Saturday, June 18, 2005

Where Would Jesus Shop?

A while back I ranted about Mormons and tithing. I recently read about the church's plans for putting $1 billion in tithing (and accrued interest, of course) to good use: They're building a MALL! In downtown Salt Lake City! Interestingly, the link is no longer working at the SLC Tribune Site. However, here's an excerpt from the original story, by Heather May:

The LDS Church will invest close to $1 billion when it remakes downtown Salt Lake City's two malls -- which will be closed on Sundays -- according to Salt Lake City Council members.

This isn't the first time God's True Church has used its members' 10% for retail improvements:

During the 1960s several commercial and service centers were built in the suburbs, drawing business away from downtown. To help counteract this movement, the Mormon Church invested $40 million in development of a downtown shopping mall. The ZCMI Center Mall, named for Zions Cooperative Mercantile Institution, a prominent retail chain which was begun in Salt Lake's pioneer days, is the result of that effort. (Link)

I'm intrigued by the overlap of religion and consumerism.

Evidently, Our Lord and Savior doesn't favor Nordstrom or Target:

As it redevelops its two malls on Main Street, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doesn't want the city to allow department stores to locate in The Gateway and property surrounding the shopping center west of downtown.

In a letter Thursday, the church's attorney for its real estate company urged the Planning Commission to keep regulations in place that would prevent anchor stores such as Nordstrom and Target from opening in The Gateway.

Church attorney Alan Sullivan, who helped his client gain the city's easement through the Main Street Plaza, also suggested that allowing department stores to locate west of the core downtown could harm the church's ability to redevelop the ZCMI Mall and Crossroads Plaza. His letter to the Planning Commission -- a volunteer citizen board -- and the City Council and Mayor Rocky Anderson says the city's current zoning that forbids department stores in The Gateway district is "crucial to attract the investment necessary to strengthen the downtown area."

Do you wonder what church leaders are doing meddling in retail decisions? Should we assume from this action that the One True Church (and therefore God Almighty Himself) considers Target and Nordstrom tools of Satan?

The Almighty apparently favors Walmart. Less than 10 minutes after leaving Temple Square, with the heavenly voices of the Tabernacle Choir still ringing in your ears, you can be shopping at Walmart. (Proof) Maybe our Heavenly Father has it in for labor unions.

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