In our opinion: Vigilance is increasingly warranted to protect religious liberty


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  • Shazandra Bakersfield, CA
    Dec. 21, 2012 7:14 p.m.

    What an evolution of thinking from Mormon folk... When I was growing up LDS we just consulted the Prophet and " the thinking was done", alá BYoung's preference.

    Now, the religion of those 20-somethings in the early 19th century has morphed into every man's two-cents, where the prophet-leadership remains silent more often than previously.

    "In those days there was no king in Israel, and every man did what was right in his own eyes..."
    (Judges 21:25)

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Dec. 19, 2012 5:25 p.m.


    Au contrare.

    Your questions were answered, whether you like the answer is not my problem.

    But to be more direct, the congress can not do that because it would be unconstitutional.

    The congress can not pass a bill respecting an establishment of religion. But it can recognize that Islam exists, allow them to use public facilities for worship.
    Congress can also recognize Christianity, allow nativity scenes, allow religious days off, there are 57 representations of the 10 commandments, including one with Moses, in the supreme court building.

    We have national days of prayer, prayer breakfasts, that don't respect an establishment of religion. One can practice prayer as one chose's and believes.

    Religious people and religious groups have every right to the public square.

    They are part of the "We".

    We know what congress can not do.

    There is no similar law for schools, city halls, city parks, and other public places and properties, because everyone is entitled to the public square.

    Freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, and all other freedoms, including all unmentioned rights (9th and 10th amendments) apply to religions and religious people as well.
    One could say they were doubly even triply guaranteed protections.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2012 8:56 a.m.

    You know, I guess I understand why you wouldn't address what I actually said. You don't have an argument, so you try to slip away. The question isn't if it's okay for government "recognzing that people practice Islam." It's if people would be okay with government "recognizing" Alah. In other words if the congress passed a bill, and President Obama signed it, saying that Alah was god, recognizing that Alah exists, the conservatives would lose their minds, Limbaugh's head would be spinning, and I imagine you would be using it to attack Obama up and down. If congressmen set up prayer rugs on the floor of the House to pray to Alah, you guys would be going nuts. Don't pretend you wouldn't.

    And then you make this clearly contradictory argument, "but people can and should be able practice their own religion without government interference even in the public square." Yet you go on to say people should not be able to build a church on their own property. Really? No government interference in religion, but government can stop people from building a house of worship? Make up your mind.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 6:36 p.m.


    Under Thomas Jefferson the government printed korans. The founding fathers even held church in the capital building. I have no problem with government recognzing that people practice Islam.

    The founding fathers had no problem with religion in the public square.

    The government does not practice anything, the government can not force anyone to practice another religion, but people can and should be able practice their own religion without government interference even in the public square.

    As long as it conforms to the law there is no problem with it, but exceptions have been given to some religions that would violate some laws.

    Thomas Jefferson wrote "No man shall suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief but all men shall be free to profess their opinions in matters of religion. Truth is great and will prevail if left to herself.”

    @LDS Liberal

    Muslims in New York were never denied any religious freedom.

    There's not a religious freedom to build where ever you want.

    The people in this country are free to speak out even against another religion. Building a "victory" mosque nearly on top of a site of mass murder by radical muslims is insulting.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 9:41 a.m.

    Funny --

    Where was the Deseret News and other right-wing hacks when Muslims in New York City were actually denied THEIR Religous Freedoms?


    Is it only YOUR religion, and only YOUR veiled deception regarding contraception that you are upset about religous freedoms?

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 7:04 a.m.

    So, the "truth", you would have government print Korans, recognize Alah, practice Salah, implement Sharia?

    Well, good for you. But there are other countries that allow this, and I for one, do not want to live under a religious government. So I'll fight for my Constitutions, our Constitutions, wall of seperation between government and religion, as our founders intended, and argued for.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Dec. 17, 2012 7:18 p.m.


    Your understanding and interpretation of the 1st amendment is wrong, just plain wrong,

    It relies on modern twisted interpretation and modern court precedence which is utterly wrong..

    IT fails horribly by not going to original intent, and original understanding,

    and ignores completely how the founding fathers practiced the 1st amendment.

    And you don't even bother to use any actual words and phrases used in the 1st amendment.

    You even talk of diversity yet deny any religious expression in the public square.

