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Comments about ‘Why should we do more than just tolerate religion?’

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Published: Thursday, Jan. 16 2014 4:56 p.m. MST

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Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

"....the American Founders considered religious engagement in shaping the public morality essential to ordered liberty and the success of their experiment in self-government.”
______________________________

That’s the type of dishonest history we get from the Heritage Foundation. An individual citizen has the right to participate in self-government without regard to affiliation or belief but the Founders intended no specific role for religion.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "Churches are the largest and richest corporations in the world."

I'd love to see your proof of that. Richer than Microsoft? Exxon? General Electric? JP Morgan? Berkshire Hathaway? Wal-Mart? Gaz-Prom? Apple?

Not likely.

And, even if one or two churches might otherwise make it into the Fortune 500, what do they do with the money members voluntarily entrust to them?

How about religious and humanitarian relief to billions of people throughout the world? None of the Fortune 500 does that.

Sounds like there may be some ax to grind here. Makes you wonder which church rule the writer ran afoul of, and why he's now desperately trying to justify his self-imposed alienation.

Larry Chandler
CEDAR CITY, UT

One commentator said: "God exists, He is our Heavenly Father, Jesus is the Christ. Joseph Smith was a prophet, and I've seen through my entire life that those who live by the Gospel are better off than those who don't. It's not an opinion or an experiment; it's a proven truth"

No. It is not a "proven" truth. It is your truth. And you have the right to express it as well as believe it. But you do not have the right to insist others accept this as their truth or to take away their rights and their freedoms because it is in conflict with your truth.

SCfan
clearfield, UT

"religion is merely a choice. You can't choose your skin color, but you can choose your church."

However, for some, Jews as an example, it is more than just a religion, it is a cultural identity. And people are looked upon as being born Jewish just as much as people are born of a particular ethnicity. We all realize (I hope) that being anti Jewish is wrong. Also, being born Muslim is pretty much the same, a cultural identity. It is also considered wrong to be anti Muslim. Interesting that, some would hold Christians in disdain for being Christian, whereas they would never consider being anti Muslim, or anti Jewish. That, to them would be bigoted.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

happy2bhere
clearfield, UT
LDS Liberal

Did it ever occur to you that some of the demons of LIBERALS are:

======

Did it ever occur to you that some LIBERALS are in fact very RELIGOUS?
or
that some Conservaatives are not religous at all?

happy2bhere
clearfield, UT

LDS Liberal

That may be true, but most any study will show that liberals are much more inclined to be secular, non religious or even anti religious, here in America.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Procuradorfiscal

As far as I know, business corporations openly display their financial status. Churches do not. I've heard it said that the Pope is the richest man in the world, but with no way of knowing it may not be true. No one outside the church hierarchy knows what they do with their money.

In many cities around the world the biggest, most elaborate, visually imposing structures and buildings are churches. During and after the commercial wars between nations the churches and their religious control over people remains unchanged and unaffected.

Churches have no regard for the borders of nations. And they cry for government help if other nations do not treat them with high regard.

Other than that my real ax to grind is that as a liberal American I want to believe as I choose based on what I see in the world. Religious people and their churches are the real opponents of freedom of religion.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

There are those who claim to be active in their religion when almost every comment they post attacks members of the church they attend. There are even those who claim to have been endowed with great knowledge, not routinely accessible to everyone, who belittle that knowledge and the covenants that they have made.

Religion is not the culprit. The misunderstanding and the misapplication of religion is the culprit. Religious bigots presume that they, like the pharisee in the parable, can thank God that he has made them "special" and that he has chosen to overlook their faults because of his greater love for them because of their "membership" while they point a finger at the "tax collector". They belittle the tax collector who attended that same temple and bowed his head before God and implored, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner".

When enemies to religion are found both inside and outside of religion, soon only God will be able to separate his sheep from the goats, his wheat from the tares; but, he knows the hearts of all, whether they see themselves as a proud pharisee or as a humble tax collector.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

First Jay, thanks for referencing my “Rorschach-like missive” in your opening paragraph… flattered.

“The United States is facing a crisis of sorts over religion.”

Regarding this quote, people like me (non-religious) are concerned for a couple reasons. One, our country has a long history of keeping religion and civic participation separate. Heck, the country was chartered on our ability to do precisely that – i.e., the arguments of religious zealots in the 18th century (that we were creating a “godless constitution”) did not carry the day and few would argue that we are not better off for it today.

Had God (or god forbid) Protestant Christianity been enshrined in our founding documents (with the likely implication that many of the States would have kept their state religions, which most had prior to 1787), there would be no Mormon Church today. It would have been stamped out in its infancy.

The 2nd reason is that we look at the countries around the world who have become largely agnostic/atheist, and we simply see better, happy, more flourishing societies, especially when compared to the most religious countries.

OHBU
Columbus, OH

How do people not see the hypocrisy? I'm told at my door, on the street, and on billboards that I'm going to suffer eternal punishment, etc. But what happens when an atheist group puts up a billboard? It becomes national news. When a group put one up on a highway into Manhattan, Fox News railed against it. Likewise, when the atheist convention in Salt Lake wanted to promote their event, they had a great deal of difficulty finding a company willing to display it. These message boards were filled with statements like "If you want to be atheist, fine, but keep it to yourself and quit trying to shove it in our faces."

