Comments about ‘My view: Public policy cannot create cultural unity, religious leaders are key’

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Published: Sunday, May 4 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

"To resolve the intensifying conflict, religious leaders must have inspired courage to lead the way — “the right way” — contending for religious rights while accommodating LGBT rights. To abdicate or for any others to usurp this responsibility will result in folly for the faithful and the nation."

But what if religious leaders don't lead the way? Then Mr. Reid says there is no way to get through the conflict.

Mr Reid posits his view assuming no major changes to the status quo. Consider what might have happened to American society had the banking collapse not been handled. We might have a very different economic order now, with new ways or resolving conflict.

I don't accept Mr Reid's views regarding resolution of conflicts over LGBT in the current order, and I especially reject them over the long term as much is likely to change in the social and economics landscape.

Centerville, UT

This piece seems internally inconsistent. How does a religion adhere to traditional standards of doctrine and morality while accommodating LGBT rights? If religions are unwilling to accommodate same sex marriage (which requires state action, not mere religious acceptance) I can't see that accommodation can be reached. Is Senator Reid advocating a compromise by which religions accept same sex marriage in exchange for recognition of the rights of religious people to withhold services? If not, what is he suggesting?

Salt Lake City, UT

Reid's piece is meaningless word salad, devoid of specifics, and boils down to a bland, "religion has to try harder."

What is fascinating here is how quickly the advocates of continued discrimination against gay Americans has abandoned any claim to reason and evidence in making their arguments, and now have only a vague appeal to "religious liberty" to offer. It was only a couple of years ago that the folks opposing marriage equality were claiming that their arguments _weren't_ religiously-based.

I wouldn't think it necessary to keep having to say this, but appearantly it is: America is not a theocracy. Our laws are supposed to be made and enforced on the basis of testable evidence and reasoning that can withstand scrutiny in court. Prop 8, Amendment 3, DOMA, and similar laws are all evaporating under the sunlight of legal scrutiny. There is simply no legally valid defense for them.

Your personal convictions, however previously privileged, yet absent objective evidence and legal rigor, are not a basis for making laws.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Which "side" is right? Is there truth to either side? If one side is correct, is the other side wrong? Those basic thoughts must be debated until no further debate is needed.

God told us that marriage is between a man and a woman. God told us that ANY sex outside of marriage is wrong. God told us to multiply and replenish the earth. There, we have one side of the argument.

Some people tell us that sex, in any form, at any time with anyone is acceptable. Some people tell us that if less than 50% of "marriages" are same-sex, that no harm will come to society because the "traditional marriages" will permit the continuation of the species. Some people tell us that there are no absolutes; that there is no God; that we are to eat, drink and make merry for tomorrow we die; that there is nothing beyond life.

Clearly the sides are divided. Clearly "prophets" who speak with the authority to speak given to them from God to be His spokesmen would tell us what is best for humanity.

Religion protects us from ourselves.

Salt Lake City, UT

Reid is assuming some unity in Christian attitudes about homosexuality. Nothing could be further from the truth. Dozens of Christian sects do not condemn homosexuality and welcome gays, with no request to be celibate or repent, into their congregations. As far as biblical references go, there is one in Leviticus. One could make a long laundry list of ridiculous prohibitions in it, Deuteronomy, Exodus and Numbers. There is no reference to it by Jesus in the Gospels. Paul, who was unmarried during his ministry, and seemed to have some negative attitudes towards women in that they were not to speak in church and keep their head covered, made a reference to homosexuality in Romans. Paul also said that man can serve God better if remaining single. So we have two references in the entire Bible and that is enough to proclaim that the religion of Abraham and Christ are in complete agreement on this issue?

Aurora, CO

I believe what he may be referring to are the rights to housing and employment, and the rest of the legally recognized rights of all citizens of this country. They have the right to free speech to espouse their views, and so do I to oppose their marriage agenda. They have the right to religion, to assemble and demonstrate for their views, and so do I to oppose them. All without being labeled a "hater" or being discriminated against in employment or opinion. They have the right to keep and bear arms, as do I. They have rights against self-incrimination, speedy trial when accused, and all the rest enumerated in the Constitution. They have the right to live without fear of prosecution for crimes that aren't crimes and all the same rights that we all enjoy. What they do not have, are specific rights just for them and them alone, rights with only apply when they want them to apply. Such are not rights, they are an affront to the public order.

Ogden, UT

Reid's opinion is, as usual, impose religious standards on everyone an if they don't like it then tough potatoes." It's too bad he doesn't understand the Constitution and/or is unwilling to follow the supreme law of the land. Sad.

Centerville, UT


I don't see how granting someone the rights of citizenship but denying them marriage would qualify as an accommodation.

Kabul, Afghanistan

If the purpose of this editorial is to confuse the reader, it has succeeded beyond measure. I am totally confused as to what Reid is saying. He did a wondrous job of saying so little with so many words.

Salt Lake City, UT


Karen R.
Houston, TX

The best I can tell, he is saying:

1) Our attempt to codify our religious beliefs into law has failed.

2) This is a grave threat to our religious freedom.

With no irony intended.

