Comments about ‘In our opinion: Stand up for religious liberty’

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Published: Sunday, Oct. 6 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Stalwart Sentinel
San Jose, CA

I can't speak for the laws passed in Canada but, as a Mormon in the United States, my religious liberty has not been negatively affected in any way, shape, or form. In fact, if I cut to the chase, this entire article is not a complaint about Americans not being able to worship by the dictates of their conscience; rather this is overt whining that Christians are losing the ability to dictate what others do (ie marriage, contraception, etc...).

Parkesburg, PA

"Over the past few years, the federal government has inserted itself into areas that previously were almost exclusively matters of faith."

Its is also equally true that people of faith have inserted their beliefs into "areas that previously were almost exclusively matters of" politics. People of my faith do so even though the scriptures admonish it is unjust to "mingle religious influence with civil government."

It would be one thing if people of faith had used their Christian beliefs to lift and strengthen civil discourse. Rather we people of faith have used our sacred beliefs as a club to beat people who saw the world differently around the head. And now that the political sands are shifting and our majority is slipping away we're astounded that those who were previously beaten want to take said club out of our hands.

The whole cry for religious freedom would be incredulous if it weren't so disingenuous.

Salt Lake City, UT

"yet increasingly, large numbers of religious people find themselves under fire here from all quarters as they attempt to follow their consciences and freely worship whatever and however they choose."

Stop playing the crybaby victim. It's getting tiresome.

All you (a church-owned newspaper) are doing is bemoaning the fact that the the world finds it increasingly difficult to accommodate your increasingly authoritarian, oppressive, and decidedly unconstitutional impulses.

Religion has for far too long demanded, and been given, unquestioning obedience to its cruel and irrational behaviors, while demanding to be not only tax-exempt, but also immune from laws requiring tax-exempt organizations to at least provide accountability and transparency for their finances.

When people demand that religions obey constitutional protections relating to individual liberties and equal treatment under the rule of law, that's not an "attack" on you, that's reality telling you that you can no longer expect to hide your cruelty behind a no-questions-asked mask of religious privilege.

You are no where even remotely close to losing genuine religious liberty. When the government tells you that you may not attend the church of your choice, then you can try this editorial again.


I agree. The Latter-Day Saints have suffered great hardship and deprivation, driven out of state after state to beyond the borders of this nation as it was then.

In one of our hymns (For The Strength of the Hills) the inter-mountain west is referred to as "freedom's last abode".

Although we have already "apostatized from much of the Constitution", surely religious freedom for latter-day saints and all faiths, Christian and otherwise, must be the rallying cause for the preservation and perpetuation of that which is the most valuable and the core of all freedoms, for the inter-mountain region and the whole of the United States of America.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Here's the thing with the supposed attacks on religion here in the US - why should my boss get to dictate his religious beliefs to me? Why does my boss get to have any influence whatsoever in my personal life or any say in how the compensation for my job is used?

Yes - my boss should have protections for his religious beliefs - but not to the extent that my religious beliefs are not equally valued.

American Fork, UT

Left unchecked, religion is a greater threat to individual freedoms than government. This is about wanting to let religion interfere in things such as contraception or gay marriage, not about truly granting Muslims religious freedom in America. People are recognising that religion is harmful and divisive and that ones' relationship with whatever they conceive god to be is personal, not public.

American Patriot
Eagle Mountain, UT

The issue is not just about one aspect of the 1st Amendment in the Bill of Rights but also about the 2nd, 4th, and other amendments that ensure that we can be 'safe' and 'protected' as citizens in these United States of America. We have become a police state in many respects and The Patriot Act has allowed government to infringe our rights which are not to be infringed upon. Socialism and communism have inundated our society and one of the first things to go is organized religion unless it's the state religion. Giving up certain liberties makes one less free. The problem now is how do we reverse the damage already inflicted upon the us.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Currently in America we, as American citizens, have some control over which of our many governments will rule and control us. Options include our national government with its many sub governments, our religion and or philosophy, occupational preference, associations, unions, clubs and dozens of other aspects of life.

The important thing to realize is that ordinary people will be controlled if they live together in a civilized society. There is no such thing as individual freedom for members of the society except perhaps those at the very top.

Our Constitution prohibits government from establishing a church religion and prohibiting the freedom of other churches. Of special note is the absence of any prohibition that would prevent churches from interfering with government. Further, nothing in the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion for the individual.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

When Churches build and occupy the visual public world they are advertising their religion. Many churches use the cross mounted at a high point to tell the world where they are and what they espouse. Other churches use different architectural forms and figures to advertise. My brother told me that in Saudi Arabia they could hold church meetings only on the American compound in a stark building with no words or symbols on the outside.

Because Americans were led to believe that individuals had religious freedom the wearing of religious garb and symbols has mostly been acceptable. But the external visual and sonic things that people do for their religion is simply advertising.

