LDS Church joins 'growing chorus' of faiths asking followers to defend religious liberty


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  • Darmando Parker, CO
    Oct. 17, 2013 9:18 a.m.

    Some of the so called attacks on religion come as a response to zealots, who mistake license to denigrate, abuse, and marginalize others as religious freedom. From an earlier Deseret article I quote: “Religious freedom is as much a duty as it is a right. Religious freedom and civility depend upon each other and form a mutual obligation founded on the inherent dignity of each person..." Many zealots are abusive and coercive. They would rather accomplish by force of law what they can’t by persuasion and good example. They bring about reactions [sometimes from governments, obliged to protect all citizens] that are then deemed attacks on religion.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Sept. 20, 2013 5:27 p.m.


    Living your conscience doesn't mean you discriminate and refuse service to those who you disagree with. It means you don't do the thing you don't believe in (i.e., you don't marry someone of the same sex). Photographing a same-sex wedding, providing the flowers for it or the cake does not violate your conscience. The only violation would be if you were to actually do the thing you believe is wrong yourself. Do Mormons serve alcohol when working in a restaurant that serves alcohol? Yes, they serve it but they don't drink it. This is exactly the same scenario.


    Did you stop to think that the reason the comments you disagree with are the most popular because, perhaps it's because they support equality and it's the right thing to do? And, how did you know those throwing eggs at you were gay? We're they wearing signs? Anyway, which is worse, having a few eggs throw at you or having your civil rights voted away?

  • Tators Hyrum, UT
    Sept. 20, 2013 2:34 p.m.

    While visiting California a few years ago, I had gay people throwing eggs and spitting on my car windows while trying to drive into a church parking lot... not knowing what my personal stand was on proposition 8, but just because of my religion in general. Ever since then, it's been difficult for me to feel that gays just want to be treated equally. Try living the golden rule before becoming too preachy about rights. Good is as good does.

  • Tators Hyrum, UT
    Sept. 20, 2013 2:21 p.m.

    What a sad commentary on our society that the most liberal, anti-religion comments on this article are the most popular. Unbelievable!

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Sept. 20, 2013 9:50 a.m.

    Several here seem to want to claim that this is all about religion trying to force it's beliefs on others. Some go so far as to claim that religion is the basis for wars and discontent.

    Catholics aren't trying to force people of other faiths not to use birth control, they simply don't want to be forced to pay for it - either for themselves or others.

    Muslims didn't fly planes into the Trade Center towers, people did who happened to be Muslims. And over time, granted, many violent individuals have tried to justify their actions with their religion - even Hitler at one time claimed his Lutheran faith prompted his actions against Jews.

    What we are concerned about is a growing sense that government will not support the principals of religious freedom - and the evidence seems to be growing. We're not trying to claim a right to be fanatics, we simply wish to live by our conscience in a world determined to hand out privileges to random groups without responsible expectations.

  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 20, 2013 9:22 a.m.

    I want to give a thoughtful comment. Religous freedom should belong to all peopla including gay people. a lot of people expext to have certain rights, while they deny others the same. The funny thing is that they are denying people their rights based on their religous beliefs and when somebody says something, they scream that their religoue freedom is being taken away. Religous freedom most certainly should not give someone the right to discriminate against me!In Utah, a good way to decide if something is right is to substitute Mormon for the word gay. If it isn't right to do it to a Mormon, don't come out and say that it is ok to do it to a gay person! There was a time when Christian Americans somehow felt that owning another human being was morally right! you know they were going to church and somehow incorporating slavery into an accepted practice within their faith! Discrimination is wrong and has nothing to do with God

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Sept. 20, 2013 3:13 a.m.



    Those crying out in defense of religious freedom are guilty of mistakenly substituting "freedom" for "hegemony".

  • elarue NEW YORK, NY
    Sept. 19, 2013 11:08 p.m.

    Okay, this is exactly what I was afraid of - that this whole "religious freedom" was not about actual religious freedom, but about right wingers strategizing to make themselves look like they're the victims of religious oppression so that they can commit religious oppression against others. Seriously? Health care reform? The contraception mandate? Religious liberty is about letting individuals follow their own conscience, not about letting your employer's conscience overrule your own. This is why liberalism is the true defense of religious liberty, and conservativism is the enemy of it.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Sept. 19, 2013 7:51 p.m.


    We get your point but you're not getting ours. We don't necessarily want to have a bigot cater our functions, but the point is that it shouldn't even be an issue. We shouldn't have to go from place to place to place to find a provider when they're everywhere we turn. If they can't serve everyone, they shouldn't be in business.

    @county mom;

    Your neighbor sounds like a real gem of extremely low quality; however, they're not violating your religious freedom as you're still able to attend the church of your choice, right? We also have religious freedom; and that means if our religion allows same-sex marriage, we should be able to practice same-sex marriage, right?

  • tgurd Gonzales, LA
    Sept. 19, 2013 5:57 p.m.

    Religious freedom is respect for anothers belief in GOD as he or she understand it. Yes wars are fought over religion and have been since Adam and Eve lands given people persecuted, many murdered in the name of religion. Holy wars, the dark ages, inquisition all of these different times in history showed the intolerance to religious beliefs, We as LDS people believe in defending and protecting the rights of all denominations, Now I am saying all of course their are bigots in all religions and those that say one thing and do another, however for the most part the LDS people I know are very much for religious freedom and would back such. One gets so tired of the spin masters and their lies and stories, go back and read history instead of talking about what the spin masters are putting out, learn to allow all to worship how they wish and you worship the way you feel is right for you.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Sept. 19, 2013 10:51 a.m.

    county mom,

    That might have been me "waving" at you.

    But it is an expression of a deeply held religious belief of mine, so nobody can infringe on my religious freedom!


  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 19, 2013 10:46 a.m.

    What I find offensive and what truly disappoints me in this LDS fight for religious freedom is knowing that Gay people are not included in their plans! I have always said that it is a religious issue. Just because we are gay does not mean that we don't have religion also! The LDS people should not be able to use their faith to trample on my religious freedom and my right to live my life the way I feel God intended it to be!There are many who don't believe in Temple Marriage, but they don't get to stop you from performing them! The same rights apply to all. If a gay person decides not to help a Mormon in their business transaction, guess what, that Mormon can stand up against that discrimination. As a matter of fact, Mormons stand up all of the time for their right! So, what is wrong with a gay person standing up for his or her rights? What is wrong with asking to be treated like a human being? Why? Why do you people never acknowledge anything we have to say about ourselves?

  • county mom Monroe, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 5:06 p.m.

    My right to religious freedom does not infringe upon your right.
    Except last year at Christmas time I had a person stand in front of my home with a sign with vulgar language on it protesting my nativity. She was on my property!
    This "neighbor" is most unhospitable even rude when I drive past her home on Sundays to go to church, she waves with one finger.
    Believe it or not, I have a right to religious freedom!!!

  • Schwa South Jordan, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 2:55 p.m.

    When you say religious liberty, do you really mean the legal authority to discriminate against someone in a public setting? Or do you mean the ability to practice as you desire in a private setting?

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 12:55 p.m.

    Happy here, the point I guess you all kind of miss (my fault) is that you can't legislate the mind of a person. If they want to be bigots then that is their right. Agree? And if they want to display that bigotry, that is their right. Agree? I'd much rather know that a resturant hated me because of something so that I would not go in to it. Otherwise who knows what could be put in my food. Getting rid of bigotry with legislation is like trying to get rid of rats with legislation. Never happen. It is a part of the human condition and always will be. I for one would rather see the white hoods and burning crosses than live with deception. Better to know your who your enemy is. In my opinion anyway.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 7:59 a.m.

    To "cpafred" I would contend that my ward has purchased more gasoline than the local Wendy's. I know for a fact that they paid for the gas for the scouts to go to camp, along with the YM, and other YM groups going to high advendure camp this past summer. Then there are some of the weekday activities that have required the adult leadership to purchase gas, which is then reimbursed.

