In our opinion: Stand up for religious liberty


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  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Oct. 19, 2013 10:17 a.m.

    @Mike Richards 9:01 p.m. Oct. 6, 2013

    Nobody is demanding that you "do no talk about God or about His doctrine." You can talk all you want. Nobody is trying to censor religion. Nobody is trying to control who talks about God and what is said about God (except, maybe, you and those like you).

    Nobody is trying to deny you the right to worship as you choose. You are perfectly free to worship as you choose. You are just not free to try to impose those beliefs legally on others.

    The only thing that is being contested is your right to have the government establish your perception of religion as the law of the land, contrary to the provisions of the US Constitution. You are attempting to render unto God the things that are Caesar's. And that is wrong.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Oct. 8, 2013 2:17 p.m.

    rw123 says:

    "One problem is that some people would like to claim constitutional freedom to be gay, have an abortion, etc. but forget the part of the constitution that protects religious freedoms."


    What about our religious freedom? That doesn't count because it conflicts with your religious views?

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Oct. 8, 2013 8:20 a.m.

    "The disagreement is only over marriage."

    Um, no.

    The disagreement is not only over marriage. The LDS Presiding Bishop signed a statement earlier this year regarding the contraceptive mandate in the ACA. The Church is taking the stance that we will defend other church's stances under the banner of "religious freedom."

    So, the question then becomes, is there a line to be drawn in defense of religious freedom? Why shouldn't the FLDS be allowed to practice polygamy? Or Muslims practice discrimination against women and Jews? Or Christian Scientists deny life-saving medical treatment to minors?

    If the Church defends religious practices that it doesn't hold--merely because another religion practices it--how can it draw a line?

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Oct. 8, 2013 7:55 a.m.

    There are two views of personal freedom. One that personal freedom is the goal and that society and governments should have as their purpose the creation and sustenance of such freedom. The second is that the goal is to have a fair and just society and that personal freedom is one of the ways to accomplish fairness and justice.

    The danger with the first idea is anarchy or at least a high degree of confusion and disorganization. The problem with the second is that most if not all policies and vehicles of fairness and justice will be circumscribed in some respect. Very little will be absolute.

    I think it's clear that the founding fathers intended to found a society that was fair and just, not a society of absolutes.

  • utah2759 Vernal, UT
    Oct. 7, 2013 8:02 p.m.

    I don't understand how an employer saying that they don't want to pay for someone's contraception infringes on their employee's rights. If it is against an employer's religious beliefs they shouldn't be required to pay for and support an employee's contraception. It doesn't stop that person from purchasing it for themselves or for working for their employer if they do use contraception. The employee has choices in this situation that still allow them to choose to use contraception and stay at their choice place of work. The employer on the other hand, ends up with no choice but to support contraception if they want to stay open.

    I personally don't believe using contraception is wrong. I do believe it is wrong to force someone to support your use of contraception if that violates their moral conscience based on the religion they worship. You are forcing them to choose between their religion and keeping a business. To me its a live and let live mentality.

  • Luke Nelson West Valley City, UT
    Oct. 7, 2013 4:17 p.m.

    In reply to the "What if members of religion X refused to rent to Mormons?" arguments:

    This seems to me to be a straw man argument. The position of the LDS church as I understand it is that housing rights should not be denied to people who are homosexual. The disagreement is only over marriage.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 7, 2013 2:09 p.m.

    Part of my religious freedom is taking away rights that I enjoy, and preventing others from having those same rights. I'm grateful the Dnews is willing to stand up for my freedoms when no one else will.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 7, 2013 1:05 p.m.

    With the American working class under attack as never before, with the concentration of wealth at the top becoming ever greater, with my survival as a senior citizen threatened by forces beyond my control, why should I get excited over this issue?

  • IndependentUtahn Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 7, 2013 10:28 a.m.

    I can guarantee that if religious freedom ever came under attack in any specific way (such as churches being forced to perform gay marriages), I would be the first to stand up and fight for your rights. Just as I have joined the fight for individual freedom in general and government-recognized gay marriage specifically. I also know that most would join me. We are not out to get you, nor will we stand by and allow our individual freedoms to be trampled on in the name of God.

  • rw123 Sandy, UT
    Oct. 7, 2013 6:38 a.m.

    *and that is why all religion should be barred from the public square.*

    Does that mean no more missionaries allowed? Does it mean that no church could take a public stand or make position statements? Does that mean that no one could mention God. It already means no prayers. First, that would be a real shame in that there never was a time when these things were needed more. Second, these would be violations of the constitution.

    However, what I think is even more important, there is an even stronger need for personal spirituality to accompany organized *religion*. Honesty, integrity, faithfulness to one's spouse (of opposite gender), faith in a loving God, and recognition of His expectations of us; things like that. Regardless of what *religion* we belong to, these things are the common bedrock of a healthy society!

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Oct. 7, 2013 6:15 a.m.

    Where was this letter 9and those who favor it] when Muslims tried to have a Islamic Cultural center in New York?

    The Double Standard is telling...

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Oct. 6, 2013 10:17 p.m.

    Isn't it storage how some people cry for their own brand of religious liberties but complain of others like the FLDS and Islam;and that is why all religion should be barred from the public square.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Oct. 6, 2013 9:01 p.m.

    The greatest gift our Creator gave us is moral agency. He allowed us to choose whether we would accept the responsibilities of receiving a mortal body. He allows us to use that body to create or to destroy life. He cautions us of the inevitable consequences of making poor choices; but, He leaves each choice to us.

