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Michael Gerson: Obama's attack on religion a big miscalculation

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  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    Feb. 17, 2012 2:27 p.m.

    @RanchHand

    "IMO, Individual Freedom is more important than Religious Freedom, why? Because Individual Freedom ENCOMPASSES Religious Freedom. When you have your Individual Freedom, you also have your Freedom to worship how, where or what you may."

    I do not know where in the constitution it enumerates individual freedoms. The constitution addresses We the People not Me the individual.

  • Rynn Las Vegas, NV
    Feb. 17, 2012 7:25 a.m.

    Re: L Kaiser

    Agreed. Birth control pills can also used to lessen the symptoms and progression of endometriosis.

  • williary Kearns, UT
    Feb. 16, 2012 3:38 p.m.

    Requiring insurance companies to cover birth control pills = An attack on Religion?

    Seriously?

    Has the right wing finally caved and just started letting Rush come up with all of their ideas now?

    You know what a great way to help avoid abortions across the world is....contraception. Have it available, educate, and doesn't that help lessen a major worry for Conservatives everywhere?

    Better, cheaper, more available contraception = Less unwanted pregnancies.

    That's the equation that makes sense here.

    And if it wasn't for the rights hatred and continued attempts to destroy America to destroy President Obama, that's an equation they should be all for.

    This does not require ANYONE who does not believe in contraception to purchase/use it.

    Republicans are always talking about personal responsibility. Here's a great example where they should be getting behind that idea. You want contraception, your insurance covers it. You don't want contraception, continue on your life as nothing changes.

    Period.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Feb. 16, 2012 1:42 p.m.

    @Mike Richards;

    Why is it that you always cry foul when you think Constitutional religious freedom is being infringed, yet are perfectly willing to deny an individual their Constitutional freedom?

    IMO, Individual Freedom is more important than Religious Freedom, why? Because Individual Freedom ENCOMPASSES Religious Freedom. When you have your Individual Freedom, you also have your Freedom to worship how, where or what you may.

    Your idea of "religious freedom" is the freedom to enforce your version of religious views on everybody else.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Feb. 16, 2012 8:33 a.m.

    @ Mike Richards, you did not answer the questions I raised. It was a good faith question. You evaded the issue. Pity.

  • Cougar Blue N. Las Vegas, NV
    Feb. 16, 2012 1:52 a.m.

    Come on right-wingers. You always have a "war" going on don't you. It's how you keep your flock together. If the government wanted to really go after religion, they could of in the past or in the future, eliminate the tax breaks which amount to nearly 100 billion $ for property and tax breaks for giving, etc. And I'd like to see those parking spaces in front of the big NY cathedral done away with because they are not afforded other churches. See, there are a million ways that the government could really hurt the churches, but they haven't. Tone down the silly rhetoric, it does not become you.

  • Army Prof New York, NY
    Feb. 16, 2012 12:35 a.m.

    LDS Lib, let me see if I follow your logic here. If the war was started by the GOP, it was the party's fault. But if the war was started by a Dem, it was the defense contractors' fault. You know, like WWII--Lend-Lease began in earnest well before the US declared war. That president? FDR (Dem and liberal by his own account). Let's not forget your Cold War reference. What president started that with his Truman Doctrine? Oh yeah, Truman (Dem). He also brought us the Korean War, which you failed to mention. What about Vietnam? JFK (Dem)commits troops, and LBJ (Dem) brings the troop totals to almost 700,000. I also noticed your history lecture conveniently omitted Clinton's (Dem) Bosnia and Somalia escapades. We still have a military presence in the Horn of Africa and the Balkans today. You didn't mention Obama in Libya either. Hmmm.

    Here's the point--you're Ike-esque fear of the military-industrial complex and its death-grip on US foreign policy is directed at the wrong party.

    Also, thank you for your service. You are part of the real 1% (those who have worn the uniform).

  • L Kaiser REDMOND, WA
    Feb. 15, 2012 11:57 p.m.

    What about all the woman who use the contraceptive pill for "off label purposes". Millions of woman in america a year are Prescribed it by their doctor and are simply taking the contraceptive to lessen the painful effects of the menstrual cycle, for some woman the pains and effects can be quite debilitating. Contraceptives are highly effective at giving these woman comfortable lives and relieve or eliminate these ailments. Their taking it has nothing to do with birth control or contraception. What about these woman, do we deny them relief and comfort?

  • chicagoborn WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 9:48 p.m.

