In theory, the Church should indeed be at the forefront of defending religious
freedom for all people, since it is the only religious group in America--prior
to 9/11 at least--that has actually faced genuine persecution, not just
discrimination, because of various beliefs and practices that were frowned upon
by the nation's Protestant majority. However I have found frequently that
this has unfortunately not always been the case and that many Latter-Day Saints
have adopted some of the bigoted attitudes towards certain other religions that
many of their neighbors share. This can largely be attributed to the right-wing
political alignment of the vast majority of American Mormons, which is largely
inconsistent with the libertarian principles that our religion actually teaches.
While we and the Religious Right may have common enemies in the form of those
who are determined to eradicate religion from the public square, we must also be
careful not to assume that the enemy of our enemy is our friend. Those with whom
we might ally today have been in the past, and would gladly be again, the chief
persecutors of the Latter-Day Saints if given the opportunity to become so.
I was glad to read what this lady said and agree absolutely. Civil marriage, for
gays and lesbians I have no problem with and they, being reasonable people, I
would not expect to be demanding a temple marriage. However, there are agent
provocateurs everywhere and at some point I will expect one or two to throw down
the gauntlet and challenge our beliefs. This goes into eternity remember and no
doubt there will be those who maintain strongly that we, do not know what
happens after Time here. Being expected to follow the law of the land and
rendering unto caesar that which is caeser's, the message that the
integrity of the Church cannot be compromised for the sake of hurt feelings must
be strongly upheld.
RanchHandExample please of what you mean regarding anything
I've said that violates the equality of ALL AMERICAN CITIZENS.What I smell from you is a huge projection that you probably apply to all
Conservatives.And there is no way me exercising my religion can
possibly violate any other persons rights. If you think so, as I said at the
beginning, example please.
@happy2bhere;Why is it that you're only worried about the
"wording in the Constitution" as it relates to "religious
freedom" but you don't care about the "wording in the
Constitution' as it relates to equality for ALL AMERICAN CITIZENS.I smell some deep hypocrisy here. Your religious freedom does not
grant you license to violate other's rights.
At any other time here in the U.S. I would have scoffed at the notion that
religious freedom was under attack. (60 years here in America) However, with
what I've seen lately, a small group of activists (recent studies shows
between 2 to 3% homosexual population) accomplish, I now do think we need to be
very vigilent. That small group, along with the strident
athiests/secularists/anti-religion crowd, have changed the laws in huge ways in
a very short time frame. The main weapon they have used is the courts, which,
if infiltrated with enough secular judges who don't care about precedent or
the wording of the Constitution, will in fact find ways to undermine religious
freedom. I'm sure glad organizations exist that will act to protect such,
but if judges won't listen, then it won't do any good. Only answer is
a couple of conservative Republican Presidents (16 years worth) to appoint a
whole lot of new judges to the courts who will defend religion rather than find
ways to attack it.
The Becket fund is a beacon of light at a time when some misguided people are
becoming ever more intolerant of religious views in the name of
"tolerance." Congrats to Becket and Smith for the fantastic Hobby Lobby
• Government regulations that require pharmacists to dispense drugs that
violate their religious convictionsI believe this case deals with the
Washington State Board of Pharmacy updating regulations about stocking and
delivering medications in 2007. The 9th circuit court opinion stated that the
rules do not prohibit pharmacists from refusing to dispense medications because
it is the duty of the pharmacy to deliver the medications. The Board provided
ways for the pharmacy to accomodate objecting pharmacists.
New to Utah: "...we know... what happens when there is one party and one
ideology with the megaphone."Judging from your name, you may not
be very familiar yet with the local political scene. If you think a liberal
POTUS and a 50/50 divided Congress and SCOTUS are bad, try living where there is
a rightwing religious supermajority in both houses of the legislature (state and
federal), the executive branch, juduciary, and the media. If there was ever a
place where squeaky wheels were needed to counteract the excesses of one party,
one ideology, control, it is here.
Hannah Smith is right on the money that people of faith need to be engaged in
the political process from the school board,city council, to elected state and
federal office holders.The squeaky wheel always gets the grease. The former
community organizer is now POTUS so we know from nearly six years of leftwing
advocacy what happens when there is one party and one ideologywith the
megaphone. They have judges legislating from the bench,the President issues
executive orders which are likely unconstitutional and their views are being
forced on everyone.
@Stormwalker Because forcing a religious organization to perform a
marriage which is completely contrary to its religious teachings is promoting
religious freedom?Talk about backwards thinking...
How anyone can claim that religious freedom is NOT being attacked is beyond
me.God bless America, or, what's left of her...
FlashbackKearns, UT"Lets see. Some of you don't believe
that the government will meddle in how churches marry people or whom they
marry.Think Edmunds/Tucker act folks. The gubment stuck their noses into
polygamy and look what happened. And this law was pointed directly at the LDS
Church. There was no compelling reason for the government to stick their noses
into polygamy. No one's rights were being violated by the practice. Now we
have the modern day equivalent. I agree with my friend Clifton"Polygamy harmed no one?Yeah, and the Prop 8 TV ads,
portraying Gays as wanting to influence little children, did not cause
adolescents to be picked on, to hate themselves, even to commit suicide, right?
Unfortunately, most believers are not truly concerned about "religious
freedom"; rather, they are concerned about preserving religious hegemony and
privilege.And that is something against which we will fight.
@RichChappell"and call her discriminating"Refusing to
provide a service to an LGBT couple that one provides to a straight couple is
discriminatory. @Mike Richards"Should a doctor be forced
to perform abortions simply because he has been granted a license to practice
medicine?"Why would anyone want a doctor untrained in abortions
performing an abortion? If you don't want to do one (which could only ever
be an issue if it were medically necessary to save a woman's life) then
don't learn how to do them. @Goldminer"2 + 2 always
equals 4 no matter what."On that line of thought, we're
just saying that 1 + 3 = 4 too. @John T"In Great Britain,
lawsuits are already in progress to do just that: force churches to perform gay
weddings regardless of their opposition to them on religious grounds. "Turns out there are downsides to having an official national church
because that's the one facing this possibility. We don't have such an
equivalent in the U.S.
