My view: Restoring the right of religious conscience with an amendment


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  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    March 7, 2012 12:25 p.m.

    To "Wally West" the liberal media has given Bush the title of Progressive, I think that he may also have callled himself progressive. If you are looking for a common link between all the people who are out there trying to circumvent the constitution, they are all Progressives (liberals).

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    March 7, 2012 10:20 a.m.

    @ RedShirt 8:42 a.m. March 7, 2012

    I don't know that I'd call W a progressive. It IMO is just awful policy (regardless of ideology). I believe its called Fabian Socialism?

    The common link between W, Obama, & previous 3 Presidents is an Ivy League Education. Surely you can see all the terrible legislation enacted in the last 24 yrs.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 7, 2012 8:42 a.m.

    To "Wally West" yes, like the patriot act. The Progressive (liberal) George Bush implemented it, then the Uber Progressive Obama made the Patriot Act more invasive and made the worst parts of it permanent.

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    March 6, 2012 8:33 p.m.

    re: RedShirt 1:24 p.m. March 5, 2012

    "Your liberal buddies are the ones who are destroying it through their unconstitutional laws and errosion of our freedoms."

    Like the Patriot Act?

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    March 6, 2012 8:14 p.m.


    The fact is that I made an error in my rewording part of my comment. I left part of it 'chopped up' and not revised.

    'We as a people have the option to "not recognize" any marriage institution for any couples. Because this is an option, state recognition is not a basic human right.'

    I am sure you will find that able to be comprehended.

    Most people I have met in my life have taken my opinions seriously. Many persons on this site have taken me seriously. I can articulate my views, but like everyone else I make mistakes. I have nothing more to say on this article or to anyone else commenting. I have adequately addressed what was asked of me.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    March 6, 2012 6:42 p.m.

    Voice of "Reason", the reason people on this site do not take you serious is because of statements like this:

    He makes a very neglected point about how 'state recognition' to no couples whatsoever. The existence of this option excludes the possibility of 'state recognition' being a basic human right.

    That is from your last post. Reread it. Look at it from someone else's perspective.

    It makes no sense. And your posts are full of comments like this. You demand that your posts deserve respect yet they are incomprehensible much of the time. You may know what you are trying to say, but your ideas aren't getting through.

    Just friendly advice. Reread your comments before you post and ask yourself if you are being clear. Will someone else understand what it is you are saying?

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    March 6, 2012 4:32 p.m.

    To the 3 persons who have replied to me-

    I have not pretended anything nor am I offended. Regardless of whether my claims deserve recognized credibility- they certainly require accurate representation to be examined. So far, no one has made such an attempt- which is demanded among the highest of educated, intellectual, or reasonable institutions. It seems clear that I cannot expect such functional discourse on here.

    Look up the "TED" presentation from Harvard professor Michael Sandel, one of the most demanded philosophy professors in the world. He makes a very neglected point about how 'state recognition' to no couples whatsoever. The existence of this option excludes the possibility of 'state recognition' being a basic human right.

    I've also stated several secular claims on many points concerning our laws, which are all available on this site. I have not hidden behind my claims as they are published.

    This covers basic human rights and morality (as Sandel well outlines how concepts of virtue can rationally explain the validity of religious claims in the public square, secular reasoning on law (past comments), and I even have religious claims- but I rarely share those on here.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    March 6, 2012 6:55 a.m.

    @VoR says:

    "Our bill of rights protects minorities. The problem is people are putting things there that don't exist.

    My claims deserve more respect and credibility."


    No your claims don't deserve more respect and credibility than any other's claims.

    You claim to "uphold" the Constitiution, and that your freedoms are being denied while, in fact, you are the one refusing to allow certain American Citizens to enjoy the SAME benefits and Constitutional Rights that YOU partake of. That is hypocrisy.

    You claim the right to Vote on the Rights of Other Americans, yet you refuse to put your own rights up to a popular vote. You claim to use "secular" reasoning, but it all comes back around to "god says so" in the end with you. That isn't secular reasoning.

    Someone else said it better earlier, Rights aren't granted by the Majority, they're granted by the Constitution. We don't need your vote to enjoy our Constitutional Rights. You don't need our vote to enjoy your religious freedom; BUT your religious freedom DOES NOT INCLUDE the right or the freedom to infringe upon the rights of others in any way.

  • spring street SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 5, 2012 10:16 p.m.

    @voice of reason
    where exactly is this rational reasoning based on secular reasoning you claim to have and if it is so sound why is it that the courts continually rind such reasoning without bases. this pretending to be rational and offended that others would dare question you thing is getting really old we have all learned better a long time ago.

