Commentary: Let religious freedom ring

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  • very concerned Sandy, UT
    June 30, 2012 11:17 a.m.

    I think what some non-religious groups and the current administration want is not *freedom of religion* but *freedom FROM religion*. They can have *freedom FROM religion* but not freedom from the consequences of that choice. Although I most strongly disagree with the desirability of “freedom FROM religion*, I recognize it as a philosophy that I cannot deny to others. But it is not literally what the Founding Fathers were talking about.

    However, I have a right to VOTE my conscience as much as the next guy. This is not FORCING my opinion on others. It is democracy. There have always been opposing views as to what public policy is conducive to societal and individual health and happiness. I believe my way and you, yours. I think this dichotomy/argument may always be so. I believe each of us has a right to vote for those principles that we feel will help society, and I speak forward for your right to do the same. I suppose we will see at some point in the future who was correct.

  • very concerned Sandy, UT
    June 30, 2012 11:13 a.m.

    This country was built on the bedrock of Judeo-Christian values. That does NOT mean that anyone forced or pushed these values on everyone else. It DOES mean that founders, pioneers, and the average citizen, for the most part, acted out of strong religious beliefs .

    The first amendment is quite clear. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . " As written, it's a fairly simple concept. Nowadays there are so many holes, complications, and restrictions in this simple law/concept that I am convinced government (at least the current administration) doesn't understand it.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    June 27, 2012 2:17 p.m.

    @SLC gal;

    Likewise, religious interference in the lives of Americans who don't adhere to certain creeds (Prop-8, Amendment-3 for example) shows that religion has no respect for the government or the Constitution for that matter.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    June 27, 2012 1:30 p.m.

    CI: "You answered that yourself: Yes, Stalin and Mao were atheist fundamentalists..."

    That's nonsense. Stalin and Mao were, first and foremost, totalitarian egomaniacs, exactly as Hitler was. Their feelings one way or the other about religion was not what made them mass murderers.

    Hitler spoke frequently of his religious beliefs. In Mein Kampf, he made many references to his Catholic upbringing and his belief that he was doing God's work. What do you think "Gott Mitt Uns" (God With Us) on all those Nazi belt buckles was supposed to mean?

    Mao and Stalin, old-school Communist tyrants, and Hitler, an old-school Fascist, each recognized that to achieve total control over the masses they had to create de facto religions around themselves and, like all hard-line religions, they demanded absolute obedience and did not tolerate dissent.

    Atheists welcome dissent, but also expect that for dissent be credible it has to be based on testable, objective evidence. An untestable, however popular and deeply held, belief is not a credible dissent.

    To atheists, objective truth matters more than feelings, dogma and personality. The same cannot be said for religion; hence the clash between religion and secular government.

  • SLC gal Salt Lake City, UT
    June 27, 2012 10:16 a.m.

    Freedom and RESPECT go hand in hand. The govt. needs to respect the rights of different churches to honor their beliefs. Likewise the churches need to respect the govt's right to uphold liberty for all (forcing Catholics to include birth control in their health plans is a clear sign that respect is lacking on the govt. side. If employees honestly feel that strongly that their use of birth control should be covered, why on earth are they working for the Catholic Church? They're free to choose other employment...)

  • donn layton, UT
    June 26, 2012 5:55 p.m.

    RE: Ranch,Organized religion isn't part of the problem, it is the problem?

    In the summer of 1969, while guarding airplanes at NKP Thailand, we were told that a missionary supply caravan was going through our area heading into the mountains to feed Montagnards in Laos..
    I was amazed, we were an armed Air Force light infantry and we were under mortar attack but yet the missionaries proceeded. I heard years later most were (4 ) Catholic nuns which the Viet Cong hung, after abusing them, They hated roman Catholics.

  • jonnyboy Orem, UT
    June 26, 2012 4:10 p.m.

    Actually, Catholics are not being forced to pay for the morning after pills or contraception. Catholic owned businesses which receive public funds are being required to offer these things. If Catholic charities don't want to play by the rules then they shouldn't receive public funds. End of story.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 26, 2012 2:13 p.m.

    @Counter Intelligence
    "Actually, that form of reactionary black/white thinking is the problem"

    Says someone who is trying to argue that atheism is a cause of mass slaughters...

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    June 26, 2012 1:40 p.m.

    "The two greatest murderers of the 20th century were atheist fundamentalists seeking to eliminate the opium of the masses - Stalin and Mao each killed more than Hitler"

    Do you seriously believe that their atrocities were primarily due to their atheism? You don't think that an oppressive, authoritarian, obedience-obsessed, dissent-crushing personality cult had something to do with their atrocities?

    I would even argue that Stalin and Mao _were_ religious, and that in each of their cases their religion was a devotion to the absolute power they demanded for themselves.

