Comments about ‘In our opinion: Religious freedom requires each of us to accord equal dignity for all’

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Published: Sunday, July 20 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

"As a matter of sincerely held religious conscience, Hobby Lobby’s owners objected to paying for a handful of administratively mandated contraceptives that prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. "

Such drugs are often used after rape to flush out a women's reproductive track. Would you object to the use of such drugs under that circumstance? Do the Greens? Ask them.

Women because they often have fertilized eggs within their bodies (men don't of course) take a beating globally. Many women are stuck in abusive relationships in which sex is forced on them, and in turn they are forced to give birth. Don't think such happens? Just talk to people at the women's shelters.

Sometimes the drugs which the Greens object to are the best ones for female patients. Physicians should help women make that choice, not the Greens nor you.

Lastly, for the Greens this is just the beginning. They fund a wide range of initiatives to insert Christian fundamentalism in American law. That's religious freedom to you?

It's entirely possible LGBT will be denied employment because such is against somebody's religion.

Eugene, OR

After inserting yourselves into a woman's most private of choices and constantly portraying gay people as sinners or less than (Notice how some on these boards constantly use the phrase "same-sex attraction" so it sounds like a disorder?), isn't it a bit disingenuous to complain about not being afforded "equal dignity"?

Give and maybe ye shall receive...

E Sam
Provo, UT

That's fine, let's all be nicer, great. Meanwhile, we can't us a religious liberty argument to deny gay people fundamental human rights. Right?

Denver, CO

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is still a respected bipartisan bill. The Supreme Court's error - for the second time - is in granting rights to corporations normally reserved for 'persons.' In this regard, the difference between two recent Supreme Court rulings is the size of the corporation, no limit for Citizens United and political campaign contributions, and limited moral intervention in closely held Hobby Lobby. Speech rights, where corporate money can influence elections, is a new concept and limited rights to make decisions of conscience for 'closely held' corporations is another new constitutional concept. Both are wide-open invitations to abuse and the boomerang potential far outweighs any benefit to Christian values. As for equality and religious freedom, the flip answer applies, if you don't like gay marriage, don't get gay married. Additionally, it is not right to compare, "many who believe in God" defined by "religious identity," and for others, "sexual identity." Sexual orientation is not synonymous with "sexual identity" - identity implies choice, orientation is completely unchangeable. The "religious freedom" to deny equal marriage rights is not "freedom" to those denied those rights.

Danville, IN

This was a very well thought out article. However I am certain the comments section will start to fill with comments about how religious belief is equivalent to base prejudice.

We are in need of civil dialogue on ALL the issues facing our society and country. It is impossible to do it when only one group is willing to be civil.

seattle, WA

So, how do we balance the dignity of gays and lesbians who wish to marry and raise their children in dignity, with those who claim such practice violates their religious sensibilities? Conversely it could be argued as well.

Does this not get us into the questions of whose religious views hold more validity? And the second question would be this: Does allowing a practice (or not allowing one in the reverse) truly violate a religious sensibility? Which is the greater "evil"?

Democracy is a series of choices. Religion informs some of those, and at times it must be ignored. When we circumscribe choices through our religious lens, we begin the path to theocracy. I wish those who want laws based on their religious traditions would just have the honesty to bluntly advocate this rather than retreat to arguments based on fear and prejudice.

Silver Spring, MD

With respect, I think you misstate the "conflict between religious liberty and gay rights".

I am gay. I am also a person of faith. I see no conflict. I believe deeply that God loves me, understands my heart, and accepts me as I am-- a gay man. He understands and smiles when He learns that my relationship has been blessed by our congregation and protected by civil law in my home state in case of illness or death or other dire circumstances.

The "conflict" you speak of is one inherent in a society with many religious beliefs. There are conflicts now and always will be. In a society with multiple points of view, no one view can prevent the other from enjoying rights under the law.

Gay people didn't create that inherent conflict. "Sunday blue laws" meant that Jewish observers of the Sabbath were in conflict with Christian observers of the Lord's Day. The solution wasn't to force Jewish shopkeepers to close on Sunday and to work on Saturday. It was to end Sunday blue laws.

No LDS temple should be obliged to marry a same-sex couple. But neither should my congregation be prohibited.

There You Go Again
Saint George, UT

I read the entire piece.

Good for me.

What is the veiled, or not so veiled point of this editorial?



The piece meanders through both concepts.

Then, it cuts to the chase.

Zero-sum conflict resolution.

As long as one side refers to the other as the enemy and the other side is coined as bigots...

Dignity reducing, winner take all, zero-sum resolution will continue to win the day.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Religious freedom is a oxymoron. Religion is the most controlling, most despotic, and opposite to freedom that you can find. That is, if you consider freedom to be an individual thing that enables a person to do those things of his own choosing and not the edicts of someone else.

Nature has imbued people with many edicts regards survival, eating, drinking, sex and a whole lot more. The problem is that when people want to live together and benefit from the society, many of these natural persuasions have to be controlled. That control comes from governments, starting with our parents and extending to the hundreds of governments that we voluntarily submit to in the hope of making life good. Religion is one of those governments.

The trick is to only give up the freedoms we have to.

