Comments about ‘In our opinion: Vigilance is increasingly warranted to protect religious liberty’

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Published: Sunday, Dec. 16 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

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South Jordan, UT

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.

Tooele, UT

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?

Casa Grande, AZ

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.

Far East USA, SC

"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.

Salt Lake City, UT

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.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

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.

San Antonio, TX

Perfect. Thank you for so eloquently stating this case!

Durham, NC

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.

Dammam, Saudi Arabia

"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.

American Fork, UT

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.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

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.

Durham, NC

"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.

Hurricane, UT

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

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah


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?

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

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.

J Thompson

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

@ 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.

Bountiful, UT

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.

Washington, DC

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.

Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA

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?

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