    Then you give us a big dissertation on the historicity of religion in America totally based on your opinion.

    NO facts, no use of the actual 1st admendment, no original intent and practice, your attempts at lecturing us is a big failure.

    Religion and religious people have every right to express their views in the public square.

    And the government can give general endorsement and support of religion.

    Even the founding fathers recognized a religious and moral people is REQUIRED for the constitution to work.

    Their government, recognized God, published bibles and religious tracts, sent missionaries to the Indians, had bible readings in congress and schools, supported prayer, put religious phrases on government buildings, etc.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 17, 2012 6:00 p.m.

    Yes, decriminalize marijuana. Free is Free.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Dec. 17, 2012 10:34 a.m.

    This article seems to have generated a large number of polarizing comments, and I admit mine likely fall under this description too. But at the risk of piling on, I find the arguments on one side to be mostly logical, pragmatic, appropriately nuanced and grounded in the real world. On the other side (and feel free to call me out with counter examples) I see mostly slippery slope and reduction to the absurd arguments, misunderstandings (or blatant lies?) about what certain pieces of legislation do, and in many cases outright paranoia (similar to what the NRA has been spouting for the last 4 years, despite the fact the president has so far signed only two laws pertaining to guns... both of which EXPANDED gun rights).

    I understand this is a passionate topic, but please make your arguments against actual facts and not all the bogeymen fictions the fear based media outlets are feeding us. Not only will it help your credibility, but it might just keep you sane... just saying.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 17, 2012 10:17 a.m.

    A business operation is not a part of the freedom of religion. Society and it’s government has the right, the authority and the means of defining how, when and what a business operation can do and be.

    Mostly these actions are handled at the local level, like not selling beer on Sunday laws, but they are also subordinate to the higher levels of government all the way up to the Federal government. Nothing in our national Constitution limits or prohibits government from defining business and business operations.

    If a person or group chooses to operate a business operation, take up a vocation, he or it must subordinate their personal beliefs to comply with the official laws. The have the freedom not to operate a business but do not have the freedom to exempt themselves from law by reason of personal belief.

    A business operation is an absolute dictatorship and while the owners have the freedom to be in business or not, they cannot and should not use the business operation to force others to believe according to their wishes.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Dec. 17, 2012 10:10 a.m.

    Religious people seem to believe that their rights are the only rights that matter and are willing to deny rights and freedom to those who do not believe as they do.

    Hypocrisy is condemned in the bible over and over and over again.

    Thou hypocrites.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Dec. 17, 2012 9:07 a.m.

    The U.S. has been fortunate in that it has not witnessed religious war and conflict of the scale seen in the Middle East and Europe. Although the number of different religions in the U.S. has steadily grown over the decades, this diversity has not let to conflict. Some propositions for why this may be:

    -The United States as a Country of Immigrants
    This factor defuses historical and religious claims to territory, which are not as strong as they are in places such as the West Bank and Ireland.....

    -Constitutional protections and religious disestablishment

    The American tradition of the separation of church and state cannot be overlooked in mediating and possibly preventing religious conflict to erupt. In many other parts of the world, religion is still highly influential and, in some cases, sponsored by the state. However, in a country with such religious diversity, religious disestablishment has proved necessary so that the government could not take sides in a religious conflict.

    -Diversity creates tolerance
    The argument also exists that the immense diversity in and of itself has promoted tolerance among religions.

    (The History of Religious Conflict in the U.S. Erik Wong, Stanford University)

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Dec. 17, 2012 8:40 a.m.

    @ Mr. Richards

    "Is that what we've become? Are we really a nation that believes that a person can be forced to destroy life just because the White House tells them to? Do people actually give their highest alligence to the White House instead of to their chosen God? Do they actually bow before the "government god" or do they honor their Father In Heaven and conduct their lives in accordance to His doctrines?"

    Are you absolutely kidding me. No one forces you to work anywhere. Period. Not the White House, Not the Police, Not even your parents or God himself. For example, a local private school was hiring for a teaching position - a place where my wife has many good friends. But this is religious school, and it make itself clear that you must teach and follow certain principles that we as LDS believe differently than. My wife choose not to apply, because it was a compromise she choose not to make.

    These medical professionals are not 4 years olds. The White House is not forcing them to do anything. These professionals choose where they work, and under what conditions they will offer their services. They decide the compromises made.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Dec. 17, 2012 8:30 a.m.

