Comments about ‘Readers' forum: America, religious beliefs’

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Published: Saturday, Jan. 7 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

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John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT

Religion in America is under severe attack by the left wing. Indeed, the left has turned the 1st Amendment on its head by claiming that what the amendment really does is prohibit any religious influence in American life.

Left wing judges have legislated from the bench to attack traditional practices such as prayer in school and government meetings, displays of the Ten Commandments, and Crosses to honor fallen troopers. Indeed, these leftist judges have even prohibited use of the word Christ in conjunction with the word Christmas in the public schools.

This attack on religion has created a society in which crime, substance abuse, and immorality are at epidemic levels. But perhaps that is the goal-- the left wing goal of having citizens turn to the government to provide them with entitlement programs for this life, rather than to God to provide for the eternities.

American Fork, UT

Thanks, Landon. I can count you among the supporters of my proposed casino in salt lake.

Salt Lake City, UT

Mr. Spring,

What's with the "left wing judges" rant? It's never made sense and it's getting old.

Do you know how many politically conservative federal judges appointed by conservative presidents are nonetheless ruling that your vision of a theocratic, authoritarian nation is in fact a violation of constitutional liberties?

Enough with the persecution complex! There is no historical or legal merit to the fantasy that your private religious beliefs are under attack. Noting the dangers and historical failures of mixing religion and government is not an "attack," it's simple honest reality.

How do you explain that in the US, crime, teen pregnancies, abortion and substance abuse are generally higher in "red" states than in "blue" states?

How do you explain that in other industrialized nations, the less religious the government is, the better is the health, happiness, prosperity and civil liberties of its citizens?

Is it the secularists, or the religious zealots, who are blowing themselves up in acts of mass murder in the Middle East? Are they committing these crimes in an effort to reduce the role of religion in government, or increase it?

Keep religion out of government!

Salt Lake City, UT

@John Charity Springs
"Left wing judges have legislated from the bench to attack traditional practices such as prayer in school"

Good, why would we want public school led prayer? The only reason you all complain about schools not leading students in prayers is because YOUR religion (Christianity) is the one that would have led the prayers. You'd be singing a different tune if this were a Muslim majority country and your kids had to deal wtih schools leading whichever of the 5 mecca facing prayers a day occurred during school hours.

"This attack on religion has created a society in which crime, substance abuse, and immorality are at epidemic levels."

New Hampshire has the highest percentage of atheists of any state and the lowest crime rate, there just isn't any correlation between religion, or lack thereof... and crime. And really suggesting atheists are criminals is just bigoted.

Springville, UT

What about religions who abuse people? Shouldn't there be a counter-weight?

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

You can believe what we want. No one will stop you.

To JCS: Crime rates have fallen drastically over the last twenty years. They are now back down to levels not seen for almost fifty years. Drug use is down, the abortion rate has decreased by 30% in the last thirty years. How does that fit into your grand theory of a massive left-wing conspiracy?

Eagle Mountain, UT

I honestly don't remember anyone, ever telling me what I can or cannot believe.


American History

Many religious groups formed the first colonies on the basis of their religious beliefs. Although the plan was to escape persecution, there was persecution happening in the colonies. For example the Puritans wanted everyone to worship in the Puritan way. In order to ensure that Puritanism. Nonconformists were fined, banished, whipped, and even imprisoned for not conforming to the way of the Puritans.

Virginia enacted anti-Quaker laws, including the death penalty for refractory Quakers.

Catholic fortunes fluctuated in Maryland during the rest of the 17th century, as they became an increasingly smaller minority of the population. After 1689 the Church of England was legally established in the colony and English penal laws, which deprived Catholics of the right to vote, hold office, or worship publicly, were enforced.

Virginia was settled by businessmen operating the Virginia Company of London, who wanted to get rich. Early governors sent by the Virginia Company acted as crusaders. Sir Thomas Dale considered himself engaged in "religious warfare." During Dale's tenure, religion was spread at the point of the sword. Everyone was required to attend church and be catechized by a minister. Those who refused could be executed or sent to the galleys.

Sandy, UT

@JCS your war is a myth. A myth that I believe most thoughtful, true Americans don't subscribe to. I love American diversity and we are a better nation because of it.

Wally West

re: John Charity Spring | 7:32 a.m. Jan. 7, 2012

Another parroted talking point memo from fixed noise. Seriously(?), was JCS vacinnated w/ a phonograph needle while riding a ferris wheel?

The right has no activists & If they did they'd be pure as new fallen snow? What about the whole Terri Schiavo fiasco? Focus on Families? Pat Robertson? The Tea party? etc...?

Anti Bush-Obama
Washington, DC

Some of you posters remind me about the citizens of ancient rome. They boasted of themselves and said their civilization was too mighty to fall also. Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it. America can fall just like Rome fell and if you read about how Rome fell, you will relize we are very close to falling as a nation. The problem is that people don't read books anymore they just listen to propogandists in the mass media.

John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT

The usual left wing suspects have been quick to claim that all is well, and we need not fear. Let us look at the facts.

Just this week, a central-Utah couple was murdered by a drug using couple involved in a non-marital sexual relationship. Five Ogden police officers were shot, one fatally, by a drug dealing maniac. A man was sentenced for strangling his live-in girlfriend. The list goes on and on.

These senseless crimes may be acceptable to those who fight against religion, but they are not acceptable to those of us who want the peaceful, moral society that religious influence provides.