Revelations 13:6-7And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and
poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their
foreheads:And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the
mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Nothing will happen to Temple Marriages in Utah if gay marriage becomes legal in
the state of Utah or anywhere else. Temple Marriage is a religious
ordinance, available only to those who are found worthy by Church authorities,
not civil government. Gay marriage would be a civil union unless some church
decides to include it in the practice of their faith. But the inclusion by one
does not mean an inclusion by all, so as long as the Church Leadership does not
declare it to be sanctioned, same sex marriage will not be taking place in any
Lets see. Some of you don't believe that the government will meddle in how
churches marry people or whom they marry.Think Edmunds/Tucker act
folks. The gubment stuck their noses into polygamy and look what happened. And
this law was pointed directly at the LDS Church. There was no compelling reason
for the government to stick their noses into polygamy. No one's rights
were being violated by the practice. Now we have the modern day equivalent.
I agree with my friend Clifton.
@Bill McGee - the Supreme Court answered that question in the majority opinion
when they said that the decision applies only to the contraceptive mandate and
can't be applied to any other question of medical care.In other
words, "We're going to defend interpretations of religious freedom that
we like and ignore the rest."
Am I now required to figure out what religion my employer is to determine what
healthcare options are going to be denied to me? Hobby Lobby is a slippery
slope. What if my employer is a Jehovah's Witness? Can they deny me access
to a life-saving (and very expensive) blood transfusion? What if they are a
Christian Scientist who believes exclusively in faith-based treatments - do they
now have the right to not provide healthcare coverage at all? The so-called
attack on religious freedom is simply a ruse to impose one's religious
beliefs on others who do not share or want them. It is a meticulous erosion of
the separation between church and state, that began with the Christian
Right's imposition of a religious litmus test for elected officials. This
movement is a very real threat to the Constitution and must be opposed.
@KelleyWSmith - let's get one thing straight right here. Romney was not
being persecuted for living a moral life. He was persecuted for being a member
of the church, yes - by conservative Christians who think Mormons aren't
true Christians. What was it that liberals had against him? The fact that he
was using his position as a member of the 1% to skew the economy, accelerate the
redistribution of wealth upward, and causing harm to real middle class families.
And then using closed door back room speeches to accuse the lower and middle
class of being entitled and irresponsible and talking about how he didn't
care about them - and then giving an insincere apology afterwards. Most
people's complaints against Romney have nothing to do with the gospel, and
quite frankly, we as the church membership would do well to distance ourselves
from Romney and his sociopolitical liabilities.
@Gildas;Ask LGBT citizens who want to be married in their churches
where the churches are willing to do so.
America has a poor record of religious freedom. Ask Roger Williams; ask the
persecuted Latter-Day Saints.
"Many in the LDS Church are concerned that there will be those of the gay
community who want to force the Church to marry them in the Temple"The only Gay people who would want a temple wedding are your sons, daughters,
neighbors and fellow members.Gay citizens are not "the commies
next door" in 1940.
KellyWSmithSparks, NV"Many members (and leaders) of the LDS
Church are concerned that such actions by gay groups might eventually lead to
trying to force the church to perform same-sex weddings in the Temple. The
author states that she does not feel that it will ever come to that, but how can
she say that with any kind of confidence. This group, though quite small, will
stop at nothing that they feel infringes on their rights and makes what they are
doing a sin or anything less than normal behavior"-- Utter and
complete nonsense! A moment of research and common sense tell us that no court
will force a religion to perform any rite. This is all a red
herring. The real issue is that the lds are afraid theirown Gay members
and their families will demand temple marriage.Meanwhile, thousands
of innocent non mormons have been hurt by thus selfish, fear driven lack of
concern for others and Mormons born Gay are inferior to their siblingsGod has revealed a sweeping social change, but some churches run by men refuse
to catch up.
@KellyWSmith: "Mormons are being persecuted, even right here in these
comments."No. Mormons and Mormonism is being questioned and
disagreed with. If you put your beliefs in the public square as a basis for
public policy and laws then the basis and rationality of your beliefs will be
challenged. And that is not persecution. Persecution would look like one
religious group executing those who are not members of their sect. Persecution
would look like government outlawing your faith practices. Disagreement? Not persecution.
CrimsonArrow[The feds will] just say "you don't HAVE to perform
gay marriages in your temples...but if you don't we'll just revoke
your tax-exempt status, or confiscate church property for your discriminatory
stance. You pick!" KJKAs stated, a constitutional amendment
preventing both of those would pass a lighting speed. No politician would dare
oppose it. Even gays would support it. You are fear mongering.CAIf the Supreme Court decides that gay marriage in Utah is legal, any church
who won't perform those marriages would be technically engaged in illegal
discrimination. KJKSSM has been legal in liberal Mass for 10 years.
No lawsuits or even any attempt to force SSM on ANY church. Divorcees marrying
is legal EVERYWHERE but the Catholic Church isn’t being sued ANYWHERE for
refusing them a Catholic wedding ceremony. Again, you are pushing baseless fear
@sigmund5 "Persecution complex...please it is the 21st Century. Mormons are
not persecuted ... This type of stuff doesn't endear you to possible
converts."Hello? Mormons are being persecuted, even right here
in these comments. It may not be crucifixions or mobocracy or the taking of
home and property of years ago, but it is persecution nonetheless. It is
belittling, besmirching and scorning of those beliefs held sacred by the
membership. It is said in a tone of pride and aloofness, not caring for the
outcomes or the feelings of those so looked down on. In reality, the
physical persecution does continue this day. My son on his mission was chased by
a gang that would have killed him if he had not managed a miraculous escape.