    March 5, 2012 10:11 p.m.

    way to misquote me and not actually address my points voice, well done. Did I say you where the only one that helped vote them in? no I did not. Did you address the fact that so man of the message bills or congress pass end up failing constitutional muster? no you did not. Did you provide a rational explanations for your position? no you did not, you made wild claims and accusations, but thanks for playing.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    March 5, 2012 9:46 p.m.


    While this is "our" state, I wasn't the only one who helped elect our representatives. As far as the constitution. I firmly believe in upholding it. However, I have also rationally explained how my religious beliefs and corresponding political opinions are in maintaining our constitution- while those disagreeing with such beliefs are in fact attempting to remove constitutional principles which are necessary for our maintaining a peaceful government and society.

    You may not agree with my opinion, but I can rationally and objectively explain myself, even with secular reasoning. I have many times and will continue to. Therefore it is illogical and inappropriate to state that I'm "blatantly thumbing my nose" at the constitution.

    Spring Street,

    I would suggest reading about the straw-man fallacy. Unless you give people's claims the utmost credibility they deserve, then your own arguments relying on such premises cannot be supported. I do not support a theocracy of any kind. Until we can listen to each other without presuming completely false things about others, no progress can be made.

    Our bill of rights protects minorities. The problem is people are putting things there that don't exist.

    My claims deserve more respect and credibility.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    March 5, 2012 9:34 p.m.

    you don't give me rights, rights are guaranteed by our constitution not the whims of the "Majority."

  • spring street SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 5, 2012 9:18 p.m.

    @voice of reason
    "People claim they have a right to more than democracy, to more than what others give freely......" that is because we live in a republic with a constitution which protects the minority from simple majority rule. this is where your arguments always get hung up and the simple fact that seems to elude the religious rights thinking on this issue. Just because you cannot overrun the minority with a christian based theocracy does not mean your rights are being taken away or that there is an attack on religion.

    March 5, 2012 9:03 p.m.

    @voice of reason
    the fact that the religious right try to use there votes to continually attempt to pass laws that blatantly thumb their nose at the constitution would suggest otherwise. OUr own state legislature, the people you helped elect, are a great example of that.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 5, 2012 4:17 p.m.

    To "LDS Liberal" you are wrong. the Amendment starting Prohibition was not a conservative issue. That was a Progressive/Liberal lead efford to ammend the Constitution.

    Here is the problem that you and your ilk forget. You are complaining about people following the law to change the Constitution, while your Progressive/Liberal leaders issue executive orders to create laws that go against the Constitution. If you would like to have any credibility, you could at least try an get changes made in accordance with the Constitution rather than circumventing the Constitution.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    March 5, 2012 1:52 p.m.

    USS Enterprise, UT
    To "LDS Liberal" it isn't trampling on the Constitution to ammend it. Just because you don't like it does not mean that it is wrong.


    If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

    So what you are saying it that Conservative/Republicans see the Consitution as a failed documnet, full of holes, and in constant need of change and repair.

    We went down that bunny trail with conservative's Amendment of Prohibition and its repeal later.

    BTW - Just because you don't like it, [or agree with the Supreme Court or Public opinion] doesn't mean it needs "fixing" either.
    That in my mind is categorically "Trampling" in my book.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 5, 2012 1:24 p.m.

    To "LDS Liberal" it isn't trampling on the Constitution to ammend it. Just because you don't like it does not mean that it is wrong. You forget that they are following the letter of the law to make those changes.

    Your liberal buddies are the ones who are destroying it through their unconstitutional laws and errosion of our freedoms.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    March 5, 2012 12:51 p.m.

    Why do the very same Conservatives - who tell us they love and chersih, and "defend" the Constitution,
    are always the 1st one trampling it and trying to change it?

    Balanced Budget Amendment?
    Federal Marriage Amendment?
    Re-Pealling the 14th Amendment?
    Flag desecration Amendment? [Orrin Hatch]
    Human Life Amendment? [Oriin Hatch, again]
    School Prayer Amendment?
    Protecting God in the Pledge and Motto Amendment?
    Contunity of Governing Amendment? [Orrin Hatch, 3rd times the charm?]
    Equal Opportunity to Govern Amendment? {Orrin Hatch -- anyone see the trend?!]

    Trying Living the Constitution,
    and Please stop changing it to just suit YOUR defintion of life.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 5, 2012 12:23 p.m.

