Comments about ‘In our opinion: Conscientious objection’

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Published: Saturday, March 17 2012 12:00 p.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

So... may I, out of deeply held personal conviction, now refuse to deal with Mormons who come to me seeking my services?

May I similarly refuse to pay the portion of my taxes that fund government activities I find morally repugnant?

May I now exercise my personal bigotries against my neighbors by asserting personal conscience?

Do we all now just abandon the notion of the social contract that holds a functioning and fair society together?

Increasingly, wrongly, and tragically, today's crop of religious conservatives regard the narrowing of the mind and inward-turning of the soul as a virtue.

We become a _less_ moral society through this narrowness.

the truth
Holladay, UT

RE: Blue

You should be free to follow to follow your conscience,

and enjoy it's rewards,

and reponsible to accept it's consequences,

and yet the far left who talks of tolerance and compassion,

would strip the very essence of freedom and agency away, and force all to live in their version of utopian sameness and faux social morality.

there is no social contract without totalitarian control,
it implies you must force others to live, talk, think, behave, a certain way.

True freedom is individual reponsibility, individual morality, individual charity, individual love, and so on,

being taught the correct path by love, patience, and long suffering,

and true great society is created, by a person coming by their own agency to understand, through love and service to others and honesty and morality and work,

makes a people of one heart and one mind,
this creates that true utopia the left desires.

And if you find that the government funding certain activities repugnent,
shouldn't the government be funding less activites and not more, and not be our task master(a government that is supposed to be the people and not a distant body)?

conservative scientist
Lindon, UT

Thank you for this excellent editorial and also the accompanying article about religious objectors. I also appreciate the thoughts of "the truth" above.



I can answer those questions in order.

No, you can't turn away someone because of their beliefs. But if you run a bookstore you aren't required to sell copies of the Book of Mormon.

No, you can't choose which taxes you pay because we all share the rewards and consequences of our country. But you can speak out against the things you don't agree with and elect representatives to change laws that are against your beliefs.

No, you can't use personal beliefs to defend your bigotry. But you can use your voice to speak out against choices (not people) which you are against.

No, we don't abandon our social contracts or let society lose morals. We respect that others believe differently than us and work together to have each of our needs met. We respect a pharmacies decision to not sell a drug with which they disagree as long as they respect us in helping us find a nearby pharmacy to fill our prescriptions.

Hope this helped.

Ravenna, OH

Denial of service in a public place the essence of bigotry. D Rhonda Mesler and her co-litigants refuse to sell fertility enhancing drugs as well? I suspect they have such moral objection in that kind of interference with human conception. They have cherry=picked their moral positions based on their biases, as has DN.

Is Rhonda Mesler prepared to assume the responsibilities of an unplanned child and its overwhelmed single mother? Do she make exceptions for rape or incest? Does she judge whether these have really occurred as described to her? Does make efforts to prevent a suicidal teenager from ending both lives? I think not. She just feels smug in her denial without taking any social or moral responsibility. You know, the kind of responsibility that Jesus preached when he said "love your neighbor as yourself".

What Rhonda Mesler shows is a focused love of self without the extension of that love to a neighbor in a moment of crisis.

American Fork, UT

Next time some fool wants to invade Iraq, i conscientiously object.

Bill McGee
Alpine, UT

The article cited in this editorial doesn't describe the circumstances leading to the second trimester abortion.

Eclampsia requires bed rest. But what if you are a poor mother with mouths to feed? Armchair ethicists vote to support the right of a pharmacist, but refuse to support taxes that would help a woman forced into a traumatic dilemma.

If you care so much about babies, compensate that woman's lost wages so she can afford to be bedridden. Pay for child care and pre-natal care do she can continue to feed and clothe her other children. Pay parents and employers for sick child leave. Ensure that children have access to medical and dental care. If you want to stop abortion, don't just try to pass laws so you can feel smugly self-righteous. Pass laws that eliminate the financial burdens that drive the majority of abortion decisions. Studies indicate that such a move could reduce abortion by up to 80%. You cannot put your wallet ahead of your ethics without the risk of hypocrisy.

Orem, UT


Actually, you can refuse to provide services to anyone you wish. If you are a photographer, you are not forced to take pictures of Mormon weddings. If you serve food, you don't have to provide green jello with carrots.

It is usually the left that wants to enact laws that will force people to use certain light bulbs, drive certain cars, embrace certain sexual preferences, and give free stuff to other people.

Dammam, Saudi Arabia

I see a of people who pride themselves in being liberal and compassionate taking the same tough law and order stand that I might expect to see in an Arizona tea-parties talking about illegal immigration.

Some supposedly conservative people have suddenly realized that government too set on justice, law and the common good can metamorphose into something that looks a little like 1930's fascism.

I enjoy these discussions.

Dammam, Saudi Arabia

@Hutterite: "Next time some fool wants to invade Iraq, i conscientiously object." You mean Iran? Good for you. But you can only conscientously object if they draft you. Then you have to show that this is a sincere belief. You cannot for example argue that you think that the current war is immoral, or that you disagree with the wars because there are better alternatives. You have to disagree with war, period.

