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In our opinion: Banishing free exercise of religion from the public square

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  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    March 4, 2014 11:37 a.m.

    In England, Catholics used their freedom of religion to burn Protestants in the PUBLIC SQUARE! Early Americans came here to be able to freely believe the way they felt best. Then these same people took their new found freedom of religion to hang people they believed to be witches, in the PUBLIC SQUARE! Early Americans, among others, also used their freedom of religion to use the PUBLIC SQUARE to auction off human beings as slaves! To exercise their freedom of religion, the people of Missouri tarred and feathered Mormons, ran them out of their homes, and persecuted them! All in the PUBLIC SQUARE! There was a time when people were put to death, in the PUBLIC SQUARE, for translating the Bible into English and just fort being caught reading the Bible! Only the priests were allowed to read it!
    I do believe that we should respect religious freedom, but please, don't tell me that it is acceptable to discriminate . Something is not right when people feel that they need to pass laws that allow people to discriminate! We should already have learned where this can lead!

  • Avenue Vernal, UT
    March 3, 2014 9:38 p.m.

    @Ranch
    "We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets." (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)

    This is the reason Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. Homosexuality is disintegrating the family, and if our country continues in the direction we are heading, the same thing will happen to us.

  • grouchyoldman Arden, NC
    March 2, 2014 10:59 a.m.

    I grew up in Tooele in the 50's and 60's and Joe had a sign in his Barber Shop that said "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone". So if Joe didn't want to cut your hair you went across the street. See, Joe wasn't the only barber in town or the only shoe repair, dry cleaners or car dealer. I'd much rather get my services from someone who will give them willingly rather than begrudgingly. You don't want my business someone out there does.

  • BusStopRatBag Layton, UT
    March 2, 2014 10:22 a.m.

    "What if a photographer was asked to take pictures of an interracial marriage. Should this person be able to refuse because it is against their religion."

    Of course they should be able to refuse. They should be able to refuse service to GLBTs, straight people, racial minorities, racial majorities, short people, fat people, rich WASPS, poor atheists, you, me, your children, my children, anyone at all. And then the rest of should be able refuse them our dollars and run them out of business.

    Should GLBT photographers be able to refuse service to straight couples? Should Jewish photographers be able to refuse service to Aryan nutjobs? Should black photographers be able to refuse service to KKK grand wizards? Of course they should. Any private business should be able to refuse service to anyone. 100% of the businesses in my town should be able to refuse me service.

    The majority of commentators here seem to disagree but I think we are capable of sorting all of this out without the help of our government. The Civil Rights Movement wasn't won by the signing of the Civil Rights Act. It was won, and is still being fought, by decent human beings everywhere.

  • Chilidog Somewhere, IL
    March 1, 2014 12:22 p.m.

    The author of this opinion piece make the all too common error of conflating religion and morality.

    they are two separate issues.

    One can be highly religious and extremely immoral.

    and also, one cam be highly moral, yet hold no formal religious beliefs (or even be an atheist).

    stop trying to jam the two concepts together.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    March 1, 2014 12:46 a.m.

    "Religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."- James Madison

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 11:11 p.m.

    "It's not about 'gay rights'. Just look at the intimidation, bullying, and lieing that goes into it. Gays have more 'rights' and more support than any other social group in the entire nation."

    If you really believe that, I would suggest you try living in our world for just a week. Be brave enough to let everyone know you are gay. Don't be afraid. I think you will soon discover how much you misunderstand the discrimination we experience.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 12:02 p.m.

    @Coach Biff;

    Perhaps you should go read your bible again, and this time, put it INTO CONTEXT. The bible's prohibition was on ritualistic same-sex relations (i.e., temple prostitutes). It says nothing about loving same-sex couples.

    Lot (a man who offered the mob his nubile daughters to be subjected to gang-rape) was not a "righteous" man! He's not the sort of guy you should be using in your examples. Additoinally, S&G were "rained down with fire", not because of homosexuality but due to greed, inhospitality and such. If you're going to use Zeke as your go-to guy, use the whole thing: 16:49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. "

    Those who "abide by Christian principles" would do well to follow Jesus' commandment to treat others they way you want to be treated and love thy neighbor as thyself.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 11:49 a.m.

    @Coach Biff "Homosexuality, to those who abide by Christian principles, is indeed dire sin, " But what if homosexuality is inborn? The gay men I have known assert this, and they should know.

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 10:33 a.m.

    Ranch,

    You need to read your Bible again. If you are going to quote the Savior then you must abide by the principles set forth in the scriptures not just pick and choose what you think it says. He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for egregious sexual sin including homosexuality. (hint: Lot was instructed to present the angels to the crowd that they might "know" them Genesis 19) Homosexuality, to those who abide by Christian principles, is indeed dire sin, as is any form of extra-marital sex. If you don't believe that it is sin then so be it. But don't tell me that homosexuality isn't sin while quoting Christ. He's the same being, according to the Bible, who rained fire on those two cities.

  • skrekk Dane, WI
    Feb. 28, 2014 9:50 a.m.

    You'd think that Mormons of all people would remember the Reynolds v US ruling, which found that religious beliefs can never be used as an excuse to violate a generally applicable law.

    What Arizona was trying to do was clearly unconstitutional and would have been enjoined and struck down at first challenge. It never would have been allowed to go into effect.

  • equal protection Cedar, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 9:46 a.m.

    re: "Take the debate about whether a state may continue to define marriage as between a man and woman. Principles of federalism give states sovereign power in marriage laws. In cases of dispute, states debate and change laws as their people see fit. But our nation is ill-served when federal judges impose a definition of marriage — one that is not sanctioned by the Constitution — on states like Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia and Texas."

    What is stated above is only partially correct. States do indeed have sovereign powers over marriage laws, except for one tiny often over looked fine print in the US Constitution:
    State laws defining and regulating marriage MUST also respect the constitutional rights of persons, see, e.g., Loving v. Virginia, 388 U. S. 1 (1967); but, SUBJECT to those guarantees, “regulation of domestic relations” is “an area that has long been regarded as a virtually exclusive province of the States.” -Windsor v. United States (2014).

  • Darmando Parker, CO
    Feb. 28, 2014 9:27 a.m.

    As a person of religious conviction who seeks to live it at all times and places, I support the secular state. Mutual respect, equal treatment, accommodation, and protection are doctrines of the secular state. It has bought us considerable peace over the past two centuries. Our founding fathers had sufficient memories of the horrors of the sectarian non secular states from which they or their ancestors fled. They established the secular state because they appreciated its value in a way that many of today's religionists don't. Unless you travel to one of the many countries controlled by religionists or where there is sectarian strife, it's hard to understand just how abusive people "freely exercising their religion" can be.
    You can exercise your conscience without being a jerk, and if you want to operate a business, you should be prepared to do it in compliance with the laws where you conduct your business. Freedom of religious exercise is not license to be a law unto yourself.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 9:20 a.m.