    So when you think about obedience-obsessed, authoritarian, dissent-crushing personality cults, do you really think those descriptions apply to atheists more than to religions?

    Who is detonating bombs in public markets and demanding jail terms for the crime of blasphemy - atheists, or religionists?

  • Ranch Here, UT
    June 26, 2012 1:27 p.m.

    @John C. C.

    Actually, John, the problem is that Religion has inserted itself more and more into our civil life. If religion were to refrain from trying to legislate the lives of those who don't believe, or follow a different creed, there'd be far fewer problems over the religious freedom issue.

    Religions are creating multi-billion dollar businesses in the civil arena. Religion itself has become big-business; wasn't it Jesus who threw the money changers out of the temple? The temples have become the money changers.

    There are many religious American Citizens who are being denied their freedom of religion by the very group out there protesting that "religion is under attack".

    Organized religion isn't part of the problem, it is the problem.

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    June 26, 2012 12:43 p.m.

    per Counter Intelligence 12:28 p.m. June 26, 2012

    "It is truly ironic how the perpetrators of imposing their beliefs onto religion, passive/aggressively portray themselves as the victims of religion"

    Its a catch 22 IMO. Specifically, the true believers playing the persecution card every time there is blow back when they are the aggressor.

  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    June 26, 2012 11:54 a.m.

    One reason government is bound to clash more and more with religious beliefs is that government is becoming more involved in minor details of our lives. We must keep government influence limited to the central needs of society and let local and self government (as in religious self-control) take over much of those details.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 26, 2012 11:00 a.m.

    What often gets overlooked by people demanding religiouis 'freedom' is that religion is personal. It is not an overlay of government. As a result, no one religion gets to trump another, because freedom for one is freedom for all, or it's a lie.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    June 26, 2012 10:11 a.m.

    Why won't the DN Moderators print my comment pointing out the hypocrisy of these religious fanatics?

    They want their own religious freedom but are doing their best to restrict the religious freedom of others.

  • Artemisia Tridentata Hawthorne, NV
    June 26, 2012 9:49 a.m.

    The "supression of religion" in the early 20th Century Mexico was a reaction to almost 400 years of awful, all pervasive religious oppression of that people by the Spanish and Mexican Catholic Church. Without the "anti-religon" bend of the Revolution the people of Mexico would still be living in the Dark Ages. The Christeros were, for the most part, ignorant peasants terrified into reaction by priests and overlords. This movie is revisionist history worthy of a Glen Beck.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    June 26, 2012 9:00 a.m.

    re: Ultra Bob 8:47 a.m. June 26, 2012

    "To keep government out of religion, we must keep religion out of government."

    Agreed. The Wall that Jefferson mentioned in his letter to the Danbury Baptists is an apt analogy.

    Jefferson's Wall should greatly restrict if not eliminate "travel" in both directions.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    June 26, 2012 8:58 a.m.

    The issue here is whether or not personal religious beliefs can be used to defend the use of public funding for discriminatory behavior towards others who don't share in those religious beliefs. That's it. It's not more complicated than that.

    Me telling you that your religion does not give you the right to use public funds to enforce your religion on others is not persecution.

    But you think it is because religion just loves a good persecution complex.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 26, 2012 8:47 a.m.

    More people have been controlled, oppressed, enslaved, and killed in the cause for religion than against religion.

    Stories like the Cristero War possibly happened, but for every story of people suppression of religion, there would be millions of stories of religion suppression of people.

    I believe freedom of belief for individuals is a good thing. I believe churches should have the freedom to espouse their religion within the minds of people.

    I do not believe that churches should have the freedom to ignore, refuse or break the American civil laws that regulate and establish this nation.

    If a church chooses to leave the notion of religion of it’s leaders and members, and enter the secular world of business, it must follow and abide the civil laws that regulate and control business operations in the United States. Ownership and operation of a business by a church is not different than ownership by any other private means.

    Religious peace exists only because we have a strong national government that enforces it. Remove that and religious wars will exist in America.

    To keep government out of religion, we must keep religion out of government.

  • jonnyboy Orem, UT
    June 26, 2012 8:39 a.m.

    If the Deseret News editorial staff really cared about religious freedom they would realize that there is more to the idea that freedom of religion. Properly understood, religious freedom is the union of three unique concepts: 1) freedom of religion 2) freedom from religion 3) freedom in religion. However, every "religious freedom" piece the DesNews offers only focuses on freedom of religion. If religious freedom were actually important to conservatives they would realize that they cannot consistently call for their own religious freedom yet force religious tenants on the non-religious. Somehow this concept gets termed "appealing to the lowest common denominator" as if their own position is the only vantage point with any moral relevance. This is both prideful and hypocritical. If we want to have a national discussion on religious freedom, then let us do so. What I can't stand is the term being misused ignorantly as a naive catch phrase.