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In our opinion: Religion in diplomacy

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  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Dec. 3, 2011 5:53 a.m.

    "Tonight I speak for all Americans in expressing our gratitude to the Mormon people - for their pioneer spirit, their devotion to culture and learning, their example of industry and self-reliance. But I am particularly in their debt tonight for their successful battle to make religious liberty a living reality - for having proven to the world that different faiths of different views could flourish harmoniously in our midst - and for having proven to the Nation in this century that a public servant devout in his chosen faith was still capable of undiminished allegiance to our Constitution and national interest . . . Many a great nation has been torn by religious feuds and holy wars - but never the United States of America. For here diversity has led to unity - liberty has led to strength. And today that strength - that spiritual, moral strength - is needed as never before."

    John F. Kennedy, Sep. 23, 1960

  • spring street SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Dec. 2, 2011 8:52 p.m.

    @BobP

    'A man walking along a path felt very thirsty. Reaching a well he descended into it, drank his fill and came up. Then he saw a dog with its tongue hanging out, trying to lick up mud to quench its thirst. The man saw that the dog was feeling the same thirst as he had felt so he went down into the well again and filled his shoe with water and gave the dog a drink. God forgave his sins for this action.' The Prophet was asked: 'Messenger of God, are we rewarded for kindness towards animals?' He said, 'There is a reward for kindness to every living thing.' this is directly from Muslim teaching sound far kinder then you do.

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    Dec. 2, 2011 5:56 p.m.

    The ones in Tel Aviv are right, the just stopped too soon. I would like someone to point out to me just one redeeming feaure of Islam.

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    Dec. 2, 2011 4:57 p.m.

    @ Mike Richards | 3:01 p.m. Dec. 2, 2011

    "Since this is a thread on Religion and on Diplomacy, the diplomatic thing to do is simply to acknowledge that everyone has the right to post, with or without their parents' approval"

    Wonderful. I won't need to call your parents in Arizona or wherever they retired to.

  • Melanna Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 2, 2011 4:45 p.m.

    @mike richard's

    you do of course realize you have contradicted yourself at least three times on this thread alone right?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 2, 2011 3:01 p.m.

    When posters respond with personal attacks, what is the proper thing to do? Would a person writing about religion who claims to be a Christian attack back? Would that be Christian?

    When a poster misunderstands the difference of BEING Christian and CLAIMING to be a Christian and says that Christians attacked gays, do you waste a post and correct him?

    When posters purposefully misrepresent statements by quoting out of context or only partially quoting, would the Christian response be to misquote them of take their quotes out of context?

    Since this is a thread on Religion and on Diplomacy, the diplomatic thing to do is simply to acknowledge that everyone has the right to post, with or without their parents' approval.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 2, 2011 2:03 p.m.

    '"Christians" don't offend or hurt or make afraid. People of "faith" do not commit atrocities."

    'Hahahaha... tell that to the gays in Uganda.' - Sutton | 7:39 a.m. Dec. 2, 2011

    Don't forget Nigeria.

    *'Nigeria Senate approves anti-gay marriage bill' - By Jon Gambrell - AP - Published by DSNews - 11/29/11

    'However, public opinion and lawmakers' calls for even harsher penalties for being gay shows wide support for the measure in the deeply religious nation.

    "Such elements in society should be killed,"

    Sen. Baba Dati said during the debate. (sic)
    In the areas in Nigeria's north where Islamic Shariah law has been enforced for about a decade, gays and lesbians can face death by stoning.'

    Heck, even look outside your window:

    *'Gays greatest threat to America, Buttars says' - By Aaron Falk - DSnews - 02/19/09

    *'Republican Debate Audience Boos Gay Soldier Stephen Hill After DADT Repeal Question' - By Jason Linkins - Huffington Post - 09/23/11

    Result?

    *'Teens gay or straight more likely to attempt suicide in conservative towns' - By LINDSEY TANNER - Medical Writer - AP - 04/18/11

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 2, 2011 1:52 p.m.

    'Unfortunately, too many who despise God hold the scepter of power.' - Hank Pym | 1:23 p.m. Dec. 2, 2011

    I, disagree.

    *'Religious lobbying is changing political focus' - By Mercedes White, Deseret News - 11/21/11
    'Number of lobbies has grown from 40 to over 200'

    Some people CLAIM they do 'good' in their religion's name...

    *'Gay man says 'reversal' therapy did not change him' - By Lisa Leff - Associated Press - Published by DSNews - 01/20/10

    'A gay man testified Wednesday in a federal same-sex marriage trial that the "reversal therapy" he underwent as a teenager to change his sexual orientation drove him to the brink of suicide.'

    and cause, factual HARM.

