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Comments about ‘LDS Church joins 'growing chorus' of faiths asking followers to defend religious liberty’

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Published: Sunday, Sept. 15 2013 4:45 p.m. MDT

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adazzle.dim
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

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.

josegomez
Spain, 00

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.

VST
Bountiful, UT

@alt134 & @Tyler D,

I appreciate your response. However, I was actually more interested in a response from @Truthseeker since I am more attuned to her opinions on other subjects.

Also, please note, my original comment should not be interpreted as being an opinion on my part. I am merely asking a specific question about an original comment made by @Truthseeker. If she is so inclined, I am sure she will respond.

Lightbearer
Brigham City, UT

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."

Yemmit
Riverton/SLC, UT

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.

bandersen
Saint George, UT

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.

Joshua H.
Bountiful, Utah

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...

Badgerbadger
Murray, UT

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.

Alex 1
Tucson, AZ

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.

michael.jensen369
Lethbridge, 00

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.

AmkaProblemka
South Jordan, UT

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?

Kirk R Graves
West Jordan, UT

BadgerMan,
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.

americanalatina13
provo, UT

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.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

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!

DanO
Mission Viejo, CA

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?

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@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.

Lagomorph
Salt Lake City, UT

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.

jr85
United Kingdom , 00

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.

American Patriot
Eagle Mountain, UT

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.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Re:VST

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.

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