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 bring about
reactions [sometimes from governments obliged to protect all citizens] that are
then deemed attacks on religion.
I read the head line, and thought it was going to be about the proud and
the rich, trampling the poor, the weak, the sick, the elderly and the
children.It seems some would have us believe "morals" are
only an issue about sex.BTW - This sort of fear is what drives
terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and the Nazis.
@1covey;It's quite sad that your "morality" is
completely based on sex. I base mine on how I treat others (no religion
required). Sex is just sex and there's nothing moral or immoral about
it.The other thing I find sad is that you only go back as far as
Adam and Eve. Humans have been around much, much longer than those two and we
developed our "morals" in order to better get along with one another as
we began to congregate into large groups.@Utes Fan;If
religious people would stop acting like bigots they wouldn't be called
bigots, would they. Bigotry is a form of hate.Morals are not a
derivitave of religion. Religion is not always moral (the crusades, witch
trials, stonings, etc.).This entire article is nonsense.
@ 1covey: Actually, the Abrahamic religions were not the first to define
morality in a way that avoided social harms and repercussions - all religions
have always defined morality in ways that promote their societal values.Any honest study of history will show this - just as it will show that
the premises of this article are nothing new but are the last death throes of
religions unable to adjust to changing societies.
@glendenbg"Pointing out that public statements or attitudes are
bigoted or hateful is not an attack on religion...negative attitudes toward gay
persons have real world, harmful effects on the lives and wellbeing of gay
persons."Saying that I believe that the government should not
recognize certain types of marriages is not an attack on individuals, gay or
otherwise. There are plenty of ramifications on the government recognition of
same-sex marriages. I have a right to discuss them without the unnecessary
labels. Negative attitudes towards gay persons should be eliminated, but that
hardly means that I am obligated to accept government recognition of all types
of marriages. "I know many faithful persons are deeply pained
when they accused of holding bigoted attitudes. Pointing out that a statement or
attitudes is bigoted is the beginning of the discussion, not the end."Pointing out that I "hate" somebody because I disagree on what
the government should recognize is faulty logic and the beginning of
disrespectful discussion. Also, religious persons are the attacks of bigotry
also, and given the current anti-religious leanings of the media, religious
people now have plenty to be hurt by. It's a two-way street.
And am I the only one who thinks that we could bring back all the injustices of
the past (racism, sexism, intolerance, inequality, etc…) but as long as
people were modest & chaste many religious folks would consider that a
morally superior society?
JSB, the "social" pressure you refer to are very different that having
laws prohibiting particular behavior. In fact, I would argue that the likelihood
of providing increased social pressure to stigmatize destructive behavior is
actually increased by not having laws on the books that are not enforced and
that deal with the same issue. As for your comment about Bill
Clinton, I totally disagree with you that his idiotic behavior with Monica
Lewinsky was "winked at." In fact, the House impeached him for it. And
he will never have the positive reputation as President and as a leader
generally he should have and would have had based on his generally solid
leadership and policy proposals (welfare reform, responsible budgetary
practices, great economic growth) but for his lack of self control with a White
House intern. Such a self-defeating decision on his part! In short,
we don't need government to reflect moral values in its laws nearly as much
as we need citizens living up to them in their lives. If we have the latter,
we'll be fine. When we use religion to prop up government, or vice versa,
we weaken both.
Thank you, Mr Atheist for being (mostly) honest. In all fairness, like the rest
of us,hopefully. As previously mentioned, a moral life avoids the problems, and
there are serious problems brought on by immorality. Is that not a rational
basis for morality? By a quirk of fate, the Judeo-Christian faith was first in
establishing this. My faith dates this back to Adam of Garden of Eden fame.