    There are many businesses that do not pay for roads because the business itself does not use them. For example, if I own a Wendy's franchise, I benefit greatly from the roads, but I do little to nothing to directly pay for them. I would have several food service vendors (not owned by Wendy's) make deliveries each week. My total fuel bill is nothing.

    As for paying a "fair" tax, how do you define that? How do you quantify "fair"? If you say they must pay something, how much, $1, $100,000, what is "fair"?

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Sept. 18, 2013 6:15 a.m.


    What do you do when no stores will sell you their product? Do you go to the next town? Or the next? Or the next after that?

    Your argument is exactly the same one used by whites in the South: Blacks should have a separate fountain, the water's from the same source, after all. They should eat at separate establishments, because well, whites are superior, after all, and the Bible says that God cursed them, so our religious values tell us that we can't share lunch counters with them. If they're not happy to go find another lunch counter than mine, well, they'll just have to suck it up, right?

    That sir, is bigotry. It is the same bigotry whether you're talking about blacks, jews, muslims, mormons, gays or what-have you. Business should absolutely not be able to discriminate in that manner. Their business is to provide a product or service, it is not to judge their customer's worthiness or morality.

  • cpafred SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 4:08 p.m.

    What a ridiculous response. How many gallons of gas has your ward bought this year.

    I did not single out churches (I said 503(c) should be revised). Please read more carefully before you respond.

    Of course businesses should not be allowed to avoid paying a fair tax, but that is not the topic here.

    Picture your little daughter or granddaughter coming to you in tears claiming that the corner store sold all her little friends ice cream cones, but wouldn't sell her one because she's a Mormon. How would you feel about that? I guess in your mind Rosa Parks should've stayed at the back of the bus and not complained (but rather reveled in the knowledge each day that the bus company is operated by bigots)?

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 3:21 p.m.


    Have you considered that knowing a persons bigotry may be better than not knowing it. If a business hated, say Mormons, I'd like to know that so that I can decide whether or not to spend money there. If I saw a business that said no Jews or Muslims allowed, I'd also not spend money there. I wouldn't worry about the right of some organization to have and display their biases. If they want to live like that, fine. That should be their right. If we don't want to support them, fine, that's our right too.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 1:01 p.m.

    To "cpafred" they do pay for roads. When a church buys gasoline, they pay the state and federal gas taxes.

    Why single out Churches for not paying property taxes or income taxes to fund police, fire, and the military? Non-Profit organizations like the Red Cross, and United Way can qualify for the same tax exempt status.

    Churches are required to pay taxes for any for-profit activities and properties.

    What about businesses that don't make a profit, or else are really good at using the tax code to pay no taxes. They don't pay for police, fire, or military, is that something that should be allowed?

  • cpafred SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 11:03 a.m.

    @Kirk R Graves
    Your first argument that the fire dept., police, etc are not serving an organization but are serving the citizens (so Churches shouldn't have to pay) was wrong because there are a lot of organizations of citizens who do pay. Your second "purpose" argument is better.
    But you say, "In essence, the only purpose for the legal entity of a church to exist, is to create a place for the shared resources (money) to be pooled." which makes no sense because lots of non-incorporated groups (like my pinochle club) pool their money in banks, under the mattresses of their leader, etc.
    Churches are formed (in a particular manner, complying with IRS Sec 503(c), and carefully put up firewalls between their "charitable" and "noncharitable" activities) SOLELY to preserve a tax deduction for their contributors and avoid paying tax on their profits, if any.
    People who do not like that (and perhaps think some churches are dangeroulsy close to violating their charitable purposes) make cogent arguments in my mind and I think we should all lobby our representatives to carefully review and revise Sec. 503(c) to curb abuses and require public reporting.
    @RedShirt - police , fire, roads, military.

  • DanO Mission Viejo, CA
    Sept. 17, 2013 9:48 a.m.

    Also, the First Amendment doesn't say anything about whether churches should be taxed or not. In fact, one could argue that by not taxing them, it's a violation of the First Amendment. As long as everyone is taxed equally or exempted under the same rules, there would be no conflict. But churches enjoy a benefit that no other non-profit organization enjoys. All other non-profits must publish financial statements that show how their money is spent and they give up part of their first amendment rights. By just declaring an organization as a religion it automatically becomes exempt of these requirements. Who is to say what is and what isn't a valid religion? If I declare my spirituality comes from myself and decide I should be considered a religion, should I not get the same benefits? The point is the government still ends up having to decide what is and what isn't a valid religion. If churches followed the same rules as every other non-profit, there wouldn't be an issue.

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    Sept. 17, 2013 9:44 a.m.

    To "DanO" waht services do churches get for free?

    Churches pay for electricity, water, gas, telephone, internet, and garbage service.

    Tell us specifically what churches get for free.

  • DanO Mission Viejo, CA
    Sept. 17, 2013 9:39 a.m.

    Kirk, you're skirting the issues. Churches still consume services in addition to those its members would normally use. Why should they get them for free?

  • Kirk R Graves West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 9:21 a.m.

    Dano. While I understand why you see that a business and a church are the same, there are many examples where they seem to be, in the eyes of the law they are 2 different things.
    A business is a for-profit entity. It is established for the purpose of creating revenue and it is actually in partnership with the state in doing so (when you incorporate a business there is legalese that makes the state a partner in the business, which gives them power to tax and regulate the business).
    A religious organization is supposed to be a not-for-profit entity. It is established as a way for like-minded people to share resources in promoting or practicing their faith. In essence, the only purpose for the legal entity of a church to exist, is to create a place for the shared resources (money) to be pooled.
    These are 2 very different legal purposes and the core reason for the difference comes directly from the 1st Amendment.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Sept. 17, 2013 9:13 a.m.

    @Kirk R Graves – “The US was built up on a foundation of Judeo-Christian values.”

    First a correction – I meant to say “WOULDN’T stand a chance” although that was probably obvious.

    Second, for the sake of clarity let’s go with your definition of secular and drop the humanist part (because I don’t recognize any of your humanist characterizations).

    The Founders of our country was informed by the values of Jerusalem (admittedly) and Athens (more so Athens as the basis for the Enlightenment), but they modeled the country on the Roman Republic.

    Further, we have the unique distinction of having the first purely secular governing charter in history – no mention of God in the Constitution and only a passing reference to “our creator” in the Declaration - and our creator is open to interpretation and certainly doesn’t imply God (of Abraham) or Jesus.

    We The People created this nation… that sounds pretty secular (no mention of higher power) to me.

    And be careful not to confuse absolute morals with objective morals – the former do not exist whereas the later do.

    Reached comment limit…

  • Kirk R Graves West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 8:24 a.m.

    "In a country founded on secular humanists values (like ours) he would stand a chance"

    This is such a ridiculous statement that at first I laughed, until I realized how pervasive this belief is becoming.

    To make that statement is to either completely ignore US history, or to have a thorough misunderstanding of Secular Humanism.

    The US was built up on a foundation of Judeo-Christian values. I am not claiming it was built up to be a Judeo-Christian nation, but that the culture and values of the population at the time and the principles incorporated into our founding documents were clearly Judeo-Christian.

    Secular Humanism is a militarily atheistic worldview. There is no place for any sort of higher power, man is nothing but a chemical process. There are no moral absolutes and no basis for natural law. All of this is contrary to the worldview of nearly every one of the men and women of the 1700. The idea of Darwinian Evolution (the basis for Secular Humanism) didn’t even exist at that time.

    There is a Massive difference between a secular country (separation of Church and State) and a Secular Humanist country (actively atheistic).

  • DanO Mission Viejo, CA
    Sept. 17, 2013 8:04 a.m.

    Kirk R Graves, using your logic, you could then say businesses don't need to pay property taxes, because the people they serve already pay taxes. What you're saying is we're not subsidizing the church itself, but rather its members who somehow require extra roads, fire and police protection of their churches. Either way, non-churchgoers as subsidizing someone. Churches pay for other services they use. They don't get free water or electricity (anymore, since St George stopped paying the temple's electric bill). Why should they get other services for free just because those services are provided by the government?
    And Badger, treating others the way you would want to be treated is not a phrase exclusive to religious people. Most people would consider it common sense, not some great wisdom that only exists because of religion. And you didn't even bother to refute Ranch's actual statement.

