Comments about ‘At BYU, George Will decries 'decadent democracy,' worries with LDS about religious liberty’

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Published: Tuesday, Oct. 22 2013 6:20 p.m. MDT

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Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

My religious right to trample on the civil rights of others is being infringed upon! Oh what am I to do?

Murray, UT

For the aged who think they are immune from the coming fall, you need to think of your children and grandchildren.

For the young who are on the gravy train, hating anyone who has more than you, and coveting everything anyone else has is coming back to bite us all.

Well stated George. Too bad the liberal colleges don't invite him to speak to their students.

Daniel Leifker
San Francisco, CA

Lucky BYU. I've been reading and watching George Will for over three decades. His observations and insights never fail to entertain and enrich.

Bob K
porland, OR

DN included the remarks about religious liberty in the headline, as they appear after the main story, in response to questions.
Let me reply:

Most Americans of good conscience, believers in God, feel that a woman who must work for a catholic owned hospital or an evangelical owned business (not a church) to support their families must be provided with contraception. In fact, it is conservative to save the public the costs of birthing and educating unplanned, unwanted children. Cold hearted individuals say "let them work elsewhere", but catholic owned hospitals are ubiquitous.

Ditto the idea that "Christians" have free rein to not hire or sell to Gay people, although they may have 10 times as many drunken, adulterous or divorced customers.

Back to what Will said, the financial crunch and debt that hurts us all came from the totally unnecessary Iraq war, and messing up Afghanistan, in the Bush (conservative) administration, not to mention over 500,000 people DEAD, more hurt and maimed.

Now, "conservatives" pretend that President Obama adding to the Bush debt to help the poor and struggling and to build jobs is devilish socialism.

How is it Christian to not help the poor?

Saint Louis, MO

BYU has standards based on the Church that sponsors it. George Will looks at life from a moral perspective. The current administration does not. It is all about world socialism and political correctness. My Catholic Church has unfortunately joined in an evident attempt to destroy the capitalism that George Will and BYU so eloquently support.

Tooele, UT

@Ernest T. Bass

Please, explain your comment further. Are you talking about how the left continues to attack churches which disagree with their secular political agenda? In that case, I agree.

Are you talking about how so-called civil liberties groups continue to fight hard at stripping away the tax-exempt status of churches which discuss any conservative political matter, while at the same time, totally ignoring other churches which engage and lobby on behalf of liberal political causes? In that case, I agree with you.


Was that a typo -- only 2,245 in the audience in a 21,000-seat venue? If that's a correct number, there may be a message there. I'm just not sure what it is.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

A very mixed presentation…

On the one hand he’s right about our current “national agreement” to charge current consumption on the credit card and he’s also right to call that a moral issue.

He’s also right about the vexing family problem – all the studies I’ve seen clearly show that among intact families, we do not have a major poverty problem in this country.

But he’s dead wrong about the faux problem of religious liberty and he bemoans then constitutional reality that has always been a part of our country and has been affirmed by numerous SC decisions.

Does he really believe that Antonin Scalia was wrong when writing for the majority in Employment Division v Smith explaining why the Court held that the First Amendment's protection of the "free exercise" of religion does not allow a person to use a religious motivation as a reason not to obey generally applicable laws said, "To permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself?"

Saint George, UT

One of the most respected political pundits and observers states the obvious, something the liberals will still assail as mean spirited, rigid, and Tea party centric philosophy. All this coming from a man by his own admission is not a man of 'faith'. It can't get more plain than this, but I'm sure the progressives will find a reason to state that Will has been co-opted by the extremists who want--what--let me see--fiscal responsibility!

JD Jones
Salt Lake City, UT

The real issue is that religious authorities want the freedom to control individuals and limit their freedom, regardless of whether or not you are Catholic. If you are a nurse working for one of their hospitals, for example, (there are so many examples) they want to deny insurance coverage for nurse to get birth control. This is freedom? It's clearly not. It's just another example of how religion tries to control people in a self-religious and ridiculous manner. What happened to individual freedom?

Take a look at history. Religious institutions have been at the forefront of denying freedom to individuals. Religious folks start complaining they're freedom is being attacked when they are prevented from controlling the lives of other people.


