Comments about ‘In our opinion: Religion in diplomacy’

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Published: Thursday, Dec. 1 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

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John C. C.
Payson, UT

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.

RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

"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.

ECR
Burke, VA

"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.

Esquire
Springville, UT

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.

George
Bronx, NY

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?)

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

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.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

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.

Kalindra
Salt Lake City, Utah

@ 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.

Pagan
Salt Lake City, UT

'"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.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

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

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

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.

Kalindra
Salt Lake City, Utah

@ 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

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.

Bebyebe
UUU, UT

"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.

Sutton
Cedar City, UT

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

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

L White
Springville, UT

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.

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

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

Hank Pym
SLC, UT

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?

Wally West
SLC, UT

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...?

Pagan
Salt Lake City, UT

'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.

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