  • Bob K porland, OR
    Sept. 17, 2013 12:26 a.m.

    As far as I am concerned, this article caters to the fears among the religious Americans, urging them to see enemies behind every bush.

    50 years ago, there were not evangelicals in every military base, giving the best assignments to each other, preaching in the barracks, and so forth.
    40 years ago, women gained the right to make the painful choice of abortion, which some religious people want to take away -- another example of trying to make religion law.
    Only 5 years ago, a catholic bishop who had moved to California instilled fear in Utah mormons, causing them to wage a campaign for Prop 8 that was not only a political action, but blew to pieces the Commandment "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor". (I was in California, I was subjected to the fear tactics and lies of the commercials, so kindly do not tell me I am wrong)

    People who believe differently deserve freedom from your religion, from my religion, from any religion, if they do not want it.

    No one is trying to damage your religion.
    You do not have a right to tell your beliefs to those who do not ask.

  • jrp7sen Logan, UT
    Sept. 17, 2013 12:05 a.m.

    I personally believe organized religion is the problem. People who are not religious, but are spiritual have more christ-like interactions with others. They love and accept all without condition more than those in churches do. Religion spends its money and time trying to fight against equal rights for others who are "different" than they are rather than spend that money on feeding the poor and aiding the homeless. (In fact most homeless people in Sale Lake City are gay people who were chucked out of their religious homes)

    There is a reason why religion is on the decline. Religious people are doing it all by themselves. There is no "gay agenda" or anything like that. Its all them.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 11:27 p.m.

    John Pack. I can't wait to hear you howl when you win this argument and end up with signs in shops across the Bible Belt that read: No Mormons Allowed. We reserve the right to refuse service to those who worship differently than us.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Sept. 16, 2013 10:44 p.m.

    If a person feels that doing something will violate their religion, they do not have to justify the whys to you. Freedom of religion means they can do what they choose.

    The examples about Unitarians are hogwash and the same with Quakers. If the government tried to force Quakers to serve in war, then we would object. If the government tried to tax Catholics to pay for contraception, we would not claim anyone's religious liberty was endangered. Religious liberty does not mean that people can perform any marriage they want, it means that the government should not force them to perform or support marriages they object to.

    The test of religious liberty is allowing things people object to. The fact that so many people here think that private individuals should be forced to fund things they religiously object to is very disturbing.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Sept. 16, 2013 10:31 p.m.

    Wedding cakes are an act of proactively affirming a relationship. If someone refuses to bake cakes for couples marrying in the temple because they disagree with such ceremonies, I would have zero problem with that.

    The refusal is to make a cake that would proactively endorse a same-gender marriage. People religiously object to the marriage. To think the government can force people to affirm what they religiously object to is wrong.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Sept. 16, 2013 10:27 p.m.

    Anyone who fails to see attacks is blind. If the government can fine you because you refuse to participate in something that you sincerely feel is a desecration of an act you thing should be treated with respect, than clearly religious freedom is threatened.

    The government should not have the ability to force people to fund procedures they disagree with. This is all the more egregious because if Obama and friends were really serious about the importance of free birth control they would directly fund it with tax dollars, which would not be a violation of religious freedom. But no, that would not have worked, so they try to force others to do so, even religious schools, religious employers and the like.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Sept. 16, 2013 10:20 p.m.

    The affordable care act issue would not be as insidious if it was as mentioned here. The act itself does not require birth control to be provided, that is actually a mandate made by the secretary of Health and Human Services later on. Additionally, there are lots of people who are exempted, the Obama administration is just fighting tooth and nail to prevent people from being exempted because they sincerely object to it.

    One does not check their religious freedom when they start a business.

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 9:37 p.m.


    Unfortunately that is the MO of most of the extreme left on these boards. They decry what they refer to as religion meddling in government and then use the same heavy hand to attempt to accomplish their version of morality. The half truths and out and out lies on these comment board are astounding. I have no idea how I am protecting someone by forcing someone else to service them in some fashion. If someone refuses to make me a cake, because I have blue eyes or have an attraction to llamas so be it. I'll find a different baker. However, I really don't believe that is their ultimate aim. I really do believe that their goal is to eradicate religion from the public sphere completely or make churches bend to their particular narrative.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 9:08 p.m.


    It is a position of weakness to denounce religion and then quote a religious teaching as counsel to others.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 8:00 p.m.

    American Patriot says:

    ' It's time to drop antiquated thinking ..."

    Antiquated thinking like the bible is true and god is gonna gitcha if you don't do x, y and z? Couldn't agree more.

    Religious rights do not give you the right to use your religion as a reason to discrminate. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

  • Kirk R Graves West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 6:18 p.m.

    Generally, when people claim that churches are subsidized by taxpayers, they are referring to roads, fire, police, etc... There are services which exist to serve the people in that area, not the churches. In effect, those services are serving the citizen members of the religious organization receiving the tax-exemption, not the organization itself. So, when a fire occurs at a mosque, the fire service is serving the citizen members of the mosque when they respond, not the mosque itself (remember that a religious organization is not a citizen, but it represents a group of citizens who have joined together for purposes of faith).
    As for the other part, churches receiving state funds, I am for the most part opposed to that. It puts the church under the control of the state, which we should not allow.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Sept. 16, 2013 5:43 p.m.


    As atl134, Ranch and others have pointed out, the Constitution doesn't protect shirtless or shoeless people. The only case I can imagine a patron having a potential lawsuit involving apparel would be with, say, a Muslim woman being refused service because she was wearing a hijab--a requirement of her religion. No shirt, no shoes, no service policies generally apply to all--black/white, young/old, gay/not, religious/atheist.

  • American Patriot Eagle Mountain, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 5:13 p.m.

    I feel it is time for the LDS Church to allow its members to openly discuss our liberties in church - over the pulpit. Our freedoms are eroding by the day and the guidelines state that we can't discuss politics inside the buildings. Our personal and religious freedoms are intertwined with politics and there is no way around that matter any longer. It's time to drop antiquated thinking and start taking a very active, in-church approach to this matter or we are just going to have member-sheeple as usual.

  • jr85 United Kingdom , 00
    Sept. 16, 2013 5:06 p.m.

    Religious Liberty? Does that include freedom for Muslims to worship how they wish in the US? Are they allowed to build extravagant buildings wherever they may? No. As a US citizen living abroad I see other countries that are actually free and actually practice what they preach from the pulpit treat their citizens. Paying higher taxes so lower income and the disadvantaged have a reasonable standard of living is wonderful to see and is actually good economics. The American dream is only available in the US if you're in a middle class white family who are Christian.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 4:16 p.m.

    americanalatina13: "People have the right to ABSOLUTE religious freedom 24/7/365." [emphasis added]

    The problem comes when equally valid rights conflict. There are no easy resolutions. There are few absolutes, if any. There is the line about "your right to swing your fist stops when it hits my nose." What is the religious liberty equivalent? Your right to practice your faith stops when...

    My problem with the current wave of religious liberty frenzy is its singular and selective focus on a very few narrow issues (the contraception mandate in ACA, businesses withholding services from LGBT couples). It ignores many other church/state conflicts. This indifference to the big picture leads me to believe that religious liberty is a smokescreen or a dog whistle hiding some other agenda.

    All of the following are practices observed by various faith communities that are restricted by the government in some way, yet how often do these groups speak in support of their rights?
    - same sex marriage
    - polygamy
    - female circumcision
    - animal sacrifice
    - objection to war
    - sacramental wine for minors
    - objection to graven images (e.g. photo IDs)
    - kosher or halal dietary laws
    - Saturday Sabbath observation

    See? No easy answers. No absolutes.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Sept. 16, 2013 4:15 p.m.

