Quantcast
Faith

LDS attorney lists what Mormons need to know about religious freedom today

Comments

Return To Article
  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    Aug. 31, 2014 4:03 p.m.

    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.

  • hilary nottingham, 00
    Aug. 20, 2014 1:43 p.m.

    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.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Aug. 13, 2014 11:43 a.m.

    RanchHand

    Example 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.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Aug. 13, 2014 9:43 a.m.

    @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.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Aug. 13, 2014 8:19 a.m.

    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.

  • swizzy18 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:56 a.m.

    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 victory!

  • Debbiebsg Frederick, MD
    Aug. 12, 2014 9:23 a.m.

    • Government regulations that require pharmacists to dispense drugs that violate their religious convictions
    I 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.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 12, 2014 8:58 a.m.

    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.

  • New to Utah PAYSON, UT
    Aug. 11, 2014 8:31 p.m.

    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 ideology
    with 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.

  • Reflectere Utah, UT
    Aug. 11, 2014 5:37 p.m.

    @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...

  • A Guy With A Brain Enid, OK
    Aug. 11, 2014 1:17 p.m.

    How anyone can claim that religious freedom is NOT being attacked is beyond me.

    God bless America, or, what's left of her...

  • Bob K Davis, CA
    Aug. 11, 2014 12:38 p.m.

    Flashback
    Kearns, 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?

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Aug. 11, 2014 11:14 a.m.

    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.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 11, 2014 10:42 a.m.

    @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.

  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    Aug. 11, 2014 9:06 a.m.

    Revelations 13:6-7

    And 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.

  • JonathanPDX Portland, Oregon
    Aug. 11, 2014 8:58 a.m.

    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 Church Temple.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Aug. 11, 2014 8:13 a.m.

    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.

  • elarue NEW YORK, NY
    Aug. 11, 2014 7:48 a.m.

    @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."

  • Bill McGee Alpine, UT
    Aug. 11, 2014 7:24 a.m.

    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.

  • elarue NEW YORK, NY
    Aug. 11, 2014 7:22 a.m.

    @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.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Aug. 11, 2014 7:03 a.m.

    @Gildas;

    Ask LGBT citizens who want to be married in their churches where the churches are willing to do so.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Aug. 11, 2014 4:53 a.m.

    America has a poor record of religious freedom. Ask Roger Williams; ask the persecuted Latter-Day Saints.

  • Bob K Davis, CA
    Aug. 11, 2014 2:09 a.m.

    "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.

  • Bob K Davis, CA
    Aug. 11, 2014 1:41 a.m.

    KellyWSmith
    Sparks, 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 their
    own 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 siblings

    God has revealed a sweeping social change, but some churches run by men refuse
    to catch up.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    Aug. 10, 2014 9:17 p.m.

    @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.

  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 10, 2014 6:27 p.m.

    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!"
    KJK
    As 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.

    CA
    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.
    KJK
    SSM 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 mongering

  • KellyWSmith Sparks, NV
    Aug. 10, 2014 4:22 p.m.

    @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.

  • KellyWSmith Sparks, NV
    Aug. 10, 2014 3:50 p.m.

    @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.

  • Clifton Palmer McLendon Gilmer, TX
    Aug. 10, 2014 2:19 p.m.

    "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.

  • dmcvey Los Angeles, CA
    Aug. 10, 2014 10:27 a.m.

    @ 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 and state.

  • sigmund5 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 10, 2014 9:28 a.m.

    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.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    Aug. 10, 2014 9:00 a.m.

    @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.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    Aug. 10, 2014 8:58 a.m.

    @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.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    Aug. 10, 2014 8:30 a.m.

    @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.

  • abtrumpet Provo, UT
    Aug. 10, 2014 1:02 a.m.

    @Laura Bilington

    The idea that one is not allowed to impose their views on society is logical nonsense. Why do we vote, then?

  • abtrumpet Provo, UT
    Aug. 10, 2014 12:57 a.m.

    @Furry1993

    Ok, but what about standing for the truth? Where is God's commandments in all this?

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    Aug. 9, 2014 10:18 p.m.

    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.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 9:36 p.m.

    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.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 8:10 p.m.

    "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.

  • elarue NEW YORK, NY
    Aug. 9, 2014 8:05 p.m.

    @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?

  • elarue NEW YORK, NY
    Aug. 9, 2014 7:58 p.m.

    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 conservatives are.

  • dmcvey Los Angeles, CA
    Aug. 9, 2014 6:24 p.m.

    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"?

  • CrimsonArrow SLC, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 6:15 p.m.

    "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.

  • Bendana 99352, WA
    Aug. 9, 2014 5:33 p.m.

