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Utah Groups Challenge Law Curbing Discussion Of LGBTQ Issues In Schools

LGBTQ rights groups are challenging a Utah law that prohibits public schools from discussing issues relating to human sexuality under the theory that such lessons could be construed as “advocacy.”

The measure is part of a group of state laws that critics assert are anti-LGBTQ in character. Equality Utah and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), which filed the federal lawsuit in October on behalf of three public school students, argue that the laws violate the First Amendment rights of students and teachers, and that they run afoul of federal education laws.

Polygamous Mormons Lose Round In Food Stamp Fraud Case

In all of the reaction over the election, it’s easy to overlook other stories of interest, some of which are actually good news.

Consider this one: A federal judge has ruled that there’s likely no “religious freedom” right to defraud a federal program designed to help low-income families avoid hunger.

AU Tells Utah University To End Classes In LDS Faith

Americans United has asked the University of Utah to end a supposedly voluntary religious class taught by two assistant coaches with the school’s football team.

Thanks to a media report, Americans United learned that Morgan Scalley, the Utes’ safeties and special-teams coach, and Sione Pouha, a student assistant who played in the NFL, have been leading classes on the theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons).

The People’s Fallacy: New Movement Promises To Resurrect Utah’s Theocratic Past

A new political movement promises voters a religious revival in the state of Utah. The Modern People’s Party will, according to organizer Karen Lovell, promote a slate of candidates that will appeal to conservative members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). 

In a letter published in The Pahvant Post, Lovell asked, “Would you like to have a candidate to support for each office who stands with the Lord on every issue?”

Dixie Defiance: Ala. Officials Haven’t Learned From History

Utah is generally considered to be one of the most conservative states in the country. When same-sex marriage became legal there as the result of a federal court ruling, some observers feared for the worst and braced for resistance.

It didn’t happen. State officials behaved responsibly. Although they made it clear that they don’t support marriage equality, these officials directed the people who work for them to follow the court ruling and not engage in futile forms of resistance. Same-sex couples began getting married in Utah, and all is well.

Polygamy In Utah: It’s Still Illegal

Over the weekend, you might have seen a news story with a headline like, “Court Strikes Down Utah Polygamy Law.”

If all you read was the headline, you might assume that polygamy was once again legal in Utah. It’s not. Instead, the state has been told not to interfere in religious ceremonies that, while they may have meaning for the people who take part in them, bestow no government recognition.

Supremely Scary: Justice Thomas’ Approach To Church-State Relations Is Truly Frightening

It’s Halloween, so be prepared to see some scary things today. I’m expecting a full complement of neighborhood ghosts and goblins at the house tonight for trick or treat, but they can’t faze me. I’ve already had my scare for the day. It came in the form of a 19-page rant by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

The high court, you see, has been trying to decide what to do with a case out of Utah dealing with crosses that were displayed along highways as memorials to members of the highway patrol who died in the line of duty.

Partisan Politics In The Pulpit: The LDS Church Says No

It’s not often AU can say this -- but the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is on to something.

The LDS church has made a point to remind its senior leaders to remain politically neutral in the upcoming elections.

“The Church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians,” church president Thomas S. Monson and his senior counselors said in a letter sent to top church leaders recently. The letter was also posted as a statement on the church’s website.

‘Equal Access’ In Utah: Gay-Straight Alliances At Public Schools Have The Religious Right To Thank

Back in the 1980s, a number of Religious Right groups got a bright idea: Since public schools can’t legally sponsor prayer and other religious activities, perhaps it would be better to foster the creation of student-run clubs in high schools that would meet during non-instructional time to pray, read the Bible and talk about religion. A draft bill was proposed in Congress.

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