    To "cjb" the "compromise" offered by Obama is nothing more than a shell game. While the University is not directly paying for contraception, they are paying indirectly for it because now the insurance companies will have to pay for it, and will increase the fees they charge places like the Catholic Universities and Hospitals to administer their insurance.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    March 5, 2012 10:26 a.m.

    Beware of simple solutions to complex problems and beware the law of unintended consequences. I suppose, under the amendment that Mr. Smith is supporting, that anyone could claim constitutional protection for any religiously supported act, including female circumcision, polygamy, and even ritual human sacrifice. There are more religions in town than just one, you know.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 5, 2012 9:04 a.m.

    Religious oppression? News to me. Maybe I don't see what rights I'm losing when I've gone to mass every week this year and am reading my Lenten Devotional on school grounds.

    Oh, and fyi... over half of catholic hospitals/universities already offer birth control in their insurance coverage. Churches are exempt as they should be but business entitites are subject to labor law. It's not like Catholic universities don't have to follow minimum wage laws. The health insurance mandate would fall under labor law.

  • homebrew South Jordan, UT
    March 5, 2012 8:45 a.m.

    What rights have men and women had to fight for since the time of Madison?? Voting rights, equal rights. Now the gay community are fighting for their rights. All men are created equal. Men ,women, Gay, straight, Black and white. All men. Why is it infringing on your rights but you dont give a hoot about the plight of Gay and lesbian peoples rights. HYPOCRITES. If you want to quote the constitution, then be ready to live by what it says.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    March 5, 2012 7:19 a.m.


    Until and unless you are willing to put your own right to marry up to a popular vote, you have not business putting the right of Other Americans up to the vote. Otherwise, you bet your sweet patootie that it IS Tyranny Of The Majority.

    Today, religion IS conducting a war against Secular Society; and our eyes are open, you will lose.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    March 5, 2012 7:14 a.m.

    The religious are using their "conscience" to violate the rights of other American Citizens these days; what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

    Respect other people's rights and perhaps they'll respect your own in turn.

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    March 4, 2012 10:12 p.m.

    With the American public becoming less religious and also more religiously diverse, Historic Christianity's influence over public policy and the culture is waning. Governments are less likely grant religion special rights. I do, however, side with the catholics on the birth control issue. Obama was asking the Catholic Church to directly fund something it doctrinally opposes. Obama caved and is now wanting to have the insurance companies pay for the birch control. 3 problems - 1. The government does NOT have the authority to force a company to give away something for nothing. 2. The insurance companies will simply raise the monthly rates of those employed by the Catholics by a few dollars so that the cost of any birth control will be covered. 3. Even if 1 & 2 were wrong, the person receiving the birth control will be receiving it due to the Catholic Church employing them. By simply hiring the individual, the Church is promoting that individual's availibility to birth control. This is a clear violation of their religious freedom.

    The special rights religion had be given in the past (prayer and Bible reading in the schools for example) rightly should be eliminated, but forcing a church to directly promote something that is contrary to its teachings is wrong.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    March 4, 2012 6:30 p.m.

    I made a good point in a post that didn't make it and that point is this: Religious people do some pretty nasty stuff as a choice of conscience. Either we have to keep the wings of religion clipped or religion is going to start doing some pretty crazy things. If this is the case, as a matter of conscience, me and my agenda are joining them.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    March 4, 2012 1:06 p.m.

    Sorry, I messed up. I meant to say 'since NO such constitutional amendment will ever be passed.'

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    March 4, 2012 12:38 p.m.

    Since there's such constitutional amendment will ever be passed, why was this article published? The relevant facts are these: the Constitution already has an amendment defining religious liberty. And nothing in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act violates it.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    March 4, 2012 12:06 p.m.

    The alleged "war" is the result of blowback.

    Religions (doesn't matter which) try to influence policy & then get called out by secular types. The result is for Religions to play the victim card.

    There is no Amendment needed! Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli takes precedence IMO.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    March 4, 2012 11:15 a.m.

    I can understand it is a slap in the face of conservative Catholics to force them to go out of their way to provide birth control. I don't understand why the compromise offered by Obama continues to be a problem.

    They say if the insurance company pays for it, this money comes out of their pocket. While true, .. what is the point? Since when does an employer (or anyone) have control over money they pay out to other people. Once the money is paid out, it is that person's or organizations money to do with what they want. Don't many employees of Catholic organizations already use the money they earn to get their own birth control?

    Catholics ought not try to dictate something like birth control to the wider population. I can understand them trying to influence the law and debate about abortion, because abortion is purposely taking the life of an innocent person. I applaud them in this effort. However birth control doesn't hurt anyone or take away anyones rights. It is an arbitrary religious rule.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    March 4, 2012 10:44 a.m.