While we frown on religious advertising on and attached to public property we allow and accept the visual advertising and sometimes the auditory and always the advertising of every sort on a persons appearance.

Dammam, Saudi Arabia

I agree with this editorial. The thing I like about the Deseret News editorial board is that they are a beacon of liberalism in a state that could have lean too far to the right.

Mike in Cedar City
Cedar City, Utah

This claim of loss of religious freedom is nothing more than a red herring argument put forward to make political hay. It is nothing less than a covert way to promote right wing political views under the guise of protecting first amendment rights. Permitting same sex marriage does not infringe on views that such unions are inherently immoral, nor does it require that religious group sanction or perform such unions. Likewise, requiring religious employers to provide insurance that has contraceptive coverage does not infringe on religious rights because employers are not required to offer health insurance in the first place. But all this could be avoided entirely if we just would adopt a single payer system where employers would not be involved at all.

Perhaps the greater condemnation should come to those who argue that government services to the poor and elderly are "counterfeits of the Lord's plan" Like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Chips, Food stamps, Welfare to single mothers..etc. This attack on Government should really stop DMN. That is where the real threat to freedom is to be found.

Ogden, UT

Nobody is being denied the right to believe o worship the way they choose. Nobody is being forced to do things that go against what they believe (for example, nobody is being forced to use contraception if they choose not to). Religious liberty and religious freedom is not being attacked in the United States in any way.

The only thing that is being contested is the "right" of religious organizations and their adherents to impose their religious views on society and demand that society lie in accordance with those religious views (and deny people's civil rights of those rights operate opposite to the views of religious and their adherents).

Salt Lake City, UT

How will more religious liberty preserve the middle class? Answers please.

Huntsville, UT

"...large numbers of religious people find themselves under fire here from all quarters as they attempt to follow their consciences and freely worship whatever and however they choose."

-- Worshiping whatever and however you choose does NOT give you authorization to violate the law. It does NOT give you authorization to stick up "No served here" signs.

As long as religious people continue to attack non-religious people, you can bet we're going to fight back. Just because you can't have your way any/every time these days, it doesn't mean it's persecution.

Religious freedom also does not give business owners the right to force their workers to follow the religious beliefs of the owners.

Temple City, CA

The Deseret News editorial is right.

Those who claim that nobody's religious liberties are being infringed don't get out enough.

Those who claim religious people are just whining, or are trying to give a covert political message ought to fess up to their own political message.

Those who think religious people deserve to have their rights restricted are dangerously close to becoming like those in history who killed people for their religious beliefs.

I do not think this is a liberal/conservative question. It is a human rights question.

Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA

Let's say the Evangelical Christian owner of an apartment building decides that "Mormons are not Christian" and refuses to rent to a Latter-day Saint couple.

Is it a violation of religious liberty if the government enforces anti-discrimination laws and says the Evangelicals have to rent to the Mormons?

If the Deseret News ever got its way, I don't think the majority of their faithful readers would like the result.

Alexandria, VA

Please stop complaining about the erosion of Religious Liberty - as other posters have stated - you are free to worship wherever you wish. But - you are not free to impose your religious views on me or anyone else explicitly or implicitly.


We enjoy much religious freedom in the U.S.

When we put broad public protections in place for discrimination based on religious principles are we not opening pandora's box?

Could not a Muslim shopkeeper discriminate against women?

Or a Mormon waitress working in a restaurant could refuse to serve alcoholic drinks? a Mormon cashier refuse to sell cigarettes? A Jehovah's witness refuse to rent to a Mormon?

Businesses have long been able to dictate the attire of their employees. Some dress policies are dictate by health and safety codes. For example, jewelry is often prohibited in healthcare settings in order to limit potential sources of bacteria where direct pt. contact is required. Schools are allowed to prohibits hats and clothing denoting gang affiliation.

I sometimes wonder if God shakes his head about the trivial matters we engage and debate. It is not our outward appearance, our material belongings upon which we will be judged. We will be judged by the content of our characters, how we treated one another. I'm looking for religious leaders that focus on that.

Saratoga Springs, UT

US citizens are being jailed, sued, and face loss of employment for adhering to their religious beliefs, primarily for their religious views on homosexuality. I fear that as our society's morals continues to degrade, those who practice their religious beliefs will face continuing persecution both by individuals and by the State.


From The American Prospect:

I have to pay taxes? Sorry, I'm a Hindu, so I think taxes are an abomination unto the Lord. Sure, there's no justification for that position in any Hindu text, but the Bible says nothing about contraception either, and Christians are getting an exemption for that, so I decided that Hinduism forbids tax paying. You caught me breaking into my neighbor's garage and stealing his nice new 18-volt cordless drill? Well, I'm a Buddhist, and I believe that private property is an impediment to enlightenment, so what's his is mine. The zoning laws in my neighborhood forbid retail establishments? Sorry, I'm a member of the Church of the Homemade Energy Bar, which mandates that all adherents sell energy bars out of their homes, so the zoning rules don't apply to me.

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