For years, I’ve had to fight the urge to hide under the covers, or maybe even in a closet, every time the Utah State Legislature meets. That means every January, not only I am forced to endure frigid temperatures, inversion and pollution, and no sun, but the entire state is RUNNING RAMPANT WITH IDIOTS as well.
So far this year, it’s been a little more normal than usual, other than Rep. Chris Buttars, who always manages to do or say something stupid. Who is Buttars, you ask?
*Buttars has sponsored legislation against gay straight alliances in public schools
*Has introduced a resolution urging companies to have their employees say “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays” to customers
*Proposed eliminating the 12th grade from public schools to eliminate a budget shortfall
*Sponsored an Intelligent Design Bill, allowing instructors in PUBLIC SCHOOLS to teach students that evolution is a controversial theory and counter it with creationism, calling it Divine Design
*In an interview with radio hosts Tom Grover & Ryan Yonk, Buttars said that he “[doesn’t] know of an example where the minority is being jeopardized by legislative action”
When Grover mentioned Brown v. Board of Education, which desegregated American schools, Buttars responded that he thought “Brown v. Board of Education is wrong to begin with.” In response to public reaction to his statements and accusations of racism, Buttars responded, “I don’t think there’s a racial [sic] bone in my body…” and “I don’t see black and white. I see people. I always have.”
*During a debate of a school-funding bill on the floor of the State Senate in February 2008, the bill’s sponsor compared the bill to the baby involved in the Biblical story of King Solomon.
 Buttars responded saying, “This baby is black, I’ll tell you. This is a dark, ugly thing.” Buttars apologized for a remark on the State Senate floor, saying, “I got a little carried away, and I made a comment that I think a lot of people could take as racist. I certainly did not mean that in any way, but it was wrong and could easily be taken in just that way. I apologize to anyone who took offense.” In an interview, Buttars said, “We live in a very, very sensitive world. Although what I said had literally nothing in my mind to do with a human being at all — we were talking about an ugly bill — I made a statement that could be easily misinterpreted, and it was.” Accusations of racism were made an issue in his 2008 re-election bid against Democrat John Rendell. Less than six months after Buttars re-election, he was recorded saying of the ACLU, “bless their black little hearts,” in an interview with documentary maker and former KTVX ABC 4 reporter Reed Cowan. Cowan’s documentary is called, “8: The Mormon Proposition.”
*Buttars has been outspoken on issues dealing with homosexuality
“…[Buttars] co-sponsored Utah Constitutional Amendment 3 with Utah Boys Ranch colleague LaVar Christensen, which defined marriage in Utah as consisting “only of the legal union between a man and a woman.”
And, my personal favorite:
In a January 2009 interview with openly gay documentary filmmaker Reed Cowan, for the documentary 8: The Mormon Proposition, Buttars said that gays and lesbians were “the greatest threat to America going down,” comparing members of the LGBT community to radical Muslims. “I believe they will destroy the foundation of the American society,” he said. On February 20, 2009, Buttars was removed as chairman and member of the Utah State Senate Judicial Standing Committee because of these remarks. Democrats pushed for further sanctions, demanding his removal from the Rules Committee and for his demotion on the Health and Human Services Committee. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement urging “civil and respectful dialogue.” It said, “From the outset, the Church’s position has always been to engage in civil and respectful dialogue on this issue. Senator Buttars does not speak for the church.”
When the LDS Church has to distance itself from you, you KNOW you are leaning just a LITTLE TOO FAR right…. Quite obviously, Buttars has been leaning too far right for years, and has tipped over repeatedly and done some serious damage to his brain.
BACK TO THE LEGISLATURE
This is nothing like Back to the Future. When we go back, we STAY back. At any rate, the legislature is meeting, and discussing liquor laws. YET AGAIN. In Utah, it seems that legislators must meet with the LDS Church honchos to get their approval before they try to change the aws to resemble anything that resembles the things wrote about in the constitution. “Why?” you might ask. After all, Mormons do not drink, right? Well, maybe, but the state makes a heap of money by controlling ALL liquor sales in Utah, and if you don’t get prior approval from the Church bigwigs, you can kiss that money GOODBYE. Sorta like getting grounded if you forgot to ask permission to go to the mall with your friends after school. We are ALL about Big Father here in Utah.
Sen. John Valentine’s changes seem reasonable, right up until he tells us he has been meeting with Church officials. I must groan. This must STOP. However, Sen. Valentine was behind the doing away of the abysmal “private club” system in Utah, that kept so many visitors out of our state. He seems forward-thinking and progressive. Maybe he’ll have a drink with the Church bigwigs and things will go MUCH better.