    There are no shortage of people who believe Mormons are not Christian and would love to make use of such a religious exemption to deny Latter-day Saints their right to operate in the public sphere.

    The constitution is an imperfect instrument for distributing power. Sometimes the rules you may chafe under are the very rules that protect you.

    Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 4, 2012 10:15 a.m.

    EveryoneÂs freedom depends on the restriction of freedom imposed on the other members of our world by our government.

    We have the freedom to move about because our government will punish those who would do us harm.

    We have the freedom to eat food and drink not of our own making because the government enforces rules of proper preparation of commercial foods upon food producers.

    It is a true fact that every freedom that we have is allowed us because as a group we agree to limit our personal freedom to harm others.

    ItÂs not a perfect system, and there are many freedoms that we would rather not give up. But in the exchange of rights we agree to give up those things for the better freedom we get back.

    Religious freedom is a special case. Because of the intensity of personal conviction and the fierceness of competition between religions, a truce of sorts was created by the first amendment of our Constitution. Basically the idea was that government, the only thing more powerful than religions, would not take sides and favor any religion over another.

    While reluctantly agreeing to that, the religions and churches are constantly straining against the limits of that agreement. With some success, on our coins, public prayers, religious advertising and sometimes special accommodations.

    A seemingly general rule is also that religions cannot take away from individuals any of the rights given American citizens by the American government. Thus the notion that some of us have that a religious business operated in the public domain may not exempt it self from compliance of civil law. Even if the civil law is in conflict with the church's doctrine.

    If somehow churches should gain that right, it should also be given to all citizens.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    March 4, 2012 10:06 a.m.

    "Madison responded that the free exercise right could only be limited when the exercise of that right deprived another of an "equal liberty" and when that exercise of conscience "manifestly endangered" the "existence of the state.""


    There IS a war on religious liberty and freedom of thought. I have never forced my beliefs, or rather my opinions into law. I have democratically voiced them. This is at the very core of democracy. Where others have rejected voting altogether in favor of their own superior morality. People claim they have a right to more than democracy, to more than what others give freely, to more than what they can gain with their own two hands and own choices.

    People claim "tyranny of the majority" anytime a vote is lost now. Voting democratically and freely is an open decision by society to engage in. In voting there must always be a majority and minority. The existence of a majority opinion that "tells us what is lawful and not lawful" is not tyranny, imposing, or in conflict with freedom. Tyranny is "a government in which absolute power is vested in a single ruler." (Webster) Absolute power cannot exist in a democratic act. We all have rights as citizens that are unbreakable by democracy. This protects all citizens from others. If my vote has not taken your freedom to think, press, worship, meet, bear arms- then my vote has imposed nothing more than what your vote has done. We all have an equal right to vote. When others claim that they have more rights than WE have placed in our constitution. When courts imply rights in order to negate votes then you have taken an "implied right" to negate an ACTUAL right in the constitution- even my right to vote.

    Claiming religious oppression from a democratic vote is logically no different from claiming "I have no freedom to win every vote I want".

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 4, 2012 9:11 a.m.

    Do business operations in the public square, have immunity from civil laws that regulate businesses, because they are owned and/or operated by a religious entity?

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Is the operation of a church owned business a part of the prohibiting the free exercise thereof?

    If religious people have the right to refuse to obey the law because of personal convictions, do other people also have that right whether they are religious or not.

    My personal conviction is that I should not allow my taxes to support religion, charities, and other non governmental services. Do I therefore have the right to refuse to pay taxes?

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    March 4, 2012 8:41 a.m.

    "Madison responded that the free exercise right could only be limited when the exercise of that right deprived another of an 'equal liberty'". Thankfully since the time of Madison what constitutes a liberty/right has been greatly expanded and now includes preventative health care, and is rapidly including marrying whom you wish. Times and circumstances do change. 2012 is not 1787.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    March 4, 2012 8:17 a.m.

    This overwrought hand-wringing is wearisome. There is no war on religion. And certainly no attack on freedom of conscience. When the institutions do foolish things, overstep their bounds, seek to impose their will on others, seek special benefits and protections from government, and so forth, they will find resistance. This is not the same as an attack on conscience.

    When Mr. Smith and others who see institutional interests as the same as individual freedom of conscience come out and support the overturn of Reynolds v. U.S. (1878) and companion cases, then talk to me about conscience. Until that time, Mr. Smith and others are really arguing for protection of certain institutional interests and views, plus essentially arguing for state sponsorship of their views to the detriment of views of others. Theirs is a misleading and deceptive argument.