Mitt Romney was repeatedly scorned for living a moral life and standing for what
was right. Members all over the world face a battle everyday in many ways
against those who are filled with hatred against the things of God. It is the 21st century, but we have never really left the dark ages.
Persecution has only lessened a degree or two because of education, knowing
other members and social media.
@dmcvey "KellyWSmith, so a church in a state where gay marriage is not legal
is suing the state for the right to perform gay marriages and you read that as
gay people trying to force a church to marry them? I don't follow your
logic." I was making 2 different points: 1-One side (the Church
of Christ) wants to be able to marry gay couples and, 2-Many in the LDS Church
are concerned that there will be those of the gay community who want to force
the Church to marry them in the Temple. I should have been more
clear in my punctuation as that might have made a difference and a more clear
understanding of the point I was making. The issue is the slippery slope we are
on in relation to "gay marriages" from all angles and sides. Unless we
get back to what God ordained, ordered and authorized, we are heading in the
wrong direction and it will lead to disaster.
"I don't ever think we'll get to the place where the government
would step in and say, you have to perform a same-sex marriage within the
temple."I am less than convinced. The Federal government already
does many things the Constitution does not give it the power to do.
@ Stormwalker England does not have the same religious freedom protections that
we have in our constitution. They have a state religion--if religions seek to
have a place in the government they will be open to the pressures of the
government. Another great reason we should fight for the seperation of church
Persecution complex...please it is the 21st Century. Mormons are not persecuted
and face no restrictions on any of their rights let alone religious rights.
This type of stuff doesn't endear you to possible converts.
@keyboarder, saying that people who are discriminated against can just "go
elsewhere" goes against our country's policies of equality. I believe
you're familiar with the history of a certain religion whose followers were
driven out of Missouri and Illinois? Was it OK that they were told to "go
elsewhere"? Pharmacists, cake bakers, photographers and people
who rent out wedding venues cannot discriminate on the basis of religion, no
matter how "core" that belief is. Seriously--you could use that logic
to say that a letter carrier should be allowed to skip deliveries to the LDS
offices if he claimed it violated his deeply held beliefs. Or that stores could
refuse to serve women wearing hijabs--or temple garments.
@abtrumpet: "Ok, but what about standing for the truth? Where is God's
commandments in all this?"God's Commandments are within
your church, your family, your personal life. Currently, one country is bombing
part of its territory because of the religious disputes that have led to
fighting for centuries. In another part of the world religious disputes between
sects and about the place of women in society are leading to mass murder. In
several countries gay men and lesbians can be beaten, imprisoned, or even
killed because some groups think they are enforcing "god's
commandments."We are a secular society, based in the rule of
law. Not a theocracy ruled by the whims of the loudest voice claiming to know
"god's will." You worry if your god, based in mythology
that started with traditions of one Paleolithic tribe's superstitions and
grew through cooption by Roman emperors and a thousand years of medieval
politics and finally into modern forms that include heaping doses of cognitive
dissonance to claim "we believe the inerrant bible" while ignoring most
biblical laws, rules, teachings, and history. I worry your
superstitions will influence laws.
@John T: In Great Britain, lawsuits are already in progress to do just that:
force churches to perform gay weddings regardless of their opposition to them on
religious grounds. Actually, the lawsuit in Great Britain concerns
one church – the Fishel, taxpayer supported, government controlled,
monarchy lead, Church of England. The contention is that a church
that is supported by tax money and is actually part of the government and the
monarchy is not allowed to discriminate against some citizens.Private churches – including the LDS church – are not affected or
named in the lawsuits. We are not a theocracy, we do not have a
state sanctioned or taxpayer supported church. Therefore it does not apply
here.The president's recent executive order stating that groups
that receive federal funds cannot discriminate against gay or transgender
employees or clients actually continues the separation of church and state. If
you want federal money you must comply with federal law, period. If
you want to bring your theology into your Activision more service then you
don't get federal money.
@Laura BilingtonThe idea that one is not allowed to impose their
views on society is logical nonsense. Why do we vote, then?
@Furry1993Ok, but what about standing for the truth? Where is
God's commandments in all this?
Where on earth is this unfounded fear that Churches will be required to perform
same sex weddings when equality is the law of the land?? Were churches suddenly
forced to perform interracial marriages after Loving v. Virginia? Was the Mormon
church forced to start performing temple ceremonies for African-Americans after
the passing of the 1964 civil rights act? Are any churches NOW required to
perform ANY marriage ceremonies they find not in line with their teachings and
dogma? The answer is a resounding no! And it will still be no after SSM is the
law of the land. The homophobic know they will not have to perform gay weddings
in their churches but are desperate enough to do anything they can to stop the
SSM train--even lying. As for pharmacists refusing to fill
prescriptions that offend their fragile sensibilities I have to ask: who the
heck authorized pharmacists to override the medical decisions made between a
doctor and their patients? Any pharmacist who thinks he can use his religious
belief to hijack healthcare decisions between patient and doctor needs to lose
his license post haste and never get it back.
Religious freedom should not include a parents 'right' to impose their
religion on their children in any way that damages the child. Denial of medical
care, female circumcision and male circumsision all come to mind.
"Elder Cook said one reason attacks on religious principles have succeeded
is that people of faith have been reluctant to express their views."--- On the contrary, "people of faith" have been involved,
"faithfully", in every single effort to deny civil rights to another
group of Americans. People see what you do, it is much, much louder than what
you say."...what might happen to LDS temple marriages in Utah if
gay marriages become legal in the state."--- Nothing. Zip.
Nada. You'll still be able to discriminate within your church just as you
once did to Black Mormons; because the men couldn't hold the priesthood,
they couldn't enter the temples. It was the Church that changed that
policy, not the government (I have to note that the question is probably
intended to create fear among members)."Discrimination against
faiths that want to use private property or to access public property on equal
terms with secular groups."--- Tax breaks shouldn't be
allowed to be used for discrmination."Government regulations
that require pharmacists to dispense drugs that violate their religious
convictions."--- Can't perform the job you're supposed
to do? Find another job.
@Informed Voter-You do realize that those talks that Elder Benson (he
wasn't President at the time) gave all earned him repeated rebukes by other
members of the Twelve and sometimes even the First Presidency, right?
I had a much more elaborate comment regarding the article, but it is well over
200 words, so I'll have to truncate it. Seems like the presenter does a
lot better job than so many so-called advocates of religious freedom, who
basically believe that religious freedom applies only to Christians (especially
Christian dominionists who want to claim the so-called "freedom" to
impose their doctrines on the rest of us). I think she still misses the mark in
a few places though, and there are others I would question what exactly is
happening though.In any case, people of faith have nothing to fear
from liberals. A true liberal will support true religious liberty, and the only
time they would push back is when religious zealots are actually threatening
religious liberty and making it look like they're defending religious
liberty by doing it.In fact, if we're honest with ourselves,
liberals are actually more zealous defenders of religious liberties than
dchsr, what constitutes "rubbing homosexuality" in your face? Someone
talking about their partner who happens to be of the same sex? Someone wanting
the same protections that you take for granted? What exactly is "rubbing
homoesxuality in your face"?
"I don't think we'll eve get to the point where the government
will step in and force the LDS Church to perform gay marriages."Right, cuz the federal gov't is a stalwart at defending religious
liberty. They'll just say "you don't HAVE to perform gay
marriages in your temples...but if you don't we'll just revoke your
tax-exempt status, or confiscate church property for your discriminatory stance.
You pick!" If she honestly believes this won't become
an issue she is completely naive. If the Supreme Court decides that gay
marriage in Utah is legal, any church who won't perform those marriages
would be technically engaged in illegal discrimination. Anyone who thinks the
LGBT community (led primarily by disaffected former Mormons) won't
challenge the LDS Church's standing on this issue is deluding themselves.
Not to mention she doesn't cite legal precedent or law to back
up her opinion, she merely says "I don't think [it will happen]..."
Boy....I have a lot of confidence in that statement. I feel so much better.
I find it interesting and frightening that the only "religious liberty"
they are seeking for businesses is the right to control the health care choices
of women and the right to discriminate against gays. Are they going to fight
just as hard for the busines owner that refuses to serve women unless their
heads are covered? Will they go to court for the restaurant that refuses to
serve Hispanics or blacks? You can find a religious excuse to discriminate
against anyone, why is it that they only concern themselves with gays and women?
Why just that gender and that sin?
dmcvey, for the moment, it is true that churches in the USA are not required to
perform same-sex weddings - YET. In Great Britain, lawsuits are already in
progress to do just that: force churches to perform gay weddings regardless of
their opposition to them on religious grounds. Just as gay marriage is becoming,
over time, legal in every state, so it is that eventually, someone will sue a
church here in America to force them to perform a gay wedding.
Canada's SSM law from 2003 specifically says no church can be forced to
solemnize any SSM. Just steal that language for US use.Some of what
Hannah Smith and Elder Oaks call "religious freedom" is really the
"religious privilege" that “default Christianity” has held
throughout US history. Health professionals should either provide the care
people want and need, or pick a different career. A worker's health
insurance coverage should not be held hostage to their employers' specific
beliefs. "Under God" in the Pledge was added over 60 years after it was
written. If someone wants to pass a law, if the only justification for it is
"We believe God wants this," then that law is UNCONSTITUTIONAL, unless
there are other good reasons for it. And between the Declaration of
Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, there are only 5
references to religion, and NONE to Christianity. ("Laws of Nature and
Nature's God", "Creator", "Providence", "no
religious Test", and the First Amendment.) Too many people think they have
the freedom to force their religion on others. But the Constitution says
"No!" Hannah Smith and Elder Oaks et al. need to understand that.
@skreekk:" Not only did Becket defend the New Mexico
photographer who tried to use her homophobic religious views as an excuse to
violate public accommodations laws, . . . "When you characterize
someone's religious beliefs as being the result of a phobia, it is obvious
to all that you are speaking from your stereotypes. Your authority on the
subject is the same as someone who believes the earth is 6000 years old in a
discussion on evolution and science.It is the height to cultural
chauvinism to suggest that someone's cultural values is because there is
something wrong with them. This does not belong in an open, progressive
Nobody stops a person from worshipping in any way they wish given the very
liberal position in the constitution. So you can have Scientology making
billions by selling training at $20,000- $50,000 a pop, the JW's selling
books with no tax implications, TV evangelists paying no tax on the millions
they blow, badgering viewers to "give to God". What part of freedom is
being threatened? The part to run the lives of non-members? Same sex marriage
will be law guaranteed by the 14th amendment in every state, nobody can stop the
momentum at this point, what churches should have done was to work with the
groups promoting gay marriage, so as in New York, the gay marriage law has
boilerplate guarantees to protect the churches. This is not 1960, we are not
running "Leave it to Beaver", things change, you can't dictate the
rights of unpopular people or groups anymore. Why not worry about your members
and not so much what those who are not part of your group are doing?