    @2 bits;

    "Moral" doesn't mean religious.

    @MikeRichards;

    Nobody is telling you what you "must" believe; we're telling you that YOU can't tell US what we "must" believe (or do) either.

    @Mark l (& Arizona1);

    Please show me where Jesus said "Thou shalt not participate in a gay wedding".

    @There You Go Again;

    You're saying you want to force Evangelical Christians to vote for Romney? What makes you think they didn't get out and vote for Obama instead, but that they "stayed home"?

    @marxist;

    Might I suggest that justice delayed is justice denied?

    @2 bits;

    Yet you will legislate your morals and deny us the rights you posess (hypocrisy).

    @Coach Biff;

    Homosexuality is NOT a sin (bigotry is).

  • Utefan60 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 28, 2014 7:08 a.m.

    I have yet to have evidence that the LBGT community is attacking religion. They are attacking, as is their right the use of religion to discriminate and deny rights. There has not been one lawsuit in Arizona that has been filed against a business for discrimination against the LBGT community. Not one, yet this crazy law was put into force. The DN editorial writers need to do more research before putting this kind of editorial out there without examining the real facts.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Feb. 27, 2014 11:10 p.m.

    “The largest mystery is why so many people are falling prey to the siren song of the secularists.”

    The siren song is knowledge.

    BTW, we are all born secularists. For most, religion gets imposed so early that we never realize this. But the truth remains: we are all born nonbelievers.

    @ 2 bits: Atheism is a lack of a belief in a god. One belief does not a “set” or “collection” make.

  • freedomingood provo, Utah
    Feb. 27, 2014 10:06 p.m.

    If you want to have your freedom of your moral code you will have to let everyone else have theirs. Christians will simply not have the convenience of the majority in the future and really we should making precedent for the future when we are a minority as we believe will happen.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 9:59 p.m.

    In an earlier remark I mentioned the work of Karl Polanyi "The Great Transformation," which needs to be read. It is mostly about the rise of the self-regulating market in the 19th century. But more than that it is about social change and the problems which it can create. Having studied Polanyi I understand that a change which is perfectly constitutional, as seen by either the right or the left, can nevertheless be disastrous in the longer term.

    The Arizona bill was a travesty as pertains to the constitution, but the opponents of it may be ushering in a regime which may be just as much a travesty, only in social change terms. Same sex marriage may be a disaster long term, even though its advocates mean well.

    I'm only glad SSM is not something I have to call.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 7:30 p.m.

    J Thompson.

    When a businessman, even one known as The Little Sisters, seeks to operate a business operation within the sphere of our government(s), he, they, should abide by the laws that regulate and control business. The First Amendment has no application to business law.

    The lawsuit about the Star Transport is not about religious freedom, they were not fired for their religious belief, they were fired for their action of refusing to do the job.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 7:04 p.m.

    Fredrick Sampson.

    Private Rights: Rights that are exchanged between private individuals and apply only to those individuals and have no effect on the general public.

    Public Rights: Rights that are specified, listed, enforced and secured by a government and apply generally to the entire body of the society, group or collective who made the government.

    Private individuals may own and operate a business operation within the sphere of a government only so long as the businessman abides by the rules and regulations specified by the government. Business as an institution is a wholly owned prerogative of the people, who have the right and authority to make the rules regarding business. It is a take it or leave it option for the businessman. No one is forced to operate a business operation.

    As for the terrorist, business law would not be allowed to legalize something that is forbidden by other laws of our nation.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 5:47 p.m.

    It seems that we're talking about two different subjects today. One subject is whether Government can force us to provide insurance so that others can have birth control, extending even to forcing "The Little Sisters" to comply unless they specifically "opt out" by signing papers that exempt "The Little Sisters". That requirement is in total violation of the 1st Amendment. There is no argument for government having authority to change the doctrine of an establishment of religion.

    The other subject is whether a private business owner can be compelled to serve anyone. Obama answered that question on June 2, 2013, when he instructed the EEOC to sue Star Transport, Inc.

    "Star Transport, Inc., a trucking company based in Morton, Ill., violated federal law by failing to accommodate two employees because of their religion, Islam, and discharging them, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

    The lawsuit alleged that Star Transport refused to provide two employees with an accommodation of their religious beliefs when it terminated their employment because they refused to deliver alcohol."

    Both subjects show that we are free from government intervention.

  • Azazael Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 5:37 p.m.

    @Kalindra, @Furry1993, @Open Minded Mormon
    How is a baker declining to bake a cake denying someone a freedom? How is an employer declining to provide contraception denying someone a freedom?

    How is a baker being forced to bake a cake that he objects to not “imposing beliefs on others?” How is an employer forced to provide contraceptives not “imposing beliefs on others?”

    We need to balance rights to practice religion with anti-discrimination.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 27, 2014 5:23 p.m.

    silo
    Sandy, UT

    You wrote: "Mike, by now you should realize that hyperbole does the opposite of what you intend. It undermines any legitimate points you may make and reduces any credibility you may feign to possess in your future posts.

    Not once, ever, has Obama 'advocated leaving babies to die'."

    Do you mean this statement made in 2001 by Barack H. Obama when he was a State Senator in Illinois?

    "On March 30, 2001, Obama was the only Illinois senator who rose to speak against a bill that would have protected babies who survived late term labor-induced abortion. Obama rose to object that if the bill passed, and a nine-month-old fetus survived a late-term labor-induced abortion was deemed to be a person who had a right to live, then the law would "forbid abortions to take place." Obama further explained the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment does not allow somebody to kill a child, so if the law deemed a child who survived a late-term labor-induced abortion had a right to live, "then this would be an anti-abortion statute."

  • intervention slc, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 5:10 p.m.

    So the headline got me thinking, since when do we have the right to tramble others down as we "exercise?"

  • Azazael Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 4:47 p.m.

    I find it hard to believe how many comments here assert that the AZ bill, or even the Hobby Lobby case, is about religion trying to “impose its morals upon others.”

    If a baker feels that it is morally wrong for them to contribute to a ceremony, how are they imposing their morals on others by declining to bake a cake?

    If the baker is compelled by threat of law suit to bake a cake for a ceremony that he morally objects to, isn’t the baker the one having his rights taken by others?

    If someone doesn’t want to bake a cake for you then ask someone else. Don’t impose your morals on them by suing them and legally compelling them to bake you a cake.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Feb. 27, 2014 4:44 p.m.

    I’m a dyed-in-the-wool opponent of unsigned editorials that enable zealots to conduct holy moral crusades against phantom antagonists. Where is the risk to personal reputation for a Deseret News staffer, or even a New York Times editorialist who pens an inflammatory epistle from behind a cloak of anonymity?

    If this menacing government bogeyman really exists, show us the hard evidence. All I see presented in this editorial is a standard litany of legal cases and controversies that don’t come close to a compelling case for a conspiracy to crush religious liberty in America.