Ancient records other than the Bible attest to this. Senator Reid was incorrect
in saying this "storm" goes back 60 years; it goes back to time
immemorial. Mass media ( magazines,movies,TV ) have given great impetus to
molding public opinion; loss of faith in God, likewise. I see it in many of the
comments given. One wonders whether or not all the crises we see today are not
JSB, The question sin't whether these behaviors are harmful
it's about using the government to pass laws limiting other peoples'
private lives. I don't care about promiscuity. I'm not obsessed with
other people's private lives. If you have issues with all those behaviors
then don't engage in them. You nor the country should dictate personnel
behavior.Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban because they
considered her desire to go to school a violation of God's law and immoral.
You are using the same justification - your definition of morality.
@JSB --"But,is it wise to change laws in order to make it more
socially acceptable to live promiscuously?"Using your argument,
we should all SUPPORT gay marriage.Marriage encourages stability,
commitment, and monogamy -- the opposite of promiscuity. So encouraging gay
people to marry is a GOOD thing.
re Bebyebe. It would be difficult to legally "enforce" what I said.
But,is it wise to change laws in order to make it more socially acceptable to
live promiscuously? Frankly, social pressure can do a lot. I avoided making some
pretty serious mistakes in my youth because what I was tempted to do was
socially unacceptable; my reputation would be shot. And an awful lot of guys and
girls I grew up with had the same feelings. But, a couple decades later
Clinton's behavior was winked at. He's just a good old Arkansas Boy.
The indisputable fact is that promiscuous sexual behavior causes a lot of social
problems, misery and expense. A society that encourages chaste behavior, even if
it's just with social pressure, will be a much healthier society. Can you
show me how sexually promiscuous behavior makes a society better? That reduces
disease, divorce, pornography, taxes, misery, sexual assault, etc. If you
don't think things have changed, when I worked in a med lab in the mid
'60s, gonoreha and syphilis were the only STDs we were aware of. Now there
are over 30 STDs we worry about. Things have changed for the worse.
I agree completely with TheReverendOfReason's comment.
JSB,How are you going to enforce all the rules you list? Put
cameras in bedrooms?Your morals are yours. Live them as you wish.
The rest of the country has the same right.
CIA type analysis - The Christian Taliban is armed and increasingly agitated.
They want women to give up any former rights back to pre 1900's standards.
Frankly, we're not sure what this group is capable of since shutting down
the government in protest of the poor receiving healthcare.
@Utes Fan - "Personally, I see plenty of evidence that lack of morals is
causing many problems in society." I know a lot of people agree with you on
that, but that's not Sen. Reid's argument.Reid claims
there has been a conspiracy for six decades to undermine morals and to attack
religion. He offers no proof of it, no hints of the identity of the
conspirators. He declares that propaganda is being distributed but doesn't
tell us who is behind it. Propaganda doesn't distribute itself. A
stratagem requires strategists. His basic assumption is deeply flawed and that
calls into questions his conclusions.Pointing out that public
statements or attitudes are bigoted or hateful is not an attack on religion.
It's an argument about the real world effects of particular opionions and
attitudes - religiously motivated, negative attitudes toward gay persons have
real world, harmful effects on the lives and wellbeing of gay persons. I know many faithful persons are deeply pained when they accused of
holding bigoted attitudes. Pointing out that a statement or attitudes is
bigoted is the beginning of the discussion, not the end.
If law cannot be justified by secular means it cannot be justified under the
Constitution. If religious arguments are used as justification, the result is a
vote on who's religion to establish as the official religion-a clear
violation of the First Amendment.If proposed legislation stands on its own
merits, proponents need not resort to religious claims. Therefore, yes, it is
proper to exclude religion from the 'public square', if what is meant
by that term is the legislative process.If the intent of this very vague
column is to incite legislative action-the prevention or retraction of same-sex
couples right to marry, for example-it is very plainly in the wrong. If it is
not, it is merely a rambling bit of whining about others not sharing a
particular set of religious beliefs. Either way, it is useless.
