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

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  • HotGlobe SAN RAFAEL, CA
    April 19, 2013 1:50 a.m.

    Why is now the time to discuss a non-issue? If there is a problem, what is it? No answers here.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    April 12, 2013 11:20 a.m.

    Lane Myer
    "Explain to me about being free FROM religion is wrong"
    It depends on how you define freedom FROM: if you mean the right to not believe - you have that right already; if you merely do not want to be expected to tolerate other people’s religious views when they cross your path, as you demand that they tolerate yours - then you are merely intolerant. Demanding intolerance while failing to offer it is WRONG

    You have no freedom FROM Jews; no freedom FROM Muslims; no freedom FROM Christians - they exist - learn to tolerate them if you expect them to tolerate you

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    April 11, 2013 11:42 p.m.

    @The Skeptical Chymist

    It's been so long since you posted your comment about my comment, I'm afraid you may not get around to reading this response. Anyway, you're right. I agree entirely with your point of view. In my original post, I was just being satirical (or trying to).

    Best regards.

  • amazondoc USA, TN
    April 11, 2013 11:24 p.m.

    @O'Really --

    "Blacks way back when couldn't simply go to a different lunch counter."

    Of course they could. There were black businesses as well as white ones, black restrooms as well as white ones, black schools as well as white ones. Those blacks could have gone to any business that welcomed them.

    But separate is not equal. And discrimination isn't okay, and it isn't Constitutional.

    @banderson --

    "without God, what keeps me from taking from my neighbor anything I want that I deem as 'ethical'to do?"

    "Ethics" are not random desires that flit through your head. Ethics are rational systems of thought, carefully constructed using those pesky facts and logic that you despise so much, which help in leading us towards the most desirable actions. If you can rationally tell us why it might be desirable to take something from your neighbor -- for instance, perhaps your neighbor has a girl tied up in his basement -- then, indeed, it might be ethical to take that girl away from him. Otherwise, not.

    I'll repeat: why is your religion different than anyone else's? Many religious people support gay marriage. Why does your God get to win over theirs?

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    April 11, 2013 10:33 p.m.

    To Contrarius & 1Aggie: My point has been validated again. Both agree that you really don't stand for anything but what you deem as 'ethical' or 'moral', which as you say, is according to your 'facts' and 'logic', which you also declare as the wonderful thing about it all. Wow, without God, what keeps me from taking from my neighbor anything I want that I deem as 'ethical'to do? I'm certain that all the men and women that worked in the death camps of Germany thought they were doing a lot of 'ethical' work. Who was to say that they weren't? They had families, they thought the future looked great, they loved their children, and went to church on Sunday. How is anything extreme when there is not an 'ethic' that says otherwise? Whose Ethics? Yours? No thanks? Check out all the 'ethical' people in the inner city of Detroit right now. Ethics isn't quite working there on a whole is it? No, without God anything is acceptable! No rational thought can justify otherwise! God's laws and wisdom never change. Ethical actions are tied to individual choice, hardly condusive to a stable society.

  • O'really Idaho Falls, ID
    April 11, 2013 10:26 p.m.

    Reasonable Person and amazondoc...
    If I were turned away from the florist shop because she didn't want to do a Mormon wedding, I'd take my business somewhere else. Gays really need to grow a thicker skin if they are going to be "out" in the community. Not everyone is ever going to accept or even like them a little bit. That's life. The florist is being made an example of to FORCE this lifestyle down the throats of anyone who dare to publically disagree with it. You two sit back and smugly say it has everything to do with discrimination of Blacks and the likes. No it doesn't. It is nothing like that at all. Blacks way back when couldn't simply go to a different lunch counter.They literally had no options. But gays have the freedom to do their business elsewhere. Sure they could find a gay-friendly florist. This is nothing more than a public lynching of a person trying to live her religion.

  • amazondoc USA, TN
    April 11, 2013 6:34 p.m.

    @coltakashi --

    "The Attorney General of Washington is prosecuting a florist in my city who declined to take on the job of creating special floral arrangements for the same sex marriage of two gay men who were her customers for nine years. She does not hste Gay men but declines to have her name associated with a same sex marriage due to her religious convictions. "

    One more time --

    Private businesses have not been legally allowed to discriminate since the days of the lunch counter sit-ins. This is nothing new. This same florist would not be allowed to refuse black people, either, even if her religion believed in "white supremacy". And hey, she also couldn't legally refuse Mormons, even if she believed that the LDS church was an evil cult.

