Comments about ‘Readers' forum: Can the state silence conscience?’

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Published: Thursday, April 12 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Far East USA, SC

Unfortunately Anthony, some portion of our taxes will always be spent on things with which we disagree.

You may disagree with war on general principle

But lets look at some issues based on religion.

A butcher or grocery store manager forced to sell meat on Friday during lent
A Surgeon forced to give a blood transfusion
A doctor with an HIV patient
A worker called in on Sunday because of a crisis
A restaurant worker forced to pour coffee or serve alcohol

What is the solution to these situations?

We call all find things to be upset about.

And those causes do not become more noble just because one can link it to a religious belief.

Salt Lake City, UT

The thesis of this letter is ridiculous.

Do I get to express and defend my conscience when I pay taxes, supporting only those public expenditures with which my personal sensibilities agree?

Do I get to satisfy my moral objections and withhold the portion of my taxes that i know will be spent on a bloated military, corporate subsidies, and the degradation of our national infrastructure?

Moreover, since when is it acceptable to hide behind a claim of "private conscience" to excuse the willful failure to either do the job you've been hired to do, or otherwise obey the law of the land?

And when you encounter a claim of "personal conscience" as a rationale for unreasonable behavior, who gets to decide whether this claimed excuse is legitimate?

Conservatives, you're not making any sense here.

Logan, UT

Mr. Black, your argument has been offered many times by those who are opposed to the horrors of war, and to the bleak prospect of capital punishment, especially in the environment of justice miscarried. Keep raising the alarm.

Burke, VA

"Thomas Jefferson believed compelling a man to furnish money for that which he abhors is sinful and tyrannical."

A portion of my taxes paid for a portion of the exprenses required for my country to wage a preemptive war of aggression against another country based on trumped up, phoney evidence of weapons that did not exist and reasons that were proven to be false. If I were a cynical man, and I often am, I would suggest that this war was promoted and promulgated by two specific men for egotistical revenge and/or to put maneys on the coffers of amulti-national corporation that profits from war and maintains great influence over one of these men. Over 4500 of our brave soldiers and thousands of innocent citizens were killed in that conflict and our country's reputation was dealt a body blow.

If I had refused to pay my taxes over the past decade in protest of that action by my country I would have been punished, possibly jailed. I don't disagree with the premise presented by the letter writer but I wonder just how far we are all willing to promote that concept.

  • 6:17 a.m. April 12, 2012
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John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT

This letter is absolutely correct that central freedoms are under attack as never before in this Country. Something must be done before it is too late.

The left wing is determined to turn America into an atheistic welfare state with abortion-on-demand. Indeed, the left seeks to destroy all ability to follow religious practices which disagree with leftist dogma.

The left wants to destroy all religious influence on the public because it wants the public to rely solely on government for sustanence, protection, and guidence. The left would have man render everything unto Caesar, and nothing unto God.

The actions of the left are a direct slap in the face to the Founding Fathers. The Fathers believed that religious freedom was of the utmost importance, which is why they protected it in the very First Amendment.

The great masses must awaken in time to see what the left is doing before it is too late. All patriotic Americans must use this Fall's elections to throw all left wing extremists out of office.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

"... their taxes subsidizing Planned Parenthood abortions..."

What percentage of abortions provided by Planned Parenthood are tax subsidized? I'll give you a clue - the number starts and ends with zero.

I, personally don't wish to fund nuclear weapons development. I find it repugnant, yet I "get" to pay for it every two weeks.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The Pope has said that access to healthcare is an "inalienable human right" and that all countries have a moral obligation to provide universal healthcare. Do Catholics have a right of conscience on this issue to require our government to do that? If not, then why do they have a right of conscience to force society to support the Pope's views on contraception?


Censorship is alive and well at Deseret News.
Mr. Black
The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funding of abortion period. Emergency contraception is not abortion. It prevents fertilization. Planned Parenthood does not use your money to fund abortions.
But, you say money is fungible?

The same argument can be applied to tithes paid to churches.

Life is complex and diverse. Get used to it.
Opposed to abortion? Don't have one.
Opposed to contraceptives? Don't use them.

Religion is not under attack.

Salt Lake City, UT

Well, I guess one approach would be to make sure that no policy is offensive to ANY faith tradition. So-- all food marketed must be certified kosher AND hallal AND vegetarian. No alcohol or coffee. And no spaghetti, lest the Pastafarians object to the symbolic cannibalism of their nondeity (or is that communion for them?). No business or government office could be open on the Sabbath, which of course starts at dusk on Friday and continues through Sunday. No technological drugs or medicine at all to avoid offending the Christian Scientists. But then, there wouldn't be any drugs anyway because budding scientists would have their biology classes given up to creationism. And no high tech at all, really (I forgot about the Amish). And no pledge to the flag-- can't offend the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Yeah, the best way to deal with the problem of conscience is to find the lowest common denominator. That way no one is forced to make any hard decisions or compromise their values.

