Comments about ‘In our opinion: Three chances for U.S. to reaffirm commitment to religious liberty’

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Published: Sunday, Oct. 20 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

Well written. Need I say more?

Salt Lake City, UT

"No doubt some of the recent claims have been overstated. But some are true, lending to an atmosphere of suspicion and fear."

I can't believe I just read that. This is an admission that the Deseret News is trumping up the claims, and that some of them are false. I guess that's OK as long as it promotes the atmosphere of suspicion and fear that seems to be the goal of the Deseret News' incessant campaign promoting "religious liberty."

You might want to read a little about the American Family Association and decide for yourself if it's a "mainstream" organization.

Bob A. Bohey
Marlborough, MA

Those were wise words from George Washington that the article quoted. Now if those that wish to push their religious agenda on others would just heed them and "sit in safety under their own vine and fig tree" as they so freely can do, then this country can move forward from the straw man argument of religious persecution and on the real work of removing the bigotry that exists towards minorities and same sex couples.

Louisville, KY

From the article:

"Will Inboden notes that the nation cannot adequately counter radical jihadi groups without a strategy 'of which religious freedom must be an integral part.'"

Agreed. We must show that the US is not the enemy of Islam or of any religion. That we welcome and celebrate all religions (or even the lack thereof). That we are a true pluralistic society where each can do as Washington so eloquently wrote.

salt lake city, utah

Seriously? a single soldier reported by Fox News (no I don't believe a word they say), a religious ambassador resigns, and a Supreme Court case and once again we have a "headline" about the poor religiously down trodden.

My bet if, George Washington knew that an employer was breaking the law by denying an employee benefits because of their personal religious beliefs, he would side with the Obama administration.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

There is no "establishment clause" in the Constitution. The "establishment clause" is made of whole cloth by those who want to impose sanctions agaisnt our freedom to worship. The first part of the 1st Amendment states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

"An establishment" means just what it says, an already existing religion. The words are not "the establishment" which would mean what those who have twisted the words of the 1st Admendment wish that it said.

We are free to worship the God of our choice and to follow or not follow the doctrine that He has revealed to us. The government cannot change the tenets of our religions nor can it impose on us sanctions that would keep us from being obedient to our God.

What we really need, world wide, is freedom from government interference in religion.

God gave us agency. Government tries to remove that agency. Those who remove a gift given by God will answer for their actions and bear the total responsibility for their actions. They would enslave us to their godless ideas.

Saint George, UT

It is really quite humorous to see those who keep thinking that President Obama somehow doesn't rule exactly how he intended, as if some sort of 'clarification' is surely coming. How naive can people be!

tranquility base, 00

Religions have changes on many issues already. Inter-racial marriage was seen as a problem in the 60's that churches wanted no part of.

So will churches accept gay marriage 50 years from now? Some churches already do. I imagine many more will in 50 years.

Marriage is about the spirit not the body.

E Sam
Provo, UT

Coupla molehills; don't see much mountain.

Houston, TX

Now seriously, do you think that George Washington would understand the killing of millions of babies in America? He would have to be educated that some of these were unavoidable, and that others were choices made in desperation. However, he would be shocked to hear that many were choices of convenience. I'm sure it would be a struggle for him to comprehend how any parent would choose that route for convenience.

Of course, he would be surprised to find that there is a law that would force employers to support those choices, whether unavoidable, desperation, or convenience. He would be too steeped in the concept of freedom.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Mike Richards – “"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" "An establishment" means just what it says, an already existing religion.”

You’re wrong Mike… if it meant what you think it would have read “establishment of ‘a’ religion.”

Like so many writings of our founders writings, the message “freedom FROM religion” underwrites all the sentiments involved in allowing everyone to be as religious (or not) as they wish to be.

But one person’s religion stops where another’s liberty (not to mention a constitutionally passed law) begins as constitutional scholars & Supreme Court Justices (e.g., Scalia in Employment Division v Smith) have affirmed for over 200 years.

Counter Intelligence
Salt Lake City, UT


Your assumption that Washington would approve of forcing religious people to violate their faith in order to get a business license is precisely why religious liberty is threatened.
The law is:"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;". Any other law in violation of that law is an unconstitutional law. The HHS mandate prevents the free exercise of religion, it doesn't matter whether the intolerant left likes it or not.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Somewhere there may be a document with words quoted from George Washington, but the authors do not mention where that is and how it was validated. Not that I think the authors might lie to us, it’s only that the wide variations in the story that religions give us would seems to indicate that some may be lying.

The seemingly insatiable need for churches and religions to advertise their product above all other concerns does not bode well for the truth of their message. In business, if you have a really good product, word-of-mouth alone will bring people to your door. If your product is less than perfect, you advertise.

American Fork, UT

Religion needs to be de entrenched from the military because the military is an environment where individual freedom really doesn't exist. There is a heirarchy which must be followed that religion too easily takes advantage of.

Parkesburg, PA

You can do better Deseret News! Supporting a good point with questionable news sources, in this case Fox News, delegitimizes an otherwise good point. Too bad.

Salt Lake City, UT

There is no infringement to pray in private, with family and sectarian settings. Jesus condemned the man who prayed loudly in public, praise the man who prayed privately and said those who pray to be seen by others will get no reward. Prayer at public and political gatherings is imposing a particular religious belief on a CAPTIVE and DIVERSE audience, and it could be said it is infringing on their religious freedom.

Mister J
Salt Lake City, UT

re: Mike Richards

"What we really need, world wide, is freedom from government interference in religion."

Because those darn secular moderates in the near East are ruining it for the rest of us. ROFL.

re: Tyler D

Agreed. The whole crux of the 1st Amendment as was explained to me yrs ago. Your freedom ends when it endangers others i.e. you have the right to scream fire; you just can't do it in a crowded theater.

Jefferson's wall is meant to prevent both sides from "influencing" the other not just to stop Gov't encroachment.

Dammam, Saudi Arabia

I think that everyone's commitment to religious freedom is manifest in their respect and tolerance of other religious views. Wiccans, pagan, Mormon, Baptist, Catholic, Hindu, Moslem, atheist, Buddhist. One of these is acceptable to most people who read this. What about the rest?

Brigham City, UT

Re: "'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion ...' 'An establishment' means just what it says, an already existing religion. The words are not 'the establishment' which would mean what those who have twisted the words of the 1st Admendment wish that it said."

So which "existing religion" did James Madison have in mind when, expressing his objections to the appointment of chaplains to Congress, he wrote:

"The Constitution of the U.S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion."

Thomas Jefferson thought it was inappropriate for the President even to RECOMMEND a day of fasting and prayer, citing the Constitution's provision "that no law shall be made respecting the establishment, or free exercise, of religion."

Madison also wrote:

"Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion & Govt in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history."

So according to Madison, the "Father of the Constitution," who certainly knew what the intent of the Bill of Rights was, the Constitution "strongly guards" the separation between religion and government.

Stalwart Sentinel
San Jose, CA

So... pretty sure all three "examples" of religious liberty lost cited by the DesNews have nothing to do with religious liberty or practicing one's faith freely but everything to do with people of religion utilizing the channels of formal government to further their religious beliefs: 1) preaching in the military, 2) a US ambassador, and 3) town council meetings.

DewNews, coming from someone who is LDS, please stop the victimization. Religion has no place in government and government has no place in religion. Never in my life have I ever been precluded, at any level, from practicing my faith in the United States; however, you do members of our faith a great disservice when you trump up false claims of persecution. It undermines your legitimacy should any actual issue arise.

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