    Of course we’re always going to have with us litigation and Constitutional challenges. We are, after all, a nation of laws. Let’s not go overboard in how we react. If our leading dailies can’t even practice understatement, how can we possibly expect the general public to temper its language?

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 4:38 p.m.

    If Hobby Lobby loses, it won't be a blow against freedom of religion. What it will be is a blow against people being inconvienced because of the religion of their employer.

  • silo Sandy, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 4:07 p.m.

    "Obama goes further. He advocates leaving babies to die who survive a blotched partial-birth abortion."

    Mike, by now you should realize that hyperbole does the opposite of what you intend. It undermines any legitimate points you may make and reduces any credibility you may feign to possess in your future posts.

    Not once, ever, has Obama 'advocated leaving babies to die'.

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 3:52 p.m.

    As the Deseret News points out: "In all of these controversies, those motivated by religious convictions are being pressured to leave the public square — to put their religious convictions out of sight, sequestered from public debate about vital moral issues".

    Men and Women with religious and moral convictions will not "leave the public square" as the gay community would like us to. As the liberal/gay groupls have pushed us for the last 30 years to abdicate our religious freedoms and rights, I predict people of morals and religious convictions will now begin our own "moral revolution" for the next 30 years to re-assert our rights. We will not be silenced! We will respect the rights of others, but we will not be silenced!

    I'm proud that I might temporarily be "on the wrong side of history" ss the gays like to say, but at the end of the day I want to be on God's side of history.

  • vangroovin West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 3:40 p.m.

    How is it that the government is deciding how we should treat each other? Why is the government deciding how we should behave? We, as a society, have lost our ability to govern ourselves. Morality has declined to catastrophic levels because we cannot seem to control our thoughts, our emotions, our feelings. We are on the road to justifying all behaviors immoral and heinous as "ok" because we don't have any sense of identity & hold no accountability for our choices. We want someone else to be responsible for every wrong that befalls us. This isn't what makes America, or any nation for that matter, great. What makes America great is that it was founded upon true principles. Truth cannot be altered, it cannot be destroyed, forgotten or ignored. Truth is truth and until we realize that, we are condemning ourselves to certain hardships above our ability to currently comprehend. A thought that comes to mind is one from prophet-historian, Mormon, who said, "O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you!"(Mormon 6:17)

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 27, 2014 3:16 p.m.

    Ford DeTreese,

    Your comment about Government not allowing murder was particularly poignant, since it is the government who is willing allow a mother to decide unilaterally that she can destroy the life within her with the consent of the father, without a hearing for the unborn child that she is carrying, without consideration of the impact that loss will have on society. Obama goes further. He advocates leaving babies to die who survive a blotched partial-birth abortion. Does the State (meaning the government) have the right to allow its citizens to destroy innocent life? Can the State require that destruction, which it does when it requires funding of morning-after contraceptives as part of ObamaCare.

    I agree that the State has the right and the duty to outlaw murder. Fortunately, I think that you exposed the underbelly of the dragon that has no concern for the most innocent of all, those who are still in the womb nor for those who would be conceived if it did not REQUIRE contraception to be furnished as part of ObamaCare.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 2:58 p.m.

    Twin Lights
    "Religion is certainly not just doing what you are told no matter what is right. Christ and many of his followers often went against what they were told by larger society (and often endangered themselves by so doing)."

    I could agree if you had a more recent example of his followers going against their leaders, when they were wrong, but I haven't noticed that happen much since the master walked beside them. The new pope is setting a good example, time will tell.

  • nonceleb Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 2:41 p.m.

    I thought freedom of religion is being able to practice your beliefs in your personal, private life and not various kinds of public displays and being able to discriminate against others whose beliefs or practices offend you. I remember Jesus praising private religious practices and condemning public displays of piety. We seem to forget that part of the First Amendment is government not establishing religion (which has consistently been interpreted, even by the Founding Fathers, as separation of church and state). Absolute freedom of religion cannot exist without it, as there is infringement of others' beliefs if we allow one religious belief system to dominate the public and political sector.

  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 2:40 p.m.

    You are talking about banishing religion from public square! You, who won't even consider the religous freedom of gay people! You believe that you can define marriage in a religous manner. So can we! I believe, and I am not just saying this, that God is happy to see me with my partner. He would be happy to see me get married. I have a religous belief that God knows exactly why He created us the way he did! My religous beliefs are that God did not intend that some of his children degrade and devalue his other children! You see, I believe that I am a child of God and that God would give me my religous freedom as well.
    You think that God would come down and tell Mormons that their religous freedom will be honored and deny gay people that same freedom? Too bad if you don't like gay people. That is your hate. That is your homophobia! Your religous freedom doesn't give you a right to deny me my freedom! No way! You expect us to bow down and agree with the degrading things that are said and done to us! Think again!

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 2:37 p.m.

    This is the new McCarthyism. No different than the anti-communist movement of the 1950s. LGBT supporters in particular do not want to see anything or hear anything opposing their viewpoint and they are using the courts to enforce it. Think of every egregious government abuse against those suspected of having communist sympathies and we are seeing it now in even greater measure.

  • Baker Boy Westminster, CA
    Feb. 27, 2014 2:33 p.m.

    The writer of this opinion piece states that “our nation is ill-served when federal judges impose a definition of marriage - one that is not sanctioned by the Constitution - on states like Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Texas.”

    But the U.S. Supreme Court did exactly that in a 1967, in Loving Vs. Virginia. The state of Virginia, and other states, had banned interracial marriage. The Supreme Court found that the ban violated the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, and overturned it. Similar bans in other states, consequently, were overturned as well.

    The judges in the recent same-sex marriage cases in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Texas cases have also cited the Fourteenth Amendment as a reason to overturn the bans.

    If the above states prevail in their bans on same-sex marriage, then the protections of the 14th Amendment wouldn’t mean much, would they?

    Judges have also cited the lack of a compelling reason to prevent same-sex couples from marrying.

  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 2:29 p.m.

    I think somebody needs to study more about civil rights! Sit down and watch a few documentaries about Martin Luthar King! Our country finally decided to make it illegal to deny people their human rights. It was decided that if you are open for service to the public, then you you are open for equal service to all. Why don't you finish telling the world what you mean when you talk about religous freedom? You are not just talking about a belief that it is wrong to be gay! You are talking about a religous belief that you can discriminate against gay people! You are talking about denying people their rights,simply because you believe that they shouldn't have them! You are talking about treating gay people as if they are infereior to others!
    Gay people have the religous freedom to believe they can marry! Gay people have a religous belief that they should be treated like human beings! Gay people have the religous freedom to believe in God and to believe that God created them just as He wanted them to be! Religous freedom should be for everyone, right?

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 2:21 p.m.

    Government should have NO legislation regarding who PRIVATE businesses are to serve. That's the point of private businesses. PUBLIC businesses are another matter - and this includes hospitals, and other businesses in the public sector.

    ==============

    What is the difference between a private business, and a public one? What would make a privately owned hospital (like IHC) public but a guy who makes cakes for weddings (open to the public) private?

