Comments about ‘Religious freedom is an essential element of human dignity’

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Published: Friday, July 26 2013 2:40 p.m. MDT

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Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

If only the founders of this nation would have included religious freedom for individuals, people, citizens etc. As the First Amendment to Constitution is written only the established religions can have religious freedom.

We need and want freedom of religion for people not for churches.

Even if by some miracle we gain such, we have to realize that the laws and regulation of the American government can and do limit the freedom of religion. Of course that only applies to Americans everywhere and those other people currently within the American control.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

And this applies double-ly so,
and starts right here,
with my fellow Mormons here in Utah-liban.

American Fork, UT

It's a huge leap of logic to suggest spiritual well being of those who believe it is important is compromised because it is restricted from affecting the thoughts and policies of the U.S. The implied cause and effect relationship is not obvious, just claimed as so much of religion is. The opening statement of the article was correct. Religion is a personal, individual freedom, and applying it as a veneer of unknowable fantasy over the thoughts and policies of my nation negatively affects my spiritual well being.

Salt Lake City, UT

Religious beliefs, even if they're popular and widely shared, are never an acceptable excuse for depriving people of constitutionally guaranteed rights to privacy and autonomy.

Castle Valley, Utah

Good heavens. "Religious liberty" can never be "as fundamental a right as the rights to freedom of speech, press or assembly". Professor George and friends at DNews and elsewhere need to give it up. You cannot give religion a free ride anymore than you can give anyone else a free ride.

"...for those who regard humans not just as material beings but also as spiritual ones — free, rational and responsible — it is obvious that their spiritual well-being is no less important than their physical, psychological, intellectual, social and moral well-being." Sorry, but your "spiritual" inclinations have been an affront to human dignity and intelligence for time immemorial. There is no natural impulse, intelligent or rational thought that could bring a father to to sell his daughter into slavery, for example. - Oh, I know, this is just Bible legend, far-fetched stuff. But you see what I mean: Something this wacky takes religion. "Religious liberty" is just code for a license to do whatever you want with impunity.

Murray, UT

No one is forcing you to go to their church. No one is forcing you to pray to their god. It is very unlikely that will happen to you in the USA.

It is more likely that a citizen of the USA will be forced to violate the tenets of their faith by government regulation or by lawsuit.

Great article! Great point!

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Like all human rights, religious rights are limited by law. You can't dangle a cross from your neck if you work around dangerous machinery. You can't perform child sacrifice. You can't knock down skyscrapers even if Allah tells you to do it. You can't have a slave even though the Bible says it's OK. For the same reason, you can't deny services to people getting married if you are in the business of making wedding cakes...even if it's a gay couple. You can't deny health insurance to women if you are in the business of employing women...even if they plan to use it for birth control medication. It's a tightrope, but we as a society have to walk it if we plan to respect everyone's rights.

Huntsville, UT

Too many religions use their "religious freedom" to infringe upon the religious freedom and individual liberty of others. As long as the "religious liberty" is theirs, they're happy, but the moment someone else has a different view, kapowie, out the window goes the idea of "religious liberty" for that other group.


Enacting laws that favor your own religious views violates the liberty and religious freedom of someone else who believes differently.

Dammam, Saudi Arabia

@Ranch Hand:

In the past you've taken the position that there is no absolute right and wrong except that perhaps the only evil thing is bigotry. I heard recently that the San Antonio city council has proposed the practice of shunning people with regards to city contracts if they have ever made bigoted statements. I was wondering if you agree with the proposal, and if, hypothetically, you do, then are you not imposing a personal value on others who don't believe the same as you?

Dammam, Saudi Arabia

With regards to all those who keep bringing up the reference from the Bible about slavery. I think that the reference was probably the bronze age way of reforming the practice of slavery, in the same way that we respect the Magna Carta today although it only gave rights to feudal lords.

One thing that I've noticed in cross cultural communications, bigots and cultural chauvinists will look for a fault in other cultures and then exaggerate them to give themselves a feeling of cultural superiority. I wonder if that is what is happening here?

There is more to being liberal than being bigoted to a different group than the KKK or a skin head.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

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

Regardless of what some people say, Congress does not "give" religions anything. Congress is prohibited from keeping an establishment of religion from practicing its doctrines or performing its covenants. That means that the present Administratin cannot dictate to an establishment of religion (the Catholic Church, the LDS Church, the Lutheran Church or any other establishment of religion) that they must provide funding for birth control to anyone. That is a clear violation of religion. The Administration cannot tell any religion that it must perform marriages that are against its doctrines and covenants. That is a clear violation of religion. It cannot dictate how we pray or where we pray.

It must allow ALL religions to practice without government interference.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Tekakaromatagi – “I think that the reference was probably the bronze age way of reforming the practice of slavery…”

Perhaps, but it says something that Jesus never once repudiated the practice. This was perhaps the easiest moral question society has ever had to grapple with and the fact that people of the Bronze & Iron Age (even “perfect” people) could not see that treating other human beings as farm equipment is unethical, is troubling.

@Mike Richards – “It must allow ALL religions to practice without government interference”

My religion dictates that I can kill my children for talking back, can stone my neighbor for mowing his lawn on Sunday, can kill my Hindu neighbor for worshipping “false idols,” can stone my bride if I discover she’s a non-virgin, and can keep slaves (as long as I don’t knock their teeth out).

You good with all that?

PS – to your birth control point, where is the religious text or doctrine that speaks about going into business? I seem to remember something about “rendering unto Caesar” but can’t find anything else.

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