    I guess to me it's fairly simple. If you choose to believe something that is in direct conflict with the law, the government has no right to mandate you believe something different..but it does have the obligation to ensure that those who choose to avail themselves of the benefits of the law are not denied that right by you. If you know your beliefs are in conflict with the law then it's your responsibility to solve that dilema. The governments obligation is simple..yours is not and it will cost you suffering to resolve that conflict.

    Liberals had the same dilema in the 60's with the Vietnam War.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 17, 2012 7:39 a.m.

    "Can the several states establish state religions in their respective states despite the First Amendment ban on establishing a religion?"


    "And can states pass laws legalizing marijuana, legalizing same sex marriage,"


    "and banning illegal immigration,"

    Illegal immigration is already, by definition illegal.

    Any more questions, Alfred?

  • Alfred Ogden, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 11:59 p.m.

    "It would not be until well after the adoption of the Constitution of 1789 and the First Amendment religion clauses that the disestablishment for which the United States is so recognized became the de facto practice."

    Tell us Truthseeker...

    Can the several states establish state religions in their respective states despite the First Amendment ban on establishing a religion?

    And can states pass laws legalizing marijuana, legalizing same sex marriage, and banning illegal immigration, despite federal laws to the contrary and the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution?

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Dec. 16, 2012 11:22 p.m.

    After the Revolutionary War there was a lot of infighting between various states and Christian denominations. Virginia, which was home to the largest portion of Anglicans loyal to the Church of England, was the scene of notorious acts of religious persecution against Baptists and Presbyterians. Anglicans physically assaulted Baptists, bearing theological and social animosity. In 1771, a local Virginia sheriff yanked a Baptist preacher from the stage at his parish and beat him to the ground outside. Similarly, in 1778, Baptist ministers were conducting services in Virginia. Men grabbed the two ministers, took them to the nearby swamp, held their heads in the mud until they nearly drowned to death.

    The period during and soon after the Revolutionary War also saw abundant political manifestations of religious conflict. At the time, some states abolished churches, while supporting others, issued preaching licenses, and collected tax money to fund and establish state churches. Each state constitution differed in its policy on religious establishment, or state-supported religion. It would not be until well after the adoption of the Constitution of 1789 and the First Amendment religion clauses that the disestablishment for which the United States is so recognized became the de facto practice.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Dec. 16, 2012 9:37 p.m.

    "The most prominent example is the ongoing dispute over the Health and Human Services mandate that health insurance pays for contraception, sterilization and abortifacients,"

    The HHS mandate DOES NOT cover abortifacients. Abortion is the termination of pregnancy. If an egg is not fertilized or implanted in the uterus it doesn't constitute a pregnancy.

    Furthermore, when people are serving the public, especially in healthcare, and have objections to engaging in certain practices, they need to consider picking a different line of work or look for different types of duties. For instance, if you have a strong moral objection to abortion and are a nurse, work on the cardiac unit or the orthopedic unit instead of maternity. When you are a pharmacist--one of the few in town, is it ethical to impose your moral standards in regard to an appropriately perscribed medication? Pharmacists don't have the intimate insight or knowledge as to why a Dr. Is prescribing a medication to a particular pt.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 16, 2012 8:35 p.m.


    This is not a thread about abortion, but about the government ignoring our right to live our religion without government dictating to us that, because we are a health care worker, that we are obligated to perform or assist in the performance of an abortion, or in the case of a pharmacist, to dispense medications that would destroy life after conception has taken place.

    Regardless of your personal views on abortion and on Roe v Wade, until Obama, no President has insisted that he had the right to require doctors to perform abortions and pharmacists to dispense medicines that caused abortions.

    Do you defend a governmental position declaring that it (the government) can require a citizen to perform an abortion or to cause an abortion when that citizen is a religious objector to abortion? If so, who gave the government that authority. It is not part of the Constitution. That concept clearly allows government to formulate religious doctrine by forcing people to set aside their religion to do the will of the state and to destroy life by order of the White House.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Dec. 16, 2012 7:38 p.m.

    Something I don't think anyone mentioned.

    As traumatic as job loss is, don't participate in an abortion. She saw the patient wasn't in immediate danger, there were other nurses somewhere.