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 1:48 p.m.

    Mike Richards: "We are His children who have the sacred duty to never restrict His children from being born. If we engage in sex, we are inviting children into our lives."

    Take that, old people. Take that, you long-married people who have only 3 or 4 children.

  • cavetroll SANDY, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 1:39 p.m.

    Arizona1
    "In what direction is this nation going if a photographer is "forced" to participate in something that she finds morally offensive?"

    So why can't a business owner provide a different reason to not participate? Let's use your example of the photographer. Why can't the photographer tell the custoomer they are already booked for that day? No body would be the wiser. As far as not wanting to lie, wouldn't the god who disproves of homosexuality approve of and forgive a small lie in order to ensure eternal salvation?

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 1:36 p.m.

    Ranch,

    The Savior also told the woman caught in adultery to "Go thy way and sin no more". He didn't excuse her actions. It is the same with homosexuality. Love the sinner, detest the sin.

  • Fredrick Sampson South Jordan, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 1:36 p.m.

    The issue here is PRIVATE vs PUBLIC rights. If the business is a private business, those running the business should have the right to serve whomever they please - and to refuse service to anyone they please.

    Government should have NO legislation regarding who PRIVATE businesses are to serve. That's the point of private businesses. PUBLIC businesses are another matter - and this includes hospitals, and other businesses in the public sector. There should be no fear of not getting treated at a hospital - because this has nothing to do with private rights.

    Are we really going to force PRIVATE businesses to serve everyone - regardless of the circumstance? This is the destruction of freedom! What if a known terrorist were to ask a private programmer to write destructive code? Does that mean that the programmer has to comply, because he has to server *everyone*?!

    Please don't forget that most of the businesses being targeted have served and continue to serve LGBTs. They are simply asking not to be forced to participate in *ACTIVITIES* that go against their moral beliefs. PLEASE - separate the individual from the act! The baker served and continues to serve gays.

  • cavetroll SANDY, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 1:35 p.m.

    2 bits
    "Legislating your morals offends me. And insisting only YOUR morals belong in the public square offends me."

    Yet it is acceptable for the LDS church (or other religions)to legislate their morals to others? They legislate through the pulpit (albeit through "press releases"), specifically concerning liquor laws, abortion laws, etc.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Feb. 27, 2014 1:31 p.m.

    Happy Valley Heretic,

    Atheism may not specifically be a religion but the way some practice it bears many hallmarks of a religion. I don’t believe in a lot of things. But I do not spend any of my money or time to get together with like-minded non-believers, put up signs promoting my non-beliefs, or spend time in public booths advocating my non-beliefs. So yes, for some and in some ways, it does bear a resemblance to religion.

    Morality is certainly doing what is right (whether you are told to or not). Religion is certainly not just doing what you are told no matter what is right. Christ and many of his followers often went against what they were told by larger society (and often endangered themselves by so doing).

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 1:22 p.m.

    Happy Valley Heretic:

    re•li•gion
    noun
    4. a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

    Seems that atheism and environmentalism could fit this definition. Words mean many things.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 1:19 p.m.

    On the other hand, might I suggest that social change may be going too fast, particularly as regards SSM? We don't know much yet about the consequences of SSM. I am wary of it.

    The late Karl Polanyi ("The Great Transformation") described how the landed aristocracy of Britain came to the aid of the increasingly displaced rural folk by slowing down the industrialization of labor. He makes a valid point thus - sometimes various interests help out by slowing the pace of change, which pace can be destructive. In other words, wariness of change is not necessarily irrational.

    Is the LDS Church performing this function. They may be.

  • Ford DeTreese Provo, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 1:17 p.m.

    Mike,

    Your argument doesn't hold water. Many things are sacred to religions, but that doesn't mean government can't legislate for or against them. Take murder, for instance. Most religions consider this a "religious doctrine," a "thou shalt not," if you will But for reasons entirely separate from any religion's view of the matter, legislation against murder is considered constitutional within certain parameters. Anything that is, for good reason, deemed a detriment to society or to justice, can be legislated against. Your views on this issue of contraception are too simplistic and too overtly religious to hold up in a court of law.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 1:08 p.m.

    mcclark,
    Your morals don't offend me. For the most part we share the same morals (so you can get off that high horse).

    Legislating your morals offends me. And insisting only YOUR morals belong in the public square offends me.

    We always see the left pointing at the religious-right saying, "You can't legislate morality"... as the left legislates their OWN morals be law.

    We are told we can't expose OUR religious beliefs (or what we think is "moral") in the public square... while the left tells us everything they are legislating is their moral duty.

    That's what I'm talking about. Not what's moral (or not). But that one side is trying to legislate THEIR morals into law (hint... and it' not the right).

    ===

    Heretic,
    Nice try. This is the definition "Religion" in wikipedia...

    "Religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence"....

    Read the whole thing. It takes pages (not your narrow-minded definition).

    DictionaryDotCom... "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, ... often containing a MORAL CODE governing the conduct of human affairs".

    hmmm...

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 1:05 p.m.

    This article is just dancing around the actual problem. We have allowed this country to adopt Secular Humanism or Athiesm or even Anti-thiesm as a state religion. The Constitution only says that there cannot be a state religion. What that means is that as long as we don't declare or by defacto declare one religion to be the official religion that is permissable. No, "Christianity" is not a religion, but is a type of religion. Just look at the different religious groups.

    To "Open Minded Mormon" nice ploys, but the Satanic statue isn't being funded or built by an actual religious group. It is a proposed project, and hasn't been rejected at this time.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 1:02 p.m.

    Why is it when someone is America uses the word "religion" what it means is, my own personal christian beliefs?

  • Arizona1 Tucson, AZ
    Feb. 27, 2014 1:01 p.m.

    In what direction is this nation going if a photographer is "forced" to participate in something that she finds morally offensive? What happens when pornography becomes even more acceptable than it already is and the courts tell photographers that if they want to avoid fines, they have to take such pictures regardless of their moral convictions? Where will the encroachments on the "free exercise of religion" end?

    The photographer in the New Mexico case was right in refusing events that conflicted with her beliefs as long as she was willing to provide the individuals individuals involved with service for other events that were not morally offensive to her. As a wise person recently said, the free exercise of religion granted by the Constitution is not merely the right to worship God.

  • freedomingood provo, Utah
    Feb. 27, 2014 12:57 p.m.

    Mormons don't believe in alcohol and Mormon businesses are not forced to sell alcohol - although many do across the country anyway. Many of those businesses owned by All kinds of Christians are open on Sunday as well. They could start with some other areas if they really wanted to seem sincere in living their religions.

    Some Mormon owned hotels serve alcohol and pornography channels yet they are NOT forced to. This recent desperation to exclude certain types of PEOPLE from their business lives seems to me a desperate bigoted act. The bill here in Arizona is just plain hateful, these people are not that religious.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 12:55 p.m.

