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Comments about ‘Letter: Our chapels, cathedrals and books of worship are safe’

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Published: Sunday, July 7 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

What conservatives call "political correctness" in a contemptuous tone of voice is merely inclusiveness and respect for others and our rule of law. It is not only politically incorrect to put up a religious monument on public property, it is illegal. It offends the spirit as well as the letter of the Constitution.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

As always, all the hyperbole is just exacerbating a problem that really doesn't exist.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Freedom of religion is has too many meanings. For the organized religions and churches, it means the freedom for the group associated with the religion to do as it pleases. For others of us it simply means the freedom to control our own individual minds.

Unfortunately these two extremes are at odds with each other. Organized religion has a fixed set of beliefs and wishes to impose these beliefs on the rest of the world. Individuals would rather seek their own beliefs and be immune to the efforts of groups.

As an individual, I would gladly trade my freedom of religion for just plain freedom to believe what I may. I believe that the commercial aspect of an organization colors the truth of their message and would like them to keep their freedom of religion behind the closed doors of their church

FreedomFighter41
Orem, UT

Thank you for bringing some sanity into this discussion.

Paranoid and hateful letters like Pati's do all of us religious folk a disservice. It makes us all look paranoid, angry, and unable to think rationally. So it's good to see a fellow LDS and Registered Republican actually use their brain, take a breath, and contribute to the rational discussion on this subject rather than spew ridiculous claims or paranoid vitriol.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Thank you for a fine and sensible letter.

But if the conservative extremists and our friends whose voices blat daily over countless hate radio stations were to accept the truth, they'd have nothing left with which to frighten gullible listeners.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

No, Clark,
Our chapels, cathedrals, and books of worship are NOT safe. Courts have already decided that church properties rented to heterosexual weddings MUST also be available for gay weddings, regardless of that church's opposition to gay marriage. Obamacare would force religious business owners to close their doors or violate their conscience. PC HAS run amok and is relentless in its attack on religion.

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

Excellent letter, with one minor quibble. I really don't think there are 'lots of people' who are trying to take away anyone's religious liberties.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Lost in DC -- may we see some documentation of those fibs? Real documentation, that is. Glen and Rush and Sean and Fox don't count.

Contrarius
mid-state, TN

@lost in DC --

"church properties rented to heterosexual weddings MUST also be available for gay weddings, regardless of that church's opposition to gay marriage."

That's a huge misrepresentation of the facts.

Here's the actual facts of that case:

Ocean Grove, NJ - the Methodist Church owns ocean front property open to the GENERAL PUBLIC. Some of the buildings are occasionally used for religious services, but not exclusively and they are not churches. The church was given a tax exemption directly related to allowing PUBLIC USE of the buildings. When they chose not to allow all the public access, their property was taxed at the same rate as all other non-public property in that area.

That's ALL that happened. The church had been given a tax exemption on this land BECAUSE THEY AGREED TO ALLOW PUBLIC USE OF IT. They reneged on their LEGAL CONTRACT. Therefore, they lost their exemption on that land.

"Obamacare would force religious business owners to close their doors or violate their conscience. "

When people do business with the public, they have to uphold THE LAW -- **including** anti-discrimination law.

What is so reprehensible about being forced to obey the law??

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

re:LostinDC
"Our chapels, cathedrals, and books of worship are NOT safe. Courts have already decided that church properties rented to heterosexual weddings MUST also be available for gay weddings"

Of course.
You must be referring to the boardwalk pavilion in New Jersey owned by the Methodist Church.
The church allowed public use of the pavilion in order to take advantage of a property tax deduction. The pavilion was then used for a wide variety of purposes by the public. A gay couple asked to use the pavilion for a "commitment ceremony" (same-sex marriage is not legal in NJ). The church refused. A judge simply ruled they could no longer get a property tax deduction for the pavilion.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Where in the Constitution is the erection of a religious symbol on public property prohibited? Where in the Constitution is endorsing religion prohibited? Read the 1st Amendment. Congress is prohibited from making laws pertaining to AN establishment of religion. It does not say that Congress is prohibited from endorsing THE establishment of religion. The government cannot dictate to religion what doctrines those religions teach nor can government prescribe anything about the covenants that those religions offer.

There is no Constitutional basis for a separation of Church and State, Thomas Jefferson, John Locke and Roger Williams notwithstanding.

Legislating from the bench is illegal. Only Congress can legislate. Either something is Constitutional or it is not. Think of the wonderful arguments that Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch had during Clarence Thomas' approval hearings. Kennedy wanted Thomas to guarantee that rulings from the bench took precedence over the Constitution. Hatch wanted the Constitution to be the steel ruler against which all Federal law is measured. Kennedy lost. Hatch won. Thomas is on the bench.

Read the Supreme Law of the Land. It is supreme - even over the opinions of your law professors.

Claudio
Springville, Ut

Re: Mike

So then you also agree that when Missouri, Illinois, and the United States passed proclamations and laws against the LDS Church in the 1800s, declaring that religion to not be protected by the First Amendment, these actions were perfectly in line with the Constitution? After all, they were explicitly not endorsing a so-called religion.

If you can't accept your argument in every case where it can be applied, you are a hypocrite.

