Comments about ‘At UVU, Elder Oaks sees hope despite 'alarming' religious liberty trends’

Return to article »

Published: Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:00 p.m. MDT

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Steve C. Warren

@Owen An excellent comment. I couldn't agree more.

The trends for religious liberty do indeed remain positive. For example, I haven't heard of a single community in the United States where the voters have prohibited churches from meeting on Sunday. On the other hand, voters in Highland, Utah, recently prohibited businesses from opening on Sunday.

Owasso, OK


"Were you equally "concerned" about the religious freedom of the LGBT people and their churches that were infringed upon by Prop-8 preventing them from practicing their religious beliefs that SSM is not bad? No? Hypocrites were rejected by Jesus you know."

Prop-8 was all about preventing the destruction of values which have existed for centuries and which allow parents to raise children in a wholesome environment rather than confuse them on their gender. Children can only be born through a legitimate marriage relationship - no matter what you think the lifestyle you espouse cannot produce life - worlds without end...

LDS Revelations
Sandy, UT

I think Elder Oaks' claims about the abuse of religion at the hands of secular society ignore the years of ill treatment of non-believers where religious majorities were able to. I'm not just referring to the actions of individuals either. In Utah beginning with LDS trade boycotts with Gentiles there has been a chosen people mentality perpetuated by official policy and teaching that still remains today. Non-religious are finally just speaking up. Oaks comments suggest that religion is the victim here when really this is just a shift towards secularism, towards balance and away from preferential treatment of religion.

Elder Hugh B. Brown famously said:
"We should, of course, respect the opinions of others, but we should also be unafraid to dissent -- if we are informed. Thoughts and expressions compete in the marketplace of thought, and in that competition truth emerges triumphant. Only error fears freedom of expression."

I think this quote applies here.

Salt Lake City, UT

In our free exchange of ideas, if one in any way attacks the ESSENCE of another, the first can expect a vigorous response. And even if the attack proceeds from religious conviction, vigorous response is to be expected. What things define the essence of a human being? I would list race, gender, and gender-orientation because these are things we cannot change. In the SSM debate those advocating for same sometimes feel assaulted because of their gender-orientation, sometimes with reason. So in our exchanges care must be exercised so as to not attack the essence of people, that is, who they are.

Salt Lake City, UT

Just because some individual or group disagrees with you, even if they disagree in an uncivil manner, doesn't mean censorship exists. It's just public square free speech. That can't, by definition, constitute unconstitutional action because it doesn't involve the government. It's just people and groups talking and disagreeing with each other.

People need to get a thicker skin. We should encourage civility and courtesy and sensitivity in our discussions about political, cultural, and religious matters. But we should also recognize that the deep emotional connection of people with these things will cause them, perhaps inadvertently, to be uncivil at times and under some situations. So be it. It's the rough and tumble of our democracy. If speech arises to the level of some other criminal act (battery, vandalism, theft, etc), the government can take action to restrict it. But short of that, it is Constitutionally protected.

Some will embrace the jostling and debate in the public arena. Many won't. But if you don't want to embrace it, at least reconcile yourself to the reality of it and stop whining. This applies to people and groups on all sides of any given debate.

Hayden, ID

The non-religious scoff at the idea of losses of religious freedom in America. How would they know since they feel no effect? Liberals love to tout the need for separation of church and their version of government but are very eager to force their government into other people's religions (Islam excepted of course).

Virginia Beach, VA

Hey Mountanman -

What "religious freedoms" have you lost?

The freedom to tell other people what to do?

No, you DON'T have that freedom.

Get used to it.

Hayden, ID

The non-religious scoff at the idea of losses of religious freedom in America. How would they know since they feel no effect? Liberals love to tout the need for separation of church and their version of government but are very eager to force their government into other people's religions (Islam excepted of course).

Provo, UT

@Mountanman -- I'm as religious as you are probably, but I don't feel any loss of religious freedom. I can worship at church, I can go to the temple, I can tell my friends about my religion, my son has gone on a mission, I can refuse to shop on Sunday, I can pay my tithing, I can close my business on Sunday, I can listen to church music and watch the BYU channel, etc. etc. I may be losing the "right" to tell others that THEY have to, by law, live my religion. Is that really a loss of MY liberty? I am still free and have never been legally prohibited from living any aspect of my religion. I've had some people think I'm crazy for being LDS and some people criticize me for it, but so what? It hasn't stopped me and honestly, the criticisms have been few and far between, most occurring when I was college age and people couldn't understand why I didn't drink. But so what? I've probably been critical of someone else from time to time myself.

Salt Lake City, UT


["In this circumstance of contending religious rights and civil rights, all parties need to learn to live together in a community of goodwill, patience and understanding."

I hope our gay friends in the community will demonstrate goodwill, patience and understanding toward the straight point of view]

Half of straight Americans including myself support same-sex marriage. If you really cared about living together in a community of goodwill you'd support same-sex marriage in civil law while leaving churches to determine for themselves what sorts of marriages they want to have in their churches and temples.

"However, if gay citizens continue to call religious/straight folks "bigots", "inhuman", "selfish", "haters""

I think you all would be called bigots or haters less often if you all stopped repeatedly calling gay people sinners and suggesting that children need to be prevented from having them as parents.

Roanoke, VA

@GaryO ... re "Hey Mountanman - What "religious freedoms" have you lost?"

The right to express a religious-based opinion without being met with "bigot" or "racist" or "hater" or allegations of wanting to establish a theocracy, re-institute human slavery (based on race: human slavery is alive and well in the secular West). Minor rights to most, perhaps, but important to the religious.

@Mountanman - Press on, sir.

USS Enterprise, UT

The liberals here are funny because they only prove the point that Elder Oaks was making. They don't like what he has to say and are happy to see religion put away into a closet.