"The Becket Fund will argue before the Supreme Court this fall on behalf of
a Muslim prisoner in Arkansas who has been denied the right to grow a half-inch
beard required by his faith"Islamic "faith" requires its
faithful followers to kill infidels as well--just look at the case of MAJ Hasan
at Fort Hood, who also argued to grow his beard as a requirement of his
"faith". When will the Becket Fund begin arguing for them to practice
Isn't Smith affiliated with this newspaper?I have various
problems with many of Smith's views. Her view of religious freedom entails
the violation of the religious freedom for a large segment of society, and the
interests of the religious institution prevail over the interests of the
individual. The concept of freedom of religion was intended to be for
individuals and not for institutions. Further, she fails to understand that not
everything has a religious purpose, and non-religious functions, especially in
the realm of public necessity, should not enable the religious discrimination
that she advocates.
The question of whether the government can compel a church to conduct same-sex
marriages is a contrived issue, concocted for the sole purpose of instilling
fear in a gullible population. How many times has a government1.
Compelled a church (such as the Catholic church) to marry individuals who are
divorced?2. Compelled the LDS church to seal individuals who are lack a
temple recommend?3. Compelled a church to marry an interracial couple,
even after the Loving vs. Virginia decision?4. Compelled a church to marry
an interfaith couple, when that is against church policy?Answer:
never, never, never, and never. Let's put this false issue to bed!
Informed VoterI realize their position on Prop 8 and gay marriage resulted
in a surprising and stinging rebuke for the Church by the media and public, but
Moroni's Banner of Liberty must be raised.KJKSupporting Prop.8
violated 1Cor.10:28/D&C134:4's repudiations of using one's
religious beliefs to justify infringing upon the rights and liberties of others.
Doing so, in my opinion, was much more an act of steadying the ark, unrighteous
dominion, and openly rebelling against the revealed and sustained word of God
than it was raising the Title of Liberty. not even close.RickChappelIn the quest to no alternative beliefs, the LGBTetc advocacy
community will force the equality of marriage to the point of requiring
facilities that perform civil weddings have to perform all weddings.KJKAs I wrote above, a constitutional amendment would be passed at the speed of
light at the first whiff of government forcing/punishing churches who refuse
SSM. Even if that fails, in many countries around the world, the law requires
couples to be married at City Hall first. We have no problem with that. I have
no problem separating Church and State.
@Furry1993,Do you really think making a statement like "I am a
woman. I am a devout Latter-day Saint. I am a lawyer" holds any weight? If
you are a lawyer, surely you must know that in a court of law, such a statement
would be silly. On a discussion board where most comments, including yours, are
anonymous it is equally meaningless.To say that the Becket fund is
trying to "impose sharia law" is just as silly. Three of the ten cases
the Becket Fund deems most important were decided in unanimous decisions, two of
them in the Supreme Court. Does that mean that those upholding religious
freedom are trying to "impose sharia law," too?No, if you
read summaries of the Becket Fund's most important decisions, you'll
notice that in almost every case, courts were upholding prior settled case law.
That sure makes it look like you are radical one, not the Becket Fund or the
Laura Bilington: Religious Freedom is for the non-believers, too. However, that
does NOT mean that the non-believer has the right to abuse the believer. Nor
can either eliminate consequences of their belief. I would also point out that
the law on marriage is a statement of the centuries old (and theological)
understanding of marriage being for the creation of children and families. The
LGBTs want to change the definition thus giving their belief the same approval
of others. Doesn't work that way. 2 + 2 always equals 4 no matter what.
@woolybruce: You ask what happens when each and every pharmacist decides to
choose what to sale and what not to sale. We found a pharmacist once that would
prepare a special combination drug, one that no longer exists as a pre-packaged
medication. He was the only pharmacist around that would do such a thing. This
had nothing to do with a controversial drug, but the point is that if one
pharmacist... or more generally, if one business or person... chooses to do or
not to do some service, then you just go elsewhere! That is how free society
and free business has always worked! Go elsewhere if someone doesn't give
you the service you want! I realize that this doesn't answer the problem
of universal rights and systematic discrimination, etc., but there are so many
cases when a big brouhaha is made over a situation where there are many just
@stormwalker: You said, “Here's the real test: North Carolina
prohibits churches from performing (non-legal) commitment ceremonies for gay and
lesbian couples. Will she take up the cause for their religious
liberty?”I can’t speak for her, but the Becket fund on
its website has an article about why Indiana should not prohibit a church from
performing a gay union. At the start of the article is the quote,
“Religious liberty protects the freedom of religious groups to conduct
religious wedding ceremonies without government penalty, and that includes
same-sex wedding ceremonies.”
@sherkk: You said, "The lawyer representing The Becket Fund is being
isingenuous."..."they've also filed numerous amicus briefs with our
courts in an attempt to deny gays the civil right to secular marriage.""If anything the Becket Fund is trying to use our secular government
to enforce the sharia laws of right-wing Christian extremists..."1) What is disingenuous about what the Becket Lawyer said?2) Supporting
marriage between a man and a woman is not homophobic. Would you call someone who
supports Utah State sports ASU-a-phobic? Having an opposing POV does not mean
fear or hatred.3) We don't have a government run by the Church. That
doesn't mean that people of faith cannot influence government and laws
based on moral beliefs--which also coincide with religious beliefs. The first US
Congress authorized printing of the Bible for missionary work to the Indians;
church services were held in the Capital; Bible reading was encouraged in public
schools. We had all of these practices in the Founding generation and forward
into the early 20th century and WE were never considered to be a nation run by
Christian right wing extremists. Could you be Christian-phobic?
My fear isn't that the temples will be forced to perform Same Sex
Marriages. Rather, my fear is that the legal precedents will continue to grow
to the point that it becomes illegal to make any discrimination whatsoever. When that occurs, the U. S. government could disenfranchise any religion
that supports standards of any sort. In such a world of "anything
goes," the very doctrine of a church would be deemed illegal by the
constitution because it hurts the feelings of some group of people.Political correctness will gravitate from private speech to the fundamental
principles of any public or private organization, and such will be subject to
legal action. The Constitution will hang by a thread, because it is being
corrupted in our courts as we speak.