    Some people are upset right now simply because our long-standing Constitutional protections against discrimination are being applied to a group of people that many would still like to discriminate against.

    Well, that's just too bad.

    Constitutional protections, within the limits of Federal and state laws, apply to EVERYONE -- not just to people that you happen to like.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    April 11, 2013 6:03 p.m.

    @GD: Free their minds from what? Religion does far more to limit the minds of sheeple than free their minds.

  • Reasonable Person Layton, UT
    April 11, 2013 5:48 p.m.

    coltakashi
    No one is forcing the woman to "love" gay marriage, but she could be a REAL Christian and treat everyone with the love she expects to receive from others.
    What's going to happen is that she, by refusing the following the anti-discrimination laws of Washington State, has decided to throw away what she worked hard for.

    WHAT IF that florist refused to marry YOU, because she didn't believe in your religion? Or what if she didn't like the color of your skin? Or maybe she doesn't like your political party. Is THAT OK with you, coltakashi? Why not? You choose your religion. You don't choose your sexuality.

    Throughout my life, I have been related and friendly with gay people. I didn't know they were gay, at first...but I came to realize that they were good and decent people, moreso than those who wanted to discriminate against them. My first crush? Gay, years later. My high school gym teacher? A lesbian.

    Once one realizes, like Senator Rod Strickland of Ohio, that you have a gay person in your family, you suddenly step back from the hate.

  • Reasonable Person Layton, UT
    April 11, 2013 5:33 p.m.

    Religion is not under attack.
    HOWEVER, there is a large profit motive by corporate religions and right-wing media, in pretending that it is so.

    Many in Utah disrespect others and call them "gentiles", but then come to us for money for your functions.

    If religion was truly under attack, you'd all lose your gigantic tax-exempt status (which the rest of us taxpayers are forced to subsidize locally and federally). We subsidize your property, we subsidize your income, we subsidize your "nonprofit" status even though it's obvious that billions of dollars are available for the construction of huge shopping centers.

    Please. Worship as you wish.
    Just don't force anyone else to agree and PLEASE loosen the laws so that Jews can buy cars on Sunday.

  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    April 11, 2013 5:08 p.m.

    The Attorney General of Washington is prosecuting a florist in my city who declined to take on the job of creating special floral arrangements for the same sex marriage of two gay men who were her customers for nine years. She does not hste Gay men but declines to have her name associated with a same sex marriage due to her religious convictions. The couple could easily get flower arrangements elsewhere but they decided they want to punish her for withholding her affection. What impirtant right is the Attorney General vindicating here? Has he ever prosecuted a tradesman who declined to participate in a Mormon wedding reception? This is religious persecution to force people to love gay marriage.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 11, 2013 4:36 p.m.

    @ banderson

    I am a faithful person, but your comment "Without 'faith' in God, there is no purpose, other than surviving from day to day" is way over the top in my view.

    I can imagine an atheist whose sole purpose is to make the world a better place for his children and grandchildren. What is wrong with that purpose? How is storing up riches or other benefits for oneself in heaven a better purpose than making the world a better place for one's grandchildren?

  • Contrarius Lebanon, TN
    April 11, 2013 4:33 p.m.

    @banderson --

    "What if I don't believe in Aristotle, Socrates, and your brand of religion ('ethics')?"

    You don't have to "believe" in them. Blind belief is anathema to rational thought, after all.

    However, you would benefit greatly by **learning** from them.

    That's the wonderful thing about rational thought. You can decide for yourself based on facts and logic, rather than having beliefs spoonfed to you. That's one of the things that distinguishes rational thought from religion.

    "Yours is the ethics that allows abortion, sex without restraint, only collective freedoms, and absolute government control"

    Don't assume that you know anything about my personal ethics. You know that old saw about making assumptions, right? ;-)

    "How is your 'ethics' any different than anybody else's 'ethic's?"