    This is the real question. What "rights" get trumped when they violate someone else's "rights"? How do we decide?

    We have freedom of speech, but, I should also be able to go to my home, place of worship etc without people screaming at me or shoving pictures of aborted fetuses in my face. Panhandlers have a right to beg and harass us, but, why can't my right to walk peacefully down the sidewalk be protected?

    This debate is along the same line. When can someone exercise their religion and not be forced to go against it by a government and in this instance, why can't gays go into any store and not be denied services?

    The veto is a good idea. What they need to do is to find some kind of balance, where a person won't be criminally charge for not offering condoms to employees, go against their religious beliefs; but, still protect the rights of others.

    I think the number of stores that would deny gays based solely on that; would be minimal in this country. But, a store is still private and they have the right to refuse service to anyone, anytime...

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 12:46 p.m.

    Let me put it too you this way --

    If the Government required a company to provide a coffee maker,
    Does that infringe or trample OUR LDS religous rights?

    Of course it doesn't.
    Anyone can see that.

    The same applies to Healthcare policies providing contraception.

    This whole discussion is silly and moot.

  • mcclark Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 12:39 p.m.

    @ 2 bits I am an Atheist, my personal morals call for treating all people with dignity and respect. I am sorry my morals offend you.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 12:15 p.m.

    re·li·gion
    noun
    1.
    the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.

    No mention of your moral definition?

    Atheism - No God, nope that doesn't fit. Atheism is a religion like not collecting stamps is a hobby.
    Environmentalism -based in science and facts, Nope no superhuman influence there either.

    Being anti something does in no way make it a religion, besides the war on war would be a stupid slogan.

    You are incorrect about morals being the basis for religion.

    Morality is doing what is right no matter what you are told.
    Religion is doing what you are told no matter what is right.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 12:14 p.m.

    And what about Religions which CHOOSE to perform Gay marriages?
    Aren't you squelching and banning their expression of Religous Freedom?

    It's Karma --
    Religion is full of it.

    What goes around, comes around.
    With your own judgement, ye are judged.
    Do unto others, as you would have them done unto you....

    If you want to protect your religion,
    you must be just as willing to protect anothers.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 11:53 a.m.

    @Kent C. Deforrest

    "...Let's say, just for sake of argument, that a Mormon family in Mesa, AZ, goes to its favorite restaurant, and a couple of the kids are wearing silly LDS T-shirts. The owner of the restaurant is an Evangelical Christian who believes Mormonism is an evil cult. He refuses to seat them and ushers them out the door. This, as I understand it, would be perfectly legal under the proposed Arizona law...".

    The owner then excuses her behavior on the basis of free exercise of religion...

    Speaking of free exercise of religion...

    For the sake of argument...

    Evangelical Christians who believe Mormonism is an evil cult stayed home in sufficient numbers to aid Mitt Romney in losing a very winnable Presidential Election.

    The ultimate in refusing to seat someone as well as not letting them in the door let alone ushering them out?

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 11:49 a.m.

    This editorial is stunningly wrong. Nowhere in my reading of the teachings of Christ do I read that we should discriminate against others we deem sinners. And that is what the AZ bill would have done, institutionalize discrimination by those who are offering goods and services to the general public, a non-religious activity. It is wrong, dead wrong to allow this. And please stop misrepresenting the NM action, where there was already on the books a law prohibiting such behavior and which was the reason for the legal action there. This editorial reminds me of the comments made by Christ when he referenced those who say, Lord, Lord, yet their hearts were far from him. It reflects an interpretation of Christianity that is not Christian. I am appalled by this editorial. Enough with moaning about religious freedom when this isn't really about religious freedom.

  • cavetroll SANDY, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 11:48 a.m.

    Another Chicken Little "the sky is falling" editorial. This just plays further into the "last days" scenario perpetuated by the LDS church, fosters their religious teachings. So I'm curious DNews, if a person belongs to a Chritian Identity religion, you find it acceptable to not provide a service or product to raicial minorities or non-Christians, specifiaclly Jews, balcks, Hspanics, mutliracial people?

    What if I religious conscience believes the LDS church and its faithful are nothing more than a misguided cult and brainwashed fools? Can I then refuse service to you and your fellow members? Based, of course on my religious convictions.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 11:14 a.m.

    Again... Define "Religion"...

    Atheism is a moral framework... it's a religion. And they want THEIR morals legislated and forced on others by the courts and the government (removing crosses, no nativity, no Christmas carols allowed, no ten commandments display allowed, etc).

    Environmentalism is based on moral standards (God told us to care for this earth)... it's religion (and radical environmentalists want to legislate their morals and environmental standards on everybody else).

    The anti-war movement is a moral thing (and I think Christ would have been right there with them, it could be seen as a religious thing). It belongs in the public square, doesn't it?

    Define "religion" before we get too far into this.

    Isn't it any moral framework? (Not just morals taught at churches)

    So why is it OK for the left to legislate THEIR morals... but not anybody else??

  • Mark l SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 10:51 a.m.

    If a Christian can be forced by government to participate in a same sex wedding, something against his belief, than an atheist anti-circumsion activist can be forced to participate in a Jewish ceremony. Government should not be forcing behavior. Rights exist before government.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 27, 2014 10:46 a.m.

    Ford DeTreese,

    Thank you for your comment. Your comment shows exactly why we have the 1st Amendment. It shows exactly why government cannot legislate religion. It shows why we cannot let Obama, or anyone else, tell us what we MUST believe. Contraception is a religious doctrine for many religions. Conception is a sacred for many religions. Birth control is a religious doctrine for many religions. Government is forbidden to legislate ANYTHING that concerns an establishment of religion.

    If I were to use the word "an establishment" like many who disagree with me, that would mean that the government is "establishing a secular religion" when it mandates that religious organizations and religious people fund birth control. If I use "an establishment" as it is written, the government cannot mandate a church or any part of a church to fund birth control, even indirectly.

    If I were Muslim and fired because I refused to distribute alcoholic beverages, Obama would require that I be rehired (he's already done that, Star Transport, Inc. 2013) because the refusal to handle alcolholic beverages is protected (according to Obama) by religion.

  • ThornBirds St.George, Utah
    Feb. 27, 2014 10:33 a.m.

    Separation of Church and State. It came written down to us from those influential Constitutional individuals.
    We learned that back in school history class in the olden days.
    Is it not being taught any longer?
    Could that be the problem here?

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 10:32 a.m.

    "Grant to Congress and the Courts the power to define the rights of conscience ,and the limit beyond which faith shall not be carried into action, and religious liberty is practically at an end. The battles for religious freedom which have been so nobly fought in the generations past, and which have been gained by the sacrifice of so much precious blook, will, so far as we are concerned, have been fought in vain."

    George Q. Cannon: Consitutional Government and Politics, 1879, Review 39, cited on page 539 of Gospel Truth, Discourses and Writings of George Q. Cannon1974, 1987, Deseret Book Company.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Feb. 27, 2014 10:14 a.m.