Stormwalker,She said "protect religious freedoms" not
That the government would force any religious organization to sanctify Same-Sex
Marriages - in chapels, synagogues, or LDS Temples - is a total red herring. For
many many years, since the issue of Same-Sex Marriage has become real, anyone
with any ounce of understanding of how government works, and how the separation
of church and state functions, already knew this idea was total hysteria,
encouraged by people who would rather fan the flames of ignorance than try to
understand why this "fearful ritual" of love will never have an impact
on their otherwise spiritual lives.
As a member of the LDS church, we applied to join a Christian Medical Sharing
group to avoid the prohibitive cost of Obamacare for our family. The group had
a statement of faith which all applicants must sign. This included a declaration
of our denomination. I feel we were harassed when we had to jump through other
hoops as they considered our belief in Jesus Christ, "different than real
Christian beliefs". We had already consulted with our bishop before signing
and were asked again to consult with our religious leader and sign a "NEW
and updated statement of faith complete with scriptural references from the Old
and New Testaments of the Bible. Those scriptures were more evidence of our
belief in the Bible to be the word of God but they thought that
"traditionally" people of our faith didn't believe those things.
Although I DO have religious freedom in the USA, there are a lot of Christians
out there who like to pass on the misinformation of our beliefs. A Catholic
Woman's had similar trouble. I really HOPE that we can all live gospel
principles to change the minds of those around us.
I don't want homosexuality rubbed in my face. No more than I want nudists
thinking they should have the right to attend our family institutions, all in
the name of the next perversion trend. After all, the poor nudists have to put
clothes on because we are nudiphobics and are denying them their rights.The actual bottom line is...we are expected to act and govern ourselves
as a moral society as John Adams stated was the very foundation of our
government and our Freedoms. If we venture beyond simple moral codes of conduct
and embrace the latest perversion or corruption, then there is no law and where
there is no law, all laws seize to exist. Then what...our destruction.
The US Government is becoming the British Government that we fought for
independence from some 260 years ago.
I remember reading an article a while back about the church changing policy
about one year wait after wedding ceremony before sealing is allowed. I thought
in the moment that I read that article that this was the church preparing for
legalized SSM. Marriage then becomes the legal practice recognized by the
government as for anyone, but our sealing continues to be the sacred religious
rite it needs to continue to be. As such, the church would then never be forced
to perform SSM as we don't perform marriages in the temple, we perform
sealings which are not the same. So there is no reason to fear that, focus
instead on love and individual growth.
"Government regulations that require pharmacists to dispense drugs that
violate their religious convictions."Okay, so if they are able
to get a ruling that pharmacists don't have to dispense drugs that violate
their religious convictions, I will become a pharmacist and a Christian
Scientist. *Any* sort of dispensing of drugs would be a violation of my
religious convictions, and it would be illegal to fire me for my religion, and
therefore I would have the world's easiest job.
Mike Richards, no one is forcing anything on you. No one will force your church
to perform any marriage they don't want to. This is already the case, your
church doesn't have to perform marriages for people who are not members or
for anyone for that matter. You will not be forced to marry anyone of the same
sex or to approve of anyone's marriage. If people consider you in any way
that will be a matter of societal opinions--which is just how life goes.
Homosexuality is not a religion.
KellyWSmith, so a church in a state where gay marriage is not legal is suing the
state for the right to perform gay marriages and you read that as gay people
trying to force a church to marry them? I don't follow your logic.
Should a doctor be forced to perform abortions simply because he has been
granted a license to practice medicine? Should he be required to administer
lethal dosages of drugs to a person whom the State is executing? Did he leave
his "moral compass" behind when he received his license to practice
medicine?The same logic applies to a pharmacist. Must he stock and
sell drugs that destroy an innocent life within the mother? Must he stock and
sell drugs that prevent the miracle of conception? Must he stock the drugs that
would kill a person being executed by the State?We read about the
atrocities committed by the Nazis during WWII. The excuse most often given was
that they were "required" by the State to do what they did. We did not
accept that logic then. The honest question that society must ask is whether
those who demand that people leave religion outside of their businesses have
lost their moral compass? No government should EVER have authority
to require a businessman to destroy the life of another human being, to prevent
a human being from being conceived or carried full term.
Religious freedom only applies to those who worship the Federal Government
first. Didn't you hear the news?
At the risk of being labeled intolerant by some fringe nut, Im going to limit my
comment to asserting that religious as well as many other valuable views are
under attack by fringe groups. Our ability to be reasonable in our disagreements
in our society and respectful of others rights and opinions is deteriorating. We
are strong as a country because we are diverse and we consider all views. I
would hope that we can come together in governance rather than worship prideful,
Freedom is a difficult subject. It reminds me of the story of the immigrant who
got off the boat in New York, went down the street and punched a guy in the
face. When he was accosted by a policeman, his defense was a question--"I
thought this was a free country?"The policeman taught a universal
principal with his response--"Yes, but your freedom ends where this
man's nose begins."
I'm glad that there is a group that will step up to the plate to protect
the rights of those of faith, because heaven only knows how much some are
desperately attempting to diminish those rights, believing what they perceive as
'their' own rights are more important and should supersede the rights
of religious people and would take away the rights of those of faith.
