Comments about ‘Former Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt tells UVU conference now is the time for discussion on religious liberty’

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Published: Wednesday, April 10 2013 10:45 p.m. MDT

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Bountiful, UT

Governor Leavitt said, "Gay marriage and religious freedom should co-exist." While I agree with most of Governor Leavitt's stated sentiments, I take issue with this one. I believe that religious freedom can co-exist with Gay civil unions, but if the Gay community insists on preemptive capture of religion's sacred sacraments and reduces them to secular license, it will be hard for the adherents of each commitment to co-exist.

Orem, UT

Morality is the basis of Law. We don't want to get "beyond morality" in either our laws or our elected officials. This is a fight for the survival of our nation. Without morality as the base, we will love our freedoms and nation. This is true of any nation. The fight is global. The agenda of many of our national elected officials is to undermine traditional Scripture-based morality on a global scale. It is time to stand up for the values and moral principles that true freedom is based on.

Far East USA, SC

Religion is not miffed because things aren't fair.

They are miffed because they are being forced to be MORE fair.

They are unhappy NOT because they cant do what they want on their own property. They are unhappy because they are being restricted on what they can do in school and on public property.

And they equate that with "religious freedom" being under attack.

Sandy, UT

The real problem is that people leverage "non-discrimination" laws to prevent people from practicing their own religious beliefs. It is not enough to have gay marriage, now we want the right to force people who disagree with homosexual conduct to participate in the wedding. Churches have been sued for not allowing gay weddings on their property. Bakers and florists have been sued for not wanting to participate in gay weddings. Doctors have been sued for refusing to do invitro fertilization for gay couples. It is not enough for them to have the freedom to "marry" whoever they want, it is now about the "freedom" to force those who disagree to participate.

Likewise, it is not about women having access to contraceptives or abortion, it is about being able to force employers to pay for it -regardless of whether they believe that such conduct is a sin, or the ability to force nurses to participate in abotions even if they believe killing the unborn is wrong. We are no longer a free people. We are slaves to an agenda which contradicts the teachings of Christianity, Judism and Islam. We are no more free than the colonists in 1775.

Bountiful, UT

Other than when LDS were forced to stop polygamy, I have never heard of a case where religious freedom was curtailed inappropriately.

I have heard of cases where parents refused to get medical care for their children on religious grounds and the law stepped in to ensure the kids got the care they needed. This certainly was appropriate, while a parent or adult has the right to refuse treatment for themselves, they don't have the right to withhold needed care for their children.

Every claim of abridgement of religious freedom in my lifetime is really a case where religions try to force others to abide by their restrictions and they are prevented from doing so, such as the case where religion refuses to let children get the medical care they need.

Auckland NZ, 00

"Which is not to say that respect for religious freedom is exclusive to the state of Utah, Griffin said."

Indeed, not.

Linus, the state has held exclusive rights over what you consider a "sacred sacrament" for a long time. A religious ceremony is meaningless in the eyes of the law, however holy in the eyes of some citizens, unless it is accompanied by the permission and authority of the state. Your bishop can marry because the secular government says he can, not because of the authority of his (always his) "priesthood". It was that way even before the most powerful religious institution in Utah (then and now) changed its own most sacred sacraments about 120 years ago in order to become a US state in the first place.

Saint George, UT

The foolishness is absolutely astounding. Those who continue to act like 'morality' and 'religion' have nothing to do with law are absolutely nuts. These very people will then show how hypocritical they are by saying that 'Gay marriage' is O.K., but polygamy is not. 'Abortion' is O.K., but killing a fawn deer or owl warrants imprisonment. Preaching that there is no such thing as 'right' and 'wrong', but having a different opinion about what constitutes 'marriage' is hate speech and deserves ostracism or imprisonment. The list goes on and on. This isn't about getting over our 'homophobic' ideas, it is about acceptance that there is no evil or good, and therefore no God as well. It is those that are persuaded by the foolishness that I feel the most pity. No spine, no principles, and certainly no future!

Salt Lake City, UT

Many commenters in this forum act as if gay marriage is the only infringement on religious liberty associated with this issue. But what of the religious denominations that endorse same-sex unions and are prevented by law from solemnizing them? Isn't that also an assault on religious liberty? It's a two-way street.

There will always be some civil/secular conflicts with religious liberty. Obviously, the law does not allow human sacrifice even if some church wants to do it. Another story in today's paper highlights the gender integration of a portion of the West Wall in Jerusalem, a move by liberal Jews that is arousing the consternation of conservative Jews and Muslims alike. This type of gender segregation offends American sensibilities and would likely be prohibited in a public space. How does a society thread the needle of individual rights and religious liberty?

Orem, UT

What many people fail to see is the real motives behind the current movement. One motive is to force recognition and support of the lifestyle by religions. First we have special laws passed called hate laws giving special consideration to certain groups even bordering on the restriction of freedom of speech. Now they push for government sanction for their lifestyle. Combine the two and you have a basis for criminal prosecution for preaching against what most religions have taught for millenia is immoral and socially destructive behavior. Could this be the fulfillment of the prophecy of Heber C Kimball that "The time will come when the government will stop the Saints from holding Meetings."

Similar conflicts have already occurred in England.

Mike in Cedar City
Cedar City, Utah

So, 4 out of 5 citizens have a religious affiliation. That 20% non affiliated bunch does not sound like much of a threat to me. The constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but it also guarantees freedom from religion. Both concepts are valid in a free society. But this conversation seems to me to fall in the classification "me thinks thou doth protest too much".