    @bandersen – “The 'boogeyman' are not the defenders of religious liberty, it is the defenders of Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Lenin…”

    There‘s a lot of confusion on these forums when it comes to freedom & liberty, especially when the conversation degenerates into calling the non-religious among us supporters of tyrants like Stalin & Hitler.

    First, most secular humanists are against all forms of irrationality, dogmatism and any “ism” where the freedom of the moral & rational individual is given over to any “higher power” whether that higher power is the head of state, a prophet, or Santa Claus (or any other fictitious big guy with a white beard).

    For a secular humanist, the tyrants mentioned above are at least as bad as any religious fanatic because they employ many of the same tactics to gain power as religion has done for centuries.

    Stalin could only come to power in a country that for hundreds of years had been drugged by ecclesiastical authority and subservience to power. In a country founded on secular humanists values (like ours) he would stand a chance… unless the populous rejects those values en masse.

  • DanO Mission Viejo, CA
    Sept. 16, 2013 3:12 p.m.

    Kirk R Graves, but what of us who are non-religious whose property taxes then subsidize the services that churches receive? If the power to tax is the power to destroy, shouldn't the other group covered under the same Amendment be afforded that right? Why do we tax the press? Yes, tax exemptions for churches is indeed a special privilege and as you said yourself, they don't even have to justify that they do provide the community with services in return. In fact, many churches receive taxpayer money through "faith-based initiatives." Whatever happened to "Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's?" Churches in many locations are buying up huge amounts of land. They have an advantage over other buyers because they won't have to pay taxes on it, so they can afford to buy more land. This starves communities of tax revenues. How is this equitable to the rest of the community?

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 2:50 p.m.

    The hypocrisy of the religious zealots is evident. Some claim that making a cake for a same sex couple violates their religion.

    OK. Show us where there is a commandment to wit: "Thou shalt not make cakes or pastries or anything like unto it for those who believe differently than you"?

    Show us where in the Bible it says "Thou shalt not employ people who do not believe the same as you, and if you do, then thou shalt not allow them to have health care that includes coverage for things you find offensive".

    Too many religious zealots are violating their own religions, by adding extra "commandments", rules and laws that are NOT supported by scripture, by history, nor by common sense.

    Religious freedom is not the issue. Religious bigotry is!

  • americanalatina13 provo, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 2:38 p.m.

    People have the right to absolute religious freedom 24/7/365.

    When a state mandates that a person must participate in something that is against that person's religious beliefs (forced sale of abortion drugs or forced participation in a homosexual 'marriage' for example) then the state is declaring what 'is' and what 'is not' that individual's religious beliefs.

    This is far beyond the silly catch phrase of 'don't like homosexual marriages, don't have one' and is actually 'can't participate in a same-sex marriage, well, tough! You will be forced to participate or you will lose the right to earn a living or the right to own a business.'

    America was founded on the basis of life, liberty and property. People came here for religious freedoms. "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

    Congress and state legislatures (and the courts through the 13th A) are mandating that people no longer have the right to personal religious liberty and must now choose between making a living or going to jail for a failure to follow the state's definition of valid religious ideas.

  • Kirk R Graves West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 2:36 p.m.

    I agree with your sentiment, but that isn't actually why churches get tax exempt status. The constitution define the relationship which the state has with religion. Which is that the state is to remain "Hands off" in regards to religion.
    the tax exemption that religious organizations receive is not a "benefit" because of the good they do. It is inherent in the relationship they have with the state.
    To argue otherwise is to start down a road where religions have to prove they do some good before the state will leave them alone.
    along the same vein, some seem to imply that the tax exempt status is some sort of special privilege afforded to religious organizations. This is not the case. Tax exemption is how we fulfill the requirements of the 1st amendment. If the state could tax religion, they also have the power to control the behavior of religion.

  • AmkaProblemka South Jordan, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 2:22 p.m.

    RedShirt and all of those who decry freedom of religion because they hate religions -

    Do you really understand what you're saying? When there was no freedom of religion, Atheists were killed during the inquisition. Are you suggesting Atheists take the same tactic? How would you enforce your limits on religion? How would that make you better than the religion you decry?

  • michael.jensen369 Lethbridge, 00
    Sept. 16, 2013 2:08 p.m.

    To whom it may concern:
    Since most of you are probably regular readers on the DN website, and have contributed to similar discussions(or slugfests, as is unfortunately usually the case), you've probably seen this and previous comments of mine. I'm taking a break from this comment war here, because I have shared what I know and believe on this post, and on others, and there is nothing else for me to say. So thank you, so long, farewell, and sayonara.

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    Sept. 16, 2013 2:07 p.m.

    I have noticed some, claiming to be members of the LDS Church, either accusing or insinuating that the Church is playing politics, or pandering to "right wing conservative" groups. You might want to check your own agenda before you accuse the Brethren of having one. I'm not suggesting that to have experienced disappointment when a Church position is at odds with your own is equivalent to apostasy. What I am suggesting is that you do some soul searching (Lord, is it I?) before you dismiss their statements as politics. Has a statement by the Brethren ever chaffed me? Sure, but in those rare cases, I've either been able to find my own error, or I've let it go and left it to the Lord.

    Anyway, why should anonymous, unresponsible, LDS posters who fancy themselves as more-open-minded-than-thou have more weight than to the Brethren who, like Elder Oaks, consistently promote religious liberty and warn against threats to it. To me, these kinds of comments suggest to me someone who is a political activist with a LDS membership number, rather than a Latter-day Saint with a political leaning.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 1:37 p.m.

    Churches do communities great amounts of service. That is why churches get tax exempt status. Those suggesting that churches should lose the tax exemption should look at the facts. That money that is exempted, that you think should fill the public coffers, wouldn't do a hundredth of the good it does in the hands of a church.

    Many thanks to all the anti-religious commentors. You show just the kind of prejudice, and 'my feelings are more important than your first amendment rights', kind of thinking that is spreading through certain sectors of this country. YOu are the reason there needs to be a defense of religious liberty coalition.

  • Joshua H. Bountiful, Utah
    Sept. 16, 2013 1:37 p.m.

    I am worried about being able to express my religion if things continue the way they have been going. I am a bonafied minister for the First Church of Atheism. Here is the problem. If I am not given the freedom to express my religion then I am going to have to start celebrating Christmas and Easter and Passover and Ramadan just so I can comply with NOT expressing my belief in nothing. By me not expressing a belief in something, I ironically express my belief in nothing, which people want to be illegal, so I HAVE TO express a belief in something to avoid expressing my belief in nothing. Hmmm. What to do? what to do? The stupid corners we paint ourselves into...

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 1:37 p.m.

    Ignorance of history is no excuse for supporting lies, including the lie that 'religions' are responsible for anything but preserving liberty and life. The 'boogeyman' are not the defenders of religious liberty, it is the defenders of Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Lenin, and a host of other progressive 'democrats' who believe that religious liberty supporters are a bunch of Tea party extremists that will put all athiests in prison, after being drawn and quartered and put under the guillotine. Talk about a pathetic misunderstanding of history, if history is even considered before making such imbecilic and ignorant statements.

  • Yemmit Riverton/SLC, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 1:22 p.m.

    Defending religious liberty while simulaniously insinuating that lack of religion is due to a moral problem with the individual that rejects the dogma of your own particular religion.

  • Lightbearer Brigham City, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 1:16 p.m.

    Why would a Christian refuse service on religious grounds?

    Jesus said, "In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you, for this fulfills the law and the prophets."

    What does "fulfills the law and the prophets" mean?

    "This principle of action and mode of life is ... the sum of all Bible teaching," says the Pulpit Commentary.

    The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary calls it "all Scripture in a nutshell."

    Barnes' Notes on the Bible says it is "the sum or substance of the Old Testament" and "a summary expression of all that the law required."

    If the rule "treat others as you would want them to treat you" is "the sum of all Bible teaching," how better for a Christian to exercise his freedom of religion than by actually following it, instead of finding excuses not to?

    To quote Barnes again: "This command has been usually called the 'Saviour's golden rule' ... All that you 'expect' or 'desire' of others in similar circumstances, do to them. Act not from selfishness or injustice, but put yourself in the place of the other, and ask what you would expect of him. This would make you impartial, candid, and just."