The issue isn't just a religious issue. It's a serious social issue
for our whole society. What would happen if we actually lived in a chaste
society; a society in which the only intimate sex is between a man and woman
legally married to each other?1. Fewer divorces resulting in fewer
children psychologically damage by divorce. Less poverty, abuse and neglect of
children, less crime and drug and alcohol abuse. The list goes on.2. Total
elimination of STDs.3. Fewer unwanted pregnancies. Abortions and the
associated psychological problems reduced.4. No sex crimes.5. No
pornography and related problems.6. No homosexual or other unnatural
sexual relationshipsOn the other hand, what are the benefits of
living in a sexually promiscuous society like the one in which we currently
live? Wouldn't we would be better off if we lived in a society that
discouraged sexual promiscuity rather than in a society that is looking for more
ways to legitimize sexual perversions?
@Kalindra'The Rights in the Bill of Rights are individual
liberties'What utter fallacious nonsense.The bill
of right doss not create rights, and it certainly does not create individual
rights.It guarantees the rights of the people and the states,and guarantees those rights no matter how the people organize
themselves.Furthermore, they say what congress can NOT do, nor what
the people can do.And in regards to religion it simply says that
congress can not make any law favoring a religious organization, nor any law
interfering with religious worship. It say nothing else. It certainly does not say government be must hostile to religion or the
religious.The founding fathers who helped write the constitution
and bill rights, certainly exercised and practiced those rights differently
than the extreme left and the anti-religious would have us do. All rights belong to people and however they choose to organize themselves.
@gmlewisOk, i'm an atheist. Let's run through the 10
commandments and see which ones I (as an athesist)follow.1.Thou shalt have
no other gods(I guess I follow this.... I don't have any gods I follow)2.No graven images or likenesses (Same as #1)3.Not take the LORD's
name in vain(Ok, I don't follow this)4.Remember the sabbath day(See
#1 and 2)5.Honour thy father and thy mother(Yes, my parents are very
important, and I respect them)6.Thou shalt not kill (Never killed
either)7.Thou shalt not commit adultery(never cheated on my wife, or
thought about it)8.Thou shalt not steal(nope I don't steal things,
it's wrong)9.Thou shalt not bear false witness(I HATE liars, while
i've lied before, it's not a habit)10.Thou shalt not covet(ya,
i'm pretty happy with what I have)Ok, so out of those commandments I
completely follow 6, don't believe in god so the other 3 are out, and one I
just don't follow it. Is society going to crumble because I realized this
stuff was bad without religions involvement?
"A stratagem is marching . . . it is marshaling forces . . . it commenced a
conflict . . . it split faiths . . ." . Sen. Reid, you keep using that
word. I do not think it means what you think it means. A stratagem is a means,
not an actor.
Those of great fear....Lock yourselves in your homes, but be sure to keep
the internet going, however, so you can search for a new America. Those early
settlers of this country came here from around the world to avoid religious
intolerance, evil leaders, etc. Keep your ears and eyes open.Word
is that South America is they place to go.
@glendenbg"Senator Reid's editorial is filled with
extraordinary claims but no evidence."Perhaps due to limits in
the length of the article. Personally, I see plenty of evidence that lack of
morals is causing many problems in society."Claiming "my
religion says so" is no longer a persuasive argument in the public
square"Claims of "bigotry" and "H8" etc. for
opposing views are certainly not persuasive arguments neither, and these claims
ARE attacks on religious persons.
The late Carl Sagan liked to say "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary
evidence."Senator Reid's editorial is filled with
extraordinary claims but no evidence. This editorial alleges a six-decade long
conspiracy which the senator names a "radical, sexual stratagem." He
provides no details of this alleged stratagem. Who is behind it? How have they
sustained it all these decades? Who is currently coordinating the efforts?
It's a conspiracy without conspirators.Since the alleged
"sexual stratagem" lacks evidence to support it, the Senator's
other claims are deeply suspect. There are more likely scenarios
than a nefarious decades long "stratagem" by a nameless cabal of
faceless conspirators. As for example, society is simply changing and with that
change more and more people identify as religious "nones"; those persons
are willing to challenge the cultural supremacy of religious claims, to question
the validity of the policies supported on the basis of "my religion says
so." Claiming "my religion says so" is no longer a
persuasive argument in the public square, which may distress the faithful, but
is not an attack on religion or the rights of religious persons.
