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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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Kirk R Graves
West Jordan, UT

DanO
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.

RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

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.

Badgerbadger
Murray, UT

RanchHand

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

Coach Biff
Lehi, UT

Badger,

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.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

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.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

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

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

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.

Owen
Heber City, UT

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.

jrp7sen
Logan, UT

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.

Bob K
porland, OR

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.

DanO
Mission Viejo, CA

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.

Kirk R Graves
West Jordan, UT

TylerD
"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).

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@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

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.

DanO
Mission Viejo, CA

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?

RedShirtMIT
Cambridge, MA

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

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.

cpafred
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

@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.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

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?

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