The Framers’ Debates on Religion

The First Amendment and the Utah Constitution

Lesson III: The Utah State Constitution of 1895

Step 5. Religion in Utah Today

Welcome & Overview

Transcript Hi there, it’s Eleesha. This lesson is about the Utah state constitution and we’ll focus on religion in Utah today. We’ve come a long way, learning about the religious history of England and the American colonies, the creation of the religion clauses of the First Amendment and the creation of the Utah constitution. Now we’re looking at Utah today, when and where you live! We’ll learn about the different religious groups in Utah and how Utah is a national leader in interfaith relationship building. We’ll also learn about the 3Rs framework of Rights, Responsibility and Respect so we can learn to be good citizens. Lastly, we’ll reflect on a decision-maker’s mindset about studying history and what that means for your decision-making today. After this part you’ll participate in a class discussion about what you learned in all three lessons. Join me, we’re almost done!
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Today, the religious landscape in Utah is diverse. About 39% of the population belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and it also includes many other vibrant religious communities, such as Baptists, Muslims, Catholics, Sikhs, Presbyterians, Greek Orthodox, Hindus, non-denominational Christians, Episcopalians, Unitarians, Baha’is,, Jews, Methodists, Buddhists, Lutherans, Humanists, non-believers, explorers and others.

Utah is a national leader in support of interfaith relationships and networks. The Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable was established in connection to the 2002 Winter Olympics and since this time has been a model civic interfaith organization. Salt Lake City hosted the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 2015, and Utah was the second state to adopt the 3Rs Framework of Rights, Responsibility and Respect for its public schools state-wide.

The conscience of every person in Utah is protected by the religion clauses of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Utah state constitution. Our communities are richer and safer when we understand these laws, know a bit about one another and we respect each other as we freely exercise our beliefs or no belief in the public square. We’ll provide a link to the Public Religion Research Institute’s data about religion in Utah so you can explore further.

3Rs Framework for Citizenship and Decision-Maker’s Mindset

As a student, you are preparing for citizenship and the 3Rs Framework can guide you in how you engage in your community, not just for voting, but in how you interact with others in society who think differently than you do. The 3Rs can be your guide. These include, Rights, Responsibility, and Respect.

The 3Rs in society means that,

Every person has rights, everyone has the responsibility to protect the rights of others, and everyone has the duty to respectfully contribute to civic discourse.

From learning this history,

  • What have you learned about the rights concerning religion in the First Amendment?
  • How could you enhance your sense of responsibility to protect the rights of others?
  • How can you be respectful when you talk with others, especially when you disagree?

It is easy to think historical events will occur no matter what. But important moments in history happen when individuals make decisions and act. Learning about the decisions and actions people made in the past informs us so we can make decisions and take action today.

How did the decisions of the congressmen in the First Federal Congress influence the protection of the rights of conscience for citizens of the United States?

How did the decisions of the delegates to the Utah constitutional convention influence these protections in your state?

How could it have turned out differently?

Think about these questions and bring your reflections to the discussion with your class.

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Lesson III. Step 5 of 7


Learn more about how to promote the 3Rs — rights, responsibility, respect — in your school and community.