Notice how every discussion on religious liberty becomes a rally point for
LGBTetc activism? The redefinition of language, history modification,
redefinition of language and the constant repetition of falsehoods start up
(based on the Sal Alinsky philosophy of telling a lie enough times makes it true
- at least in people's minds). For example, when @skrekk brought up
Elaine Hugenin (the NM Photographer), he left out some facts, called her names,
changed the story so he completely turn it around and call her discriminating,
when it was her beliefs that were trampled. I expect we will see a day
when a Temple marriage does not include the civil marriage - they will have to
be separate. In the quest to no alternative beliefs, the LGBTetc advocacy
community will force the equality of marriage to the point of requiring
facilities that perform civil weddings have to perform all weddings. The
biggest danger to religious freedom are the religious people who are unaware
they are being duped by the activist community in the name of "fairness"
who won't recognize their right to believe and act based on it is being
eroded quickly by those they are protecting.
It seems to me that religious freedom does not extend to imposing your beliefs
of what is bad / evil / forbidden on people who do not belong to your church.
That is why you can buy beer and coffee in Utah supermarkets. While I am
pleased to see that Elders Oaks and Cook see religious freedom as important, I
wonder if they also believe that religious freedom should be only granted to
Mormons. Some of the DN posters continually bring up the Proclamation on the
Family as a reason to deny marriage equality, and I have yet to see any of the
LDS religious leaders say that this is wrong, that to codify this LDS belief in
law is a violation of religious freedom of non-Mormons.
Only a small handful of Mormons will hear or read comments from Elders Oaks and
Cook as quoted by this speaker. How about some strong, clear talks in General
Conference about individuals speaking up in the face of political correctness
and the mass media to defend religious liberty AND the Constitution as President
Benson famously did on repeated occasions? The Becket Fund does good work but is
far too insignificant in the over-all scheme of things. It is great to feel good
about winning some court cases, but the real problem is much broader and
requires much more attention from the general public. That can only come from
Mormons if the prophets clearly highlight it to masses of Mormons and call for
action. I realize their position on Prop 8 and gay marriage resulted in a
surprising and stinging rebuke for the Church by the media and public, but
Moroni's Banner of Liberty must be raised.
Tekakaromatagi:I would be curious if an individual knowing that the
accepted rule is no beard joins that organization and then demands that the
rules be changed to meet his desires has that right? Should his right be to
accept the given and not expect others to change to fit his position? I am just
curious to see your comment.
As is the case quite often, discussions on this particular issue slide into name
calling. If people, on religious grounds do not agree with same sex marriage
that does not link them with the principals of Sharia law or extremism. In
fact, the only current significant group that would use Sharia law against same
gender couples is not a Christian organization.I would like to take
hope from the Attorney's belief that future complications for religious
organizations who do not wish to perform same gender marriages will not occur,
but personally I tend to believe that this is almost inevitable. Attila the Hun
might have said on one occasion, 'it is not enough that I alone should
succeed, but that everyone else must fail.'I think we need to
safeguard all of our freedoms. The freedoms that we have enjoyed is not the
norm and has not been a regular part of world history.
Kelly: I agree that this is a slippery slope for sure. I suspect it will come
to being married in the court house (no Bishops doing it) and them being sealed
in the Temple. Will that solve the problem? Maybe, but I won't bet on it.
The fundamental desire by those on the left is the total removal of religion
and God from the public square and our nation.
I am a woman. I am a devout Latter-day Saint. I am a lawyer. I am horrified,
disgusted and appalled at what Smith and the Becket Fund are doing. The only religious liberty" they are supporting is the right of the
uber-religious to try to impose its lifeway and dogma on the United States, and
to heck with the rights of anyone who believes contrary to what they claim to
believe. They attempt to codify their own bigotry, prejudice and discrimination
-- and dissemble and fear-monger while they do it. The only threat to true
religious freedom and liberty comes from them and their actions (and from others
who act as they do).Unless and until the Becket Fund takes, and
strongly advocates for, cases like representing the churches in North Carolina
that are currently banned by law from performing (non-legal) commitment
ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples even though their doctrine permits and
celebrates those unions, the Becket Fund will prove itself to be just one more
hypocritical "religious' organization trying to impose Christian sharia
on the United States. Somehow I don't see that happening.
America is the great "melting pot", but we do have to uphold standards
of conduct respecting religion, which is what this country was founded upon -
religious freedom. However, I kind of think if you break the law
and become incarcerated in a state that has prison rules that dictate you must
remain clean shaven, you forfeit your "right" to grow a beard. Actions
have consequences.Our freedoms are ours as long as we adhere to the
rules. If we adopt an "anything goes" attitude, we become less free,
when restrictions are imposed upon us based on our "free" will.
Interesting thought, isn't it?
Kelly,Don't worry. The government will NEVER force the Church
to perform SSM in the temples. If the government/courts try to force churches
to perform SSM, a constitutional amendment outlawing that would pass at
lightning speed. Even non religious people and even many gays would support
such an amendment. Even if that failed, the Church could simply cease to
perform LEGAL weddings in the temple. This would require that couples be
LEGALLY married at City Hall or in their bishop's office and then go to the
temple for a sealing ceremony that is strictly religious in nature and having no
legal authority, as is done in proxy sealings.I have found that most
people who claim that legal SSM will lead to the Church being forced to perform
SSM either hadn't thought it through (hence my explanation above) or are
simply spreading baseless fear to advance their fight against SSM. I hope that
you are/were part of the former group.
I have heard several speeches on the attack on religious freedom and none of
those speeches including this article are very persuasive concerning this topic.
The big fear expressed hear and other places are the restrictions by the
Government on religious organizations, not on individual's religious
freedom. It is individuals not organization where freedom has to reside. The
Bill of Rights is for individuals not organizations. This article brings up two
items that does impact religious freedom, the Muslim prisoner that wants to grow
a beard, and a Pharmacist that doesn't want to dispense certain
medications.I am not too worried about the Muslim Prisoner, as he is
in Prison and there are all sorts of rights that he is deprived of, isn't
that prison?The Pharmacist chose his profession and now he is using
his profession to invoke his standards on other people. What type of situation
is going to be created when attempting to get medication if each and every
Pharmacist decides what drugs he is going to sell?
