Freedom was closed the day I visited. A pity: I was curious to see what it was all about. It is located, in case you are wondering, in Boulder, Utah, just off the scenic Burr Trail, behind a trailer home and a cattle fence plastered with “God is Just Pretend” and other anti-religion, militant atheist, and environmentalist bumper stickers. I became privy to its location when viewing a local businesses map in the parking lot of the Anasazi State Park visitors center: Post Office, gas station, Kwik-e-Mart, Freedom from Religion’ Freedom from Religion–now this I have to see. Happily, there was little map on the sign indicating its location: first left on a dirt road just after turning onto the Burr Trail on the south edge of town. So we made our way to the other end of town-about a hundred yards-turned onto the dusty desert lane, pulled up to the closed gate, snapped a few photos, and drove away wondering what it was all about: obviously someone mad about something he or she identified as religion.
As it turns out, Freedom from Religion is a beer shop. (Amazing what a little google search turns up.) The place is run by one Julian Hatch, a distant relative of Senator Orrin Hatch, who at one time ran against him on behalf of the Green Party of Utah. He appears to be a bit of a rabble-rouser, delivering atheist sermons in place of prayers at public meetings, mouthing profanities at his opponents during county meetings and then pressing charges them when they want to brawl (though apparently that ruse didn’t work out in his favor and he had to take some of his signs down).
Of course, that ungenerous portrait is not how Hatch sees himself. He seems to view himself as a martyr to the atheist cause, struggling to “save myself from the tyranny of the Mormon religious powers in the state courts of southern Utah.” That tyranny, as Hatch represents it, takes the form not only of coerced sign removal but also in the anti-environmentalist and racist attitudes of the Mormon ranchers he grew up with and is rebelling against. Now, I agree that Hatch has put his thumb on the pulse of a troubling monster–racism and environmental destruction are problems that ought to be addressed–but I still can’t help but feel that perhaps he has latched onto these ungainly vestiges a bit opportunistically. He wants to rant and his backward neighbors gives him something to rant about. Meanwhile, he is antagonizing rather than reforming the beast.
Casting stones seems a rather foolhardy remedy when removal of motes and beams are more in order.
 The central feature of the collage was a “2002” bumper sticker, protesting the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City-an obviously futile attempt, but, as per the increased lift prices that resulted, one I can sympathize with, even though I sort of enjoyed the Games.