I agree with George Will on the decline of the American family being at the root of our economic and social problems. I'll help him out with the cause of the decline, too. In my opinion, it has a great deal to do with our increasing materialism (over the past 50 or 60 years) that has driven mothers out of the home and into the workplace, thereby driving children into daycare centers where the foundation of their character is formed. Of course it isn't working well. Practically every family can avoid this simply living more modestly. My parents survived the depression just fine with far less than the poorest among us.

And yes, I believe that religious - and moral - motivation is a reasonable motivation to not obey "generally applicable laws", given that those "generally applicable laws" appear to have been specifically designed to violate the conscience of the religiously motivated.

Terry Marasco
Salt Lake City, UT

The fundamental problem with religion as Will and Santorum see it is that they consider it correct for religious organizations to act like the Crusaders imposing their beliefs on others. Theirs is an Imposition just like the Inquisition. The Originalists (taking the US Constitution literally with out flexibility) are hypercritical when it comes to religion - the value of separation of Church and State is lost on them and an inconvenience to their arguments.

Additionally there was no acknowledgement of religions doctrine of intolerance at the soft end to hate at the far end. This inhumane fervor innate in many extreme religious beliefs (certain Christian evangelicals and certain Muslim sects) is and has been a destructive force throughout history. The Inquisitionists are now the Impositionists, the latest permutation, somewhat of a euphemism but just as dangerous.

Wally West

re: JD Jones 7:50a today


"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government" - Thomas Jefferson


What liberal columnist or author of equal stature has BYU scheduled to appear on campus? I mean it is supposed to be a learning institution isn't it?


@ JD Jones If you are a nurse working for one of their hospitals, for example, (there are so many examples) they want to deny insurance coverage for nurse to get birth control. This is freedom? It's clearly not. I don't see anywhere where birth control is prohibited. Just that those who concientiously object, don't want to have to pay for it. There are many forms of birth control that are available over the counter at a nominal fee. they work, and are quite easily affordable. Is this not an option, for someone to pay for their own birth control? What a novel idea!

Dammam, Saudi Arabia

"What liberal columnist or author of equal stature has BYU scheduled to appear on campus? I mean it is supposed to be a learning institution isn't it?"

If you define 'liberal' as fascists who want to get into people's lives, who think that they can create a utopia by making everyone toe their party line, you are right, they haven't scheduled any. If, on the other hand, you define liberals as speaking for the weak, questioning the current paradigms, wanting to find a way to fight poverty, then they scheduled George Will. He talked there yesterday. Sorry you missed it.

I think that it is time to recognize that the polarity of American politics has flipped.

LP Grad, BYU Alum
Provo, UT

Oh please...

Religious groups only want to impose their will on others, they only cry when their right to control other groups is impinged, blah, blah, blah.

Religious groups of course have the right to refuse contraception if they disagree. That's not controlling anyone's decisions, because the market will correct itself. No one forces anyone to work anywhere. If a woman wants abortifacients and her company refuses to provide her some, she has the right to switch jobs. If I want weekends off from work but those are not provided, I can go work somewhere else. Since when is establishing a rule like this "controlling" or "limiting others' freedom"? That's exactly the mindset of entitlement that Will was decrying in his speech.

The fact is that corporations are entitled to First Amendment rights. They have the right to free speech, as Citizens United made clear. They have the right to assemble and they have the right to the press. Why shouldn't corporations also have the right to practice religion as their CEOs envision if those companies, like Hobby Lobby or Chick Fil-A, were founded "for the glory of God"?

Springville, UT

So many of Will's underlying premises are erroneous and flawed. To accept them without question and then run with them is intellectually dishonest. But, he gives the message his audience wants to hear. The bunker, unwarranted defensive mentality of the religious right wing is actually quite toxic and self-serving. I certainly don't see Christ or Joseph Smith as part of the current environement of religious paranoia.

Hank Pym

to LP Grad, BYU Alum

A business institution founded for the glory of God? Really?

Hopefully, I'm not the only one who thinks that sounds silly.

If you are not in business to provide a service and make $ then you got faulty vocational advice somewhere along the line or mistook Divinity school for an MBA program.

Southern, UT

Careful there Shimlau....you're talking about the Nurse taking personal responsibility for his/her actions and consequences.

What happened to individual freedom? Better question is 'What happened to personal responsibility?'

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