We live in a time of unprecedented wealth, luxuries, freedoms, conveniences, and
so forth. People can freely choose to mock, persecute, and tear
down the very fabric of our nation that was built upon faith in God, moral
principles, and freedom. Sure, that day was far from perfect and the idea of
the Constitution did not exactly ensure liberty for all people. Mormons know
this very well actually.All of us have lost touch with both the
simplicity and trials of yesteryear. This was a time of humbly placing faith
and trust in God for very survival sakes. This mindset is where the
world's attractions became swallowed up in a far grander eternal
perspective of immortal glory. The world cannot see such a perspective today
and this notion is considered the blind hope of foolishness in make-believe
things.But, what if this life is the consolation prize of a
probationary existence and decisions made here have eternal implications? For
all those who doubt God and the truth about events in the world today that were
referenced in this article, they will one day see things as they really exist.
Until then, we must preserve freedom of worship.
A few questions for the Senator -- what happened 60 years ago, i.e., in 1953,
that gave rise to this monstrous "sexual stratagem" you fear so much? I
checked Google for that year . . . Was it the death of Stalin? The coronation of
Queen Elizabeth? The academy award for that titillating film "Roman
Holiday"? Just what was it that happened "six decades ago" that
turned the world into a sexual nightmare?
Living in fear of the grand conspiracy....
The new morality is an old immorality that's been whitewashed.
What nonsense! "A virtuous society cannot exist without the faith of a
religiously free people." Have you ever heard such a ridiculous,
self-aggrandizing and offensive statement? I have never observed religious
people to be any more virtuous than atheists. They simply proclaim that they
are, very loudly.Secondly, what Mr. Reid wishes is the ability to
enforce his religious views through government edict. What about the rights of
the Unitarians to marry same-sex couples? Shouldn't they have the
religious freedom to do so?Mr. Reid stands for family rights, he
says. So do I. But I will not denigrate the family just because the couple at
the head of it are of the same sex. Their children deserve to have their family
recognized as such, and provided with the same governmental blessings that are
provided to Mr. Reid's family.As with most people who exclaim
vociferously about the decline of religious freedom,Mr. Reid is mostly
concerned with his reduced ability to limit other peoples freedomaccording
to his own religious views. He is not really concerned with freedom atall.
@ procurador: Perhaps before criticizing comments, you should read the
article.From the first paragraph, "...a radical, sexual
stratagem, which is victoriously marching on religion’s defense of moral
standards. Now it is marshaling forces against rights of religion and religious
conscience across the nation. The question is, can it be stopped or will
religion lose its God-given, sacred rights memorialized in the First Amendment
of the United States’ Constitution."The entirety of Mr.
Reid's piece is about the rights of religion - not the rights of the
individual. Kalindra's comment has everything to do with the article being
discussed. Your attack on her - and liberals in general -
exemplifies the off-topic, throw in a red herring because you can't argue
the point comment of which you accuse her.You really should read the
article before you accuse others of not understanding it.
The latest liberal thinking is that religious influence should be removed from
the "public square". Meaning, political debates should exclude religious
beliefs, and people should not use their religious beliefs when voting.Nothing could be more non-American than that. A person running for political
office has every right to bring his/her religious beliefs into the debate. A
person listening to the political debate has every right to hear a religious
idea should one be presented. A person voting has every right to vote according
to his/her religious beliefs. A news organization has every right to print
opinions that reflect religious beliefs. And political representatives have
every right to vote on proposed laws based on their religious beliefs. The US government has no right to limit or stop the influence of religion in
the "public square". The government can only allow all religious ideas
from all religions to be presented. It is shocking that so many want
to move to a dictatorial, non-freedom based government where these rights are
limited, or taken away, as so many of the liberals desire.