Washington, DC

In this debate the rights of those who were abused should be considered. The promotion of the gay lifestyle is a direct affront to their experience, and harms their healing process by opening old wounds. Look at Harvey Milk. They made a movie out of his life, but didn't really show his many matchups with those of less than legal age. Some consideration should be given to the victims in this debate.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

As a politician and lawmaker, I have campaigned to advance the public policy position that religious rights and rights for gays and lesbians cannot coexist. I contended that if religion is to maintain its freedoms, granting new rights to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) community must be prevented. I was wrong!


Hmm, what the sudden change of heart?

Perhpas he recieved a letter from LDS Church HeadQuarters.

They have supporting Equal Housing/Employment legislation -- which the City of Salt Lake has approved -- yet, the Utah State GOP led legliastors have soundly rejected for the past 4 years.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Why don't we just have the Legislature pass a law that we all be unified... and that we all drive electric cars... and take care of our neighbor?

While we're at it... maybe a law like "Thou shalt not steal"... and "honor your father and your mother"... then we wouldn't have to worry about that anymore (because we all know everybody obeys laws if Congress or the Legislature passes them).

And a law that we no covet what our neighbor has (not even his wife, or his donkey, or his house, or his boat, or his salary)....

That should work just fine...

The Wraith
Kaysville, UT

@ Mike Richards

I'm going to avoid the discussion about how laws can't be based on what your religion says because that's been discussed ad nauseam on this site.

Instead I would like to point out how completely wrong you are about what your god has said about marriage. According to your own holy books god has clearly defined marriage as an institution that should be between man and several women. All the way back with Abraham, god made sure that his people knew polygamy was his chosen form of marriage. He also continually shows in the bible that sex outside of marriage is just fine, so long as it's with one of your concubines or a woman you took as a slave when destroying another civilization. The Book of Mormon also shows that if god chooses to he can define marriage as a polygamous and of course you have the whole early history of the Mormon church as well.

It's the very height of arrogance and ignorance for anyone who believes in the bible to claim god has ordained marriage as only between a man and a woman.

Cleveland , OH

@rhappahannock: "In this debate the rights of those who were abused should be considered."

In this country if an individual commits a crime he or she is investigated, charged, tried, and then convicted and punished appropriately.

We do not condemn an entire class or group of people due to the supposed or real crimes of individuals who may be identified as part of that group.

If Harvey Milk committed crimes that would be something he did, not something the "Gay community" should be punished for.

We can reframe your idea, to see if it makes sense, by positing that some blacks committed crimes against white people and: "The promotion of the [civil rights for African Americans] is a direct affront to their experience, and harms their healing process by opening old wounds."

See? Does not make any sense at all. And, it makes no sense when you say it about Gay men and Lesbians.

Cleveland , OH

First, the Abrahamic religions play a zero-sum game. Each claims to have the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. To compromise with any other group means they are making deals with the enemy.

Second, much of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, is defining what the group is against and what is not allowed. Those rules spell out the actions that the special chosen people will and will not do. Again, compromise means making deals with the enemy.

Third, the growth of those groups is related to their message of superiority - "we are a peculiar people" where peculiar always carries a connotation of special or superior. everyone wants to be part of the special and exclusive group, be it the cliche at school or the country club that only admits certain people or the church that has the Truth. Again, compromise means making deals with the enemy.

The article is earnest, but he seems to be saying that giving equal rights to another group will, again, offend some church people and so it should not be done.

Dammam, Saudi Arabia

"I don't see how granting someone the rights of citizenship but denying them marriage would qualify as an accommodation."
No one is being denied the right to marry. Does anyone here have any references to laws that say that someone who is homosexual cannot marry?

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I don't support Mike Richards, and LDS Liberal (aka Open Minded Mormon, LDS Tree Hugger, airnaut, etc) projection of their religion as the last word on everything on these pages. We don't all accept the same religion (or the skewed view of religion some people have). But after reading the Bible, to assume God didn't intend the relationship to be between Adam and a woman (not a man)... would require some VERY creative logic on what he intended, and why he presented Eve (a woman, not a man) to be Adam's companion.

Even if you don't believe in God... or the Bible... it seems even if you dismiss God entirely... even so... it seems NATURE created male and female (not only humans but in the animal world as well) as the union that was intended (from their physical attributes) and the only union that could result in what that union is usually intended to result in.

Even from the purely biological angle... it seems even NATURE intended for it to be a union of male-and-female (not male-and-male or female-and-female).

Monogamy is a different topic.

The Wraith
Kaysville, UT


Creative logic to see the bible has gods most important prophets as having multiple wives? That's called a reading of the bible. God gave Eve to Adam yet, but he gave a lot more to his later prophets - a LOT more. My point was simply that the so called "biblical definition" of marriage is not just one man and one woman. That fact simply can't be denied.

Secondly, yes NATURE ITSELF generally has a male and female pairing - but not always. There are literally thousands of examples of homosexual behavior in animals. Yes EVEN NATURE clearly shows that homosexuality is a normal variation of sexual behavior.

So my point still stands. You can't rely on the bible to say marriage should only be between one man and one woman because it isn't always between one man and one woman. Also you can't rely on nature because in nature there is a wide variety of sexual behavior, including homosexual pairs.

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