    Did everyone just the hear the latest salvo fired against religion from the Obama camp? This time it was Biden defending Mitt Romney's Mormon faith. Wow. They are just sticking it to us Christians. It's funny how the Deseret News likes to report on all things Mormon and Mitt Romney but still hasn't reported the story on Joe Biden defending Romney.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 15, 2012 7:21 p.m.

    Re: Esquire and LDS Liberal,

    Just what limits do you put on the 1st Amendment? No, not the part that PROHIBITS Congress from passing laws concerning an establishment of religion, but the part that allows you to express your outrage at the prohibition?

    You both seem very comfortable telling us that the rules only apply in an edifice of religion. How about if you only exercise your right of free speech during church services and how about if you limit your speech to topics approved by the clergy?

    That seems only fair. You want to limit the rights of religion but at the same time you demand that YOUR right to speak freely be unencumbered.

    Seems binary to me (yes/no, black/white, right/wrong).

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 5:24 p.m.

    Is this a battle in the 'war on christmas'?

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 4:29 p.m.

    No attack on religion occurred. This was a minor, sensible adjustment in health insurance policy. A few Catholic bishops, sadly out of touch with their constituents, over-reacted. That's it.

  • JustGordon Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 3:53 p.m.

    Only the most paranoid would think that this administration has an agenda to remove all religious influences in America. Those on the far right who say they know what the left wants more often than not twist, distort and misstate a non existent agenda. Such is the case of folks who comment here.

    The question here is not properly framed if one is framing it that religious institution are being forced to do things that violate their principles. The truth is that religious institutions are not, but for profit companies run by religious institutions that have employees who are not part of religious orders should be required not to discriminate against their employees by offering them only health care that the company's religious principles approve of.

    The proper framing of the question is should corporations that earn a profit, take money from public sources, employ diverse employees have rights that supersede those of the individuals that work for them? If my religious beliefs did not approve of blood transfusions can I as an employer offer health insurance that will not pay of blood transfusions for my employees that want that services?

    Ultimately, who is more important the corporation or the individual? My vote is for the freedom and supremacy of the individual.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 3:49 p.m.

    How can we take a publication that prints right-wing malarky like this seriously? The president is not attacking religion.

  • ShereeK WASHINGTON, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 3:47 p.m.

    A doctor said it best. Obama is calling for birth control to be covered under the "preventive care" umbrella. Birth control is NOT preventive care. Preventive care is preventing DISEASE. PREGNANCY IS NOT A DISEASE. This OB/GYN went on further to say that the hormones present in oral contraceptives and intrauterine devices are, in fact, CANCER CAUSING. How preventative is that for you?

  • kibitzer Magna, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 3:23 p.m.

    Yes Obama's war on religion might backfire. Look what the mainstream "Christians" did to the latter-day saints when their preaching upset their orthodox apple cart and rattled their respected if shaky religious structures. This religious mainstream may not be gentle with secular humanists either. It is foolish to be over confident.

    I like the best elements of religion, those that encourage justice and mercy and the like. Various political administrations seem to be at odds with or competition with religions. It is only natural they would kick back.

    Taxpayers too don't like their money spent on controversial things. Some don't like their money spent on anything but roads, policing and things like that. I sympathize. They too kick back at expensive ideological conflicts and crusades waged by administrations at their expense.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 2:58 p.m.

    Army Prof | 2:15 p.m. Feb. 15, 2012
    New York, NY
    It's so good to know that the War on Terror is a fictional GOP creation. Thanks LDS Lib, for your remarkable command of what is real and what is fictional.

    ============

    1st, I commend your service.

    But, in a nutshell, yes.

    I served post Vietnam "war"
    throughout the Cold "war"
    and the 1st "war" in Iraq.

    Guess what --
    Vietnam never invaded us,
    Russia never invaded us,
    and Iraq never invaded us,

    But everyone was scared about the boogieman that Defense Contractors made up.

    FYI - Afghanistan has never attacked us,
    Iraq has never attacked us,
    Iran has never attacked us,
    and Syria has never attacked us,
    but the GOP can NEVER pass up a good War to go spend money on
    - real Wars or just rumors of War.

    It's all about the $$$money.

    BTW - WallStreet loves wars. Look at history.

    Gadiantons take over and manage a country.
    They take treasures of the earth [i.e, gold, oil, food], and buy up armies and navies, to rule and reign.