Salt Lake City, UT

I am hoping that the gamers of the world will develop a new video game (with a dedication to JC Spring) pitting the forces of Religion vs. the Secularists. It would be based on actual scenes from the Crusades with the Secularists playing the part of the infidel (at least in the Utah version). The war would be refereed by black robed activist jurists who would decide which side would receive provisions, arms and reinforcements. The battles could be fought endlessly in video format instead of in the streets and courts of America. Players would be able to choose which side they represent and everyone would have a chance to burn up the excess energy now being used to argue the issue daily in these pages.

Salt Lake City, UT

"These senseless crimes may be acceptable to those who fight against religion, but they are not acceptable to those of us who want the peaceful, moral society that religious influence provides. "

Nobody likes senseless crime. The fact is that crime rates are going down. That's good news. Yes there's still crime, there's always going to be crime, and we always want it to get better, but does that mean we can't be happy that crime rates are decreasing?

Your argument says that removing religion from the public sector creates more crime. Statistically that doesn't hold up. New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine are 1 2 3 for least crime and highest percentage of atheists. If you look at the 50 states as a whole there's no real correlation between crime and religion (or lack thereof). Your argument is not valid because the reality is that statistics do not suggest that religion in the public square leads to less crime.

I'm a Christian. I don't want public schools leading students with Islamic prayers, and in exchange for that that means no Chrisian prayers either.

Salt Lake City, UT

"These senseless crimes may be acceptable to those who fight against religion, but they are not acceptable to those of us who want the peaceful, moral society that religious influence provides."

JCS, why would you believe that the people that committed these crimes did not have reluence influence in their lives? Why would you think they were not raised religious? Or still believe in religious principles?

Or are you under the impression that only non-religious people "sin"?

Crime rates have gone down. Don't be scared. Plenty of people want you to be scared, don't give in to them.

There is plenty of religion in our country. As much as anybody wants. Have you never noticed the number of churches around? Nobody is making anybody tear them down.

You can worship 24/7 if you choose. Pray as much as you want, proclaim your religion.

Just don't do it in my house.

Burke, VA

skeptic wrote, "I guess the same can be said for the victims of the Morning Meadows Massacres also."

Mountain Meadow Massacre was a tragic event instigated by a paranoid people who had been persecuted for years and who had lost almost 10% of their population in the process of fleeing that persecution and crossing the Great Plains. Despite that persecution the perpetrators had no right to do what they did and MMM will remain a dark stain on LDS history forever.

But those that were tragically murdered at Mountain Meadow were not killed because of their religious beliefs. Their religious beliefs had nothing to do with their tragic deaths.

So, no, the same cannot be said about the victims of Mountain Meadow Massacre. In the American experience, there are countless unfortunate examples of religious persecution but no religion has had to endure the unlawful persecution - often instigated by law enforcement, elected officials or clergy - that the members of the LDS faith have had to endure. And no religion was driven from their lawfully owned properties the way the LDS people were.

Today, similarly ignorant hatred exists for members of the Muslim faith. Like in the early days of the Mormon church, people would rather believe the hysterical rantings of uninformed bigots. Until that stops we cannot claim to be a free country with the right of believing what we want.

Casa Grande, AZ

It's just that conservatives don't seem capable of following through on how they would feel if the majority of americans decide they want to pray to a golden calf and do it school, during political speeches and make sure it's taught along with science in schools and universities.

Then it would be a problem and you would want the separation of church and state. Liberals see the problem before it occurs - that's the difference.

John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT

The liberals here ignore one crucial truth: although rates for certain crimes can fluctuate, the overall crime rate is still at epidemic levels. The liberal's argument is like telling someone with cancer that he is actually healthy because he could have more cancer than he has.

As for citing the New England States as an example of goodness, that reference is ridiculous. Those three states lead the nation in the attack against traditional marriage as well as leading in rates of non-marital sex. This reference supports my point.

The liberals also ignore the irrefutable fact that addiction to drugs and alcohol are deatroying the lives of millions of Americans. Clearly, the left is willing to overlook the casualties of its fight against religion.

Los Angeles, CA

Don't let the facts inform you.

New Mexico had the highest teenage pregnancy rate (93 per 1,000), followed by Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Mississippi. The lowest rates were in New Hampshire (33), Vermont, Maine, Minnesota and North Dakota.

The Census bureau found that people living in northeastern states have lower marriage and divorce rates. And while those in the southern states are more likely to get married, they also have higher divorce rates. The states with the highest divorce rates were: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alaska, Alabama, Kentucky, Nevada, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and Arizona.

Analysis suggests that the difficult economic conditions of many southern states drives the divorce rate higher because residents tend to be poorer. The states with particularly high divorce rates have below median household income as well as a high proportion of the population living below the poverty line.

98 percent of self-identified conservatives, 91 percent of moderates and 85 percent of liberals said they believed in God. according to a recent Gallup poll.

Cora Smith

After reading these post's, I'm certainly happy that I don't believe in something as a huge left wing war against religion. IF I spent as much time hating and worrying about something that does not even exist, I think I would welcome death. Life is very short, and to spend time on issues that I "think" are killing me and my way of life, without real reason and knowledge,(except for certain right wing radio and Tv host's promoting their latest hate filled rant, to of course work up their willfull listening puplic that is). Why is it that nobody can tell us what freedoms they have lost, and proof that demo's are trying to get rid of religion? No facts, just hyperbole and dislike for anybody who dosen't believe in a certain lifestyle. WoW.

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