    You'll have to be much more specific before I can answer that question. But we can turn it around and ask -- how is your religion different than anybody else's religion?

    There are many religions out there, and they often disagree on important issues -- including gay marriage. There are plenty of religious people who SUPPORT gay marriage. What would you say to them? Why should your God win over theirs?

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    April 11, 2013 4:05 p.m.

    contrarius: Thank you for validated my very point. What if I don't believe in Aristotle, Socrates, and your brand of religion ('ethics')? What is ethics without a bias toward 'ethical' thinking. Again, yours is a religion of relativism that has faith in 'ethics' as a foundation for something, I don't know what, but certainly isn't valuable to me. Hitler, Stalin, and Ghenghis Kahn had 'ethics' too (After all,in Hitler's case, the trains did arrive on time). Yours is the ethics that allows abortion, sex without restraint, only collective freedoms, and absolute government control, hardly 'ethical' in my mind. If you say that is a farce, how do you reason such? If there is no God, everything is acceptable. 'Ethics' is meaningless, just another word to strap your own version of morality on the backs of those who have a different idea. Give it up! If you are to stand by your position, then you must be consistent. How is your 'ethics' any different than anybody else's 'ethic's? Weak?

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2013 3:58 p.m.

    Counter Intelligence

    Explain to me about being free FROM religion is wrong when there are those who would like parts of Sharia law enforced in some parts of this country. If the majority of the people were to vote for that, do you think it would be constitutional?

  • GD Syracuse, UT
    April 11, 2013 3:35 p.m.

    The purpose of religion is to free the minds of men and women.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2013 3:15 p.m.

    @LiberalEastCoastMember
    How ironic is it that those who have misused political correctness as a sledgehammer to get their way in the political sphere now cry fowl now that those they hammer, dare talk back.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2013 3:12 p.m.

    Mike in Cedar City
    "The constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but it also guarantees freedom from religion."

    NO - it emphatically does not: It guarantees non-establishment and non-interference and freedom of speech - not one of those items gives anyone the right to silence, or be free from, religion - you can choose not to participate in any religion but you cannot be guaranteed freedom FROM religion any more than anyone can be guaranteed freedom FROM atheism or freedom FROM Judism, etc. They exist - deal with it: You don’t have to join but you do have to tolerate.

    If you mean the freedom not to believe – that is an entirely different matter – yes; you have that

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 11, 2013 2:59 p.m.

    @banderson
    I am a pWithout 'faith' in God, there is no purpose, other than surviving from day to day

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2013 3:01 p.m.

    "I am tolerant and anyone who diagrees is a bigot"

    As soon as those who think there is no threat to religous liberty comprehend the duplicity of that statement - the sooner they will realize why they are viewed by many as being the consumate perpetrators

  • Contrarius Lebanon, TN
    April 11, 2013 2:52 p.m.

    @bandersen --

    ""families are important, marriage is important, babies are welcome, education is dependent on knowledge of things as they were, are, and are to come"

    Yes, absolutely! And every single person who supports gay marriage would probably agree with you on every one of these points.

    "Remove God from the equation, anything is acceptable"

    This is absolutely NOT true.

    "Those who believe otherwise have no rational basis for disagreement"

    I would strongly advise you to do at least a little bit of reading in the field of Ethics before you make such an outlandish claim.

    It is, indeed, very very possible to act from very practical moral/ethical systems that do not refer to God in any way.

    Here's a few good moral philosophers for you to start with:

    Socrates and Aristotle -- virtue ethics
    John Rawls -- the social contract, justice as fairness, the liberty principle
    Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill -- utilitarianism/consequentialism -- doing that which produces desired results
    Kant -- deontology, acting from duty, the good will

    I hope these will help you in your search for greater moral understanding.

    (And Thank God this country isn't a theocracy!)

  • LiveLongAndProsper Eagle Mountain, UT
    April 11, 2013 2:31 p.m.

    One of the problems I am seeing from the religious commenters is that they do not realize that there are at least two kinds of morals. There are the morals that span a wide range of religious and secular belief, such as the golden rule. I'll call those kinds of morals "Ethics." The second kind of morals are imposed by a particular set of beliefs with no basis other than tradition, religious texts and the words of religious leaders, such as the Word of Wisdom. I'll call these morals "Standards."