  • josegomez Spain, 00
    Sept. 16, 2013 12:22 p.m.

    In the Constitution of 1812 in Spain, which was said to be the first Spanish constitution released, said this constitution that the Catholic Church was the only religion of the state, and did not allow any other, when the great great grandfather of my children not Elder Edward Stevenson could preach in Spain, was persecution, and thus has been all this time in Spain, until it came the Constitution of the Spanish Republic in February 1931 that allowed freedom of religion, that caused inconvenience to the Catholic Church, and support the blow of a State and a 40-year dictatorship where the dictator Franco blessed, when the Church was permitted in Spain, some members who wanted to marry fuerón forced marriages in the Catholic Church, because there was no civil, do not understand why the defense of religious freedom that is sponsored, because some religions they want control and power, as we live here in Spain, excuse my bad English.

  • adazzle.dim SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 12:17 p.m.

    I joined the Facebook group because I agree with the principle as stated on the site--that religious freedom is key and that we all have an obligation to be sure it is preserved. I do worry that the majority of people rallying around the cause are far more concerned with protecting their own religious rights (or the religious rights of those who are similar to them) and not really willing or prepared to protect those of others, especially those in religions outside the mainstream. Will my fellow Mormons stand behind religious polygamists seeking the right to legally practice their faith? Even if it results in their being tarred as polygamist sympathizers and a consequent fall in conversion rates? To the extent that this movement contains people willing to sacrifice for others' religious freedoms, I'm interested in continuing to be associated with them. If it turns out that most people joined the movement for primarily self-serving reasons, then I'm out.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Sept. 16, 2013 12:08 p.m.

    @VST – “What about the phrase posted by some businesses that state “No shirts, no shoes, no service?” Is that considered unconstitutional?”

    That has nothing to do with discrimination but is simply about a patron’s real-time behavior within a business establishment.

    If a gay person wants a table at your restaurant and is not wearing a shirt, or wishes to engage in a gay makeout session, the business owner has every right to ask them to leave.

    If that same person is being civil and behaving like every other customer, and the business owner says to him “you cannot eat at my place because I think you’re gay,” that is discrimination.

    See the difference?

    Allowing discrimination for anything other than real-time behavior & decorum (and if business owners were stupid enough to run their enterprise based on prejudice rather than profit… which 99.99% are not) would create a country so fragmented it would make the Balkans look like the Borg.

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    Sept. 16, 2013 11:46 a.m.

    To "atl134" so then you admit that discrimination is allowed, as long as you discrimnate in favor of a protected group.

    For example, when seeking government contracts you can use discrimination in your favor if you have a minority owner, female owner, or veteran status. Even within the minority owner category you can use discrimination in your favor by having an eskimo own your business instead of a black or latino.

    The government discriminates, but they do it in a way that promotes one group over all others. Is that good? If discriminating to promote one group over all others is good, then why is discriminating against a group bad?

  • marathonman Heber City, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 11:33 a.m.

    Those who will not learn from (Prop 8) history are doomed to repeat it.
    This bogus battle is bound to backfire.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 11:32 a.m.

    @Coach Biff
    New Hampshire has the lowest crime rate and the highest rate of atheists. That wouldn't be accurate if your thinking was correct.

    "What about the phrase posted by some businesses that state “No shirts, no shoes, no service?” Is that considered unconstitutional?"

    No, because the shirtless isn't a protected class. These lawsuits are happening in states in which sexual orientation is a protected class (or the lawsuit is to try and make the court address whether it should be one). By the way, it goes both ways, if someone refused to serve a heterosexual or a white person on the basis of sexual orientation or skin color they would be protected as well... it's just well... as a white straight male Christian I can't really think of any time I've ever faced any discrimination so it just doesn't really ever come up.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 11:32 a.m.

    @Coach Biff
    New Hampshire has the lowest crime rate and the highest rate of atheists. That wouldn't be accurate if your thinking was correct.

    "What about the phrase posted by some businesses that state “No shirts, no shoes, no service?” Is that considered unconstitutional?"

    No, because the shirtless isn't a protected class. These lawsuits are happening in states in which sexual orientation is a protected class (or the lawsuit is to try and make the court address whether it should be one). By the way, it goes both ways, if someone refused to serve a heterosexual or a white person on the basis of sexual orientation or skin color they would be protected as well... it's just well... as a white straight male Christian I can't really think of any time I've ever faced any discrimination so it just doesn't really ever come up.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 11:31 a.m.


    Exactly HOW does baking a cake, providing flowers for, photographing a same sex marriage "go against one's religion"? Is the baker getting same-sex married? Is the florist getting same-sex married? Is the photographer getting same-sex married? Is the religous organization taking the contraceptive? No? Then they ARE NOT going against their religious beliefs.

    By not "doing unto others as you would have them do unto you", you ARE going against your religious beliefs.

    Catholic Charities was using TAX money to run. LGBT couples ARE citizens and taxpayers.


    "No shirt/shoes/service" can easily be rectified by donning said attire.

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 11:16 a.m.

    Wall street bankers who profit from Marxist theology by having the government own and control everything and everybody are USING the 'gay'community among others to subvert our free society .
    Once the government has taken away all individual rights guaranteed under the constitution by the subversion of a Christian nations morality.. the government then takes total control and 'gay rights' will be the first thing terminated.*

    *from history of socialist/Marxist governments of world.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 11:06 a.m.

    Well, lessee... Churches enjoy various tax exemptions. One federal holiday is overtly Christian and two others have religious undertones (as does a state holiday). It is career suicide for a politician not to conclude an address with "God bless America." The list goes on. Yet religious liberty is apparently at risk because of a wedding cake and insurance policies. The current fuss strikes me as more about religion losing hegemony than liberty. Its privileged status is eroding and it now has to compete with other philosophies and ideas. Attaining equality is tough on those who start out as "more equal."

    The case for loss of religious liberty would be more compelling if those making the case were less selective in their examples. All reflect a right wing point of view. Why do they not ever mention (let alone defend) the Quakers required to pay for war through their federal income taxes or the Unitarians prevented by law from performing same sex marriages? By only tacking right they betray a partisan agenda where advocacy of genuine religious liberty is not the actual goal.

  • themdg Saratoga Springs, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 11:05 a.m.

    Dear LDS Church: Which is it? Tolerance/Gay Scouts? Or standing for something?

  • wwookie Payson, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 10:39 a.m.

    @ Ranch and so many others -

    We all understand that businesses are not people.

    What you are sayin in essence is that businesses must now direct their employees to go against their religion. This is something new in the history of this country, and ironic because this country was founded bacause of the desire by its founders to protect religious freedom.

    Catholic charities had to stop their adoption services in Massachusetts because they were being ordered to provide adoption services to same-sex couples. Now there are more kids in foster homes in Massachusetts. That wasn´t a good thing for the state, society or even the same-sex couples, yet the backward minded activists see that as a victory. Why? where has rationale gone?

    A Georgia wellness counselor was fired because she referred the case of a same-sex individual to another counselor.]

    How about the bed&breakfast owners in Illinois who were sued because their employees would not work for and support a gay union ceremony.

    Your silly arguments about tiny points that we all know (eg. businesses aren´t people) show a lack of understanding and a myopic viewpoint.

  • Big Bubba Herriman, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 10:29 a.m.

    If people think that religious liberties are not threatened by the homosexual lobby, they are probably wrong. With the federal repeal of DOMA we've stepped onto a slippery slope. The homosexual lobby will continue pressing their cause until they've made every religion conform to their ways. Case in point: recently California banned same-sex attraction therapy. Well now that creates problems for a LDS bishop who counsels a young boy on how to overcome thoughts on same-sex attraction, doesn't it?

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Sept. 16, 2013 10:20 a.m.

    "I am concerned about my Church's continuing alliance with what can only be described as the Christian Conservative Right,"


    "Did we not learn anything from the debacle that was Proposition 8 in California?"

