As a candidate for governor, I spoke at several senior centers. In the Kearns Senior Center, one gentleman asked why they were not allowed to bless the food. I took a copy of the Utah Constitution from my pocket and read: "No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise or instruction." (Article I, Section 4)
Then I explained that since prayer was a form of religious worship and the senior center was a public building, the county commissioners would be violating their oath of office if they allowed any prayers. The audience was not satisfied. They wanted a prayer over their food. I told them I would go outside the building and offer a blessing on the food.If I had been elected governor, after taking my oath of office on Jan. 6 to "support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the constitution of this state," my oath would have required me to stop Bishop Niederauer and Elder Ballard from praying and also to stop the singing of a song about "the glory of the coming of the Lord" in a public building.
Since Gov. Mike Leavitt allowed prayers that are forbidden in senior centers and the singing of a song that is even more religious than the West High song "Friends," he is in violation of his oath of office and should be impeached. What good is a constitution that is enforced only on us little people?
If we want to have prayers and religious songs at the governor's inauguration, we should amend our constitution to provide these exceptions. Then we can let the kids sing their songs at graduation and for Pete's sake let the old folks have a blessing on their meals.
Salt Lake City