions and/or provide services for artificial insemination for lesbian couples regardless of size of such corporations.

Protections for state government, agency, and political subdivision employees should be a “no brainer.” (We should still have a conversation about what constitutes proselyting for the gay agenda—especially in our K-12 education system. Also, there should be protections for county clerks and judges who do not want preform gay marriages because of personal beliefs and religious convictions). Publicly traded companies should not be allowed to discriminate—although, most already have such protections. (A purist could argue that this begs the question…”is legislation really even needed?”)

Some exemptions will be needed for housing as well. While I cannot immediately see a need for exemptions for single-family housing, some accommodations are needed for roommates or subletting rooms in a home or an apartment.

As previously mentioned, HOW to write such legislation will be the most contentious issue; however, as Sister Neill Marriott stated:

In any democratic society, differences often lead to tensions.   Such tensions are not to be feared unless they become so extreme that they threaten to tear apart the very fabric of society. While that’s happened sometimes in our history, we’re at our best as fellow citizens when the push-pull of different viewpoints, freely and thoroughly aired in national debate, lead ultimately to compromise and resolution and we move on as a nation, stronger than before.

I thought the Most Reverend John Wester—Bishop of Salt Lake City—provided some of the best advice about how to avoid tearing society apart when he described today’s LDS Press Conference as “expressing the need for respect and tolerance” (see KSL Radio – Doug Wright Third Hour).

Frankly, the consideration and enactment of legislation on this issue will take a “leap of faith” on my part, as my political experience has warned me about the dangers of unintended consequences and how laws, unfortunately, seem to be applied only in one direction. Examples, like last Friday’s ruling by the California State Supreme Court (which I will talk about later), still cause me profound concern. At some point, however, we must individually determine to exercise faith and see if the positions of our ecclesiastical leaders provide a path for a lasting compromise. This does not, by any stretch, mean that a person follows his/her leaders blindly—especially our elected leaders. However, if a solution may be reached utilizing true principles, fairness, and equity—principles most often taught by our trusted and authorized religious leaders—then we should look forward to enjoying the inevitable benefits inherently associated with obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

– CHRIS HERROD | cf

ps:  Lest you think Utah lawmakers are required to “fall in line” or “march lockstep” when LDS Church leaders take a position on a high-profile issue, you need to read the LDS Church’s statement on POLITICAL NEUTRALITY (found on the Church’s website).

LDS CHURCH POLITICAL NEUTRALITY POLICY