    Apparently not.
    We did not learn that "Chirstian" political campaigns involve very misleading (at best), lies (at worst) tactics to demonize a groups of people. The same tactics have been employed against LDS people, and now we are setting aside good judgment and caution to join
    " the club."

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 10:15 a.m.


    I couldn't agree more with your comments. And I would add that cozying up to far-right groups also risks alienating a percentage of current members who can see these groups for what they are. We know that leaders are fallable, and this does not feel right.

  • ParkCityAggie Park City, Ut
    Sept. 16, 2013 10:14 a.m.

    The new way to rally your troops (followers, believers) is to wage war against something that doesn't exist is to create a boogie man that doesn't exist and then insist we all join in on trying to defeat the made up boogie man. I hear all of these silly anecdotal issues that threaten "religious freedom" but where is the hard evidence that suggest religious freedom is under some sort of secular attack? Making church owned for profit businesses pay for insurance the covers... heaven forbid, birth control? Oh my! Call in the troops, we're under attack by the liberal bureaucrats in Washington! Yet it's perfectly ok to push for legislation that forces all citizens to abide by the moral creeds of a religion? And those of the LDS faith, careful what you wish for, you may run the gambit in Utah, but when you are discriminated against in the Bible Belt and elsewhere under the guise of "religious freedom" maybe you'll think twice about your stance on this issue.

  • Spider Rico Greeley, CO
    Sept. 16, 2013 10:01 a.m.

    @Red Shirt "The facts are the world is becoming less religious and more spiritual, more respectful of others and vastly safer than it ever was under religious political rule."
    Really? Do explain. Where do you live?

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 9:58 a.m.


    It is NOT the purpose of a business owner to judge the morals or worthiness of his/her customers. If you don't want to provide the service your business provides to *some* customers, for whatever reason, then you have no business being in business. The law states that you can not discriminate based on various criteria. If you refuse to obey the law, then you make the choice to accept the punishment for that disobedience.

    How would you like to be required to go from business to business to business to business to business to find one that would provide you the services they offered everyone else? That is exactly what bigotry is.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 9:41 a.m.

    Coach Biff: "The left isn't interested in freedom for the individual, they want unfettered power to enforce their version of morality."


    You're only being told to _stop_ trying to impose your irrational Bronze Age beliefs on the 21st century.

    If you feel the need to worship your god by privately performing whatever rituals your religion requires, that's your affair, but you may _not_ expect your rituals and prejudices to be given the force of law in our country.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 9:25 a.m.

    "But religious business owners have found themselves unprotected and in some cases in violation of local ordinances that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation."


    Businesses are NOT people. They have NO religion. They ARE require to OBEY the law.

    Next thing you know, "religious" business owners are going to want to discriminate against blacks based on their "religious beliefs".

    Here's the MAJOR religious commandment given these "religious" people by the man they claim is the son of god. "Do unto others as would have them do unto you".

    Religious liberty does not give you the right to discrminate outside your home or church.

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 9:18 a.m.

    Why must I sell my wares to anyone who wants them? And don't give me any "discrimination" malarkey. We all discriminate. If I choose to discriminate, the market will take care of my business by attrition or it won't. The left isn't interested in freedom for the individual, they want unfettered power to enforce their version of morality. They have failed to this point in the democratic forum, but they have always been able to use the now corrupt court system as their bully pulpit. And, Amen, to the posters on this board who have pointed out the lies told about religion being the greatest killers in history. You can't even touch the numbers attributed to Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc. ad nauseum. The fact is, the irreligious have been responsible for more murder and misery than any of the religions of today or yesterday. Read a history book for heavens sake.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 9:15 a.m.

    I had hoped to see the Church less aligned with outside right wing groups. Clearly that is not going to happen.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Sept. 16, 2013 8:48 a.m.

    I suspect this move by the Church will, in the long run, do more harm to their main goal (growing membership) than good as they continue to be more and more associated with right-wing politics than with anything Jesus taught.

    But hey, far be it from me to defend any religious organization… so (LDS Church) keep digging.

  • Lightening Lad Austin , TX
    Sept. 16, 2013 8:04 a.m.

    I can see a great deal of abuse being OK because it's part of the freedom to hold to your religious convictions. It's interesting that Baptists were early on since they used Relgious theology to back the use of slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries. They weren't alone of course the Methodists also strong in the south, did the same. There are over 30 scriptures in the Old and New Testament which advocate the practice of slavery, over 20 where God approves and advocates genecide. I don't think I want to give any group the right to do those things just because they claim God told them to. If you follow the Bible you know that mental illness is nothing but devil posession, that birth defects are a result of sinful parents and homosexuals should be punished for their "sins". It appears that by picking and choosing which ones to believe the gays got stuck with old superstition that still holds. Why not simply be honest and tell the Fed you're not going to take their interference anymore while forsaking the tax deduction for contributions?

  • cy1951 Arlington, VA
    Sept. 16, 2013 7:50 a.m.

    I am concerned about my Church's continuing alliance with what can only be described as the Christian Conservative Right, while at the same time trying to "Hasten The Work" -- that is, increase membership and convert baptisms -- through greater missionary effort. By alligning itself with increasingly politically conservative groups and taking their positions on matters that many people believe are just as much political as they are moral issues, the Church is eliminating huge chunks of North American population who are not politically conservative and are "turned off" by such narrow political viewpoints. Did we not learn anything from the debacle that was Proposition 8 in California? Where any one who thinks gay rights is a civil rights question -- at least 40% of the population -- will likely never have interest in the church when missionaries or members approach them. What is the cost to potential church growth of choosing to stand with conservatively aligned groups on issues like this one -- "religious liberty" is a buzz word for conservatives rallying against ObamaCare, and that is political, not religious. We need to focus on reaching out to everyone if we truly want to "grow the church."

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Sept. 16, 2013 7:43 a.m.

    This movement to "preserve religious freedom" is just a diversionary label that conservative religious groups coalesce around to get at public policies that they do not agree with. There is no threat to religious freedom inherent in permitting same sex marriage. There is no real threat to religious freedom in expanding medical coverages to include more people. What conservative religious groups are really worried about, including the LDS Church, is a growing realization that these institutions are the real "takers" in the economic sense, and that growing awakening might well represent a public policy threat to the privileged status they enjoy with regard to taxation and other economic factors.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 7:20 a.m.

    Religious freedom isn't under attack. The right of religions, however, to impose themselves on society and require people to live according to their tenets is being challenged. Rightly so.

    In the bakery case -- By obtaining a business license, this bakery agreed to abide by all regulations, including regulations concerning discrimination, that had been or were in the future enacted. When they obtained the business license, there was a regulation providing that discrimination based on sexual orientation as illegal. By obtaining their business license, they agreed that they would not discriminate based on sexual orientation.

    Part of their business was to bake and provide wedding cakes. Since they provided cakes for receptions for "straight" marriages, they legally could not discriminate by refusing to provide cakes for receptions for "gay" marriages. That is de facto discrimination based on sexual orientation, and consequently illegal. AND it is contrary to the assurances they gave when they got their business license that they would adhere to the law.

    If they didn't want to provide wedding cakes at gay marriages, all they had to do was stop providing wedding case. There are lot more things a bakery can do an make money.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    Sept. 16, 2013 5:11 a.m.

    People forget any movement for equality in history never stops when the original objective is achieved. Rather, a line is crossed where equality becomes at least a shade of removing freedom from opposing viewpoints.

    The movements of today contrary to traditional religious values constantly claim injustice, unfairness, and a need to "balance" society, that greater privilege and protection is not extended any more to religion than any other ideology. But, just as history clearly shows religious discrimination against unbelievers and different faiths, so too, religious people of today can make the reverse case.

    When majority groups become a shrunken minority that once was, the need to "dominate" the other side soon becomes apparent in the new majority. Many religious groups of yesteryear are now experiencing a decline of membership and loss of popular consensus to become a minority, just as those groups not popular then, now have majority power and influence.