    Westboro Baptist church
    Inquisition, etc, etc.

    So, yeah. To avoid Theocracy, I think goverment SHOULD remind religion what is 'good.'

    Otherwise:

    *'Roman Catholic Church Sex Abuse' - NY Times - 11/16/11

    there is ZERO accountability.

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    Dec. 2, 2011 1:26 p.m.

    re: BobP | 11:37 a.m. Dec. 2, 2011

    I am sure they think that on the streets of Tehran, Jakarta, Tel Aviv, Nashville, Lima, Rome, etc...?

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    Dec. 2, 2011 1:23 p.m.

    Re: Mike Richards | 9:37 a.m. Dec. 1, 2011

    People do not need government to tell them how to be "good". They don't need the boot of government on their necks to force them to be "charitable". What they need is for government to recognize the role that religion plays in our lives and then have government stay out of the way.

    What, then, does it say for people who have to go to church every week to remind them to be good? Seriously, I feel sorry for those who need a structured entity (Civil or spiritual) to dictate behavior

    Those who prefer to keep God out of their lives may not be able to understand any of this. Unfortunately, too many who despise God hold the scepter of power.

    Those who hold the scepter of power think they are God regardless of denomination/sect or ideology.

    re: Mike Richards | 8:27 p.m. Dec. 1, 2011

    "It doesn't matter what I think."

    Does this mean you will stop posting?

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Dec. 2, 2011 1:15 p.m.

    I agree Bob, 376 million Buddhists can't be wrong.

  • L White Springville, UT
    Dec. 2, 2011 8:17 a.m.

    Mr. Bebyebe,

    Look at what you've written. It looks to me that you have assumed that you know what God thinks. It looks to me like you have decided for yourself that because you see God differently than others, that you and God are united against anyone who thinks differently than you do.

    I believe that this thread has two major words, "religion" and "diplomacy". I also believe that Mr. Mike Richards used diplomacy when he wrote that it doesn't matter what he thinks and "All that matters is what God thinks". That was a diplomatic way of saying, "You're nuts for thinking the way you do". Of course he didn't say that. Diplomats don't say what they think. People who believe in God don't say what they think. Both religious people and diplomats try to show respect for other people. They give others the benefit of the doubt. The overlook insults and crass statements.

    Diplomats, together with help from genuinely religious people, can solve a lot of problems. People who look for ways to insult others create problems.

  • Sutton Cedar City, UT
    Dec. 2, 2011 7:39 a.m.

    "Christians" don't offend or hurt or make afraid. People of "faith" do not commit atrocities."

    Hahahaha... tell that to the gays in Uganda.

  • Bebyebe UUU, UT
    Dec. 1, 2011 8:52 p.m.

    "All that matters is what God thinks."

    You don't know what God thinks. You have managed to convince yourself that he thinks just like you.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 1, 2011 8:27 p.m.

    Kalindra,

    It doesn't matter what I think. All that matters is what God thinks. He knows the hearts of all of us - yours and mine. He knows those whom he can trust and those whom he will never be able to trust, those who pretend to be on his side as a ploy to spread disharmony and disunity.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 1, 2011 7:54 p.m.

    @ Mike Richards: So now you get to set the boundaries for who is and is not religious, faithful, or Christian?

    That little church in Kentucky that just voted to ban interracial couples from membership? They are just as convinced that they are right and are doing God's work as you are convinced that you are right and are doing God's work.

    And the fact that you claim, "Non-Christians offend, hurt and make afraid, even if some of those non-Christians claim to be Christians" is extremely offensive. There are a great many non-Christian religious people in this world who do a lot of good and the fact that you would discount them out-of-hand like that directly conflicts your statement that Christians don't offend - unless, of course, you do not count yourself as Christian....

    Everything in your 6:39 pm post directly supports not involving religion in diplomacy. You are the best argument against your position.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 1, 2011 6:39 p.m.

    Isn't it strange how some people will mix words. "Religion", "faith", "Christian" are not synonyms. Each of those words mean something distinct.

    "Christians" don't offend or hurt or make afraid. People of "faith" do not commit atrocities. Just the opposite is true. Non-Christians offend, hurt and make afraid, even if some of those non-Christians claim to be Christians. A Christian walks the walk. Faith in not simply a belief or an understanding, it is an action that propels us forward. Faith by itself means little, but faith in God means that we change our lives to act and become as Christ is.

    Diplomats who enlist the aid of people of faith will accomplish something. Secularists will ignore the good that comes from proper religion, proper faith, and proper Christianity. They will go about their business finding new and clever ways to put the boot of government on our necks.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Dec. 1, 2011 5:36 p.m.

