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

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Published: Friday, Aug. 8 2014 7:20 p.m. MDT

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Tekakaromatagi
Dammam, Saudi Arabia

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.

Stormwalker
Cleveland , OH

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?

skrekk
Dane, WI

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.

KellyWSmith
Sparks, NV

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.

BYU Joe
MISSION VIEJO, CA

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?

sthomaslewis
Corvallis, OR

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.

BYUalum
South Jordan, UT

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!

Karen R.
Houston, TX

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.

Wacoan
Waco, TX

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.

Wilf 55
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

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.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

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.

RG
Buena Vista, VA

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.

John T
Scranton, PA

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!

woolybruce
Idaho Falls, ID

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?

Kevin J. Kirkham
Salt Lake City, UT

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.

hockeymom
Highland, UT

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?

Furry1993
Ogden, UT

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.

Goldminer
Salem, ut

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.

ulvegaard
Medical Lake, Washington

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

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.

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