Funny how contraception, a ban that the great majority of Catholics honor in the breach, has become a flashpoint for religious conservatives, while immoral wars get a pass.

Eagle Mountain, UT

Mr. Black,

Chaplains whose religion oppose Same Sex Marriage, are not only protected from performing these marriages, they are prohibited from doing so! The military cannot force a chaplain to preach or do something contrary to their beliefs.

As far as Justices of the Peace, they are judges, and their job is to interpret, and enforce law, not create it.

Kearns, UT

Good Letter.

Salt Lake City, UT

i wish I didn't have to pay for thing's i'm morally opposed too. Catholic Charities would no longer be getting my (tax) money. I wouldn't have to pay for wars. We lock up way too many people so I would only pay for half of the prisons in America. These are all things i'm morally opposed to so why am I paying for those? Or do I have to go to a building on Sunday for my morality to be considered?

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Conscience should play a MAJOR part in our lives. If WE believe that something is wrong, WE have the obligation to resist that "something".

If WE believe that the government should not force us to perform abortions, WE have the obligation to NOT perform abortions.

The same goes for dispensing contraceptives. If WE decide that we will not prevent birth then WE have the right to not dispense contraceptives.

The result of doing anything is to accept the fact that there are consequences. Our employer may fire us if we don't perform our job to his satisfaction. We may be jailed if the government thinks that we have broken a law.

The important point is that each of us has the right to decide for ourselves what we will do in any circumstance even though we will suffer the consequences of our actions.

Speaking up allows others to know that what they are doing is unconscionable to us. When enough people speak up, society will change.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

I know of someone from my ward who refused to pay taxes. He thought it was "against his conscience" to pay federal income taxes. I don't need to go into details, but BOYYYY did he regret that decision!

This is just another lame rant against taxes and against Planned Parenthood. Nutcakes like these want to talk about the evil Federal Government taking over and fighting religion. In reality, this war against religion lies within their isolated and dare I say, irrational, mind.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

However, It is fairly common knowledge that congress does make laws that restrict religious practices. The most notorious might be the law against human sacrifice.

Further, religious belief is not an excuse for disobeying any American civil law. A priest should not exceed the speed limit just because he is going to a church meeting.

Further, the notion that a person today can actually know the true motivation of people who lived hundreds of year ago in a different world is nonsense.

Further, if everyone could ignore the laws that they find objectionable, our society would revert a free-for-all jungle.

further, our government cannot give one set of freedoms to one group and withhold it from others.

Further, the voluntary acceptance of American citizenship, requires the acceptance of American laws and membership fees.

Further, I object to my tax money being use to finance religion and it’s commercial businesses.

You may believe in Theocracy as a form of government, but the first amendment says you can’t use the government to help you achieve that goal.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

I think some study might help the letter writer...

"We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law."

Springville, UT

Conscience and actions are two different things. Do you feel the same about people who refused to serve in Viet Nam? How about polygamists in 19th Century Utah, or even polygamists today? If there is a compelling state or public interest, then some may be mandated to provide goods and services. They should think about this when they voluntarily enter certain professions. They can choose whether or not to enter those professions, but once they do, they take on certain obligations. Thus, a pharmacist may be obliged to provide certain medications as instructed by a medical doctor, and it is not the role of the pharmacist to second guess the doctor's instructions. The pharmacist may not be aware of all the circumstances of the patient, so how can the pharmacist make the decision? Again, the choice is made when one enters a profession. Doctors and lawyers are in this position all the time and they make decisions based on the requirements of the patient/client. Don't like it? Do something else.

USS Enterprise, UT

To "CHS 85" but the abortions are funded by tax payer money. Look at it this way. Planned Parenthood raises money from private sources as well as from the government. Their clinics operate usinging all of that money, they don't have clinics running on government money only. So, if the government pays for the clerical staff and the building/office space, then the private money does not have to be used to pay for that. Since their clinics are not separated based on funding sources, the government indirectly pays for abortions by paying for everything else so that the private money does not go for the non-abortion costs.

Clearfield, UT

To RedShirt 12:28 p.m.

So, if it could be proved that government money and private money was not co-mingled, and each went only to the things it was permitted to do, you'd have no problem funding Planned Parentood?

Salt Lake City, UT

@RedShirt: So money is fungible. What's your point? Then my federal income tax dollars are also paying some of the Pope's salary, because federal grants to faith-based charitable organizations (like Catholic Community Services) mean that they can channel more of their other private donations to other church functions. Ergo, federal aid to faith-based secular charitable initiatives is actually paying for sectarian religious activity. The money all goes into the same pot, right? Any accounting that keeps the funds separate is just sleight of hand.

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