    I feel for her but it's a case of being more afraid of man than god. I'm sure if she had it to do over she would not have done it. I hope she wins her case.

    Don't get too happy about passing right to work laws because it just reduces your rights in the workplace. There will be no moral objections allowed to keep your job when you give employers the right to fire at will.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 6:36 p.m.

    The left seem to be playing the monkeys that hear no evil see no evil and speak no evil;

    they stick their fingers in their ears and yell loudly,

    they put their heads in the sand,

    and refuse to see, hear and speak of what's quite self evident.

    The decades of ripping of freedom of religious expression in the public square.

    Forcing someone to pay for something they don't religiously believe in, (it's not the insurance company that pays but a person or company that pays for the insurance)

    Forcing the removal of any artistic or personal religious expression from schools and the public square,

    Forcing removal of religious expression, like crosses and nativity scenes,

    and when they've all been removed to private property, they'll take away private property,

    such as dictating to religion what they must do or can't do on their own property or businesses,

    that's the end goal of progressives.

    Complete Big Government control of everyone lives.

    Where is the freedom of conscience?
    The freedom to pursue ones own happiness?

    The constitution doesn't prohibit governmental religious expression.

  • Grover Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 5:44 p.m.

    Mike R. has a White House fetish...well at least when the White House is occupied by a party other than of his choosing. The White House does this and that...and this from Mr. Constitution of Utah? Roe v. Wade will next year have been the law of the land for 40 years. A Republican has lived in the White House for 23 of those years. For the first four years of the W. Presidency, both Houses of Congress were controlled by Republicans and the Supreme Court was majority conservative. Yet at no time was Roe v. Wade under serious challenge. Why would that be and how for heaven sakes does Nazi Germany come into the conversation? Get a grip.

  • Mr. Bean Ogden, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 5:03 p.m.

    "The 'free exercise' clause of the 1st Amendment does not give religion a right to violate the rights of others."

    The free exercise clause does not give the government power to curtail the right to worship. How can the aborted child worship (eventually) if it no longer exists?

    @Tyler D:
    "The only way your rights are violated is if the government tries to force the pill down your own throat."

    That's step #2 in the march toward socialism and total government control over our lives.

    @J Thompson:
    "I think that he is saying... doctors or anyone else are excused from any moral responsibility because the mother has taken the moral responsibility..."

    I had the same issue robbing banks... My 'buddy' insisted I do it for him, therefore I'm innocent. My buddy is the one who should go to jail. Not me.

    @Tyler D:
    "What if a surgeon followed a religion that believed the appendix was the 'seat of the holy spirit' and must never be removed..."

    Removal of an appendix is a life and death matter. Abortion to save the life of the mother is not the issue here.

  • red state pride Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 4:58 p.m.

    It seems to me that to far too many people Government is religion. Or even worse, they worship at the altar of global warming- environmentalism is their religion. Watch people's reactions to the tragedy in CT. If their first reaction is to start banning things or passing laws then Government is probably their religion. There are many pillars of society- government is just one. We have Churches, civic organizations and the basic unit of society the family (which is not so coincidentally constantly under attack from the left).
    It's pretty apparent that there aren't very many people out there today who are aware of the history of the 20th century. That was Communism 101- no religion allowed except worship of the State. How many millions died in the Soviet Union, Cambodia, China, Vietnam etc because of this philosophy? I'm certainly not saying everyone should be a believer just a warning to people to be careful what you wish for.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 4:42 p.m.

    If a religion teaches us that God gave us bodies and that the proper use of those bodies would result in procreation, and if we believe that a human body starts at conception, and if we believe that the fetus becomes our responsibility as soon as those cells begin to divide, and if we believe that we will be held responsible for destroying that body in process if we "kill" or "destroy" it using medications that destroy those cells after conception takes place, then we have a moral dilemma.

    The question is not one of when life starts but a question of who has the authority to tell us that our belief in God is inferior to theirs and that because they think that their belief is superior and that they believe that life starts at birth, that we must dispense pills that destroy a growing fetus.

    Does government have that right? Does Obama have that right? Does anyone have that right?

    Religion guides us. Have we delegated the responsibility of determining those guiding principles to Government?

  • wrz Ogden, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 4:28 p.m.


    "Government, by decree of the 1st amendment, is not permitted to pick sides or codify religion."