    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?

  • John T Scranton, PA
    Aug. 9, 2014 5:23 p.m.

    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.

  • Nanook of the North Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 9, 2014 5:19 p.m.

    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.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Aug. 9, 2014 5:11 p.m.

    @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 society.

  • TruthWins Austin, TX
    Aug. 9, 2014 4:56 p.m.

    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?

  • pakundo St. George, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 4:50 p.m.

    "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 that?

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 4:20 p.m.

    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 Skeptical Chymist SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 3:35 p.m.

    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 government
    1. 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!

  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 3:17 p.m.

    Informed Voter
    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.
    KJK
    Supporting 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.

    RickChappel
    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.
    KJK
    As 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.

  • Phil Allred New Rochelle, NY
    Aug. 9, 2014 3:05 p.m.

    @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 courts.

  • Goldminer Salem, ut
    Aug. 9, 2014 3:01 p.m.

    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.

  • keyboarder College Station, TX
    Aug. 9, 2014 2:31 p.m.

    @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 alternatives.

  • indi ,
    Aug. 9, 2014 2:31 p.m.

    @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.”

  • indi ,
    Aug. 9, 2014 2:24 p.m.

    @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?

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    Aug. 9, 2014 12:07 p.m.

    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.

  • Dr. Thom Long Beach, CA
    Aug. 9, 2014 12:03 p.m.

    Stormwalker,

    She said "protect religious freedoms" not individual immorality.

  • Screenusnomus USA, CA
    Aug. 9, 2014 11:36 a.m.

    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.

  • cindyb CASPER, WY
    Aug. 9, 2014 11:24 a.m.

    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.

  • dchsr Bounti, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 11:20 a.m.

    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.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 11:14 a.m.

    The US Government is becoming the British Government that we fought for independence from some 260 years ago.

  • kimnprovo Orem, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 11:08 a.m.

    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.

  • Understands Math Lacey, WA
    Aug. 9, 2014 11:08 a.m.

    "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.

  • dmcvey Los Angeles, CA
    Aug. 9, 2014 10:59 a.m.

    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.

  • PhoenixAZ phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 9, 2014 10:55 a.m.

    Homosexuality is not a religion.

  • dmcvey Los Angeles, CA
    Aug. 9, 2014 10:55 a.m.

    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.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 9, 2014 10:48 a.m.

    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.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Chihuahua, 00
    Aug. 9, 2014 10:27 a.m.

    Religious freedom only applies to those who worship the Federal Government first. Didn't you hear the news?

  • mufasta American Fork, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 10:21 a.m.

    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, myopic ideologies.

  • laVerl 09 St Johns, AZ
    Aug. 9, 2014 10:20 a.m.

    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."

  • CDL Los Angeles, CA
    Aug. 9, 2014 10:12 a.m.

    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.

  • RickChappell Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 9, 2014 9:56 a.m.

    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.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    Aug. 9, 2014 9:46 a.m.

    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.

  • Informed Voter South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 9:20 a.m.

    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.

  • Goldminer Salem, ut
    Aug. 9, 2014 9:15 a.m.

    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.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Aug. 9, 2014 9:06 a.m.

    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.

  • Goldminer Salem, ut
    Aug. 9, 2014 9:03 a.m.

    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.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 9:01 a.m.

    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.

  • hockeymom Highland, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 8:58 a.m.

    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?

  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 8:42 a.m.

    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.

  • woolybruce Idaho Falls, ID
    Aug. 9, 2014 8:09 a.m.

    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?

  • John T Scranton, PA
    Aug. 9, 2014 8:06 a.m.

    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!

  • RG Buena Vista, VA
    Aug. 9, 2014 7:45 a.m.

    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.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 9, 2014 7:38 a.m.

    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.

  • Wilf 55 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 6:39 a.m.

    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.

  • Wacoan Waco, TX
    Aug. 9, 2014 6:28 a.m.

    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.

    @skerkk
    Perhaps 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.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Aug. 9, 2014 6:09 a.m.

    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.

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 9, 2014 5:39 a.m.

    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!

  • sthomaslewis Corvallis, OR
    Aug. 9, 2014 5:26 a.m.

    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.

  • BYU Joe MISSION VIEJO, CA
    Aug. 9, 2014 1:14 a.m.

    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?

  • KellyWSmith Sparks, NV
    Aug. 8, 2014 11:47 p.m.

    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.

  • skrekk Dane, WI
    Aug. 8, 2014 10:40 p.m.

    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 religious liberty.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    Aug. 8, 2014 9:38 p.m.

    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?

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Aug. 8, 2014 8:59 p.m.

    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.