To "GaryO" my religion believes in Polygamy and in obeying the law. The government is infringing on my religion's belief in polygamy by outlawing the practice of polygamy. There are other religions that believe in the use of drugs as a means of communing with their Gods. They are prevented from legally using those drugs. What about Satanists that believe in human sacrifice, isn't their belief being infringed on by laws against killing people? The government is active in their push to suppress religious beliefs they don't agree with.

Virginia Beach, VA

What we have in this speech is a guy whining about others who object to his beliefs.

He doesn't think they have a right to disagree, or organize, or petition.

Basically he's objecting to their right to free speech, while simultaneously telling us he supports free speech.

In fact, he's hinting that muzzling these people would be a good way of protecting the first amendment.

I'm guessing his political affiliation is "Conservative."


ThinksIThink: "I just don't think it is realistic to expect people to sit quietly being called sinners - sometimes with no evidence to support the assertion of sin."

Sorry, but have you studies LDS Doctine? Did you listen to the last (or any) General Conferences? Have you read the Provlamation on the Family? If so, it would be abundantly clear that LDS Doctrine only supports marriage between one man and one woman. That family, not the individual, is the basic unit of society in Heaven. There is absolutely no doubt as to why the LDS Church supports traditional marriage from a doctrinal standpoint.

Acting out homosexually, or any other violation of the Law of Chastity, is sin. Sorry, there just is no other way to put it...

Pleasant Grove, UT

"Hey Mountanman - What "religious freedoms" have you lost?"

"The right to express a religious-based opinion without being met with "bigot" or "racist" or "hater" or allegations of wanting to establish a theocracy, re-institute human slavery (based on race: human slavery is alive and well in the secular West). Minor rights to most, perhaps, but important to the religious."

There is no such thing as a right to express an opinion without being criticized for it or having it rebutted. The only way you could have that "right" would be if the right to free speech were severely limited by law, and that would in itself be a major loss of freedom. You're free to express any beliefs you hold dear, and the rest of us are free to call them bigoted, hateful or racist if they appear to be so to us. It's how freedom of speech works.

Saint George, UT

As a teacher, I see the face of irresponsibility of society in every way, including kids that don't understand respect, civility, law, delayed gratification, purpose, etc. all values that stem from Judeo-Christian roots. Without them, social problems will not only continue, but get worse. You can't have a stable, civil society based on athiestic thought. Athiests owe their existence on the tolerance, effort, and values of religion. They are the equivalent of welfare frauds, living off the system built by those of faith.

Cedar Hills, UT

"One reason for optimism is that the threats to religious speech and religious freedom have become so notorious that our citizens are beginning to become concerned," he said.

Well yes we in the LDS church and those in the Catholic and other Christian churches have been REALLY concerned for some time now but here is the problem - Barack Obama and his Marxist - atheist infrastructure are leading this anti-christian crusade so unless we are able to drain the political swamp in the near future and re-fill it with traditional Americans who are respectful of the US constitution and bill of rights we will continue to see religious liberty diminish and censorship increase. Anyone paying even casual attention for the past 6 years has noticed a HUGE jump in anti-Christian bias in America. Recall Barack started off his reign by refusing to speak at a university unless they removed ALL Christian symbols. He followed that up with his infamous "we are not a Christian nation" comment. Continuing we see Little Sisters of the Poor being FORCED to abandon their moral beliefs with abortion mandates in Obamacare and then all the public school anti-Chritian rulings......

Roanoke, VA

@Eliyahu ... without civility, rights are doomed. Think on that.

And the "let me do what I want or I'm going to call you ugly names and make unfounded accusations" approach is wearing thin. It won't last much longer.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

What about religions who sanction SSM?
Who's violating who's religious rights now?

RedShirt tells us he's completely happy and content with Muslims implimenting Sharia Law in America.

and RedWings wants to make all "sins" illegal.


Tell me again,
Why are we fighting AlQueda?

And who's not allowing an Islamic center in New York?

And as for Religous Freedoms being lost --

I would have thought Elder Oaks knew our Mormon History and their loses of Legal rights better than this.

We are not anywhere NEAR than level of repression,
but God works with karma,
and what goes around, ultimately comes around.

USS Enterprise, UT

To "Open Minded Mormon" wow, you really jumped off the deep end. The point I was making is that we don't truely have religious freedom in the US. There are many instances where government prohibits some practices within a religion.

Al Qaeda is a terrorist organization. We are not fighting them because of religion.

I question your statements greatly. First, by questioning Elder Oaks as a leader of the church you claim membership in, and second questioning a former Utah Supreme Court justice on what they see happening in the US courts. I would think that he has a better understanding of law than you do.

Actually God does not work with Karma. Karma is a belief in Buddhism and Hinduism. God works on laws and letting you reap the consequences of your own actions.

One of a Few
Layton, UT

Bless Brother Oaks but this address is no more legal lecture than are my comments. I hope he sees fit to reassign whomever is developing his talking points. The list of cherished customs and religious practices that have been abandoned by the LDS church is extensive, e.g.discrimination against blacks with any African decent, interracial marriage, polygamy, the ideal that women working and going on missions is incompatible with being a homemaker, woolen swimsuits, caffeinated drinks on the BYU campus, creationism to the extent it is not the basis for BYU biology courses, support for the Democratic Party, anything on which the church has recently posted a clarification on its website, speaking in tongues at least in the early LDS tradition, to name some. With few exceptions, public animosity played a factor in diminishing these cherished practices. Regardless, the church has grown, often because of, sometimes in spite of. I used to think I was the only one who hated change, turns out we all do. Irregardless, change happens and should be subject to dialogue. Whether it's the LDS church or liberals complaining about societal censorship, it's still just a talking point and certainly not legal analysis.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments