Editor’s note: The following is satire.
Rep. Brad Wilson unveiled legislation that, among other things, will tear down the so-called Zion Wall.
And while the restaurant industry universally supports the measure, the idea of removing the Zion Wall has its detractors.
Among those is Gayle Ruzicka of the Eagle Forum, who not only supports the wall but also has a strategy to keep it erected. “In politics, sometimes the best defense is a good offense,” Ruzicka said.
To that end, the Eagle Forum is currently drafting legislation that would further codify the LDS Church’s Word of Wisdom.
Current Utah law requires restaurants to construct a partition–often dubbed the Zion Wall–between patrons and the preparation area for alcoholic beverages.
Ruzicka’s proposal would subject hot drinks such as coffee to the same requirements as alcohol–they must be prepared and poured behind the Zion Wall. Also under consideration is a bill that would prohibit meat carving stations in open view, except during times of winter and famine.
“It’s critical that children be protected from the ill effects of not adhering to this inspired law of health,” said Gayle Ruzicka. “To the extent parents aren’t willing to shield their children from unhealthy practices, the state should step in. We want to empower parents by choosing for them what their children should be exposed to.”
Others wonder if the Zion Wall is the economic hindrance that restauranteurs claim. “If folks are worried about the cost of the wall why don’t we just have Mexico pay for it,” said Larry (he refused to give his last name, citing concerns the government was spying on him). “At the very least for any restaurant that serves burritos, enchiladas or chimichangas,” Larry continued.
Opponents to the Zion Wall and these conceptual measures are likewise looking to advance proactive legislation in hopes of reaching a stalemate on these more restrictive bills.
“To defeat these measures, we must go after the holy grail,” said Andy Stephenson, a lobbyist for the Utah Restaurant Association. “Should these folks proceed with these pieces of legislation, we are prepared to move forward with the nuclear option.”
That option is a ban on Jello, a staple at weddings, missionary farewells and homecomings and other Mormon social events.
Gayle Ruzicka balked at the notion that lawmakers would consider such a measure. “To try and frame the consumption of jello as a health issue is absurd. How could eating a concoction of sugar, food color, and animal fat ever have an adverse effect on one’s health?”
Also on the table for opponents of the Zion Wall is a measure that would ban convenience stores from selling more than 84 ounces of Diet Coke from the drive through, the average mug size for active Mormon women.
When asked his thoughts on these potential pieces of legislation, Rep. Wilson responded: “If their goal is to reduce alcohol consumption in this state, they better not make us debate these bills on the House floor.”
Editor’s note #2: The only true element in this story is the ingredients for Jello. Everything else is as fabricated as the arguments for the Zion wall.
Author’s note: Joking aside, I’d like to thank Rep. Wilson and Senator Stevenson for their excellent work on this issue. I’d also like to thank the LDS Church, industry leaders and other stakeholders who have worked and will continue to work, in good faith to reach an outcome that balances policy interests of reducing drunk driving and minor consumption while allowing restaurants and businesses to operate without excessive regulation.
Editor’s note #3: Complaints can be addressed to @jordan_garn on Twitter.