    That's not what the first amendment says. It says 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the fee exercise thereof.'

    If this woman is required by law to perform or aid in performing an abortion her right to exercise religion is being infringed upon. She has a right to get a job at a hospital and she has a right to be in full control of how she worships as she goes about doing her work. The answer might be to assign her work at the facility that does not require her to be involved whatsoever in abortion.

    "He says bloated, unaccountable government can no longer 'afford' the charitable deduction."

    The charitable deduction falls under the First Amendment. Resources used to assist in the conduct of religion should not be subject to tax law. That's why the money used is a deduction from taxable income... seems to me.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Dec. 16, 2012 3:57 p.m.

    I think just this forum exhibits all the reasons we can't include religion in our public dialog and retain a union of diverse people.

    I am fully aware of the fact that there is a element of people that simply don't want a diverse people in the US. They want everyone to be just like them.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Dec. 16, 2012 3:35 p.m.

    " It insists that it has the right to tell a doctor or a pharmacist to destroy a life. It insists that it has the right to tell students to participate in the destruction of life by assisting doctors or pharmacists with their assigned duties."

    @Mike Richards..... tell where this happened, and that these students who enrolled in these programs had no idea that this was part of the program they were enrolling in. Give me a freaking break. If a graduate student enrolling into a particular graduate MD program has no idea what that program teaches.... shame on them. This again isn't the programs fault. This is the students - at the phd and md level, not knowing what they are signing up for.

    They, and only they, are responsible for knowing what program they apply to. They have no right to apply to a program, then ask after the fact to be exempted from program requirements. This isn't government over reach.... this is people failing to be responsible for their own choices and decisions.

    Take the easy path.... blame the "government"..... but in the end, they (or you) choose your own path. Enough victimization and blaming someone else.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 3:02 p.m.

    Everyone has a religion. However, every religion does not require submission to a notion that there is a God as an individual. If freedom of religion is a human right recognized by our society, our government, our constitution, then a person who does not believe in God has the same right to his belief as any one else. We should not allow organized religions and churches to impose their religion on any one who does not want to believe that way that they do.

    Freedom is not an unlimited gift from God. Freedom for our selves is only ours to the extent that we can control the freedom of others. That means that we must make rules and enforce those rules. Thus it is that our freedom depends on how we run our government. It is necessary to our welfare that our government has the power to govern us in the ways we ask.

    The world is full of giants, all with the same desire and goal. To use their power and influence to control others. Churches and religions are part of that crowd. The only giant on the people’s side is their government.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Dec. 16, 2012 2:58 p.m.

    Blue has said it very very well. What you seem to refer to as "secular interests" others would call "basic constitutional rights."
    Your religious liberty is _not_ threatened just because you're discovering that you can't use your religious beliefs to excuse violating the civil rights of others. His next point that we are a secular nation is most critical..government, the body that protects the rights of all..even as those right develop is all, yes all secular. It has to be in order to govern. Those in society and government may be influenced by religious beliefs but in the end the government is a secular organization balancing the rights of all.

    If many in society do not believe that the termination of an early pregnancy is the destruction of a life the government has the responsiblity to protect those individuals rights. Just because you believe that human life starts when a sperm winks at an egg doesn't mean you get to impose that belief on others.

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    Dec. 16, 2012 2:24 p.m.

    If a person working at a McDonald refused a Big Mac to a customer, they'd probably be disciplined. If a salesman at an auto dealership refused to allow people to drive off the lot because selling a machine that pollutes the environment violated their conscience, they'd be promptly instructed to find another job more conducive to their beliefs. How is working at a pharmacy or hospital any different?

    Regardless of how you personally feel about birth control or abortion, they're both legal in this country and are going to remain so for the foreseeable future. Too many people in this country want to force others to live by their beliefs and then hide behind the skirts of "religious liberty" whenever they're called out on it. If you want your rights to be respected, respect the rights of others. Pretty simple, really...

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 2:09 p.m.

    The recent indignation about perceived infringement on religious liberty is late and very selective. Where was this paper and its readership when a local Jewish high school student was compelled to perform at Christian services and engage in Christian prayer as part of her school choir? As I recall, the community ganged up against her. There was nary a word in the editorial about clerics prevented by the government from solemnizing weddings of their same sex congregants. What of Quakers, whose compulsory tax dollars are spent on wars and weaponry? It seems the indignation comes only when one's own ox is being gored.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 1:57 p.m.

