Coalition of religious groups signs open letter for religious liberty

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  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    July 13, 2013 9:57 a.m.


    Such strident comments detracts from your credibility.

    Just remember, the NSA is "watching". Do you want the contact information for Mr. Snowden?

  • killpack Sandy, UT
    July 11, 2013 12:32 a.m.

    I cannot believe all of the pro-government commenters. Since when did the DN forums become so overrun with G-men! No wonder Obama got re-elected, as horrible as he is! The end must really be near, with so many people supporting the obscenely corrupt federal government. What a sad day! One day, all of you supporters of the totalitarian federal government will eat each and every one of your words, and I won't rub it in, because I'm not that kind of guy. But I will gently say, 'I told you so.'

  • Fashn4LaDieS Tracy, CA
    July 10, 2013 3:40 p.m.

    We LDS people are NOT forcing our anti gay marriage views on others. We are avoiding, having gay marriage forced in our Temples, under "discrimination" accusations.

  • The Taxman Los Angeles, CA
    July 10, 2013 2:41 p.m.


    You are free to scoff all you want, but many women and many women healthcare professionals view this as a woman's health issue. The health professional I am married to views it as such, and takes extreme umbrage when men, and male dominated institutions (like the Catholic Church and the LDS church), involve themselves in female health issues. Not the wisest move, given that 50% of your target market is female, particularly when you don't have a dog in the fight.

  • johnnylingo62 Gray, TN
    July 10, 2013 12:53 p.m.

    I scoff at all those commentors who think your Employer or your Government (actually "we the people") OWES you contraception. If you start your own company, do whatever you want, hire who you want, and offer the type of insurance you want your employees to be able to have... but this MANDATE stuff is ridiculous! The government is not a Dictator. if it becomes a dictator and decides for you what is good and bad, and what is right and wrong, then our FREEDOM is gone. No one is restricting the use of contraceptives - it's just who pays for a person's CHOICE to buy them. The LDS Church sees the SLIPPERY SLOPE that our government is jumping into and it does and will affect Religious freedom, Personal freedom, and the health of our Society. See the forest from the trees, your freedoms are being Removed with EACH NEW LAW Congress passes. Every time you accept a "freebie", it costs you a little more of your "freedom". No handout is free. There's no Free Lunch...

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    July 10, 2013 11:05 a.m.

    Re: "Contraception is basic health care coverage."

    Well, there you have it. Liberals have spoken. No further debate required.

    Move along. Nothing to see here.

    "My way, or the highway."

    That's liberal tolerance for you.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 9, 2013 5:03 p.m.


    "....This coalition letter clearly demonstrates the U.S. LDS church is blindly becoming too politically insular, too politically homogenous...."

    The 19th century image of Mormons was that of an intemperate people who were defiant toward civil authority. It brought much grief down on the Church. Mormon leaders knew they had a serious image problem. They began to cultivate an image of moderation. If today’s LDS anchoring in social and political conservatism seems intractable, it’s largely because that’s the direction LDS Church leaders began charting in the years following the Manifesto.

    That’s my minimalist read on how Mormons got from where they were to where they are. A lot of scholars of Mormon history are sure to disagree.

  • The Taxman Los Angeles, CA
    July 9, 2013 3:01 p.m.

    I can't understand why the LDS church would want to waste what small political capital it has signing this red herring (thank you Tyler D) piece of trash. Particularly when the church and its membership is not affected one iota.

    And the letter they signed on to last year was even worse. It was so full of inaccuracies that it was an embarrassment to all the signees.

    It seems to me that certain churches want to take advantage of free government services, yet cry foul if asked to participate in a reasonable manner in providing better healthcare for society. So fine I say, but the tax-exempt status for all churches should be discontinued. Why should I, as a taxpayer, have to pay for services such as policing and fire prevention for churches (who use their tax-exempt funds to build more churches which require more public services that I must then pay for)? Churches want to be free of all societal constraints, so they should be free of government provided benefits as well.

  • Truthseeker2 SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
    July 9, 2013 2:54 p.m.


    A much higher proportion of married than of never-married women use a contraceptive method (79% vs. 39%). This is largely because married women are more likely to be sexually active.

    Are you recommending "chastity" during marriage?

    Or "natural" (abstinence curing "fertile" times) birth control for married couples with a 24% failure rate?

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    July 9, 2013 2:17 p.m.

    ATl134: Liberty is about choice. Someone who has given up on the values of persistence, self-discipline, and education doesn't understand choice. Chastity is something that many people live by and they are filled with same emotions, passions, and yearning, but know that they are human with capabilities that far exceed the giving in of those emotions, passions, and yearnings. Chastity is a choice that makes other choices possible. When humans make choices that are wrong, government absolves the chooser of his/her decision, no matter what it is. Therefore, it blunts one of the great learning tools of life. Those who believe that they are governed by outside circumstances will never understand the power of choice. Chastity is a choice, one that has a 100% track record. Liberty comes from making correct choices! Government will never help people make correct choices because it is amoral. Individuals, guided by conscience and laws, are far superior than government. Government doesn't understand chastity and would rather abort or intercede (contraception mandates), rather than promoting best practices for welcoming a child into this world!

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 9, 2013 1:16 p.m.

    @1978 – “That is a fair question and I appreciate your insightful comments as well.”

