I find it remarkable how far the citizens of Utah go so far as to disrespect the civil law of the nation and the state. One recent example among many is Senator Mike Lee’s blind distrust of our 245-year-old electoral law and process.
I think much of the behavior of Utahns can be attributed to a theology that seems to posit church society as a superior alternative to civil society. Many believe that the Kingdom of God is the church and the church alone, not a combination of entities, such as church and state.
This situation is reminiscent of the days of the medieval Catholic Church when the Pope invited Christians to support his choices of kings and laws throughout Europe. This kind of thinking led to the Reformation and not only to the separation of Church and State, but to the subordination of Church to State.
Democratic decision-making in the public sphere confers its own rather special and sacred authority. The government represents all people, not just those who adhere to a particular private religious society. Church societies do not have the freedom to disrespect the government that gives them their breath and protects their permanent freedom of worship.
The separation of Church and State allows each sector of society to promote its own special means of regulating social behavior: the Church through gentle love and often immediate forgiveness, and the government through harsh love. and forgiveness only after repentance or correction. When soft love doesn’t work, hard love has to come in.