    With a secular government, such as we have, it is improper to expect the laws of the land to impose a particular religion's set of Standards, but it is reasonable to expect that Ethics be enforced. For example, it is not reasonable to expect the government to enforce the Jewish Standard of not eating shrimp, but it is reasonable for the government to have laws against murder. Some things, like abortion, are in a gray area so it is reasonable to be on both sides of the issue. Same-sex marriage is not in a gray area, it is clearly a moral Standard with no proven harm.

  • The Skeptical Chymist SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 11, 2013 2:19 p.m.

    @Steve C. Warren

    At first I thought your comment was sarcastic. You comment about how in Utah county, religious freedom thrives. Then you go on to say that in exercising their religious freedom, the voters there have mandated that all businesses must close on Sunday. Does it not strike you as an odd use of language to claim that requiring a business to be closed on a particular day is an example of a thriving freedom? The voters certainly had plenty of freedom before this law was enacted - they could shop on Sunday or not. So did the businesses - they could stay open on Sunday or not. By passing this law, both the shoppers and the business have had their freedom reduced.

    This strikes me as exemplary of the attitude that religious freedom is when one religion has the opportunity to impose its rules and regulations on everyone. It is a good example of Orwellian reversal, as in "Freedom is slavery".

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    April 11, 2013 1:39 p.m.

    Joe Blow and others: To say or even imply that this is about someone being 'miffed' or 'paranoid' about religious freedom is quite ludicrous. This is about those who have watched on the sidelines as the athiests, the amoral, and the immoral have proudly moved out of the shadows. So, here are the self-evident truths: families are important, marriage is important, babies are welcome, education is dependent on knowledge of things as they were, are, and are to come, and that God exists and has THE plan of happiness. Remove God from the equation, anything is acceptable, hardly something I want for anyone,let alone my children. Those who believe otherwise have no rational basis for disagreement, for to disagree is to exercise faith in humanity, which doesn't have a very good record for civility. Actually, exercising 'faith' in anything is a non-sequitor. Without 'faith' in God, there is no purpose, other than surviving from day to day. To say you have purpose without God has no more validity than a an injured moose asking for civility to a hungry pack of wolves.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    April 11, 2013 1:26 p.m.

    Ultra Bob wrote:

    >The American experiment of allowing all religions to believe and act as they wanted, worked well for churches in the beginning.<

    No they didn't. Salem witch trails were not good. Driving the LDS people from the US wasn't good. The KKK was not good. The fact that a Catholic was not elected until 1961 was not particularly good.

    >Populations were small and distances were great.<

    As if this had anything to do with why things work or don't work. Please study history. Populations were small and distances were great when Genghis Kahn roamed the steppes too, but it doesn't raise the value of his pillage, rape and excess.

    >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.<

    Polish up your linguistic skills. Try "antithetical." But either way, your logic crashes with "propaganda of morality." If morality could somehow propagandize itself (it cannot), it begs questions about your own brand of morality (or the lack thereof) and the dime-store propaganda you press in your posts.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    April 11, 2013 1:13 p.m.

    @Ultra Bob writes:

    >The purpose of religion is to enslave the minds of men and women,<

    Not so. The etymology of the word "religion" has the same root as ligament. Ligaments help your knee allow your leg to move as you walk. To call this "slavery" is gross misuse of the term. It is willing cooperation. Slavery is not. Religious ties enable people at different places in their lives and understanding to relate with and serve each other.

    > the reason for religion is to garner the wealth and efforts of it's members<

    Any group working together harnesses the wealth that efforts of its members. Just so, your foot assists your head in getting where it wants to go. One wonders how it assists you if it is in your mouth. But, to each his own.

    >Success in the religion cause is counted in the number of members.<

    "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." James 1:24

    The number of adherents is immaterial. Truth is what matters. One man and God is a majority.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 11, 2013 12:58 p.m.

    @SlopJ30
    I couldn't agree with you more. Unfortunately, in my Ward, the paranoid talk doesn't just take place between Sunday School and Elders' Quorum meetings, it pervades our meetings too. I guess there's nothing like an outside perceived threat (even an imaginary one) to stir up and "unify" a group of authoritarian followers.

  • Edd_Doerr Silver Spring, MD
    April 11, 2013 12:35 p.m.

    Yes, we do need a conversation about religious liberty, especially about such important issues as the campaigns in Congress and the states to divert public funds to religious private schools through vouchers or tax-code vouchers (which Utah voters twice defeated by landslide margins); the ongoing efforts to weaken women's religious freedom and rights of conscience on reproductive matters; and the increasing attempts to undermine the religious neutrality of our public schools. One excellent stimulus for discussion is Randall Balmer's book First Freedom: The Fight for Religious Liberty, published in 2012 by Covenant Communications in American Fork, Utah. -- Edd Doerr, President, Americans for Religious Liberty

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    April 11, 2013 12:18 p.m.

    There is no religious liberty because it is a war of propaganda with no basis for verification or accountability. Real issues like: the history of Mormonism from Monotheism to Cosmic Henotheism is swept under the rug and never debated for thought and choice of believe and religion liberty.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    April 11, 2013 12:08 p.m.

    People often mistake morality with sexual chastity. The two are completely seperate ideas.

    Religious freedom means I am just as free to practice your religion as I am to not practice your religion.

    There is nothing to keep me from going to Church this Sunday with my family. There is nothing prohibiting me praying with them this evening. No one is forcing me into a same sex relationship, or to participate in an abortion. My religious rights are just as intact now as they were the day I was born.

    The problem with using religion to encode law is, whose do we choose? My beliefs are just as sacred to me as an Islamists are to them, so why should mine be given priority before the law?

    There are no absolute beliefs. If that were the case, I would expect to see hordes of people petitioning for Warren Jeffs' release, after all he was just doing what he felt God told him.

  • SlopJ30 St Louis, MO
    April 11, 2013 11:57 a.m.

    It's hysterical to me that, after (presumably) reading an article that pointed out how the religious tend to act the victim frequently with very little reason, so many of you post to complain of being victimized. Yes, it's a secular plot to ruin religion. Of course it is.

    To my chagrin, I find myself surrounded by family members who feel the same way. Whenever they start ranting gibberish about an assault on religous liberty -- typically using very rare, one-off examples to illustrate their point -- I hold my tongue as long as I can before asking, very camly "What exactly do you want to do that you're being prevented from doing?"

    The answer is always "well, nothing right now . . but just you wait!" It's all theoretical, "slippery-slope" paranoia based on emotion and groupthink. But, hey, it makes for a rousing conversation between Sunday School and Elders' Quorum meetings, don't it? It sure makes for entertaining listening.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    April 11, 2013 11:35 a.m.

    Perhaps such a discussion could start by defining the term "religious liberty."

    Freedom of religion is certainly part of it but isn't freedom from religion important too?

    Mike Leavitt may be surprised to discover that the voice of religion was softest after the American Revolution. Church membership hit an all time low in 1800. It is far higher today. In addition, the history of the Early Republic was one of the dismantling of established churches and curbing their power over government. Giving special exemptions to religious groups from obeying the law of the land was the furthest thing from the minds of those who wrote the Bill of Rights.

    The tricky part of the Constitution is balancing all those rights we have voted ourselves. We can't talk about religious liberty in a vacuum.

  • Contrarius Lebanon, TN
    April 11, 2013 11:33 a.m.

    @WisCoug --

    "a Methodist group owned a boardwalk pavilion in Ocean Grove, NJ used in weddings who lost their tax exempt status"

    This one has been addressed already. The property was designated for **public** use. Legally, therefore, they had no right to discriminate.

    "a florist who refused to do wedding flowers for a same-sex marriage."

    Private businesses have not been legally allowed to discriminate since the days of the lunch counter sit-ins. This is nothing new.

    "church-houses and religious leaders, as far as I know, have never been forced to perform a marriage against their religious beliefs."

    RIght. "Religious freedom" means the right to practice your own religion WITHIN YOUR RELIGION. It does **not** mean imposing your religious beliefs on everyone around you.

    Anti-discrimination laws have been around for decades. People are only upset now because anti-discrimination principles are being applied to a group of people that many would still like to discriminate against. Well, tough. Our US Constitution says NO discrimination -- and that applies, within the limits of the Constitution and federal and state laws, to EVERYONE -- whether you happen to like them or not.