Provo, UT

It isn't coincidental that as Americans participate less and less in religion their persecution of the religious increases. As America's spirituality declines basic rights to religious freedom will be challenged. We are now a nation that professes a belief in God but we no longer believe Him and the laws he has established.

Provo, UT

In the case of Hobby Lobby the government knows full well that no woman will be denied contraception if her employer does not cover it. The government can pay for it if it cares that much about women. Democrats hope to use this as a women's rights issue in the Fall elections. Hopefully, women will see through the deceit.

Karen R.
Houston, TX

This editorial admits what was heretofore denied: That the HL case will be used in an attempt to exempt oneself from public accommodation laws.

BTW, the Douglas Laycock paper states unambiguously that SSM bans are unconstitutional, that marriage is a fundamental right, and that none of the arguments against SSM hold water.

Also - and please correct me if I'm wrong, LGBTs - I don't believe that it's LGBTs that are seeking to be defined by their sexual orientation. I think this is the little box we've placed them in, but what they are seeking is to be viewed and treated as equal PEOPLE.

And finally, I find it typically contradictory (and presumptuous) of the religious to speak loftily of "freedom" and then tell me that I have an "obligation" to seek religious truth whether or not I agree with this. Classic!

Again, the gravest threat to religious freedom is the religious, thus our founders' decision to write religious freedom into the Constitution. They as well as anyone knew how invoking the authority of a god can lead humans to assault the dignity of others when they would otherwise not do so.

Laura Bilington
Maple Valley, WA

"Many who believe in God define themselves, in large part, through a religious identity. For others, sexual identity has become a defining characteristic of how they see themselves."

Not true. Straight people in Utah see being straight as normal, as much as they see being right handed as normal, as much as they see being Mormon as normal. If you asked the average person on the streets of, say, Lehi, to "define" themselves, they would probably list their sex, then gender, then age. They might mention religion, but only after these first three. I doubt they would mention race or sexual orientation unless asked--to them, it would be a given.

If you doubt this, tell me quick. What's the first thing that comes to mind when describing Mia Love? Hint: it isn't that she's straight.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

This nation was not founded by people fleeing Europe because it was "godless". This nation was founded by people fleeing Europe because it was dominated by state churches that forced everyone to live by the state religion. This seems to be quite similar to what you are trying to accomplish here.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

Oh brother,
talk about hyperbole....

The Pilgrims did not "found" this Nation.
True, they left England for Religious Freedom,
but they remained very loyal English citizens
as a British Colony for over 160 years.

This "Nation" was not founded in 1776 when we broke away from England.

Now, if you'll excuse me,
I'm off to change my clothes,
Go to Church,
say my prayers,
read my scriptures,
FREELY worship, who, where, or what I may.
allow others to do the same.

Berkeley reader
Berkeley , CA

"The respectful coexistence each identity seeks will come through recognizing the dignity intrinsic to all men and women.

The word “dignity” captures the desire all have to live in an environment free from discrimination, intimidation or harassment."

--This statement is a perfect justification for recognizing the rights and dignity of gay families. But Utah REFUSES to allow equal rights and dignity to its LGBT citizens, but demands it for its religious adherents. Utah needs to walk the walk, and not just talk the talk. What's the deal?

Mister J
Salt Lake City, UT

re: Open Minded Mormon

[1st, The Pilgrims did not "found" this Nation. True, they left England for Religious Freedom, but they remained very loyal English citizens as a British Colony for over 160 years.]

Thank you. That 2nd paragraph made me laugh. Initially, the Puritans/Pilgrims went to Holland and then returned to England. Then, they came to America.

They couldn't or wouldn't try to get along w/ anyone. It had to be their way or the highway (so to speak)... sound familiar?

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Many of us know that we are the spirit children of Deity. Many of us know that we were given mortal bodies so that we could prove to ourselves that we would choose to live lives that resembled, as closely as possible, the lives being lived by our parents in Heaven. Christ taught us to pray that we would do on earth as it is being done in Heaven. It should be no surprise to anyone that, because there is opposition in all things, that Christ's "opposite" would tell those who would listen that there is no God, that Heaven does not exist, that our physical bodies were meant for personal gratification and that the body controls what we do. It should be no surprise that many find it much more pleasing to listen to Christ's "opposite", rather than learning to control their physical appetites.

Religion attempts to remind us that we covenanted with God to follow His teaching when He gave us the gift of mortal life. It is no surprise that opposition to those covenants are so popular.

Heber City, UT

" endowed with reason and free will and ... that all men should be at once impelled by nature and also bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth.

What a mass of confusion. Never a better example of the "philosophies of men."
What we are endowed with is rights. Dignity is impossible with recognizing that all have equal access to those rights.
And once again, Roland is accurate. The original settlers came here to escape the tyranny of government protecting one form of worship. In 55 years, no one has ever stopped me, including today, from freely exercising my religion. That may not be the case if Hobby Lobby decides that hiring Mormons offends their religious sensibilities.

American Fork, UT

It appears that there is a problem in the basic premise in that religious freedom cannot extend and afford dignity to all. Religion, if left free, will by definition attempt to remove dignity of and from some people.

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