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Letter: State, church leaders focus on wrong things

Published January 7, 2014 1:01 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Another day of air quality so dangerous that schoolchildren are not allowed to play outside at recess. Another day when thousands of Utahns have no health care coverage and face forgoing medical treatment or risking financial ruin — which may include a visit to payday loan sharks with average interest rates of 474 percent.

How do Utah government and church leaders respond to these problems? Gov. Gary Herbert and state legislators are willing to commit millions of taxpayer dollars to appeal U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby's decision that Utah's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. Mormon Church leadership officially opposes gay marriage as a moral hazard, but did not join leaders of other Utah churches who signed a letter asking the governor to expand Medicaid coverage to Utah's poor.

Mormon leaders take no stand against the usury of payday loan companies which prey upon the poor. They are mostly silent about lack of stewardship for a healthy environment.

Both state government and Mormon Church leadership are good at revving up support for an emotional issue that affects a small group. Unfortunately, both state and church leaders appear blind to issues that impact the daily lives of Utahns. Is their moral outrage against gay marriage a screen for ignoring problems which may annoy powerful interests?

Ann Johnson





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