Re: "Religion is very happy to steamroll over my rights, and proves it all
the time."Thanks for proving my point.
Those so called God given sacred rights are mine, not religions'. Religion
is very happy to steamroll over my rights, and proves it all the time. This is
about the loss of individual freedom to religious attack.
Articles like this always make me think, “Gee, I wonder if people are ever
going to grow tired of others pushing their emotional buttons (most frequently,
Fear) and start thinking for themselves?”And in the case of
this article, we can easily dismiss its false premise by simply citing the
following:Sweden, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Japan, New
Zealand, Finland, Australia, etc…Religion and Morality are NOT
synonymous and losing one does not imply the loss of the other, as these and
other mostly agnostic (and very pleasant) countries clearly demonstrate.
Re: "The First Amendment is about individual religious liberty, not about
the right of religion to demand adherents."Agreed. And, of
course, that comment has absolutely nothing to do with the arguments laid out in
Mr. Reid's opinion piece. The comment is standard liberal sophistry that
has, sadly, become accepted as liberal thought.When confronted with
arguments they can't win, liberals change the subject, disingenuously
asserting that the discussion is about something it's not. They'll
inject some irrelevant, but hard-to-refute, party-line talking point, then
triumphantly raise a fist and declare victory. Real people walk away, shaking
our heads in disbelief.Of course the First Amendment is about
personal religious liberty. And the article is about the loss of it to liberal
attacks. Obviously, no American religion demands adherents.But that
obviously won't stop liberals from asserting as much.Our only
demand is the God-given right, identified and guaranteed in the Constitution, to
freely exercise our religion in our own way, free from government intrusion.But, then, that's a hateful concept to liberals.
Translation: I can't use the law to force my standards on other people and
that's not fair!
Gmlewis:I would imagine almost everyone could identify some of the
main teachings of Jesus: forgiveness and mercy. Likewise, no churches today
emphasize the Abrahamic Law and the uncompromising edicts found in Leviticous,
and other parts of the Old Testament. Stoning people to death for wearing two
types of fabric? Really?Even Jesus left much of the Old Testament
in the past, when he stopped the crowd from stoning the adulteress to death,
clearly and disruptingly upending the morality that prevailed to that point.As we've seen on issues of race, interracial marriage and other
topics in ourrecent past, maybe Jesus' implicit message of changing
historic understandings is the right one.
Religion wants to control everyone else. They want to tell everyone what they
can and can't do in this life. Seems like they don't believe in
@Bubba RoyceTo protest what? This article is so vague that I have
no idea what he is trying to say. Does his "sexual stratagem" mean the
strategy of homosexuals, birth control pills, divorce, scantily-clad women,
polygamy, short skirts, Victoria's Secret ads, condoms in grocery stores,
movies, tv shows, or what exactly?
Is it time for we the people to form a ten million person protest in D.C.?
Senator Stuart Reid has summarized my own observations over the last 6 decades.
When I was a boy, we tried to adhere to the Ten Commandments. When I was a
teenager, I was surrounded by teens who were not so committed to them. When I
was a young adult, the Ten Commandments were openly flouted. Twenty years ago, I
found that many people couldn't identify many of the Ten Commandments. Now
the teens of today ask "What are the Ten Commandments?" Satan has done his work well. Those of us who have made covenants to obey the
Lord and teach His Gospel must be urgently engaged in the work.
The Rights in the Bill of Rights are individual liberties. The First Amendment
is about individual religious liberty, not about the right of religion to demand
adherents. Congress cannot pass laws that prevent individuals from practicing
their religions (unless that practice creates a harm, such as child marriage or
denying necessary healthcare) nor can Congress pass laws that favor (respect)
the beliefs of one or more religions over those of other religions. You and your religion may define something as a sin, but that is not
sufficient reason to pass a law prohibiting that thing. And what is
with all the vague references to the topic? If you are going to write an
editorial calling others to action, at least have the courage of your own
convictions to state the issue clearly instead of just hinting around it.