There are legal precedents about this and even with the questions that a draft board can ask as they determine if you are a conscientous objector.

It is good that the discussion has evolved to the point where we are discussing conscientous objectors. I think that a society should allow conscientous objectors. I am not going to force a Quaker into the army because of some tea-party ethic about law and order and the government always knows best.

Nan BW
ELder, CO

I have missed some of the articles that apparently have led up to this one. However, I am extremely grateful that my mother, who nearly died at my birth because of pre-eclampsia had not been encouraged by her doctor to end the pregnancy to avoid that peril. I am also grateful that I did NOT end the pregnancy I definitely did not plan. I am so glad that someone else benfitted by my impulsive behavior and that I don't have an abortion to remember. That would be hard on my conscience, which has enough other memories to address! Sadly, much of this boils down to placing convenience ahead of conscience.

El Chango Supremo
Rexburg, ID

Well written article, I couldn't agree with it more!

Salt Lake City, UT

I always chuckle when groups of people claim protection and rights under the name of a Nation they don't serve or pledge allegiance to.

Muslims who seek our religious freedoms and civil rights but won't salute our flag.

Immigrants who cry out for "rights" protected by laws they chose to break and demand public services they do not pay taxes to.

Draft dodgers who claim umbrage under liberties they choose not to defend themselves.

In a way, we've all become kindergardeners who want toys and ice cream from stores we fight against and that we didn't pay for. Maybe it doesn't matter who our President is when the people are so far from deserving any help.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Thanks for the very well written editorial. But, it missed the primary point that underlies the problem.

When did we, the American People, give government the authority to tell us what we MUST do in our private occupation? We do not work for the government, yet they want to tell us what products we must sell and what procedures we must perform.

Where is that authority enumerated in the Constitution?

Government has greatly exceeded its authority. Now it demands that we kill unborn babies and that we prevent babies from being conceived. How does that "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity"?

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

We have rights and freedom because we came together and agreed to limit some of our own rights and freedoms in exchange for the rights and freedoms we wanted most.

Every right, every freedom that we have came about because our government, the American people, has the ability to limit and control the freedom of others to harm us.

Business exists at the will of the society government. A government may not force a business to operate in a certain way or sell a certain product, but a government can deny the business a license to operate within itÂs authority.

There are no Constitutional rights for a business operation.

Freedom of religion is about the individualÂs freedom to believe as that individual wants. It does not give freedom of religion to churches or a religion itself. And while the individual has the right and ability to believe any thing he chooses, he may not have the right to act on his belief.

We do not allow human sacrifice not how intensely a person may believe.

Salt Lake City, UT

Did Hutterite forget Obama's war in Afghanistan and only remember Bush's war in Iraq? Such selective indignation belongs on the comics page of the DN. Both wars reflect the thoughts often expressed in the military - war is old men sending young men to die.

Salt Lake City, UT

@the truth
"yet the far left who talks of tolerance and compassion,

would strip the very essence of freedom and agency away, and force all to live in their version of utopian sameness and faux social morality.

The far left isn't the one forcing women to be probed just to try to make them feel guilty. Utopian sameness and faux social morality... I'm pretty sure you just described social conservatives whether you intended to or not.


You forgot about southernors who fly the rebel flag while questioning the patriotism of liberals.

Could've sworn that Afghanistan was started 7 years before Obama got into office... so it's hardly "Obama's war". You could say it's bush and obama's war though.

Cottonwood Heights, UT

"A government may not force a business to operate in a certain way or sell a certain product, but a government can deny the business a license to operate within its authority. " - Ultra Bob

If a government can deny a license to a business that refuses to supply a certain product, or to a doctor who refuses to provide a certain type of service, then YES, it is forcing them to carry that product and provide that service.

Leftists evoke the language of freedom and choice only when it furthers their narrrow-minded ideological agenda. They do not believe in choice vis-a-vis abortion for doctors, nurses and pharrmacists. They do not believe in choice with regards to parents who want to send their child to a private school and not have to pay for that education twice.

People, businesses, and institutions are not extensions of the government. They don't have to do something because a bureacrat or legislature wants them to if it violates their individual rights. Restrictions on freedom must be compelling and necessary, whether its the restriction on the right to have an abortion, or compelling someone to perform one.

Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA

There are communities who would love to restrict or prohibit Mormon Missionaries from proselyting in their neighborhoods because it offends their deeply held religious beliefs. Nondiscrimination laws get in the way, however. I believe if the Deseret News gets its way, you could easily see a local prosecutor refuse to enforce such laws because his religious convictions tell him that Mormons do not deserve such protections. You can't have it both ways. Either we are a nation of laws or we are not.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah


Read the Constitution.

The 1st Amendment keeps anti-Mormon laws from being passed.

Article IV, Clause 2 states: "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding."

If a State of a community wrote anti-Mormon laws, the Federal Government would pursue that State or that Community (SHALL, PURSUANCE require action by the Federal Government).

A local prosecutor WOULD obey the Constitution or he would find himself being prosecuted.

Religion is protected. Selling contraceptives or preforming abortions is not.

Read the Constitution. It is all there.

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