so it has certainly been a while since my last post. i have been very busy with my band and school and work and failed attempts at a social life. but i find myself today with some free time (at work, no less) and some thing interesting to say. today's topic is "moral impositions."
the founding fathers are often misunderstood when it comes to religion. i have heard many, many people claim that the founding fathers were all god-fearing christians and as such founded a christian nation. while it may be true that many of them were religious, many of them similarly hated organized religion. but that is hardly the point they were making. they wanted a nation where people could worship who and how they wanted with out persecution.
religious freedom and christianity have had a bit of a messed up relationship in the past (christianity isnt answering their cell phone). just look at the crusades, the spanish inquisition, and any number of european nations which used christianity to unify tribes of barbarians under a common government during the dark ages.
where was i? oh ya, moral impositions. so, living in utah county i see mormons and non-mormons trying to live peacefully together, but it is clear that there is some tension and quite a bit of resentment on both sides (i am mostly referring to locals. byu students add to the tension, but not intentionally). the source of the tension comes from moral impositions placed on non-mormons. and since they are the minority they get pushed around and taken advantage of quite easily. the most recent example of this has to do with one of the last bars in provo, "atchafalayas."
originally a strip club on center street in provo, in the 90's "atchas" was constantly protested by stalwart mormon mothers until about 10-12 years ago it was finally shut down and converted into a bar. in order to become a bar they, of course, needed to buy a liquor license. for those that dont know how a liquor license works, it is basically a permit purchased from the government which allows you to sell (heavily taxed) alcohol in your place of business. there are various annual fees associated with these licenses and there is a limit to the number of licenses allowed in a given county. all bars and restaurants have to have a current liquor license in order to sell alcohol.
in recent years, the city of provo decided to tear down certain sections of the down town area in order to build a new conference center. atchas is located on one of the blocks that will be torn down and has been working on a contract with the city to make the transition to a new location as smooth as possible. one of the conditions of the contract was that atchas would be able to keep their liquor license. and all was fine and dandy until the last election for mayor...
the new mayor decided not to honor atchas' contract and they sold the liquor license to byu (who apparently has a standing order to buy up any available liquor licenses in the area in an effort to make the county "dry." they have been doing this for years, thus preventing the city from recieving those heavy taxes from alcohol sales). the city then told atchas that they can still relocate and reopen as a restaurant instead of a bar. well, this didnt stand well in court as atcha's lawyers cited the contract which clearly states that they are entitled to a liquor license.
now, some of you maybe thinking that a dry county is a good thing (and in many ways it is, im not disputing that) but the manner in which the city and byu are trying to make the county dry is both underhanded and unethical. forcing other people to follow your set of moral values in this way is no different from the crusades, the spanish inquisition, or any number of european nations which used christianity to unify tribes of barbarians under a common government during the dark ages... and (for those of who are still keeping score) it goes against the intentions of the founding fathers and their understanding of religious freedom. such an odd predicament for a group of people who pride themselves on following "the spirit of the law."
in related news: my band will be playing at the grand opening of the new atchafalayas some time in january.