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    April 11, 2013 11:30 a.m.

    It's good that this conference on religious freedom was held in Utah County, where religious freedom thrives. In Highland, for example, voters last fall exercised their religious freedom by mandating that all businesses must close on Sunday. And Utah County communities also exercise their religious freedom by beginning City Council meetings with prayer, usually of the Mormon variety. Those who don't like this practice are free to quit complaining about it, or, if it really bothers them, to move somewhere else. No one is stopping them. It's a free country.

  • WisCoug MOUNT HOREB, WI
    April 11, 2013 11:18 a.m.

    @1aggie
    @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 can't think of any situation where a religious group was forced to perform a marriage, but there was the case in NJ where a Methodist group owned a boardwalk pavilion in Ocean Grove, NJ used in weddings who lost their tax exempt status for that property after refusing to allow a gay marriage to be performed there.

    There is the current case in Washington ongoing of the state against a florist who refused to do wedding flowers for a same-sex marriage. An injunction has been filed and the florist would be required to pay $2,000 per violation.

    There is a similar case in front of Oregon's Attorney General to potentially act against a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for similar reasons (both of these states have legalized gay marriage AND passed anti-discrimination laws to protect the LGBT community).

    All that said, church-houses and religious leaders, as far as I know, have never been forced to perform a marriage against their religious beliefs.

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    April 11, 2013 11:14 a.m.

    I agree that we should not use society to force our religious views on others. However, freedom has to be a two way street. There is no law which prevents a church from marrying two men or two women. (A polygamous marriage is illegal) Utah and (currently) the Federal Government simply do not recognize the gay marriage. Nothing is stopping a gay couple from living together or traveling to a state which allows for such unions.

    My biggest concern with the gay marriage debate is that many people view "freedom" as getting what they want - even to the point of forcing other people to participate. I think that shrimp is the best food on the planet and I am a big fan of ham and cheese sandwiches. Do I have the right to require that all convenience stores sell shrimp and ham and cheese sandwiches - even if they are run by Muslims or Jews? Do I have the right to insist on a Jewish owned business be open on Saturday for my shopping convenience? Freedom would say I can by Shrimp on Saturday at any store that is open and sells such delicacies. Freedom is a two-way street.

  • Contrarius Lebanon, TN
    April 11, 2013 11:16 a.m.

    @JBQ --

    "and the efforts to make everyone essentially equal. "

    Wait -- I thought it was our US Constitution that did that. You know, "all men are created equal"?? Now the Constitution is supposed to be some sort of Vast Left Wing Conspiracy?? Really???

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2013 11:12 a.m.

    Is there any institution which is cut more slack than religion? Religious leaders are not questioned as to the rationality of thie views, moreover, religions get government services provided for FREE! I hardly think religious liberty is threatend.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2013 10:38 a.m.

    @Linus
    "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."

    Marriage is already a secular institution, that's what happened when the gov't got involved with it.

    @RBB
    "Churches have been sued for not allowing gay weddings on their property."

    Maybe that church shouldn't have registered that property as for public use with the tax benefits that entailed. Besides... that was New Jersey, a state without same-sex marriage.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2013 10:13 a.m.

    Losing your ability to use your personal system of magical beliefs, even if it's popular with your neighbors, to opress people who don't believe in your brand of magic, or in magic at all, is not a repression of your rights.

    It's just the application of justice and a small dose of sanity.

    When I listen to the ridiculous complaints among Christians that they're being represed, I can't help but think of Michael Palin and his famous, "Help help! I'm being repressed!" scene from Holy Grail.

  • LiberalEastCoastMember Parkesburg, PA
    April 11, 2013 9:57 a.m.

    How ironic is it that those who have misused religion as a sledgehammer to get their way in the political sphere now cry fowl that society seeks to limit those rights.

  • Vince here San Diego, CA
    April 11, 2013 9:55 a.m.

    Historically, the loss of religious liberties has not been at the hands of gay groups. Other militant groups have created political influences whereby people could not and in some countries cannot observe their religious liberty.

    Wherein are gay groups guilty of denying people to worship as they will?

