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Comments about ‘Revitalize sacred right of religious conscience’

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Published: Sunday, Feb. 27 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

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Timj
South Jordan, UT

Whoa--Scalia, the hard-core conservative justice, came down against religious freedoms?

And the dissent in that decision were all liberals?

Guess conservatives and Republicans aren't always the good guys. Those of us who value religious freedom should hope for a more liberal Supreme Court.

Esquire
Springville, UT

The example provided would support my argument that the threat to our freedoms is more likely to come from the right than from the left.

Sutton
Cedar City, UT

"A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death." -Albert Einstein

working class
Salt Lake City, UT

I am astounded, pleasantly so, that a Mormon understand the Enron contagion on Wall Street. Bravo!

glendenbg
Salt Lake City, UT

I believe the author was mistaken when he wrote "In the increasingly valueless business and political world of the 21st century, we have faced crises caused by moral relativism."

It seems instead that the crises we face have been caused not by relativism but by moral certitude - the certitude, for example, that convinced people to kill themselves and others in acts of terrorism, and the certitude that convinced others that the rational response was a military one. The economic collapse wasn't caused by moral relativism, it was caused by the moral certitude of those in the banking industry that their quest for short term profits was more important than engaging in long term sustainable practices. When Enron manipulated energy markets to harm California, they were certain their actions were right because they realized profits. It's not relativism that is to blame for people repeatedly valuing the short term and unsustainable over the long term and sustainable.

RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

Here is another attempt to justify discrimination based on religious belief, and they completely ignore the tenet they'd listed above:
1. one's exercise of religious conscience would limit another's "equal right of conscience"

Please recall that the very first words in the Constitution (the Preamble) relate to Individual liberty and freedom. Religious freedom and liberty comes in second to that. You are not entitled to use religious liberty to deny "a newly formed equality right" to other American Citizens.

Remember, to our founders our Individual rights are inalienable.

Voice of Reason
Layton, UT

Ah, Pres. Smith here is forgetting one key fact about Oregon v. Smith: Scalia & the majority weren't really ruling "against religious practice" in general, but against a religious practice that clearly violated ANOTHER important law, in this case illicit drug use. This was the peyote case, which Oregon brought against a non-Indian Caucasian using Native American religious practices as a cover to smoke peyote. the ruling very specifically said it was NOT a ruling against religious practice, but against using illegal drugs.

And in glendenbg's apparent criticism of profit-driven capitalism, he/she forgot to mention the real twin reasons that aggravated the economic crisis of 2008:
a) federal laws requiring banks to make high-risk subprime loans (the "Barney Frank Special") to "disadvantaged populations" when those banks clearly did not want to, for sound business reasons;
b) while capitalism is driven by profit it is also governed primarily by competition, and when some banks made decisions driven by short-term profits, they should have been allowed to fail, not bailed out by Obama's TARP program which created a terrible, economy-destroying moral hazard with his moral relativism ("it's right in THIS case.)

sergio
Phoenix, AZ

The recently released new documentary "Inside Job" gives a pretty good clue of what it is going to be like when the USA is finally and totally governed by Corporate America. Corpoate America's god and religion may not be what most Americans are expecting or wishing for, unless of course; you can find a place in the godhead for yourself and then it will only be a matter of time before the greed of Corporate America destroys the kingdom. But, in the meantime the little people will have their cake.
.

Voice of Reason
Layton, UT

"Inside Job", which of course won an Oscar from the increasingly radical left - and unwatched - Academy Awards, is a study in political propaganda. It focuses with blinders on eeeeevil CEOs making terrible investment decisions; true in many cases, but in no case has any prosecutable crime actually been proven.
But the director completely ignored the elephant in the room: federal regulations that forced banks to make bad loans to people that never, ever, should have held them in the first place, regardless of who bought the risky mortgages afterward. And never mind that the left's darling - President Obama - instituted TARP and propped up banks that should have failed in a correctly functioning market. Now there's an enormous moral hazard created, meaning that Obama has now told the financial services industry that it's OK to take asinine risks with their investors' money, because the feds will just bail them out when then lose their (actually their clients') shirt.

Telling the whole story is always a better approach.

Esquire
Springville, UT

I must say that the comments of "Voice of Reason" about the financial meltdown do not reflect the reality of the situation. While the mortgage industry was out of control, it was not because they were forced to make sub-prime loans. And the sub-prime loans they did make were at high interest rates. It was more about greed. This level of greed might have been sustainable but for two things. The first, and lesser contributing issue to the mortgage meltdown, was the loss of jobs. No one takes out a mortgage that they don't intend to pay, but when jobs are lost, they have no choice. This is one place where the Bush Administration missed the boat, they did not address the jobs issue. But the biggest cause of the meltdown in the financial sector had to do with the repackaging of loans into tranches. The riskier loans, those most likely to default, were packaged together and sold to investors wanting a high return. When those tranches failed, the investors failed and there was a ripple effect. It was the greed of the financial sector, not the borrowers, that caused the meltdown.

educated_conservative
Springville, UT

Smith refers to "the increasingly valueless business and political world of the 21st century." I would add "partisan" to his list. In shock, I have watched otherwise good, God-fearing, Christian (mostly LDS) people turn to an idolatrous worship of partisanship. All too often these people blindly follow their party loyalty at the expense of the covenants they have made to their God. Neither party holds a monopoly on LDS or even Christian morality. Both parties align with the Christian Gospel in some ways and both parties oppose the Christian gospel in some ways. I believe much of the problem stems from an unhealthy and ignorant mixing of political ideology with cherry-picked theology. Remember, to those who are Christians, that Christ's full gospel is the standard to which our greatest loyalty must lie. Don't sacrifice it on the idolatrous altar of partisanship. (For a great treatment on the "baneful effects" of political parties see Pres. Washington's Farewell Address. He gives us a dire and prophetic warning of the evils of partisanship. We, as a nation, have whole-heartedly rejected his wise counsel and are reaping the consequences.)

  • 1:38 p.m. March 1, 2011
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Voice of Reason
Layton, UT

Actually, my comments most certainly do reflect an important part of the reality of the situation - Esquire's error was in assuming I attributed "all" of the 2008 economic meltdown to risky loans forced on banks by leftist social engineering regulations. These risky loans forced on banks were only one factor in the meltdown - I never said they were the "only" factor.

As for jobs, certainly the sudden precipitous drop in employment quickly exposed the precarious state of the subprime mortgage industry - it did not cause it. Risky

As for tranches", or securitization/bundling, yes, we do need more oversight. But frankly government regulations will always be a step behind the real players, and they cannot take the place of real market discipline, i.e. allowing banks, firms, etc. bundling high-risk securities to FAIL. Obama didn't let this happen.

As for greed...well, of course all markets are motivated by "greed." We all are - "greed" is nothing new, and of course it helped to cause this meltdown as it does every meltdown...and, of course, all booms as well. Using it in this case to "blame" the meltdown as some breathlessly new evil is a non sequitur.

What in Tucket?
Provo, UT

Private business is inherently honest. If you don't satisfy the customer you don't get the business. Of course there are many exceptions. Business run by government puts us in the same situation as Cuba, no business. Capitalism has been welcomed by the Chinese and they and India are doing well.

charlie91342
Sylmar, CA

you can have all the religious freedom you want as long as you don't try to tell me what to do or not do. Religious freedom includes freedom FROM religions forcing their antiquated morals onto others.

Kimber
Salt Lake City, UT

I agree "charlie91342" Thank you. I value some of the good things religion has brought to my life, but I also find the bad mixed in. Religion and government do not always mix well and unfortunately, to some they seem to be the same thing!

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