    They are the 1%,
    They are the Gadiantons,
    They are Masters Mahan.

    But go ahead,
    you give Obama far to much credit.

  • UTAH Bill Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 2:30 p.m.

    It's disingenuous to make the argument about religion to begin with.

  • Army Prof New York, NY
    Feb. 15, 2012 2:15 p.m.

    It's so good to know that the War on Terror is a fictional GOP creation. Thanks LDS Lib, for your remarkable command of what is real and what is fictional. When I walk outside my bunker tomorrow I won't have to worry, because the rockets falling on my forward operating base are fictional. I guess the Taliban and Al Qaida are fictional too. Hmm, I wonder why President Obama is keeping us over here then. I mean, we got bin Laden last year. Why am I still here? It must be the big, bad GOP that ordered the "surge" in Afghanistan. Oh right, that was Obama after he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Well at least the president ended the Iraq war early. Oh that's right, he followed Bush's withdrawal agreement to the exact date--not early like he said he would. Sounds like the War on Terror has a new party, but same old flavor. Wait, am I dreaming this? No, that explosion was pretty loud...

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 12:16 p.m.

    On Feb. 3, Gerson's Deseret News column was titled Obama's "war on all religions," but today his article carries the headline "Obama's attack on religion." Obviously, Gerson and the Deseret News are mellowing out toward the president.

    C'mon guys. Don't lose your edge. Here's my recommendation for Gerson's next Deseret News rant: "Obama's nuclear holocaust upon religion"

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 10:40 a.m.

    'Class warfare is an art for the zen master of socialism.' - patriot | 10:04 a.m. Feb. 15, 2012

    ** 'Bush signs $700 billion bailout bill' - AP - Published by Denver Post - By Tom Raum - 10/03/08

    Yes Patriot, thank you for your comment.

    Claiming that Obama is a 'socialist'...

    while George W. Bush and a Republican majority in the House and Senate, signed the first Wall Street Bail out.

    Invaded Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Signed the TSA and Patriot Act, into law.

    And Mitt Rommney signed MANDATORY birth control for religions, in MA, in 2002.

    Thank you, for criticizing the actions, of the Republican party, in your partisan attack...

    against Obama.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Feb. 15, 2012 10:34 a.m.

    Patriot,

    Thanks for your comment.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 10:04 a.m.

    Obama attacks and sues the State of Arizona over immigration. Obama attacks Wallstreet. Obama attacks the wealthy. Obama attacks small business that make over 250k. Obama attacks all those people in America who "cling to their guns and religion' and now Obama attacks Christianity. SO THE GREAT UNITER HAS BECOME THE GREAT DIVIDER!! Class warfare is an art for the zen master of socialism. We have seen enough of the HOPE - NOW we want CHANGE. CHANGE IN THE WHITE HOUSE OCCUPANTS THAT IS!!!

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 10:00 a.m.

    @Mike Richards | 8:15 a.m. Feb. 15, 2012
    South Jordan, Utah
    The Constitution clearly and unmistakably states that Congress cannot interfere with religion. Period. That case is closed. Anyone who believes differently either can't read or chooses not to read the plain and simple words of the Constitution.

    ======================

    Using your infamous All-or-Nothing, Black & White logic.....

    Can Government interfere with the FLDS?
    How about the use of sacramental Hashish? Peyote? Ganja?
    What about Churches who "allow" Gay Marrige? [I keep hearing you railing against it]
    Radicalized Muslims would be free to kill in the name of Jihad.
    Jews could stone.
    and
    did I forget to mention infant genital mutilations?

    This over the top, all-or-nothingism interpretation to the U.S. Constitution could even legalize animal and Human Sacrifes.

    Is that the America you dream about?

    I thank God each and every morning we have Supreme Court Judges who use Common Sense to interpet and protect our Constitution and our country, and not leave it self-taught ideological zealots who insistantly FORCE their will [as God's will] and intreprations of it on the rest of us.

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 10:00 a.m.

    First of all these churches are running businesses. Businesses that have employees. They are not attending church. So this is a valid concern. Birth control is used for various reasons in women's health care. This is a grey area as much as the Right wing would like this to be black and white.
    The "attack" is not an attack. Its what normal businesses have to deal with, so no surprise that their business also has to deal with this.
    At what point to we keep giving churches tax exempt status? They seem to be more and more involved in public policy making? Doens't sound like a church to me. Sounds like a business.