    Kent C. DeForrest
    Provo, UT
    I haven't read the text of the legislation that Gov. Brewer vetoed, but if news reports are accurate, every Mormon should oppose such laws.

    ==========

    Agreed --
    This was as bad as Jim Crow laws,
    and Gov. Boggs' Extermination Order.

    Seems the uber-cons want to take us right back to 1776.

    It's as thoguh their ideological purity completely ignores the Civil Rights Movenment, the Civil War and [I hate to do this, but history has been recorded] the Nuremberg Laws of discrimination in Nazi Germany...

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 10:05 a.m.

    Hutterite

    Are you trying to say that secular voices are NOT also trying to impose themselves in the public square?
    And I might add that some of the craziest ideas and agendas I've seen in the world come from the left. The non-religious left. You guys have no monopoly on common sense.

  • Ford DeTreese Provo, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 9:53 a.m.

    Mike Richards: "God is our Father. We are His children who have the sacred duty to never restrict His children from being born. If we engage in sex, we are inviting children into our lives. The religious doctrine of being a spirit son or daughter of God is fundamental." These are your personal LDS religious beliefs. I happen to share them, but they have no place in a discussion of Constitutional law. That would be privileging one religious view over others, or over none at all. You can't have it both ways, Mike. The Constitution is a secular document. It declares itself such by refusing to favor one religion over another or over atheism.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 9:47 a.m.

    I haven't read the text of the legislation that Gov. Brewer vetoed, but if news reports are accurate, every Mormon should oppose such laws. Let's say, just for sake of argument, that a Mormon family in Mesa, AZ, goes to its favorite restaurant, and a couple of the kids are wearing silly LDS T-shirts. The owner of the restaurant is an Evangelical Christian who believes Mormonism is an evil cult. He refuses to seat them and ushers them out the door. This, as I understand it, would be perfectly legal under the proposed Arizona law.

    What's next, Jewish-only drinking fountains, separate restrooms for Muslims, back-of-the-bus seats for Baptists? This is not as black-and-white an idea as those on both sides seem to think. It is very complicated, and writing simplistic laws is not the solution.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 9:48 a.m.

    The Klu Klux Klan membership should be rising since they too agree, that its a religious right to treat other men as inferior or sinners and justify it with there scriptures as they berate and denigrate their fellowman.

    This is the company you keep when you use your religion to hurt others.

    People are very confused about Individual rights vs. business rights. Businesses are a Privilege granted by permit and license that must comply with certain rules. Your business has no baptism record.

    Religions are at their essence "my imaginary friend said" that's fine for those who wish to participate, but we can't go around establishing laws on "my imaginary friend believes this" we need to work in reality with facts and actual people. Religion doesn't have a corner on moral, ethical behavior, or the "perfect" social model, and they've had a lot of time to work on it.

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    Feb. 27, 2014 9:29 a.m.

    It's not about "gay rights". Just look at the intimidation, bullying, and lieing that goes into it. Gays have more "rights" and more support than any other social group in the entire nation.

    It's about attacking the rights of those who don't think the same way they do. It's about forcing others to support something that is twisted, with tolerance and open-mindedness to hypocritically shouted that one can't even hear themself think anymore. People demanding that we hear the cries of homosexuals while themselves drowning out our own cries.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 9:27 a.m.

    There is no attack on religon in this society. But there is a strong movement to equally protect all citizens with no preference regarding race, religon or creed. What seems to bother some is that society (supported by polling) and the courts (supported by rulings) no longer endorse a communities right to discriminate based upon religous beliefs.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Feb. 27, 2014 9:01 a.m.

    @ Mike Richards,
    You are free to your religous beliefs.
    You are NOT free to impose your beliefs on others.

    J Thompson
    The argument from Obama and those who agree with him is that the State has the right to force everyone to provide contraception; that the State has the right to prohibit life; that the State has the right to destroy life in the womb.

    [Interesting, since "providing" contraception is far, FAR different than "forcing" someone to use them.
    Ironic and even more hypocritical -

    the State does not prohibit life,
    the State does not destroy life in the womb.

    Those choices are made by a Woman, her Dotor, family and/or God - period.

    and yet here you are insisting that The STATE maintain and continue to use Firing Squards, Gas Chambers and Lethal Injections.

    BTW -- Speaking of Life....
    I'm thankful you aaren't able to my mother or my wife and their doctors what they could or could not do,
    let alone be in the hospital as our Family prayed and then asked life-support be pulled on my 29 year old brother.

    Brigham Young once said the Utah State motto is: "Mind Your Own Business". follow the Prophet.]

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 8:57 a.m.

    How many times have you seen liberal folks post things like "Fixing pollution is a MORAL issue", "removing the amendment on same-sex marriage is a MORAL issue", "Minimum wage is a MORAL issue", "addressing poverty is a MORAL issue", "ending war is a a MORAL issue", "increasing taxes on the rich is a MORAL issue", etc, etc, etc... Seems everything they want is a "MORAL issue". But then if a Conservative brings up their Christian religious morals in the public square... they flip out.

    Seems only THEIR "moral issues" belong in the public square.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 8:57 a.m.

    Freedom is not free. Freedom for one comes only from the loss of freedom of another.

    If churches and organized religions are give more freedom, the religious freedom of individuals is going to be less.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Feb. 27, 2014 8:56 a.m.

    Point to Mr. Ehat; "I could have added that the institution of marriage does not exist to ensure dignity for any person or relationship. It's central, core goals are much more profound: to make sure as best as possible that each child have both a father and a mother, "

    That is absolutely not true. Marriage has, and has always had many purposes. For most of history it's primary purpose was either economic or political. In modern times it's purpose is to commit two people together for emotional purposes. Those emotions may or may not include children.

    That's why the rest of your sophistry is meaningless because to deny same sex marriage is simply to deny two people the right to enter into a legal commitment to one another.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 8:48 a.m.

    A church is a business, it has a product to sell and like other business operations, it will use every opportunity to advertise its product and every competitive advantage it can get from government.

    Business exists to serve the public. The product of a church and its religious dogma is hope and comfort against the greatest fear that exists in all life. The fear of death. Because the fear of death is so universal, appealing to both rich and poor, strong and weak, churches have been able to garner special privileges and status even though their product is mostly imaginary.

    The track record for churches and religion in control of government is bad. More people have been enslaved, killed, murdered and generally oppressed by forces under religious banners than for any other reason. If we are to live peacefully within a nation of many religions, religious organizations must not be allowed to control government. Either directly or indirectly through economic means.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 8:34 a.m.

    The argument from Obama and those who agree with him is that the State has the right to force everyone to provide contraception; that the State has the right to prohibit life; that the State has the right to destroy life in the womb. Their core argument is that no one has the right to life!

    Is there anything more fundamental to our happiness than life itself? When the government tells us that it can force us to pay for contraceptions, that government has lost its nobility. It has become a pawn of the adversary to destroy the body so that the Sons and Daughters of God cannot come to earth and enjoy the experience of mortality.

