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Comments about ‘Religious liberty has become call to action for conservatives’

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Published: Saturday, Aug. 3 2013 11:25 a.m. MDT

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Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA

This was both a surprising and candid analysis of the "religious liberty" discussion conservatives have been engaging in recently. I was astonished to see it characterized as "negotiating the terms of surrender" in the fight over Gay Marriage. I also find it a bit troubling. Is this really a war where somebody has to lose?

Public opinion has changed in this discussion. Now those who oppose gay rights know what its like to express opinions that the majority disagree with - often in strong terms. Maybe the experience can help everyone learn to discuss issues that sharply divide the country in a more productive way.

Just a few years ago religious conservatives called for a boycott of Disney films because the corporation offered benefits to domestic partnerships. They were rightly condemned. More recently a group called for a boycott of the film "Ender's Game" because of anti-gay statements of author Orson Scott Card. I was pleased to see so many people in the Gay Rights movement reject it as being just as wrong as the Disney boycott.

Maybe in the end we call all exchange surrender for reconciliation.

EternalPerspective
Eldersburg, MD

This whole proposition of minority becoming majority with respect to gay rights voices has roots in the often quoted scripture passage in Doctrine and Covenants 121:39, "We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion."

History has shown us that when cultural values shift and minority voices become the majority, they equal or exceed the level of persecution, hypocrisy, and control (i.e. unrighteous dominion) previously exercised by the other. The minority movements begin as innocuous pleas for equal rights, fairness, and balance, but because of the scripture reference above, the other side of the agenda seeks to eradicate the competition. Hence, that scripture reference has been a self-fulfilling prophecy of human nature and groups that are in power during any particular time period.

It would be wonderful if reconciliation were possible, but when the goal of those that have become the majority voice is to remove, not preserve with fairness, then there can be no duality of existence with both perspectives and beliefs. Christians need to always remember these things.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

The reason conservatives keep losing in the marketplace of ideas is because they keep picking non-issues to champion, none more so than this so-called assault on religious liberty.

Since there are exactly zero instances in the U.S. of anyone’s religious liberties being infringed – no churches being shut down (in fact they receive services tax free!), no religious speech being stifled, no beliefs outlawed – all of the arguments that from conservatives on this issue essentially boil down to this:

“We used to run the country and want to re-establish our dominance, and if we cannot exercise all of our beliefs in the public arena, regardless of whether or not those beliefs trample on the rights of others, we going to let everyone know how upset we are.”

This all sounds less like a culture war and much more like child having temper tantrums.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

Liberals demand that we keep our religion out of their government but liberals can not keep their government out of our religion! That's the problem!

The Skeptical Chymist
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

I agree completely with Tyler D. Those who complain about having lost religious freedom were nowhere to be found when same-sex couples were denied their right to marry, even if their religion permitted it. Why were the complainers not out there championing the religious freedom of same-sex couples to marry?

Tyler D is right - those who used to set the rules, and were quite happy to exert their religious dominance on everyone else, are now whining that they don't control the show anymore. My goodness, a clerk might actually be forced to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple! What a gross violation of his religious freedom - NOT! Just as was the case for those clerks whose religious beliefs prohibited them from issuing marriage licenses to interracial couples, the religious beliefs of the clerk do not trump the rights of the applicants.

Abeille
West Haven, Utah

Tyler D, The Skeptical Chymist:

You've to be kidding, right?? Do you honestly believe that '...there are exactly zero instances in the U.S. of anyone's religious liberties being infringed.'??

Have either of you ever heard of the 'Extermination Order', signed by Governor Lilburn Boggs of Missouri? It gave the state militia the legal right to "exterminate or drive the (Mormons) from the state". This 'law' was officially repealed in 1976 - for the Bicentennial anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. That's right. For over 130 years it was LEGAL for state militias to shoot a Mormon or drive them from the state of Missouri! Pleas made by Leaders of religious organizations to Government officials have often fallen on deaf ears. When Joseph Smith, Jr. met with then-President Martin Van Buren to discuss the plight of the Mormons in Missouri, his response was "Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you; if I take up for you I shall lose the vote of Missouri."

Don't kid yourself - not only can Religious Liberty be infringed in the USA, it already has been!! It can happen again - and next time it might be something important to you.

The Skeptical Chymist
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

@Abeille

My apologies...I was referring to losses in religious freedom in recent times - say the last 50 years or so.

The example that you quoted is much more than an infringement of religious freedom. It is also a failure to follow due process, and probably violated more constitutional protections than that as well.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

Reforming laws to legalize same sex marriage is no infringement on religious liberty.

Gildas
LOGAN, UT

Whether it was Abraham fleeing from Chaldea, Moses and the children of Israel fleeing from Pharaoh, the remaining disciples of Jesus Christ fleeing for safety in the meridian of time, the Pilgrims fleeing from the old oppressive regime of the once-powerful Anglican hierarchy, Roger Williams fleeing to Rhode Island, "heretics" hiding from Roman Catholic tyranny, or the latter-day saints fleeing from one state to the other and, eventually, from the United States itself, truth is always opposed by oppressive governments, secular and ecclesiastical.

Today a new fight emerges. If there is nowhere to run what is the alternative but to stand your ground?

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