  • Brother Chuck Schroeder A Tropical Paradise USA, FL
    Feb. 15, 2012 9:58 a.m.

    FIRST "the smoke-screen and cover-up" to keep youe eyes gluded here, "Obama's attack on religion a big miscalculation." While Congress does this behind YOUR BACKS. US House Budget ax falls on U.S. air defenses. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, exposed gaping holes in the nation's air security, the U.S. military took steps to dramatically increase its ability to intercept hostile aircraft. Chief among those, Station fighter jets at strategic points across the continental United States, with the goal of being able to intercept a hijacked plane or unfriendly aircraft within 20 minutes of identifying the threat. In the months after the attacks, the United States nearly quadrupled the number of fighter alert sites from seven to 26. Since then, however, the number has shrunk to 16 in the continental United States, including one at Homestead Air Reserve Base in South Florida, plus one each in Hawaii and Alaska. Now, the U.S. Air Force's budget for the next fiscal year reduces that further, eliminating the requirement at two sites that jets and pilots be on alert 24 hours a day. It's not sufficient for the nation's air defense. Sorry Utah.

    My views.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 9:30 a.m.

    Ok.

    I have presented evidence why Republicans choosing to go against a product, birth control, that over 80% of catholic women use, is a mistake.

    Now, let's look at examples of what HAPPENS to people denied birth control:

    ** 'Judge releases beaten teen, citing state's abortion law' - By Emiley Morgan - Published by DSNews - 10/14/09

    'A 17-year-old girl who paid a man to beat her in the hopes of terminating her pregnancy has been...' - article

    A x17 year old girl, factually DENIED birth control, pays a man to BEAT her until she looses the pregnancy.

    This happened, in Utah.

    Also:
    ** 'GOP trying to use tax law to limit abortions' - By Stephen Ohlemacher - AP - Published by DSNews - 03/31/11

    Zero job creation.

    And last:

    Mitt Romney passed REQUIRED contraception in religion in MA...

    in 2002.

    No claims of Romney's 'war on religion' from Republicans.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 9:27 a.m.

    This was not a 'miscalculation'.

    It was drawing out the extreme fringe of the Republican party to present right before an election.

    And guess what? It worked.

    ** 'Sharron Angle's Advice For Rape Victims Considering Abortion: Turn Lemons Into Lemonade' - Sam Stein - Huffington Post - 07/08/10

    "One thing she has not backed away from has been her insistence that abortion should be outlawed universally, even in cases of rape and incest." article

    Sharon Angle won the nomination for the Senate from the Republican party in Arizona.

    She lost.

    Many would consider her '2nd amendment remedies' to be extreme.

    And yet:

    **'Perry shifts views on abortion, opposes exceptions' - By Phillip Elliot - AP Published by DSNews - 12/27/2011

    'OSCEOLA, Iowa Republican Rick Perry is shifting his opposition to abortion, saying he opposes it even after rape or incest.' - article

    Rick Perry ran for the canidacy for the Republican President of the United States.

    He dropped out.

    This shows the extremist veristions of Republicans, that want to deny abortion...

    even in cases of rape, and incest.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 9:24 a.m.

    'Consider the implications of this praise. It means that Obama assaulted the core beliefs of some of his fellow citizens in order to lure them into politically self-destructive behavior.' - article

    I would say, it worked.

    As 1) Over 80% of Catholic women USE contraception. How can the radical Right claim they have the 'majoirty' on their side...

    when majority of the target group, women, USE this product?

    2) This is not creating jobs. And who is at the front line?

    The Republican party and religion. Painting both to be out of touch with the issues that face America, and willing to argue over side issues instead of put the well-being of this country, first.

    And last, Republicans like to use the phrase 'abortion pill' in these debates....

    and yet Roe vs. Wade settled the question of aboriton, in 1973.

    And today, 38 years later, we have examples of Republicans trying to, yet again, deny abortions.

    This shows futility as almost FOUR decades ago, we still have to drag this issue back up for people who (mostly male) will not get pregnant from rape.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 9:23 a.m.

    @ Mike Richards, may I suggest you read Reynolds v. US (1878) and accompanying cases. Then tell me how that applies to today, and to your arguments. I would love to see an explanation on this.

  • Old Jake Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 9:02 a.m.

    Obama is mocking our entire country. It is truly amazing that we tolerate him. We have a President that won't salute the Flag? Why are we even considering anything he says?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 8:53 a.m.