    Those who cloak this as discrimination are absolutely correct. The Government is discriminating against those of us who believe in God. They are discriminating against those who believe that God is the Father of our Spirits. They are discriminating against those who believe that the 1st Amendment prohibits government from interfering with the practice of religion.

    When death and destruction are the goal, nothing else matters to government.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 8:31 a.m.

    The problem is, religion isn't content to exist in the public square. By definition, it wants to impose itself in the public square, and upon those in that square. It does so hypocritically, too, because when we say religion around here by no means do we mean all religions. The problem is, given the plethora of religions out there, and some of the crazy stuff they do, it's hard to say any of them have much basis in or claim to reality of any kind. And that's what we need in the square, a focus on what's real, provable, important (not self important) and not on fabrications. Otherwise, you'd better be prepared to allow the satanists to build their monument.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 8:27 a.m.

    What if a photographer was asked to take pictures of an interracial marriage. what about it? Yes they should be able to make that choice. It is a personal service choice. We have the case of a California resturant owned by a gay proprietor, that this week put up pictures of people they will not serve because of the owners beliefs about those people. In the past he denied service to any hetro brides having bachelorette parties at his business based on sexual preference. Where is the LGBT out cry about unconstitutional discrimination. There is none, nor should there be against individuals being required or forced to serve peoples actions they feel are immoral. By standards promoted here a Jewish photographer would be required to take group pictures of a neo-nazie group. A black baker would be required to bake a birthday cake for a KKK gathering and include discriminatory language on the cake requested by the offensive group.

    What is being promoted is not anti-discrimination, but forced acceptance of actions you disagree with.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 8:24 a.m.

    There is no such thing as an absolute right in our society. Our social contract with each in forming a government limits, to some extent, every right.

    We have an inalienable right to life; but under some circumstances, we have determined that right can be forfeited and administer a death penalty.

    We have a right to religion, and to practice it as we see fit; but we cannot infringe upon other's rights. I cannot claim my neighbor's property to be a sacred site and force him to forfeit his claim on his home. I cannot cause harm to another in the name of free exercise of religion.

    Religious expression can only be protected, if all forms, to include the decision not to participate, are included. If my religion preaches against the consumption of alcohol, and my neighbor's includes alcohol in its rituals neither can expect the force of law to enforce what they deem to be acceptable.

    We are still free to practice our religion, according to our conscience, as long as no to society, or another individual, can be shown in a court of law.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 8:15 a.m.

    Define "Religion".

    You should not be imposing your religious beliefs on anybody else in the public square, but you should still live your religious beliefs (even in the public square).

    ===

    IMO... Environmentalism is "Religion" for some people. It is their "religious belief".

    So... you should not be imposing your Environmentalism beliefs upon others in the public square... legislating that everybody adopt YOUR level of radicalism on Environmentalism, etc.

    The radical-left has no problem pushing and legislating that everybody adopt THEIR moral standards (Environmentalism, atheism, redefining marriage, and many other things the left pushes down our throats). Why not legislate other standards of Morality?? (I'm being felicitous of course)

    ===

    Obama Worship is elevated to the level of "Religion" with some people. Should we prohibit any mention of Obama and their constant Obama worship from the public square?

    ===

    LGBT community is trying to legislate THEIR version of "Morality" into law. Should that be banned?

    ===

    Atheism is "Religion" to some.

    ===

    It's not just Christian "Religion" that belongs in our life, but not in legislation.
    The Left brings their morals to the public square and tries to legislate them all the time.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 8:12 a.m.

    Banishing religious freedom of speech from the public square. Regardless of the issue, that is what the secular left in America really wants. They want the religious people to go into a closet like the homosexuals once were. Or at most keep it in a church. But the only religion I know of that does not want its people to take part in public debate and exercise power in politics is the Jehovah Witnesses. Otherwise, all other citizens, religious or secular have the same standing to put forth views. Dangerous in a democracy to forget that. If anyone believes the United States of America is somehow immune to tyranny, you are very naive. Want to know when that tyranny has arrived? The first sign will be when there is no opposition debate to be heard. Many of you liberals see yourselves as being very tolerant. Are you really? From what I see in the news and read here, it doesn't seem like it.

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    Feb. 27, 2014 8:10 a.m.

    "...secularists insist that religious beliefs and viewpoints be made private."

    No, they insist that "because God said so" isn't a valid reason to restrict the personal choices of others. There's a big difference.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 7:42 a.m.

    People of religious faith often cannot see how freedom of religion in secular affairs can easily become anti-freedom for others (which is understandable).

    Here's an example that might help religionists see how freedom of religion can easily turn into anti-freedom for others:

    In some muslim sects, those who do not ascribe to the belief of Mohammed as the last prophet, and Allah as the one and only god, are viewed as "Infidels". As we saw 12 and half years ago, in some interpretations of Islam, it is desirable to destroy Infidels as a means to one's own salvation.

    Is it an expression of religious freedom for extreme groups to begin preparing for what they see as an ultimate war of good vs evil by privately tracking information on others?

    Would you rather see federal judges deciding that compilations of lists of "infidels" is a protected expression of religious freedom, or have them striking down bans on same sex marriage?

    This is an extreme illustration for example, but at what point does freedom of religion in the public square begin to seriously erode the freedom and rights of others?

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    Feb. 27, 2014 7:21 a.m.

    At some point exercising one constitutional right will start to infringe on someones else's rights. We abridge free speech by banning someone shouting "fire" in a crowded theater, and we modify someone's "right" to smoke when others are subjected to their second had smoke.

    These court cases are more nuanced than the editorial writer recognizes. We have every right to restrict free expression of religion when it starts to infringe on other people's rights to marry, gain access to healthcare, and to seek employment.

    There is a big difference between one's right to practice religion and their "right" to impose their religious beliefs on others!

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 27, 2014 7:16 a.m.

    The government's prohibition to legislate religion is the first part of the 1st Amendment. It was the first thought on the minds of our forefathers when they put absolute guarantees in the Constitution, fearing that corrupt politicians would turn and twist the limits placed on them by the people until some would think that rights come from government and not from God.

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    It is self-evident that God, not government gave us freedom. Government's purpose is to protect those rights.

    There is nothing more fundamental in life than the right to NOT restrict conception. God is our Father. We are His children who have the sacred duty to never restrict His children from being born. If we engage in sex, we are inviting children into our lives. The religious doctrine of being a spirit son or daughter of God is fundamental.

    It is government's duty to protect life and to promote life, not to prohibit it or to abort it.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 7:09 a.m.

    The problem with this bill is how can it be right or legal to discriminate against one group and not another. Repealing the civil rights act would have to be repealed because if you should have a right to discriminate against one group you should have the right to discriminate against anybody.

    What if a photographer was asked to take pictures of an interracial marriage. Should this person be able to refuse because it is against their religion.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    Feb. 27, 2014 7:07 a.m.

