Comments about ‘In our opinion: Erosion of religious liberty’

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Published: Sunday, July 21 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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KJB1
Eugene, OR

Still have to play the victim, don't you?

Just because fewer people are willing to sit back and let you be the sole arbiter of what is "moral" doesn't mean your liberty is being eroded. Just because your beliefs and biases can't be written into laws that the rest of us have to follow doesn't mean you're being persecuted. If you don't believe in something like abortion and gay marriage, don't get one. To quote Joseph Smith, teach us proper principles and let us govern ourselves.

Owen
Heber City, UT

I just don't follow the tortured logic of these monthly "religious freedom" editorials. I'm a life-long true believer in the organization that owns this paper, but this constant refrain rings hollow. Who's freedom is being restricted. As long as you are not infringing on the rights of, or taking money from your fellow citizens, you are free to worship however you like in this country.

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

We should be aware however that religion is de facto subsidized by government in that religious establishments receive a host of government services, e.g. fire, police, sanitation, water, sewage, for which they do not pay. I don't completely disagree with what you say, but religion is clearly cut a lot of slack. I don't see much of a threat to religious liberty viewed from this perspective.

From Ted's Head
Orem, UT

While I agree that religious freedom is under attack and those who seek to exercise their religion openly will find increasing hostility and public disfavor, "calls to arms" such as this article might inspire a few but are a stretch. Certainly your appeal isn't to the type of person who views you as a perpetual victim or to those secular humanists who see all religion as misleading and deceptive. Which troops are you trying to rally? And what do you want them to do? And aren't these the "last days" where prophecy declares even the elect will be deceived? Should we really expect that when the shackles of religion on public behavior and opinion have been cast aside and the pursuit of the gratification of one's desires becomes the top priority--an unfortunate consequence of greater freedom for all--that religious persecution won't follow? Of course it will and the rhetoric has already ramped up. (e.g.- It's vogue now to refer to anyone opposed to gay marriage as a bigot.) Your efforts should be in preparing folks as to how to cope with the coming changes, because coming they are...as has been prophesied.

BrentBot
Salt Lake City, UT

The basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul. I don't think we emphasize that enough these days. If we don't have a proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a government which does not believe in the rights for anybody except the State! - Harry S Truman

Statesmen...may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is Christianity and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue. - John Adams

The spirit of man is more important than mere physical strength, and the spiritual fiber of a nation than its wealth. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

And can liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? - Thomas Jefferson

TimBehrend
Auckland NZ, 00

I think there are far more religious individuals in the US who consider the taxes they pay to support invasions, occupations, assassinations, wars against popular uprisings, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and clandestine development of technologies of global surveillance and control to be utterly against the teachings of their gods and prophets than the small number of business owners who are offended over contributions to insurance coverage that gives employees choices that the owners already have. The attacks on their "freedom of religion" have been going on for much longer than the risible "oppression" that you have invented for this opinion piece. The writer of this editorial has not thought through its logic or implications.

Esquire
Springville, UT

There is a difference between personal religious freedom and the power of churches and others institutions to impose their will on others. This has been something that this paper does not seem to comprehend. Mormons, of all religious groups, should understand the importance of protecting the rights of the minority. Unfortunately, as it has become big and powerful, the institution now puts its own interests first, expecting government to support its interests. Think it through and stop playing the martyr role. KJB1 is correct.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

KJB1. I fear you have totally missed the point. Its not governing ourselves as a nation or as believers that is the problem. The problem lies in other people dictating and interfering with the free practice of religion. Hawn's mill, the Missouri eviction eidetic from the then governor and Nauvoo expulsion by mobs ring a bell with you? Could it be that the "new mob" is already forming under the banner of taxpayer funded abortions, forced birth control and yes, the repeal of legitimate election results? Who is being forced to accept who's beliefs? Who is playing the victim?

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

This editorial is as silly a fantasy pity-party as I've ever seen.

Google searches of each instance of "repression" this editorial describes reveals a vastly different perspective.

Most of the claimed "repression" of religious freedom are unattributed anecdotes, and are unworthy of inclusion in this editors.

Some, like the removal of a painting from an Idaho Air Force Base, are easy enough to look up online. The painting in question was removed from a public dining hall. That's no place for a religious work of art, and it's removal was completely appropriate.

That's not an example of a loss of religious freedom, it's an example of common sense being applied.

embarrassed Utahn!
Salt Lake City, UT

Always with the victim card! Let me tell you about the discrimination, exclusion, the ostracizing, the whispers, the gang-like bullying that occurs daily in Utah schools. I'm talking about religious bigots and the arrogant self-righteousness of a majority and the scars they leave on those perceived to be "less worthy". Good luck to all the decent non-majority kids in Utah schools.

Freedom of religion will never be at stake in this nation, play the victim all you want, what is at stake in Utah is the Freedom-to-not-be-religious.

Michael Roche
Provo, UT

I'd genuinely like to hear suggestions on how the federal government should handle freedom of religion cases. The current policy of the U.S. Supreme Court is to not give religious people or organizations any special treatment unless the government's law or policy is specifically aimed at discouraging or encouraging a religion or non-religion. One of the reasons the Court chose this way of deciding 1st amendment cases is because it's a really easy way to decide cases. How would the editors of the Deseret News change the Court's current test? (and I'm not being sarcastic or cynical - I'm really interested in 1st amendment issues).