    Ok. But stop thinking we've got the superior religion.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 1, 2011 3:53 p.m.

    '"People of faith have changed the course of history, both here in the U.S. and in other countries." - Mike Richards | 9:37 a.m. Dec. 1, 2011

    You are correct.

    9/11 was one such example.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 1, 2011 3:10 p.m.

    @ Mike Richards: "People of faith have changed the course of history, both here in the U.S. and in other countries. Without Martin Luther King, Jr., would we still have "de facto" slavery?"

    You are half right - the other half of the story is that it was good, Christian men and women who were working against Martin Luther King, Jr. to keep the status quo.

    While religion can be a force for good, it can also be used for ill. For this reason it cannot be given carte blanche.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 1, 2011 2:08 p.m.

    In other words, when we negotiate with the Mexicans we should speak Spanish, when with Germans, German, Chinese, Chinese, etc. etc. The part I didnt find in the article was that we should not speak Christian when we are talking to a Muslim. It seems fairly obvious that to have any meeting of the minds you have speak the same language. Fortunately for the U.S. that language is usually Money, and thus most of our international agreements are written in that language.

    Secularists, like me, are not going to argue against the use of the other sides values and desires as negotiation tools. What we would object to is the tendency of religion to use our government as a mouthpiece to sell their religious product. Its sort of like the same issue as the highway crosses.

    Religion should stand or fall on its own merit without the use of government power and force.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 1, 2011 9:37 a.m.

    Some people are so focused on having a totally secular State that they can't see the role that religion plays in the lives of MOST people. Any government official who thinks his job is to act in a secular world misunderstands both his role and the lives of those with whom he must interact.

    People of faith have changed the course of history, both here in the U.S. and in other countries. Without Martin Luther King, Jr., would we still have "de facto" slavery?

    People do not need government to tell them how to be "good". They don't need the boot of government on their necks to force them to be "charitable". What they need is for government to recognize the role that religion plays in our lives and then have government stay out of the way.

    Those who prefer to keep God out of their lives may not be able to understand any of this. Unfortunately, too many who despise God hold the scepter of power.

  • George Bronx, NY
    Dec. 1, 2011 8:32 a.m.

    I'm confused - for the past several months there has been a continuous stream of articles and letters talking about how religion is losing influence and that it is under attack and that people are falling away from it and about how we are all going to - ahem - in a handbasket because of the lack of religion in our daily lives - and we are urged to look at the problems being faced worldwide because people have moved away from religion and told that we must give religion more consideration...

    now this story is telling us that religion is gaining influence worldwide and therefore must be given more consideration....

    So which is it? Is religion losing influence or is it gaining influence? Because it cannot be doing both at the same time.

    (The conflicting stories almost make it seem as if we are being lied to in order to promote an agenda - but surely religion would have no part in that, right?)

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Dec. 1, 2011 7:26 a.m.

    So are you advocating government involvement in religion? That will be a consequence of religion playing a de facto role in governmental functions. Or are you saying religion should play an active role in government? Where is the line? I suspect that you want the freedom of churches to do whatever they want unimpeded and at the same time want the government not to interfere with what the churches do. That was my takeaway when Dallin Oaks spoke on the subject a while back. Churches want their cake and eat it too. They put their own institutional purposes first, even above the interests of their members. All I can say is be careful what you wish for. It will never work to have churches/religions perform the role of governments. Cooperation is one thing, but I think you are going beyond cooperation.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Dec. 1, 2011 7:06 a.m.

    "The delegation spent several days persuading Muslim leaders to support the hikers' release, focusing on the importance of compassion in Islam and even quoting from the Quran.

    "Two days later, the captives were released."

    This story illustrates what all intelligent people should knwo - that ALL religions share common beliefs about compassion and kindness. And yes, even those without religious beliefs share in many of those same values. These common values should be promoted and even exploited to bring peaceful resolution to the world's problems wherever possible. Failing to recognize the good that religion can do in the world and only focusing on the negative side of religious practice where that exists, will surely result in our own failures in promoting responsible governments everywhere.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Dec. 1, 2011 6:43 a.m.

    "Ignoring religion as part of foreign policy is simply unsafe, unwise and ineffective."

    ---

    While this is true, it doesn't mean that we should be allowing religion to dictate our laws to us.

    Congratulations, Cardinal McCarrick for your common sense.

  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    Dec. 1, 2011 6:42 a.m.

    The reason we didn't do well in Viet Nam was partly related to our failure to "win the hearts and minds of the people."

    The only way we can do that in the future is to deserve to win the hearts and minds of the people by understanding and addressing the high values we have in common. That includes religion.

    If our military is being used for anything other than the most moral purposes we stand to lose.