'Noah Feldman, a professor at Harvard Law School and contributing writer for New York Times Magazine, said we could approach this utopian level of tolerance if “we could get beyond our background assumption that people who have a different perspective than us are somehow oppressing us.” '

Noah Feldman hit the nail on the head. One way churches keep their members motivated is through paranoia. I see the paranoid "it's us against them" ("we are a peculiar people") attitude displayed at my church all the time when in reality, nobody outside of the Church is thinking about us or cares about us at all.

@5 - What "hate" laws are you talking about? Be specific.
@RBB- Suing someone, and actually winning that lawsuit, are two different things. Specifically name cases that have been won by pro nets of gay marriage.

I am not particularly in favor of gay marriage, but I do not want to see the lies propagated during the Prposition 8 campaign resurrected and repeated here.

Provo, UT

If religious people will accept the secular belief that there is no right or wrong, they will be permitted to have freedom of religion. Otherwise, they will be harassed and shamed by the secularists into changing their beliefs. No, I don't understand it either...

Somewhere in Time, UT

Faith is under assault as never before in this country and it is accelerating. If we succumb to it, there is not much time left for us.

Springville, UT

Religious liberty has been talked about since the beginning of our nation. My question is, religious liberty for who? What about those who left England seeking religious freedom in the new world, then denied it to others in their new society? There are actually two key issues. One is the rights of the minority. The other is the role of government. On the latter, many religions want government protection for their activities. When the govenment supports their views, they are happy, and when they don't, they complain about the lack of religious freedom. In truth, they all want offical government sanction and support for them and either not for others, or when others seek to end the government support of religion. In some ways, we are no different than European countries that are protected against outside influences (including churches from the New World) by their governments. From what I see, churches in America (including my own), want that here while at the same time are trying to get their foot in the door elsewhere. Double standard.

Moab, UT

Pluralism (inclusive of every belief except Christianity and Judaism) and secular humanism (good without God) will be the death of this nation. When you remove God and His Holy Scripture from the public square, you remove the standard by which good is measured. Progressives on both sides of the aisle have been hard at work for over a century in this country to replace the authority of God with the authority of The State. RBB's comment above is right on target. Utah has MANY so called Republican politicians who are in the progressive camp so if you think Utah is immune to this, think again. Christianity and Judaism are exclusive by definition and political jargon and double-speak don't change that. Leavitt is a perfect example of one of these progressive Republicans. His understanding of "religious liberty" is limited by his own secular progressive world view and his own ego. I wonder if he has one of those stupid "Coexist" bumper stickers on his car?

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The purpose of religion is to enslave the minds of men and women, the reason for religion is to garner the wealth and efforts of it’s members. Success in the religion cause is counted in the number of members.

Because there are so many religions, the competition for members is a fierce and constant battle on all fronts. And like other ventures they use advertising, missionaries and even government to accomplish their goals.

The American experiment of allowing all religions to believe and act as they wanted, worked well for churches in the beginning. Populations were small and distances were great. However the American experiment of allowing people to believe and do as they please, is anti-theoretical to the purpose of religion and is demeaned through the propaganda of morality.

If we are to remain free Americans with freedom of religion for all, we cannot allow the forces of religion to free themselves from the chains that bind them.

Albert Maslar CPA (Retired)
Absecon, NJ

The time for discussion of religious liberty was 1492 when settlers came to America to gain religious freedom that was denied them in the Old Country. That was reemphasized with the Declaration of Independence and the subsequent Bill of Rights. Recent generations have literally and figuratively trampled and stomped upon Jesus and constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom and rights to the point that if Hitler did it, which he did, our liberal do-gooders nanny-state activists are actually doing it, and are bent on community, which is government, ownership of our children. How did patriotic Constitution honoring America get to this point without a public outcry so loud and persistent that politicians would quake in their boots? The problem facing America now is that the cat is out of the bag, the genie is out of the bottle, and America has unofficially but become a de facto police-state. The guilty, even murderers get virtual slaps on the wrist, while the religious based are punished more severely and held up to contempt as being hateful when all they hate is the evil while they truly have love and compassion for the evildoer.

Lane Myer
Salt Lake City, UT

Provo, UT
If religious people will accept the secular belief that there is no right or wrong, they will be permitted to have freedom of religion. Otherwise, they will be harassed and shamed by the secularists into changing their beliefs. No, I don't understand it either...


Maybe if religious people will accept the belief that their own beliefs should not be the law for everyone, without reasons, they will not be harrassed. It all depends on which side of the tolerance topics you listen to - tolerance can be a trap or that we should tolerate and love those with different beliefs.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT


You are absolutely right. If your meaning is the Faith-based organizations using an imaginary set of beliefs to influence people.

As knowledge of our world increases, all such will fade away as have the many faiths that have gone before.

Ed Meyer
Kanab, UT

When our forefathers signed the Constitution, they fully recognized the importance of separating church and state, not because they feared government would work against religion, but to protect government from religion. As you will recall, religions had discriminated against one another in the past...i.e. one state had a law that punished Quakers with death and, indeed, one Quaker was executed under this law. However, I feel there is a difference between governance regarding moral issues. Each elected official can and should use their personal moral compass which was created over years through their religious upbringing to make decisions. However, this should be done with tolerance, understanding and compromise recognizing that individuals without a specific religious affiliation also have their own moral compass that deserves to be heard as well. I worked with Governor Leavitt for many years. He was a marvelous listener, a trait lacking so often today, and a brilliant man who assimilated information quickly to form sound decisions. His moral compass was invariably fair, but firm and his voice is much needed in discussions of governance today. I'm glad to see he is still involved.

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