Also, the 1st amendment only guarantees freedom of religion from government intrusion. There is no freedom of religion issue when private people like the media, the public, and individuals are antagonistic toward religion, except where those views become law.

I'm glad the DN is calling attention to this issue. I'd also like to hear how they would address it.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

First Amendment:

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

Early on I thought those words applied to individuals, but I now see the error of my ways because the word “establishment” in use here is a noun and not a verb.

As a verb it would prevent the national government from specifying a particular religion and religious practices. As a noun it means that the national government may not do any thing to control or limit the actions of an organized religion.

It today’s world it is perfectly clear that the organized religions want government by religion. They want public prayers, religious advertising in the public square and business operations that further the cause of their religion.

Some of us would like to have the right to believe differently than the established organizations of religion. To keep that right it is necessary that religious organizations no be allowed free exercise of their beliefs.

Religion should not be a part or government or business that has financial power over people. Government should pay the wages for those involved in selling religion.

byufootballrocks
Herndon, VA

Re: KJB1

Thank goodness millions of Americans disagree with you. You must attack and twist the beliefs of others and impugn their motives to support your points.

As the article pointed out there is no question there is an open hostility to religion in certain quarters of society and it is growing. There is both open and subtle persecution in a nation that proclaims itself the bastion of religious freedom.

It's a basic fact that all laws are moral and have their original basis in biblical and moral principles. If you don't understand that, go to law school.

People of faith don't have to write their "beliefs and biases" into laws because they are already there.

You can continue to bang your head ahead the truth and just continue to spin your wheels and get nowhere.

In the meantime please refrain from taking cheap shots at people of faith. We will go on defending our constitutional right to exercise our religious convictions both private and public.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

There are many who would destroy an individual's right to worship as he pleased. There are many who would destroy an establishment of religion's right to write its own doctrine and perform its covenant ordinances. What those people forget is that the people retain all rights except those that are specifically allocated to government. Even without the 1st Amendment, the people and the churches run by those people have the right to worship as they choose, not as the government dictates.

The founding fathers were wise and cautious. They had seen how governments in Europe had controlled of religion. They ensured that no such thing would happen in America by making religion and religious worship the first item addressed in the Bill of Rights.

Foolish people think that situational ethics can dictate laws. They assume that they know the consequences of all things. Corrupt politicians and corrupt judges try to change our rights.

We must be vigilant. The Deseret News is doing its duty to inform us of those corrupt politicians and of those corrupt judges. Hopefully, we're intelligent enough to read and to understand.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Oh, but how would DN fill up its pages were it not for the "war on religion?"

"The administration, however, has imposed requirements as part of the Affordable Care Act that would take away rights of conscience in regard to certain medical procedures religious employers would have to offer employees as part of their health coverage."

Yet,
In a split with U.S. bishops, a trade group for Catholic hospitals said it can accept the Obama's administration latest compromise on birth control coverage by religious employers.

"We are pleased that our members now have an accommodation that will not require them to contract, provide, pay or refer for contraceptive coverage," said the Catholic Health Association.
(July 2013)

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

Freedom accrues to individuals before religion. If religion wants to participate in the larger society, then it has to accept that individuals have rights on which it cannot infringe, and that their having those rights is not persecution. Otherwise, it can sit in the corner and say 'woe is me'.

Informed Voter
South Jordan, UT

The article includes another example of how Obama fails to implement a law he does not agree with. The Executive branch, if you sustain the Constitution, is required by the Constitution to implement laws duly passed by the Congress. So, any of you who dislike the growing attacks on religious liberty and who voted for Obama or for democrat office holders who support him, can blame yourselves. Those who believe the 1st amendment goes too far (13% per the article) are as much of the problem as Obama and his appointees. The fact that he got re-elected shows how much the populace has changed as well as their ignorance about the Constitution and/or their disregard for it. Knowledge is power and unfortunately so is ignorance.

Meadow Lark Mark
IDAHO FALLS, ID

The problem is when others want laws that restrict my ability to practice my beliefs. To me many in this country simply want to believe what they want to believe. To me many think there are no moral values that we need to follow and that whatever my selfish wants are is simply how I conduct my life. We need to return to the Christian values of our ancestors.

Aggielove
Cache county, USA

If you thought gun control brought out a bunch of anger people, wait till the first amendment is hammered further. It will be the end of this country.

The Skeptical Chymist
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

The outrage about "infractions" of religious liberty comes from people who are losing the ability to force their religion on others.

An example is the Idaho AFB removing the painting, "Blessed are the Peacemakers," because of "its Biblical reference." A few actual facts will show that this painting should never have been put on display in the cafeteria on base.

The painting (which can easily be found with a Google image search) shows an Air Force Officer in the foreground with a crusader in the background holding the flag of the crusades. As the flag folds, it morphs into the American flag. The implication is that the Air Force is the modern version of the Crusades, fighting for Christianity against the Muslims, a truly despicable idea in a country that is founded on a principle of religious freedom and which has people of all faiths in the Air Force.

The painting was objected to by a group of about 20 airmen, most of whom were Christian. They contacted the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which contacted the Pentagon, and the painting was removed. Contrary to what this article states, removal of the painting increased the religious freedom on the base.

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