    "Are we really a nation that believes that a person can be forced to destroy life just because the White House tells them to?"

    Well, clearly, yes we are. If the government orders the military to go to war those people are being forced to destroy life. If a soldier refuses orders to engage the enemy, in other words destroy life, that person could be jailed. In the past (and maybe even today) that person that refused to destroy life could be executed.

    So yes, we are a nation "that believes that a person can be forced to destroy life just because the White House (commander in chief) tells them to".

    Oh, by the way, no one has ever been forced to provide an abortion. You will find no one, anywhere, that is doing, or ever did, jail time, or has been executed, for not performing an abortion.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 1:37 p.m.

    Religion does far more to destroy liberty than preserve it.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 1:31 p.m.

    JThompson: "Kings may dictate demands, but people of integrity, like Daniel, will honor God - regardless of a King's demands."

    What will you do when someone claims that in order to honor their God, they must use your own tax dollars and government authority to discriminate against you?

    Don't you get it? Is government going to decide which religions get favored treatment and public support and which religions are oppressed?

    Who gets to set the legal boundary between your right to freely exercise your religion and my constitutionally protected rights to privacy, autonomy and equal protection under the law? You? The Pope? A Rabbi? An Imam?

    Who gets to decide how and how much a government is supposed to "honor" your God? Is that the sort of thing you put up for a popular vote? Is that how civil rights get decided?

    As a taxpayer, doesn't my right to an accountable, transparent government allow me to demand to see the concrete objective evidence that the God on which my government is spending my dollars to "honor" even exists?

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Dec. 16, 2012 1:17 p.m.

    The question that has not been explored by this editorial is "Whose Religious Liberty?"

    It sounds great to say that I should be exempt from doing things that the law requires because of my religious beliefs until somebody with different religious beliefs decides that Mormons are not Christians and therefore won't rent an apartment to them, or have them teach the Public Schools.

    Are you sure you want to live a world where so-called "Religious Liberty" trumps the law?

  • rhappahannock Washington, DC
    Dec. 16, 2012 1:12 p.m.

    The religions that are the most unpopular are the ones in the greatest need of protecting from government abuses. Look at the FLDS - look at how the state of Utah has denied them their legal rights, and taken over their UEP trust. Those are way more serious abuses of power than having to resign rather than perform an abortion.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 12:56 p.m.

    In the United States at least freedom of religion isn't at risk. Everyone can worship and practice as they please, so long as this doesn't interfere in the rights of others. If anything there is too much religious freedom. The desnews recently came out in favor of continuing to let parents circumcise their minor children because not to do so would violate the religious rights of some parents. Conveniently left out of the desnews argument was the right of the child to make this decision for themself. Male circumcision does reduce sexual pleasure. No one including parents should be able to disfigure a child's body.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Dec. 16, 2012 12:44 p.m.

    @ J Thompson
    I think you misunderstood my argument. First, I was talking about birth control and a pharmacist not filling a prescription. Regarding abortion, if you can name one case where doctors are forced to perform abortions then I’ll go there, otherwise…

    But let me try again…

    What if a surgeon followed a religion that believed the appendix was the “seat of the holy spirit” and must never be removed, and he happened to be on duty the day you went to the hospital with appendicitis. By the logic of many of the posts here, he would be within his rights to refuse to remove your appendix. Is that the sort of “choice” and “freedom” you are advocating?

    If the duties of your job will involve you having to do things that go against your religion, you simply need to find another profession. Any other action is forcing others to go along with your beliefs, which if the government tries to back you up (something many here want with respect to the pharmacist and the employer), is precisely what the 1st Amendment prohibits.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 11:57 a.m.

    Let me see if I understand Tyler's argument. I think that he is saying that, in the case of abortion, only the mother of that unborn child has a moral choice, that doctors or anyone else are excused from any moral responsibility because the mother has taken the moral responsibility and has assumed full accountability for demanding an abortion. Is my understanding of Tyler's point valid?

    IF that is his point, then I am 100% opposed to it. If assisted suicide were the law of the land, his point would require that a health-care provider would be required to carry out the assisted suicide, or possibly anyone else selected to "implement" the suicide.