    How will the new majority act any different with respecting non-believers of their ideology than religious hypocrites having greater power historically? Power of worldly groups always becomes unrighteous dominion over others eventually, so why are so many convinced secularism won't follow this trend?

  • Linguist Silver Spring, MD
    Sept. 16, 2013 5:09 a.m.

    There's a recent BBC report about elderly gay patients in nursing homes in the U.K. being denied treatment or being otherwise given less than adequate support by care staff who have religious or other objections to "homosexuality." It is apparently a pretty widespread problem.

    And it is one of the reasons that gay people tend to be wary of those who say "just find another provider, one who wants to serve you."

    Isn't always possible. And, well, it shouldn't ever be necessary.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Sept. 16, 2013 1:50 a.m.


    The Supreme Court has struck down discriminatory laws. States have also enacted laws against discrimination which the Supreme Court has upheld. In states which have such laws, businesses that refuse service are breaking the law. So, no, businesses do not have an unfettered right to refuse service to anybody for any reason.

    When a business is breaking the law, people have a right to redress. Religious groups and religious people have organized boycotts against various businesses and practices. They've even fought to have state constitutions changed to prohibit activities they don't agree with so lets not pretend that religious people simply turn the other cheek and go on with their lives.

    Peacemaking, looking for common ground, loving thy neighbor, not judging, I thought that is what the Gospel is about.

    Do people really believe God is going to condem them because they baked a wedding cake for a gay couple?

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 1:12 a.m.

    OK, I recognize the importance of freedom of religion, but what about freedom within religion? Isn't that just as important?

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    Sept. 16, 2013 12:29 a.m.

    I looked at the new Facebook page of the LDS Church "Support Religious Freedom." What a mass of confusion. As stated, "Religious Freedom is the right to think, express, and act upon what you deeply believe." Yet there is not one example given, nor can I, as an active member of the sponsoring church, think of one example of any American not being able to think, lawfully express or act on what they deeply believe - unless they've tried to use public resources to do so. Seems such a strange position for a Constitution-loving organization.

  • bamball Mesa, AZ
    Sept. 16, 2013 12:19 a.m.

    Growing chorus? Look at the two "partner" websites listed in the article, should have frightened anyone who is looking a for a more balanced "chorus" of left & right combined. Who's head of the Faith & Freedom Coalition? Mr. Ralph Reed. The list of folks, more references to Bush-Cheney & Liberty University than ever seen before. With voices like this as our friends, do you think the other side is going to join up on the same stage with the politicized folks cited?? Then click on the other link-Mr. William Kristol is one of the organization's policy advisors? With friends like these, who needs enemies? Are we playing embattled Church victim, where everyone's out to bring us down (like so many other conservative whines we hear these days)? Or are we going to lead by doing the right thing first instead of playing catch-up 40 years later? I am so sorry (as an active member) to say that in the long history of critical 20th century issues, Church leadership never led by example-were always playing catch-up with civil rights, labor, cold war fear, anti-communism hysteria. Always making friends with the wrong side. Is it again?

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 11:36 p.m.

    Re: atl134

    The German Nazis/Hitler were not Christian or any other religion. In fact Hitler executed many Christians ministers. He used religion in a pagan sort of way. And in all his monstrous activities he never claimed he was doing in the name of Christ. That in contrast to a certain religion of today that do much evil in the name of their god.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 11:15 p.m.

    The Nazi regime wasn't atheist.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 10:57 p.m.

    Religious liberty to the Moslems means circumcising girls involuntarily. Religious liberty to the Jews means circumcising boys involuntarily.

    Both of these religious liberty is are improper and ought not be allowed.

  • ThornBirds St.George, Utah
    Sept. 15, 2013 10:40 p.m.

    The DN frequently publishes this type of article.
    Haven't noticed people being upset that their Church is being picked on.
    Here in St. George, on Sunday, the streets are quiet, as is a great portion of the city, similar to the rest of the state of Utah. Many of the Utah populace spend a good portion of their day in Church. Some things never change, it appears.
    Funny, there are so many people EVERYWHERE who can make a good cake.
    One has to wonder what is frightening these folks.

  • cebh Sandy, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 10:06 p.m.

    I looked at the new Facebook page of the LDS Church "Support Religious Freedom." What a great resource and teacher of LDS beliefs. As stated, "Religious Freedom is the right to think, express, and act upon what you deeply believe." This simple concept is so important in this day and age for the continuation of any faith. Regardless of which religion you belong to, or what belief you follow...this is a great source of information to let all know why we need religious freedom and what matters about it. I look forward to following this subject on Facebook.

  • michael.jensen369 Lethbridge, 00
    Sept. 15, 2013 9:58 p.m.

    I appreciate your comment, but most of all, I appreciate your being civil in this discussion. I have had a lot of bad experiences with people with similar opinions to yours, who are just absolutely terrible, mean and bigoted when I express my beliefs. So thank you for being civil. I think that the points that you raised takes this issue into the realms of business law. As far as I know, it has always been the right of any business to refuse service to any potential customer. And, as far as I know, that "right" has never been struck down by the Supreme Court. Another thing is....there's probably more than one bakery shop in the area where they live.... why not find another one? If a business or organization slanders the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, do I pull out my signs and my wrath and go parade in front of their establishment?(I don't know if that is actually what happened in this case, but you get the idea.) Nope. Life goes on, conflict is part of it, people believe what they believe, and I just roll with the punches.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 9:50 p.m.

    The ignorance voiced hear is astounding. To have anyone conclude that the Mormon church takes away agency or is forcing people to live a certain way is truly juvenile, ignorant, and patronizing. To think in this day of enlightenment that religion is viewed as anything but as a preserver of liberty and life is laughable beyond compare. To think that someone actually can express it without thinking that there ignorance, bigotry, and blindness isn't exposed is a mystery.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 9:41 p.m.

    Religion is looking to soothe its' discriminatory conscience, and will deal victim card after victim card to do it.

  • michael.jensen369 Lethbridge, 00
    Sept. 15, 2013 9:23 p.m.

    You forget that terrible atrocities have been done in the name(or at least by their proponents)enforced atheism. I'm not denying what you said about the atrocities that have been committed in the name of religion. But I think Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union are two examples of enforced atheism, where atheism is the state religion. And they aren't exactly stellar examples of championing human rights, or peace, or respect, or safety, or spirituality. The fact is, extremism is the enemy here. Not religion. Extremism is irrespective of religion, whether it be a theistic or atheistic one. And, if you search, you can find loads of studies that suggest a highly positive relationship between religiosity and civic-mindedness, donations to charity, and good citizenship. That's not a guarantee(because nobody is perfect; we are all affected by this "human condition" of ours), but it is most certainly much more likely. If you dig around on the Pew Forum's website, you'll find plenty of correct info.

  • Linguist Silver Spring, MD
    Sept. 15, 2013 9:13 p.m.


    My apologies-- you are quite right that she did not "kick out" anyone. She did, however, refuse to provide them with a service that she provided to other paying customers.

    She didn't actually kick out the gay couple, but she did say that she didn't approve or recognize them as marrying, and therefore would not provide a service to them.

    Honestly, while I think she has the right to disapprove and even to tell them so (as rude as that may be), I don't believe the marketplace should be off-limits to someone willing to pay for a service being offered.

    Imagine a Christian baker not willing to bake a cake for a Jewish couple because their religion denies the divinity of Jesus. Imagine the Jewish baker refusing to bake a cake for a Christian couple because they worship a man as a god. Imagine a Protestant refusing to bake a cake for a Mormon couple...well, you get the idea.

    Eventually, you have the Balkans: each bakery set up for one particular sect? The trouble with that scheme, of course, is that only certain sects will have no trouble finding cakes. Peace.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Sept. 15, 2013 9:12 p.m.

    I would like to know how the LDS Church has been negatively impacted by the "war on religion?"
    "A leader in the campaign has been the Roman Catholic Church, which made religious liberty a top priority after Congress in 2009 passed the Affordable Care Act, which the church said violates its stand against birth control by requiring all employers to provide contraceptives through health care insurance plans."