"The government cannot dictate to religion what doctrines those religions teach nor can government prescribe anything about the covenants that those religions offer."

Where in this letter do you find any suggestion, implicit or explicit, that government in any form in the US is doing that?

DN Mods: If it isn't there, then he's off-topic.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Claudio,

In Missouri and Illinois, the States were not under attack. The Federal Government had no authority to dictate to a State what that State could or could not do except as enumerated by the Constitution. STATE law prohibited the actions of Gov. Boggs. Federal law did not. By the way, at the time, millions of people were living under slavery and the Federal Government could do nothing to stop that practice. That was part of the 10th Amendment. You may not like that. Justice tells us that government stops ALL lawlessness; but, lawlessness also comes when a government exceeds its authority.

The LDS people left the United States to solve that problem.

The Federal Government had no authority to dictate to the LDS Church which doctrines that church could have nor which covenants that could be performed. That protection is in the 1st Amendment.

The Federal Court in Denver ordered that the monuments to the fallen Highway Patrol Officers be taken down, citing "establishment of religion" as the reason.

Did I answer all your questions?

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

@Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

The Federal Government had no authority to dictate to the LDS Church which doctrines that church could have nor which covenants that could be performed. That protection is in the 1st Amendment.

=======

How can you say that with a straight face.
Polygamy?

So you now saying Warren Jeffs and the FLDS are right and Lorenzo Snow and the LDS are wrong?

Claudio
Springville, Ut

Slavery was constitutional. The Federal government upheld that belief long before the courts did. What the 10th amendment has to do with this example baffles me.

You are also incorrect with your reference to the incident with Gov. Boggs. Both state and federal case law prohibited the action. The case in point is Chief Justice Marshall's ruiling in Worcester v. Georgia. Once again, you make false claims to substantiate your argument.

As officers of the state of Colorado, the ruiling is sound. What you left out was that the monuments would not be erected in the shape of a Star of David, a Statue of Moroni, or a Crescent Moon to respect the different religions of deceased officers. If a memorial was to be erected, it would be a cross or nothing at all. That is discriminatory and does violate the establishment of religion clause.

Again, the letter has nothing to do with your previous quote: "The government cannot dictate to religion what doctrines those religions teach nor can government prescribe anything about the covenants that those religions offer." Once again, you are still off topic. If those are your answers, they must be to a different question.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

Old man,
Others have already provided the details concerning the situation to which I referred. Please tell Contrarius and truthseeker that THEY need more sources than Glen, Rush, Sean, and Fox. If you paid attention to anyone other than rachel madcow, you might also have known about the story.

Contrarius,
You call me a liar then substantiate what I said. You have me confused. Was it NOT church property, as I said? Was the church NOT forced to make it available to gay couples or face consequences? You speak of anti-discrimination laws. They will soon trump freedom of religion guaranteed in the constitution.

Truthseeker (but never finder because you refuse to recognize it)
See comments to Contrarius, though you did not call me a liar, as he did.

Claudio,
Your comments about the 1800s laws apply to what is happening today. Freedom of religion being trampled by PC run amok.

LDS? lib,
Nice twist and obfuscation. Typical.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

When is a church not a church? When it's a business.

Tolstoy
salt lake, UT

@lost

Interesting that you think Claudio substantiated your claims, you do realize we can all read their post right? They very clearly arie against your mistepresentatipn of the facts not substantiate your twisted version of the facts.

Maudine
SLC, UT

@ Mike: The Fourteenth Amendment extends the Bill of Rights to state governments. Local governments are bound by the rules and laws of the state. The First Amendment prohibits Congress from making any laws that respect (honor or favor) an establishment (an arranged or organized code; a permanent group) of religion.

According to the plain language of the First and Fourteenth Amendments, government at any level cannot act in a way that favors one religion over another - including allowing one religion access to public grounds that is not equally provided to all other religions. This includes organized codes or rules that may be shared by some religions but not all religions.

@ Lost: The tax exemption the Methodists were enjoying was not a religious tax exemption. Under tax law, the property did not meet the requirements for religious property. The Methodist Church never appealed that designation. All property owners - individual or group, business or religious - in that area were given the same opportunity for tax-exempt status in return for public use. The Methidists chose not to participate. Not giving them special treatment is not a violation of their religious freedom.

Contrarius
mid-state, TN

@lost --

"You call me a liar then substantiate what I said."

Errr, no.

First, I did NOT call you a liar. I'm confident that you actually believe what you said -- even though it isn't true.

Second, I certainly did NOT substantiate what you said.

You said, and I quote: "church properties rented to heterosexual weddings MUST also be available for gay weddings".

In reality, that church property is STILL not available for gay weddings, even though it still IS available for heterosexual weddings. Therefore, your claim is quite false.

That church was NOT forced to open their property to gay weddings, despite your claim.

The ONLY thing the church was forced to do was to pay the same property taxes that everyone else pays for property. THAT'S ALL. They didn't have to change their exclusionary practices one bit.

"You speak of anti-discrimination laws."

Yes, I do. Anti-discrimination laws have been in effect for more than 50 years now.

They are nothing new. They affected racist churches back in the 60s more than they will affect anti-gay churches in the present -- and yet, churches survived then, just as they will now.

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