    In a CBSNews/NYTimes poll issued today 61% of people support this Obama policy. Getting 60% support for anything these days is pretty rare.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Feb. 15, 2012 8:53 a.m.

    Obama partial list of miscalculations:

    * increase taxes on the rich will fix the economy.
    * shutting down oil drilling
    * Solyndra
    * we're not a Christian nation
    * Marine corpse men
    * Keystone veto
    * I've been in fifty seven states with one more to go.
    * George Bush took vacations, so sacrifice and help pay for mine.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 8:29 a.m.

    Michael Gleason is pandering to a select group of the Fox News audience.

    The radical right constatnly needs a common boogieman - a strawman - to keep their scare motivated listeners United - otherwise, they turn upon themselves.
    don't believe me?, What the GOP nominations.

    They have created these fictional wars
    war on Religion war,
    War on Terror,
    War on drugs,
    War on Conservatives,
    Class war,
    ect.

    This particular isses is not about religion at all,
    but clearly the completely sepereate businesses owned by Churches.

    This quote by Sullivan was spot on:
    "And if this was a trap, the religious right walked right into it." Religious conservatives are now identified, he says, with "opposition to contraception."

    50% of Americans are women, and Pres. Obama just re-assured the Women's vote.

    The GOP keeps catering to the Archie Bunker's of America, and alienating everyone else not just like them.

    Archie Bunker - Rush Limbaugh, co-incidence?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 15, 2012 8:15 a.m.

    The Constitution clearly and unmistakably states that Congress cannot interfere with religion. Period. That case is closed. Anyone who believes differently either can't read or chooses not to read the plain and simple words of the Constitution.

    The President and the Courts know that neither of them can legislate. That is clearly written in the Constitution. There is no doubt about that. Only Congress is given authority by the people to legislate.

    The President is required, by law, to take an oath of office where he swears that he will uphold the Constitution.

    All of that has become a joke to Mr. Obama. He is doing everything that he can possibly do to trash the Constitution and the limits that YOU and I put on him.

    The people retain all authority, all rights and all power that were not specifically delegated to government. Mr. Obama would have us believe that HE parcels out authority, rights and power to US.

    He attacked religion full on. He tried to enforce an unconstitutional law that dictates to an establishment of religion what they must do, notwithstanding the fact that their doctrine forbids them from complying.

    Mr. Obama failed in his duty.

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 8:05 a.m.

    The left wing has an open and stated agenda of removing all religious influence from American society. The left wants the public looking only to government for support, and not to any religious institution. If people look only to government, that increases the power of government and of the left wing extremists in office.

    Only the most extreme claim that there is no attack on religion. Clearly, forcing a religious institution to violate its core beliefs is one of the most insidious attacks there is.

    It is time for the public to stop apologizing to the left for the irrefutable fact that the Founding Fathers established this Country on Judeo-Christian principles. Let us reject leftist propaganda and return to being the nation that the Fathers intended us to be.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 7:45 a.m.

    Catholics in a Pew poll cited in this newspaper yesterday are 52-39 in favor of Obama's decision. Some miscalculation... even the "attacked" group supports the "attack".

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    Feb. 15, 2012 7:05 a.m.

    Gerson has overestimated the scope of Obama's contraception blunder. He also fails to mention that insurance companies WANT to supply contraception, since it is much less expensive for them than pregnancies, and additional children.

    The genius in Obama's "blunder" is that after his skillful retreat the conservatives are now trying to continue the attack against birth-control, a losing issue for the right, since most Americans support access to contraception. In addition, Obama's miss step appears to have rallied the religious right behind Santorum, draining support for Romney and further dividing the GOP.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 6:50 a.m.

    There is no attack on religion. Let's make that clear. Statements that there is an attack are nothing more than partisan politics, particularly from politicized religious institutions than want government protection for them but not for competing religious views and institutions. They effectively want a state sponsored church. The Constitution, for them, is good when convenient, and to be ignored when inconvenient.

  • Emajor Ogden, UT
    Feb. 15, 2012 6:46 a.m.

    "Attack on religion"? Give me a break, the only people really upset about this are Catholic leadership and unsavory political types looking for any political edge against Obama. From what I've heard, the majority of polled Catholics are not opposed to contraceptives or this mandate. Many of the religion's leaders, however, are. And as one news analyst put it: "There are more women in the country than Catholics"

    Attack on religion? A mountain out of less than a mole hill. I thought liberals were the only ones so sensitive and easily offended.