I would point out that, first of all, religious liberty is not absolute, nor
does it allow practices which may cause harm to others. Such practices include
polygamy, human/animal sacrifice, drug use, (although that restriction appears
to be in limbo in certain states)and yes, same-sex marriage. Without diving into
the very emo-political arguments for or against same-sex marriage, I would claim
that in those states where this practice is legal, churches should be allowed to
perform gay marriage ceremonies - if and ONLY if they choose to do so.
Conversely, churches should not be forced to perform them if they believe
otherwise. Religious freedom, at its heart, should reflect the 11'th
Article of Faith as proscribed by the LDS Church:"We claim the
privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own
conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where,
or what they may."If only all people, of all faith (or
non-faith) persuasions would adopt this simple live-and-let-live policy!
Shrekk, Christians who are opposed to gay marriage are not extremists. In fact,
gay marriage violates thousands of years of history and is the more extreme
option. I think we ought to be careful with the word "homophobic," which
means to hate homosexuals. Denying gay marriage is not hate, as the extreme
pro-gay crowd would have you believe.On another subject, the speaker
does not ever think temples will be forced to perform gay marriage. She is
probably right. BUT, 50 years ago, we would have never imagined much that has
happened since, so you can never say never.
Now we see the propaganda machine of the same-sex crowd. We are
"homophobic" if we don't embrace their propaganda. We have to
support their demands to break the law in North Carolina to "prove" that
we embrace religious freedom.Can any anyone in America perform a
marriage if the "couple" doesn't have a marriage license?Can the right to property and the use of property, including private
businesses, be set aside because someone wants that business to do something
that offends the business owners? Who gave government our private property?
Who gave government the right to dictate how we run our businesses? Would the
same-sex crowd like the government to force them to welcome missionaries into
their homes? Would the same-sex crowd like the government to force them to pay
tithes and offerings to churches?If the same-sex crowd wants to
empower government with the "right" to force us to abandon our religion
to accommodate them, then that crowd needs to know that an empowered government
could force them to live any religious doctrine that it chooses.
Yes, there are many cases where religious freedom should be defended, such as
the right to practice one's religion in peace (think what is happening in
Irek). But the Becket Fund is also misusing the concept of religious freedom to
try to impose restrictions on others and to allow discrimination.
While consistency should impel such a stance, Tekakaromatagi notes that the
Becket Fund is defending a Muslims right to grow a beard in prison suggesting
that they are willing to defend a range of religious beliefs. Any organization
has limited resources and my guess is that other groups are willing to take that
case. @skerkkPerhaps you have created a new corollary to
Godwin's Law. The longer and more heated an Internet thread becomes, the
more likely someone will make a comparison to sharia law. The person making the
claim is the automatic loser of any ongoing debate. If Godwin does not claim
this corollary, maybe it can be called Wacoan's Law. Under sharia law,
homosexuality is punishable by death.
One sign that we're on the road to religious freedom will be when
candidates for political office no longer feel compelled to prove their
religious bona fides in order to have a chance to be elected. IMO,
organizations like the Beckett Fund would prefer that this never happen.
If apostles of God are defending religious liberty, then we need to listen up
and pay attention. Too many people are in complete denial of how our freedoms
and liberties are being stripped from us and are in a state of apathy on the
whole issue of religious liberty.....and many other issues protected by the
Constitution that are being eroded and trampled by big government. I think this
LDS attorney makes many valid points.To even think that government
would try to dictate who could and could not enter the temple for marriage
rather than religious leaders, makes my blood boil. This becomes a real issue of
religious liberty under the protection of the Constitution. God would not allow
it. These are truly the last days, and we need to be vigilant!God
bless America; May God and we protect the U.S. Constitution!
I am hoping that LDS will defend all of the Constitutional rights, and not just
religious freedom. We need to teach our youth how to respond to police who ask
questions and request performing searches of automobiles. We also need to hear
more regarding human rights in church meetings and less regarding men wearing
white shirts to church.
Not everything is about the Gay Community. Yes I get it - it is an issue, but
it's not the only issue. Why is it that every time this type of article
comes up the comment boards go right to the LGBT community?
Apparently the Church of Christ in North Carolina sued the state for the right
to perform same-sex marriages (it was on a FB post today). Many members (and
leaders) of the LDS Church are concerned that such actions by gay groups might
eventually lead to trying to force the church to perform same-sex weddings in
the Temple. The author states that she does not feel that it will ever come to
that, but how can she say that with any kind of confidence. This group, though
quite small, will stop at nothing that they feel infringes on their rights and
makes what they are doing a sin or anything less than normal behavior. Do we really realize what a slippery slope we are on? This is not going to end
well and I never thought I would see the day when the prophesied destructions
would come upon the world. Just as Mormon and Moroni witnessed the destruction
of their people in their day, we are in a similar situation. Please
wake up people. Wake up and realize what is happening and where this is leading.
The lawyer representing The Becket Fund is being disingenuous. Not only did
Becket defend the New Mexico photographer who tried to use her homophobic
religious views as an excuse to violate public accommodations laws, but
they've also filed numerous amicus briefs with our courts in an attempt to
deny gays the civil right to secular marriage. If anything the
Becket Fund is trying to use our secular government to enforce the sharia laws
of right-wing Christian extremists. That's the exact opposite of
Here's the real test: North Carolina prohibits churches from performing
(non-legal) commitment ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples. Will she take up
the cause for their religious liberty?
Religious liberty is the liberal / human rights issue of our time. The Becket
fund is in the position that the ACLU once was.I like the fact that
they are defending a Moslem prisoner's right to grow a beard. The sign of
sincerity in protecting civil and human rights is when the unpopular causes are
given as much concern as the popular ones.