    EVERYONE involved in an abortion has to make a moral choice. Everyone is 100% accountable for being part of an abortion, just as much as a "get-away driver" is convicted of bank-robbery along with those who robbed the bank.

    There is no escaping moral responsibility for anything that we do.

    Kings may dictate demands, but people of integrity, like Daniel, will honor God - regardless of a King's demands.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Dec. 16, 2012 10:45 a.m.

    I violated me own rule to always keep it simple… I’ll try again.

    If a woman goes to a pharmacy to purchase birth control pills and the pharmacist fills the prescription, assuming this transaction involved a moral choice, who made that choice? The logic here should be crystal clear. Same goes for the employer offering health care plans.
    The fact is in all these cases, there is only one person making the choice. Bringing in the pharmacist or the employer or anyone else involves one (presumably religious) person trying to impose their beliefs and morality on the person making the choice.

    If the pharmacist or employer doesn’t belief in birth control, don’t use it… end of story. The only way your rights are violated is if the government tries to force the pill down your own throat. Until that happens, please… enough with your faux war on religion! Your twisted logic is not fooling anyone.

    @Mike Richards – you are my case in point: the difference in Nazi Germany (which should be plainly obvious) is that the victims of the Nazis did not make the choice to be experimented on.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 16, 2012 10:27 a.m.


    How about reading more carefully before objecting to my comments?

    At no time did I say that the government insisted that students get abortions. Diplomas were withheld because students did not assist doctors or pharmacists to perform abortions or to dispense medication that would induce an abortion.

    In Nazi Germany, the excuse often made was that they were "ordered" to perform "experiments". How many posters are stating that just because the White House decides that anyone is entitled to choose to have an abortion, that medical insurance must pay for those abortions, therefore doctors and pharmacists MUST cooperate by providing the procedures and medications required?

    Is that what we've become? Are we really a nation that believes that a person can be forced to destroy life just because the White House tells them to? Do people actually give their highest alligence to the White House instead of to their chosen God? Do they actually bow before the "government god" or do they honor their Father In Heaven and conduct their lives in accordance to His doctrines?

  • GaryW Hurricane, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 10:22 a.m.

    Religious liberties aren't the only freedom/right under attack. We need to be vigilent in maintianing all of our rights.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Dec. 16, 2012 9:55 a.m.

    "It insists that it has the right to tell a doctor or a pharmacist to destroy a life. It insists that it has the right to tell students to participate in the destruction of life by assisting doctors or pharmacists with their assigned duties."

    Mr. Richards, how has the government forced any doctor of pharmacist to do any of the acts you accuse it of doing? What means has the government done to coerce these professionals to do anything? A doctor can set up their practice as they will, work for which group they will, and that group can set its standards as they will. A pharmacist can work for whomever they choose, and sell what ever products they choose. It is their choice, and no one others. These people choose their professions, and the conditions of those professions. No one else's responsibility but their own.

    And how does the government "insist" students have abortions? Show me one case where the government has insisted any student, at any time, have an abortion? These claims are not only false, but jump to the realm of total fabrications.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Dec. 16, 2012 9:41 a.m.

    And the confusion between freedom to practice religion and the prohibition against the government picking sides is once again muddied and misunderstood. For most of our history this distinction has been ignored and trampled on with impunity (because our "Christian nation" had total control), but for the last few decades people of other faiths or no faith at all having been asking for the same protections - and thus we now have a war on religion (e.g., the faux war on Christmas).

    In therein lies the real motivation for the faux war on religion. It's all about the loss of power and control obscured under the blanket of rights and liberty. It's no coincidence that those beating this war drum the loudest typically do not have the slightest conception of what it means to be ironic.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 9:19 a.m.

    Religion is about power in this world as much as it is about anythihng in the next. It removes choices from individuals arbitrarily. If it works the way it's supporters claim, then the choices of the wider society should be made available to all, religious or not. The religious adherents can choose as they wish, based on the rules of their faith if they so decide. Let people decide, not churches.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Dec. 16, 2012 9:15 a.m.

    "So when the law conflicts with religious beliefs, the law must be upheld."
    No. Human rights trump law. You cannot pass laws to limit human or civil rights.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Dec. 16, 2012 8:40 a.m.

    In many ways I agree with the sentiments discussed here... but it usually roles back to choice, peoples ability to choose. At great lengths this opinion piece tries to link expanding government with freedom of religion... at one point using the government mandated availability of contraception as evidence over reach into religious freedoms.