    The right to marry - has been taken by religious groups and no legislation has prevented religious organizations from marrying partners --- as an example, the Catholic Church deserves its right to marry whom they will. The Church marries, and further, places further stipulations on temple sealings. How are these rights taken away by the government or by any other way?

    Bear in mind, further that marriages are state-sanctioned. If it were not so, ministers, clergy, priests, etc. would not say "By the power vested in me by the State of X, I declare you husband and wife..." The people obtain a marriage license through the state, not the Church.

    That said, the religious component of marriage remains intact.

  • RCS Orem, UT
    April 11, 2013 9:54 a.m.

    My comment above (second comment) has a typo. Should read:

    Without morality as the base, we will LOSE our freedoms and nation.

  • JBQ Saint Louis, MO
    April 11, 2013 9:54 a.m.

    Gay marriage is only a smokescreen for a "hidden agena". As someone once said, "it all depends on what the meaning of 'is' is". Even as Mr. Clinton was elusive, there are forces at work to destroy religious differences. This is all about national socialism and the efforts to make everyone essentially equal. It is all about power and the redistribution of wealth on a world stage. It would appear that the family and the children which it protects are only in the way of a true world utopia.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2013 9:35 a.m.

    America is actually becoming the Britain we sailed away from and had to fight a bloody war on our own shores to liberate our people.

    As they say, History repeats itself.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    April 11, 2013 9:34 a.m.

    My religion tells me to force everyone to live by a code that is 4,000 years old then I get angry when the so-called progressives want to live by a more up to date code. My religious freedom should be protected from belief more recent than 4,000 years.

  • EDM Castle Valley, Utah
    April 11, 2013 9:19 a.m.

    "Religious freedom" mostly means freedom to discriminate. And the reason it's become such an issue is because religions are feeling the pressure to be more fair.

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2013 9:12 a.m.

    I don't think people even know what FREEDOM means anymore.

    All the politically correct silliness has desensitized Americans.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    April 11, 2013 8:59 a.m.

    Honesty, Integrity and being true to your faith is important in our relationship with people and with governmental principles. This land had very few occupants and was only visited a couple of times by Europeans in the first 1500 years of our accounting. However, the people from Europe came here for a reason besides expansion of territorial rights and privileges. The Founding Fathers had a plan for our country and it was to have freedoms but also have the opportunity to have faith in God without state religions.

    This last election on both sides practiced religious bigotry and a bias against a person because of religion. Some would rather have a person elected that would and has subverted what Constitutional Law in the United States of America means. The law and order of a country entails practicing the basic commandments of getting along together, sort of like the 10 commandments and have it with a separation of religion and government. That doesn't mean you have people without religion in government. There is no state religion but the principles of God have lived for millennia in people's lives that have freedoms. Despots don't like religion/scriptures in people's lives.

  • Ed Meyer Kanab, UT
    April 11, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    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.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 11, 2013 8:53 a.m.

    Cats.

    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.

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2013 8:51 a.m.

    Bloodhound
    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.

  • Albert Maslar CPA (Retired) Absecon, NJ
    April 11, 2013 8:47 a.m.

    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.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 11, 2013 8:48 a.m.

    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.

  • Moabmom Moab, UT
    April 11, 2013 8:44 a.m.

    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?

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    April 11, 2013 8:44 a.m.

    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.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    April 11, 2013 8:40 a.m.

    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.

  • Bloodhound Provo, UT
    April 11, 2013 8:24 a.m.

    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...

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 11, 2013 8:25 a.m.

    '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.

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    April 11, 2013 8:08 a.m.

    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".

  • 5 Orem, UT
    April 11, 2013 7:59 a.m.

    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.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2013 8:01 a.m.

    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?

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    April 11, 2013 7:33 a.m.

    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!

  • TimBehrend Auckland NZ, 00
    April 11, 2013 7:17 a.m.

    "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.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    April 11, 2013 7:01 a.m.

    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.

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    April 11, 2013 6:25 a.m.

    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.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 11, 2013 5:28 a.m.

    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.

  • RCS Orem, UT
    April 11, 2013 3:35 a.m.

    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.

  • Linus Bountiful, UT
    April 10, 2013 11:14 p.m.

    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.