When was the last time an atheist harassed you at your home, or disrupted you on your way to work? I fully support their right to do so (though it's annoying), but it's amazing how many of them can't see the other side. If I tell someone telling me I'm going to be tortured for eternity that their beliefs are utterly ridiculous, suddenly I'm "persecuting" them.

J Thompson
SPRINGVILLE, UT

I sometimes wonder whether some people really think that there is a "separation" clause in the Constitution that forces government to separate itself from religion. Some of the posts today imply that such a clause exists. Unfortunately for them, that clause does not exist. The language is very clear and is understandable to all who care to read it: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

There is no prohibition about government involvement with religion. It can promote religion. It can endorse religion. It CANNOT make laws respecting "an establishment" of religion; i.e., it cannot dictate to any established church what that church's doctrine or covenants must be. It cannot tell a church what "sacraments" that church must offer. It cannot tell a church that it must provide contraceptives to its employees when the doctrine of that church forbid contraceptives. It cannot tell us how to pray or when to pray or even to pray, but it can endorse prayer and it can endorse God.

We are free to worship God with or without government endorsement.

Karen R.
Houston, TX

@Ultra Bob

"Religious people and their churches are the real opponents of freedom of religion."

My sentiments exactly. In the SSM issue, a ruling that civil laws prohibiting SSM are unconstitutional will actually PRESERVE religious liberty because some religions are not anti-SSM. Are their positions on the issue to be considered inferior - and by acts of civil governments, which have no business weighing in on religious beliefs?

I disagree with the author that Americans are "confused" about religion's place in the nation right now. I think Americans are seeing quite clearly the place religion has been allowed to assume and we are beginning to speak up and push back.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

There is no crisis over religion here. Most Americans know there are places in the world where people are sometimes killed in name of religion. Belligerent religious voices trying to promote the myth that religion in America is coming under siege do not represent the view of average Americans who know better, be they religious or not.

GZE
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

Let's see. You are free to practice your religion in your home, in your car, with your family, by yourself, at your place of worship, on top of a mountain, out in the desert, in the middle of a casino, while grocery shopping, walking your dog, eating at a restaurant, while taking a final exam, while watching the Jazz.

You are even free to practice your religion on public property - as long as you do it quietly and without disrupting others. Onless that disruption is the purpose, What exactly is the problem?

patriot
Cedar Hills, UT

the Democrat party already is doing more... they want to simply squash religion out....starting with Little Sisters of the Poor.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

J Thompson, please check out the legal definition of "an establishment of religion." It means a state church. Amendment 1 prohibits Congress from creating a state religion. By promoting ANY religion over others, Congress would be by implication "establishing" a religion. That means the Federal gov't (and now state gov'ts under the 14th Amendment) are prohibited from promoting one religious belief over another.

Mike W
Syracuse, UT

"And yet many believers will tell you that few things in life are as deep-seated or personal as religious conviction"

Funny, when missionaries come to my door badgering me about the church, they're not keeping it very "personal". When lawmakers make laws, that often deny equal rights, based on their totally unprovable religious views, that doesn't seem very "personal" either.

I have no problem with those who truly keep their religion personal, but around here, that's precious few who really fit that description.

Spangs
Salt Lake City, UT

Just more editorial drivel trying to make the case that businesses with certain "values" can dictate access to medical care. This article would have been interesting if it hadn't been boiled down to access to oral contraceptives at the end.

Again, to all of you that don't know about oral contraceptives: they are used for all sorts of things, from abnormal bleeding to control of endometriosis pain. Yeah, people use them to prevent unwanted pregnancy too, but all you need to do is talk to a gynecologist to find out that there are scores of other indications as well. Are we not allowed oral contraceptives for these other indications as well? And how can Hobby Lobby or anyone else but you and your doctor make that determination? Anyone wanting to disallow OCPs carte blanche for "moral reasons" is by definition uninformed and ignorant. Including the writer of this article.

bandersen
Saint George, UT

LDS Liberal: I found your comment perilously true! Perhaps you have read Spencer W. Kimball's statement on war, none of which made a dent in LDS thinking, except perhaps yours: "We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel, ships, planes, missiles, fortifications and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become anti-enemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan's counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior's teaching:

Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.(Matt. 5:45)

Amen! There, we have something in common! Awesome!

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@J Thompson – “There is no prohibition about government involvement with religion. It can promote religion. It can endorse religion. It CANNOT make laws respecting "an establishment" of religion; i.e., it cannot dictate to any established church what that church's doctrine or covenants must be.”

I know of no legal scholar (the “scholars” at places like Liberty and Bob Jones University notwithstanding) who would agree with you on this.

First, in order to even begin to go down the road you’re taking the clause would have to say “an establishment of ‘A’ religion.” It does not and for reasons obvious to anyone familiar with the writings of founders like Jefferson and Madison – they in no way wanted even the perception that government was favoring one religion over another.

And establishment of religion means endorsing, promoting or codifying ANY religion dogma, theological or moral. In the case of religious morality, the courts have found them to be constitutional only when they can stand on their own merits divorced from religious belief.

BTW, Madison thought pastors in military were unconstitutional – a position not captured in any way by your interpretation.

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