    Some people think that they can preach godlessness to the world and that their teachings do not constitute a religion. They fail to recognize who it is that they worship when they preach godlessness, but they demand that we do no talk about God or about His doctrine. They believe in censoring religion. They believe in having control over who talks about God and what is said about God.

    I think that that is exactly what this editorial is all about. We are free to talk about God in America. No one is forced by God or by Government to worship nor can anyone prohibit religious worship.

    Every person on this earth is in the same human family with the same Creator at its head. All mankind must be allowed to worship as they please without government interference.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    Oct. 6, 2013 8:48 p.m.

    "Stop playing the crybaby victim. It's getting tiresome."
    "Left unchecked, _________ is a greater threat to individual freedoms than government."
    "People are recognizing(spelling corrected) that ________ is/are harmful and divisive..."

    Try putting your own race in those 3 statements.

    Try putting a gender, either men or women those statements. Then switch.

    Try putting a your sexual orientation in any of those statements.

    I bet you can see the hate, intolerance, and discriminating attitudes when you put those groups in there. Most of you would be screaming up a storm if that were said of your gender, or race, or sexual orientation.

    But when it comes down to it, most of the deniers of religious discrimination are not ignorant of it, they are perpetrators of it.

  • rw123 Sandy, UT
    Oct. 6, 2013 8:08 p.m.

    One of the Articles of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints states that we believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and in obeying honoring and sustaining the law. Another one states that we claim the privelige of worshiping God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow all men the same privelige, to worship how, where, or what they may. I see these as innately true principles that should guide a discussion on religious freedoms.

    One thing to add though is that oftentimes the laws of the land and morals of society fall short of divine standards. We, as members, try to adhere to the higher laws that our church teaches us and, as directed by the Savior in scripture, try to convince others to follow God's laws, but we are instructed to do so in harmony with the articles above. Although no one is perfect, we as members are instructed to spread the message without coercion or force, but with love and charity for our fellow man, respecting free will.

  • rw123 Sandy, UT
    Oct. 6, 2013 7:42 p.m.

    It is clear from the First Amendment that the Founding Fathers knew that religious freedom from government interference needed to be written and included in the constitution. In other words, needed protection. The British government had denied them such freedoms. The First Amendment reads, *Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .* It couldn't be much clearer than that.

    One problem is that some people would like to claim constitutional freedom to be gay, have an abortion, etc. but forget the part of the constitution that protects religious freedoms.

    Cruelty? Yes, there has been some abuse in the name of religion during the history of the world, but just as often there has been (at least in this country) persecution and religious discrimination AGAINST religion.

    I do not see The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-saints getting authoritarian or domineering. They are holding firm to values that are under unrelenting, insidious attack. I have observed them for decades showing a great amount of restraint and good Christian patience under the increasing pressure of those who would like to take away religious rights given time and opportunity.

  • rw123 Sandy, UT
    Oct. 6, 2013 7:21 p.m.

    Benefits are just that, benefits. Your employer (before Obamacare) voluntarily offered health insurance as an extra incentive to get the best employees and a retention strategy to keep them (among other reasons). They could, and did, set the conditions of the benefits.

    And, to me it seems that it is the secular left who has intruded on the conservative right's time-honored and society-treasured values that have existed by and large in the country since it's beginning. For instance, till about the last 10-20 years, society and religion have recognized the sanctity of heterosexual marriage. Another example. Till 1973, society and religious groups were in harmony about opposition to abortion.

    To those who tell us that we have nothing to worry about, I can see obvious repercussions from the current trend. If religious institutions do not accept the world's newest political correctnesses, the government could easily levy sanctions, take away tax-exempt status, sue, etc. All for having stood up for divine doctrines. Morals are decaying and laws are becoming corrupted.

  • cavetroll SANDY, UT
    Oct. 6, 2013 5:54 p.m.

    Re: Gilda

    "The Latter-Day Saints have suffered great hardship and deprivation..." The Latter day Saints have also caused great hardship and deprivation for others.

    There isn't a great erosion of religious liberty as those and the DNews and their masters complain about. People of all faiths are still allowed to worship according to their conscience, within reason. Nothing has changed.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 6, 2013 4:46 p.m.

    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.

  • TheWalker Saratoga Springs, UT
    Oct. 6, 2013 4:15 p.m.

    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.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Oct. 6, 2013 3:33 p.m.

    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.

  • TA1 Alexandria, VA
    Oct. 6, 2013 2:55 p.m.

    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.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Oct. 6, 2013 1:39 p.m.

    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.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    Oct. 6, 2013 1:15 p.m.

    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.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Oct. 6, 2013 12:27 p.m.

    "...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.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 6, 2013 12:22 p.m.

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

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Oct. 6, 2013 10:38 a.m.

    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).

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Oct. 6, 2013 10:26 a.m.

    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.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Oct. 6, 2013 9:52 a.m.

    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.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 6, 2013 9:52 a.m.

    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.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 6, 2013 9:23 a.m.

    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.

  • American Patriot Eagle Mountain, UT
    Oct. 6, 2013 9:23 a.m.

    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.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Oct. 6, 2013 8:18 a.m.

    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.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 6, 2013 8:10 a.m.

    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.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Oct. 6, 2013 7:59 a.m.

    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.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 6, 2013 7:34 a.m.

    "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.

  • LiberalEastCoastMember Parkesburg, PA
    Oct. 6, 2013 4:05 a.m.

    "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.

  • Stalwart Sentinel San Jose, CA
    Oct. 6, 2013 12:35 a.m.

    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...).