A Commission in Utah sought the last word from the Mormon Church before rendering its final decision regarding the method of state executions.

Church leaders offered their opinion, which seems to carry the weight of law in Utah. They demurred that that the church “has no objection to the elimination of the firing squad,” reports Fox News.

Death by firing squad has been the method for capital punishment in the 45th state for some time.

A Mormon doctrine says blood must be shed for justice to be done regarding murder.

But apparently the church has decided that negative media attention surrounding firing squads doesn’t suit its more pragmatic public relations needs.

Once again Utah officials have bowed before the Mormon Church, demonstrating that theocracy is not just a principle encouraged by mullahs in a distant land.

Recently the church has squelched free speech around its historic temple in Salt Lake, humbled the mayor for resisting its edicts and even dictated the planning of shopping malls.

Separation of church and state?

Well, maybe not in Utah.

Addressing a gathering of his followers this month at an Arlington, Virginia hotel Rev. Sun Myung Moon went into an anti-Semitic rant. At one point the leader of the Unification Church claimed Hitler’s murder of 6 million Jews was the fulfillment of “the principle of indemnity,” reports the Unification News.

Moon called upon Jews in his audience to “raise [their] hands” and told them, “Jewish people, you have to repent. Jesus was the King of Israel. Through the principle of indemnity Hitler killed 6 million Jews. That is why. God could not prevent Satan from doing that because Israel killed the True Parents. Even now, you have to determine that you will repent and follow and become one with Christianity through Rev. Moon.”

Of course Moon believes everyone must follow him.

The self-proclaimed “messiah” also told the gathering, “If you follow Rev. Moon, you will not go down. In the future those who hear my words and believe will go to heaven, those who don’t will not.”

Uh huh.

Moon also alluded to the political party he will soon launch in Korea, reports the Korea Herald.

He stated, “To unify Korea we must unify church and state. We must establish a political party and then unify church and state.”

I wonder who Moon thinks should run this hoped for theocracy? Something tells me he thinks it should be him.

Some say the 82-year-old “cult leader” is senile and often incoherent. However, he still maintains absolute control over his followers and a vast financial empire.

Moon continues to control the Washington Times and United Press International and has courted substantial influence amongst prominent senators, congressmen and religious leaders such as Rev. Jerry Falwell.

It looks like church and state remains essentially synonymous and virtually seamless in Salt Lake City. That is, it’s difficult to see where one stops and the other begins.

Mayor Rocky Anderson has largely caved in to Mormon Church (LDS) demands that freedom of speech be ended around its historic temple area.

The controversy began some time ago when the city sold the church a block adjacent to its Temple Square, but that sale did not include the easement, which provided for free access and expression.

Never mind.

The church strictly enforced its own rules anyway prohibiting any speech or activity it didn’t appreciate, such as born-again Christians speaking critically about the LDS and handing out tracts.

Enter the American Civil Liberties Union.

A court decision later forced the church and the city to allow free expression on the block.

Never mind.

The Mormon Church used its considerable muscle to pressure the city into a solution it sought to circumvent the court decision. That is, sell LDS the easement through a land swap.

Now it seems that church and state are again united in Utah and single minded regarding how best to run Salt Lake City, reports the Salt Lake City Tribune.

The deal to swap property owned by the church for the easement has received the blessings of the church and city council, which is completely composed of Mormons. In a seamless media event both made the appropriate pronouncements and announcements for the plan.

But is likely there will be more litigation.

Never mind.

City coffers will no doubt spill forth the funds necessary to defend the LDS solution.

What Salt Lake City residents have learned, is even though approximately half are now non-Mormon, what the LDS wants it gets.

So much for democracy, free speech and pluralism in Utah. Brigham Young would no doubt be proud of Mayor Anderson for bowing before a higher authority.

At first Rocky Anderson, the non-practicing Mormon mayor of Salt Lake City, took a brave stand. The politician said he would not bow to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) regarding an easement the church sought to squelch free speech near its temple property.

That easement allows critics of the church to speak freely on the block the church recently bought from the city. But it seems the LDS doesn’t appreciate the First Amendment when it guarantees the rights of others to criticize them.

First the church fought in court to restrict activity on the property, but when that effort failed they used some old-fashioned theocratic muscle by inciting their loyal members.

Anderson was subjected to increasing pressure from his Mormon constituents to give up the easement and capitulate to LDS demands.

The mayor resisted, but now he has apparently caved in. A deal is in the works to trade the easement for land the church owns elsewhere in the metro area, reports the Billings Gazette and Desert News.

So much for the illusion that church and state is somehow separate in Utah.

Apparently things really have not changed that much since the days of Brigham Young. The Mormon Church seems to have a stranglehold on the state, or at least ultimate veto power over anything that draws its interest.

The mayor may have held out for awhile, but ultimately Rocky crumbled. That’s life, behind the “Zion Curtain.”