    It is at this point come to be at odds with opinions like this. In my religious beliefs, we were given this life as an opportunity for us to be able to prove ourselves, despite adversity, and when there are multiple choose, that we will choose to do right even with there are other choices and options available to us. Making the right choice is pointless, when there is no choice available.

    I understand we want to protect our children from bad choices. But if we do protect them from that possibility, we protect them from their right to prove they can choose right. Available choice is a blessing... it allows us to choose why we can be trusted to make the right choose. Because something is available, does not mean you need to choose it. Do the right thing despite the options.

  • hansentw San Antonio, TX
    Dec. 16, 2012 8:32 a.m.

    Perfect. Thank you for so eloquently stating this case!

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 16, 2012 8:05 a.m.

    Congress is prohibited from making laws pertaining to religion. Maybe we should ask why we have prohibited Congress from dictating how we worship and what we believe. We have reserved to ourselves the right to choose those principles that will guide our conduct and our relationships to others in society, reserving to ourselves to answer to God for the choices that we make.

    Government has tried to do an end-run around that right. Government insists that it has not dictated to religion the doctrines that they can teach, but it insists that it has the right to choose for us HOW we will treat each other. It insists that it has the right to tell a doctor or a pharmacist to destroy a life. It insists that it has the right to tell students to participate in the destruction of life by assisting doctors or pharmacists with their assigned duties.

    Government has negated religion and is trying to remove honor to godly principles from our lives.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 7:58 a.m.

    I think the problem here is a difference of opinion as to what constitutes "religious liberty."

    What you seem to refer to as "secular interests" others would call "basic constitutional rights."

    Your religious liberty is _not_ threatened just because you're discovering that you can't use your religious beliefs to excuse violating the civil rights of others.

    The fact is we are a secular nation. We have to be if we expect to have a functional, sane and just society operating under the rule of law. As such, religions, even extremely popular religions, may not expect to receive favored treatment by the government.

    The "free exercise" clause of the 1st Amendment does not give religion a right to violate the rights of others.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Dec. 16, 2012 6:09 a.m.

    "They are not trying to deny rights to worship, but they do pose an increasingly potent threat to the legitimacy of belief as a basis for decision-making in public or professional affairs."

    I am fine with people asking a higher power for wisdom in any decision that they make.

    What scares me is when people in government ask for an "answer" to an issue with far reaching ramifications (go to war? push the "red" button")

    People think they hear the "answer" far too often.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Dec. 16, 2012 3:57 a.m.

    When you pass "right to work" laws you give employers the right to fire you without any reason. They can also fire you for not following ANY of thier instructions. A Fox news reporter was fired in Florida for not doing a report he thought was false. The court decided that employers can in fact make you lie or be terminated.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 3:28 a.m.

    Re: ". . . some strains of secularism . . . have become increasingly shrill and strident. . . . They are not trying to deny rights to worship, but they do pose an increasingly potent threat . . . ."

    Actually, they ARE trying to deny rights to worship.

    For most of us, worship includes more than praying on Sunday. It's living our lives in harmony with our religious principles. That's what is under attack when secularists insist it somehow abridges THEIR freedom when WE think and act the way we want, instead of the way they want.

    They've been WAY too successful with this evil control mechanism.

    But, it's not just a modern tactic. It's very similar to the ruse used by the Gadiantons of old -- alleging the problem is not their perverse desire to force us to do evil, but our "wickedness in retaining from them their rights of government."

    The President now insists we all fund abortion, and has removed protection of caregivers' conscience from Obamacare provisions. He says bloated, unaccountable government can no longer "afford" the charitable deduction.

    What's next?

  • Schwa South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 12:13 a.m.

    Again the DNews continues to confuse religious popularity with religious freedom. It isn't that secular interests are trying to destroy you, it's that fewer people are choosing religion and more people are choosing to be non-religious. Government, by decree of the 1st amendment, is not permitted to pick sides or codify religion. So when the law conflicts with religious beliefs, the law must be upheld. The case of mandated coverage for contraception is particularly infuriating, because here we have a case where religious business owners feel it is their right to impose their own personal religious values on their employees. The rights of the employee to basic health services is far more vital to America than allowing an employer to push his personal values on his employees.