EP 547 – Constitution Day & Religion in Public Life | Eleesha Tucker of the Utah 3Rs Project

Latter-day Saints can do more to recognize Constitution Day and embrace religion in the public sphere. The Utah 3Rs project makes it happen.

September 17 is Constitution Day in the United States, but we don’t typically hear much about it or celebrate in any way. That should, change, especially for Latter-day Saints, who regard the U.S. Constitution as a foundational document to the Restoration.

The Utah 3Rs Project is dedicated to educating students about rights, responsibility, and respect. It provides supplemental curricula to teachers to discuss concepts of religious liberty and the role of religion in the public sphere, including at public schools.

Eleesha Tucker is an educator of religion and public life, the American Revolution, and the First Amendment. She is the executive director of the Utah 3Rs Project, which promotes understanding of the religion clauses of the First Amendment. She holds a Master of Arts degree in American Studies from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in History Teaching from Brigham Young University.

  • What problems is the Utah 3Rs Project trying to address?
  • Why is it important for students and teachers to understand principles of religious liberty?
  • Why do Latter-day Saint youth need to be trained in skills of civil dialogue?
  • What is Constitution Day and how did it come about?
  • Why should Latter-day Saints care about Constitution Day?
  • How can Latter-day Saint youth look to the Constitutional Convention as a model for helping them navigate differences today?
  • Would you tell us about your approach to civil dialogue and some of the Utah-based case studies you’ve used with teachers and how this relates to the dominance of Latter-day Saint culture in Utah?
    • Case Study 1: Bozniaks and Mormons – In this case study, students learn about a Muslim community, known as Bozniaks, who fled genocide in Bosnia and settled in Utah. Then you’ll learn about a dialogue experience between some Bozniak and Latter-day Saint teenagers.
    • Case Study 2: Book of Mormon Vandal – Students will learn about a dialogue in a Comparative World Religions class at Brighton High School that happened after a student in the class tore up a Book of Mormon and spread the pages throughout the school.
    • Case Study 3: The LGBTQ+ Advocate and the Mormon Mom – In Case Study 3, you’ll learn about a dialogue between Marian Edmunds-Allen who is an advocate for LGBTQ+ youth and Laura Warburton who is a self-described Mormon Mom. They started off with fear and preconceptions about one another, but through their attitudes of openness, they were able to engage in successful dialogue that led to working together for the good of kids in Utah.
    • Case Study 4: The Atheist and the Muslim – Students will explore a dialogue between two University of Utah students, Austin and Humza. Austin does not believe in God and Humza is a practicing Muslim. Both grew up in Utah and share the difficulties of being a minority believer in a Utah school.
  • Some useful student-facing modules on religion in public life:

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