    That First Amendment, that first entry of the Bill of Rights, begins with the "Establishment Clause." Here is the text of it:

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" (This includes State and Local government, btw.)

    As you see, there are two parts necessary to the establishment of Freedom of Religion. The second part is that government cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion. In order to make this possible, however, the first part prohibits the government from implementing religion in its laws. This is necessary. Failure to do so would be coercive and restrictive of the free exercise of other religions.

    There can be no Freedom of Religion if the government supports one over another. In fact, there can be no Freedom of Conscience if the government endorses any religion at all. (For an example of early American theocratic experiment, see "Boston Martyrs.")

    Matters of conscience and spiritual practice are matters for individuals, and for their churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, meetings, longhouses or other congregations. It is not a matter for the public square.

  • Stephen Daedalus Arvada, CO
    Feb. 27, 2014 6:53 a.m.

    From the editorial: "But some of the controversy [in Arizona] is inspired by the fear that individuals and business owners will be required to respect a conception of the good with which they disagree. 'The prototypical scenario [the Arizona law] is meant to prevent is the case of the New Mexico wedding photographer who was fined for declining to work a same-sex commitment ceremony.'"

    This mischaracterizes the issues discussed. New Mexico has a statute that bars discrimination in public accommodations against certain protected classes -- photographers offering services to the public are one such business, and LGBT are one such class. Arizona has its own public accommodation statutes, but LGBT, unsurprisingly, are not included in the protected classes (race, age, gender) In other words, an AZ court simply could not come to the same conclusion that the NM court did (upholding fines imposed on photog by NM Human Rights Bureau).

    The now-vetoed AZ bill created a loophole under the guise of "religious freedom" that effectively eliminated AZ's existing anti-discrimination laws (protecting race, age, gender, religion). Arizona's efforts actually seem to debase religion: state actors using "religion" as a profane weapon to achieve secular political objectives.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 6:46 a.m.

    States do not have the right to violate the Constitutional right to equal protection of citizens of the USA. Religion does not give you the right to discriminate against others in the public square.

    Jesus said love thy neighbor, he never turned anyone away.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 27, 2014 6:31 a.m.

    "But our nation is ill-served when federal judges impose a definition of marriage — one that is not sanctioned by the Constitution — on states like Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia and Texas."

    And what "definition of marriage" IS sanctioned by the Constitution?

    Can someone point me to the section of the US Constitution that defines marriage?

    I have long thought that the government should provide a legal framework for a contract between two people. How about we call it a "Union License" since people get all worked up about the term "marriage"

    Then churches can choose to, or not choose to "marry" people.

    NO church should ever be required to "marry" people, or be prohibited from it either.

    So, while your church may not marry a homosexual couple, another church is free to. Why does a predominant religion get to define "marriage" for everyone?

    How does that infringe on anyone?

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Feb. 27, 2014 6:26 a.m.

    I don't recall the DN editors supporting the religous rights of Muslims seeking to build an Islamic Cultural Center in New York,

    or

    The Satanic Temple religion trying to erect a 7 foot statue of a Satanic Baphomet, a goat-headed figure with horns, wings and a long beard that's often used as a symbol of the occult.

    In the rendering, Satan is sitting in a pentagram-adorned throne with smiling children next to him.

    In America -- we are to be equal under the Law.

    If you expect public access for your religious views,
    you MUST allow that same "equal" access to those with different views.

    Personally -- I'm good with it,
    so long as we are all treated fairly and equal.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 5:34 a.m.

    Neither religion nor religious expression nor free exercise of religion has been banned from the public square. The only thing being contested is the right to impose religion on the public, contrary to the provisions of the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

  • Stephen Kent Ehat Lindon, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 5:20 a.m.

    PART 2 OF 2:

    "But neither was the institution of marriage created nor does it exist to provide respect, to confer honor, or to provide recognition to anyone who enters into a marriage. The institution of marriage was neither designed nor intended by society to eliminate unjust discrimination, to combat hatred, or to remedy the results of persecution. While it is proper to argue that gays and lesbians, who indeed are deserving of respect and equal treatment in our civil laws, should enjoy all of the individual rights which the Constitution and the laws exist to protect, that is not sufficient reason to alter the institution of marriage."

    I could have added that the institution of marriage does not exist to ensure dignity for any person or relationship. It's central, core goals are much more profound: to make sure as best as possible that each child have both a father and a mother, something that only a man-woman marriage can supply.

    I might have spoken differently had the state forced me to advocate a different position on behalf of someone who demanded I do so.

  • Stephen Kent Ehat Lindon, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 5:19 a.m.

    PART 1 OF 2:

    I've been waiting for someone who wants same-sex marriage to be the law everywhere to come to me and request that I write an appellate brief for them, supporting their view. Shouldn't I be required to do so? Just the day before yesterday I filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Tenth Circuit in the appeal from the decision of the federal district court in Oklahoma striking down that state's law defining marriage as a one-man, one-woman institution. I wrote:

    "The injustice of the miscegenation statutes rejected by Loving [v. Virginia] is not at all the same type of injustice gay and lesbian couples face today. What gays and lesbians face today are lack of respect, lack of honor, and lack of recognition. They face discrimination against them for their lifestyle, they face hatred, they face unjust persecution, and whatever other forms of unfair treatment are unjustly foisted upon them. These should all be (and are being) rightly remedied.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Feb. 27, 2014 2:39 a.m.

    "In all of these controversies, those motivated by religious convictions are being pressured to leave the public square — to put their religious convictions out of sight, sequestered from public debate about vital moral issues."

    No - in all of these controversies, individuals are being told they cannot use their religious beliefs to deny rights and freedom to others.

    You are free to practice your religion, you are free to discuss your religion, you are free to try to convert others to your religion - you have never been free to use your religion to harm others or force them to live according to your religious dictates. That is what the First Amendment protects.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 1:34 a.m.

    Would it be oppression of the religious to get rid of Sharia law in a primarily Islamic nation?

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 1:26 a.m.

    "The largest mystery is why so many people are falling prey to the siren song of the secularists."

    Mystery? What mystery? There's no mystery. The secularists make a far better, a far more convincing argument.

    For instance, look at this muddled mess of an editorial. Do you really think you are going to convince anybody except the true believers?

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 12:22 a.m.

    As you no doubt know, Governor Brewer vetoed the Arizona measure. Had she signed that measure here is my understanding of what would have ensued (absent a court challenge):

    If a person declared openly or to himself that any of the following violated his religion he could:

    deny a motel room to anyone.
    not hire anyone.
    not sell something to anyone.
    not provide a service to anyone.
    not medically treat anyone.
    not sell a prescription to anyone.
    not provide insurance to anyone.
    as a public employee not issue a driver's license to anyone.
    as a police officer or fireman not render aid to anyone.
    and do all of the above within the law simply by asserting religious freedom.

    Do I apprehend this correctly? I may not fully understand the implications of the measure. If I don't please correct me.