    Is the Catholic Church at "war" with itself?

    "The National Catholic Reporter first reported earlier this week that the Catholic Health Association had issued a memo saying it can live with the Obama administration's 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 CHA statement."
    (DeseretNews July 2013)

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 8:59 p.m.

    The posters here pretty much prove why the need to protect religious freedom For example:
    "If you don't believe in birth control, don't use it." A better question is: Simply because you want free birth control, what gives you the right to expect the Catholic Church to pay for it? Those who don't think there is an issue with religious freedom are merely the ones most blind to it

    BTW: The most brutal despots of the twentieth century were militantly secular and/or openly hostile to religion, therefore the 'blame religion for all the worlds problems' attitude is remarkably myopic and represents a bigotry in its own right

  • TRUTH Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 8:55 p.m.

    About time they wake up.......religion is under attack and has been for years......and to know it doesn't take divine guidance or revelation...it's in every paper or blog site on the net!

  • Larry Chandler CEDAR CITY, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 8:30 p.m.

    This is not religious liberty. It is religious tyranny. If a person claims a religious right to ignore a secular law, what's the point of any law? Can someone simply claim their religion allows them to behave in a manner state or federal law prohibits? Would religions have to be mainstream and therefore licensed? If I claim the 10 commandments or any law are in opposition of my faith, can I just simply do as I please?

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    Sept. 15, 2013 8:29 p.m.


    "Just need to compare 30 years ago to today. Many more limitations to practicing your religion."

    Okay wwookie, please name for us 5 limitations to practicing your religion today in the U.S. (country) that did not exist in 1983.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 8:09 p.m.

    I believe in the right to practice the religious principles of your own choice, but I don't see these religious freedoms being threatened in any way. If you don't believe in birth control, don't use it. If you believe that homosexual relationships are wrong, don't participate in such activities. Live your religion, but don't cry that your religious freedoms are being when threatened when you can't force others to live according to your beliefs.

  • wwookie Payson, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 7:51 p.m.

    Faith has been under attack for a very long time in this country.
    And it's much mor than just faith, it's freedom as a whole. It is progressively harder to live your religion and comply with the law of the land. On the other hand, it has easier for others to infringe on your ability to practice your faith and be protected by the law.

    Time to stand up and have your voice heard was decades ago. Now we are in a very fast downhill slide.

    Pretty soon we will have a country where your freedom is choosing which church building you attend as long as what's preached has been approved by the federal government.

    Just need to compare 30 years ago to today. Many more limitations to practicing your religion.

  • michael.jensen369 Lethbridge, 00
    Sept. 15, 2013 7:41 p.m.

    I'll cut and paste a comment I made recently about one of the articles you mentioned: "After reading your comment, I did some research about the article you mentioned. NBC, The Huffington Post, and even Media Matters covered the same issue, and none of them had any quotes by the lesbian women, or any gay-rights activists. I don't know the whole situation behind the reporting, but that is what I found. I also found on the NBC video that the owner stated that he has homosexuals come into his shop and buy stuff on almost a weekly basis, and he said that he has nothing wrong with them being homosexual, but that he simply does not support gay marriage. So there is a dichotomy here." There is nothing that said that bakery owner "kicked them out". He merely explained that he does not support gay marriage, and would not bake a cake for that purpose. I can understand how it can be painful and frustrating to be slandered or maligned about being gay. But that isn't the situation in this case, according to the evidence that was available.

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    Sept. 15, 2013 7:17 p.m.

    Looks like the posters above don't believe in religion.
    I for ONE say thank you LDS church, and I embrace your stance.

  • Crank santaquin, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 7:16 p.m.

    I wonder if my church takes this stance because they see Christians in general as well as other religion's regressive members oppressing other's free agency. Or, is it because they feel we are oppressed for not being allowed to exercise our unrighteous judgment on others?
    This judgment ultimately discriminates against and facilitates persecution and suffering of others. Worst of all, it deprives others of their free agency to chose right or wrong. Very un-Christian.(The Crusades, Salem which trials, KKK, Taliban all come to mind). I'm sure love, tolerance and simply being a good example is what they are shooting for. I wish they would be as outspoken and clear about loving our neighbors, as opposed to judgment and pride as justification for bad behavior as they are about drinking coffee. It's so confusing. One thing I am certain of, refusing service to a gay person is as unconstitutional as refusing service to a black person or a Mormon. It is most certainly not religious persecution. It's simply un-American and un-Christian. Refusing a wedding cake to a couple because their Mormon, is religious persecution.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 6:51 p.m.

    This "vast coalition" will evaporate the moment the focus shifts away from what this coalition opposes and turns towards what they affirmatively believe.

    It's no surprise really that a group of authoritarians object to the 21st Century. Organized religion has always been at war with civilization's inevitable progress in science, art, ethics, law, etc. As these areas advance it becomes increasingly difficult to defend the belief that religion deserves the privileges and immunities it claims for itself.

    So, not surprisingly, when society finds it intolerable for sectarian organizations to intrude themselves into secular government, the authoritarians who are accustomed to unquestioning deference take offense.

    I'd love to see a gathering of conservative Catholics, Mormons and Baptists get together and engage in an open discussion of what they _do_ believe in, instead of what they oppose. The educational and entertainment value would be priceless.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 6:29 p.m.

    The louder the religious get, the louder non-believers will get. Your belief in god gives you no more a privilege than does your belief in Santa Claus or fairies.

  • m.g. scott clearfield, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 6:27 p.m.

    The thing in this country that really protects religions from government is that 1st Amendment part of .....government shall make no law respecting religion.......... It's always referred to as the "seperation of church and state". If however, some court and ultimately the Supreme Court were to see it another way, (which is very possible depending upon the political makeup of said court) then that seperation could be gone, and religions would be subject to all kinds of federal law and taxes. Hope it doesn't ever happen, but with courts these days, anything is possible.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 15, 2013 6:13 p.m.

    I'm so grateful that my religious freedom is all about preventing others from having the same rights that I enjoy.

  • Linguist Silver Spring, MD
    Sept. 15, 2013 5:52 p.m.

    I do not think religion or religions are in any danger in our great country. And as a person of faith, I would be among the first to stand up to defend it if it needed defending.

    I remember growing up, Jewish, and learning early on that, while we were free to follow our faith, that did not mean that schools would close on our holidays or that we didn't have to put money in the parking meter on the Sabbath (when observant Jews are not to carry money on their persons).

    The explanation was more complicated than the simple observation that our religion was in the minority. Rather, it was the recognition that laws, particularly those laws pertaining to the marketplace, ought to be religiously neutral: anyone can buy, anyone can sell, anyone can do business.

    As a gay person, I cringe when I read about bakers or photographers demanding the right to kick out some customers because they don't approve of them. While the target in these recent cases happen to be gay couples, it is all too similar to laws restricted business on Sundays but not on Saturdays-- a double whammy for my family.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Sept. 15, 2013 5:29 p.m.

    I can see from the graphic why this cause isn't catching on. Most of these are fairly vague or unsupported.

  • rusby Minneapolis, MN
    Sept. 15, 2013 5:17 p.m.

    Hopefully, this chorus only grows, because we need to see that every action we undertake is related to our personal religion, be it theist or not. Religious liberty, and in particular public religious expression, is paramount to a successful society.

  • redshirt007 tranquility base, 00
    Sept. 15, 2013 5:08 p.m.

    Organized religion as a whole has done a great disservice to the world so far. They have taken tithes, offerings and time and have not solved even the most basic of human problems.Religious leaders have blessed tanks but never stood in front of them. Instead they have cultivated mistrust and bigotry throughout their history and a ready excuse for many crimes that have been committed to indigenous peoples all over the world.

    It seems to me there has been an EXCESS of religious freedom that has trampled the lives and freedom of others for too long. It's time for religion to take it's rightful place and ONLY be in the hearts and caring hands of it's followers. But the shrink in power is painful I suppose.

    The facts are the world is becoming less religious and more spiritual, more respectful of others and vastly safer than it ever was under religious political rule.