    Same to you including your civil tone…

    Your honest and forthright answer (pay attention folks… this is how it’s done) shines a light on the legitimate issue at hand (government overreach) while exposing the illegitimate issue (religious freedom) for what it is – a red herring meant to confuse and gain sympathy.

    I agree it is a matter of freedom and I fully understand your concerns about government overreach here. For me personally, this policy does not trouble me in the least for two reasons – 1) birth control is money well spent vs. the costs (real & social) of unwanted children, and 2) since 99% of people (including 97% of Catholics) use birth control I think most welcome having this paid for with relatively cheap pre-tax insurance dollars.

    As for this leading to tyranny (not your words, but many here have said as much), I think we can risk the dictatorship on this one.


  • 1978 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 9, 2013 12:12 p.m.

    @Tyler D

    That is a fair question and I appreciate your insightful comments as well. BTW I agree with you about the tax code and insurance through employers.

    In my app. 30 year career I have worked for 4 different companies. My wife requires a certain medical procedure every 4 to 5 years that costs about $1500. One of the four companies I worked for did not cover this procedure. I was then "free" to choose whether to work for them or not.

    I chose to work for them but was given a higher base salary to cover the cost. She had the procedure once when I was there and I paid for it myself. I did not get upset and demand the company change its insurance policy. I took care of it myself. To me that wasn't really complicated.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 9, 2013 11:38 a.m.

    @1978 – “Just to be clear NO ONE in the Catholic Church hierarchy is "forcing" women not to buy birth control. They just don't want to pay for it. This really isn't complicated.”

    So how does that work exactly?

    Insurance obtained through an employer is part of an employee’s compensation (i.e., their earnings they can spend how they see fit). The only reason we’re even talking about this is because of this terrible and archaic WWII holdover whereby the tax code makes it considerably cheaper to get insurance through work.

    So I’m trying to connect the dots from employee’s insurance plans (i.e., compensation) to “Catholic Church paying for it.”

    Please walk us through this “really isn't complicated” maze.

  • Truthseeker2 SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
    July 9, 2013 11:23 a.m.

    From the HHS law:

    "Guidelines such that group health plans established or maintained by these religious employers (and group health insurance coverage provided in connection with such plans) are EXEMPT from the requirement to cover contraceptive services.

    The regulations proposed that, in the case of an insured group health plan established or
    maintained by an eligible organization, the health insurance issuer providing group health
    insurance coverage in connection with the plan would be required to assume sole responsibility,
    independent of the eligible organization and its plan, for providing contraceptive coverage to
    plan participants and beneficiaries WITHOUT cost sharing, premium, fee, or other charge to plan
    participants or beneficiaries OR to the ELIGIBLE ORGANIZATION or its plan."

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    July 9, 2013 11:02 a.m.

    Ron Burgundy wrote:

    "There sure are a lot of cafeteria christians among us."

    Yes, almost half as many as there are judgmental ones.

  • 1978 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 9, 2013 10:52 a.m.


    "When your church is suddenly forced ..."

    I think your statement is more enlightening than you realize. Once the Federal Govt. "forces" the Catholic Church to do something against its beliefs the door to destroying religous liberty has been opened.

    Just to be clear NO ONE in the Catholic Church hierarchy is "forcing" women not to buy birth control. They just don't want to pay for it. This really isn't complicated.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    July 9, 2013 10:28 a.m.

    "Actually this is why we need more involvement since gov't provided healthcare would eliminate the arguing about employer provided healthcare."

    Good point!

    I have not seen a single article in DN laying out the facts (from the law) of the contraceptive coverage mandate.

    Quaker objections to military service and taxation for military purposes are not contingent on the severity of particular violent conflicts. The objection is a general one based on the incompatibility between the violent nature of militarism and a faith commitment to honour the absolute worth of every person.

    Are there "faith" tax code exemptions for Quakers? According to the coalition letter there should be!

    The "coalition" letter signed last year by the Presiding Bishop regarding same-sex marriage was full of misrepresentations. It is deeply troubling and disappointing that the "good" name of the LDS Church didn't require a higher level of accuracy and scrutiny (such as reading the actual court case(s) cited in the coalition letter).

    This coalition letter clearly demonstrates the U.S. LDS church is blindly becoming too politically insular, too politically homogenous such that it will set aside its distinctness without carefully examining all the implications.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 9, 2013 10:19 a.m.

    Contraception is basic health care coverage. It’s flat out dishonest for religious leaders in the coalition to claim their religious freedom is being violated. Government never forced the Catholic Church to become an insurance carrier. That was their choice. HHS, for its part, has made every reasonable effort to accommodate religiously affiliated carriers.

    This bitter and unnecessary fight dramatically illustrates why religious doctrine must never be used to form the basis for public law.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 9, 2013 9:57 a.m.


    "Real people" understand that just because something is available they are free to choose not to partake of it.

    Fake people think that if it's there they simply MUST use it themselves.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    July 9, 2013 9:49 a.m.

    Re: "Who is "real people"? . . . My side supports universal healthcare to everyone . . . ."

    Then, by all means, YOUR side should give universal health care to everyone. But real people who disagree with liberal, libertine definition of what constitutes "healthcare" should not be forced to adopt it, even though it violates their conscience.

    When liberals force religious people to adopt and advance their liberal, libertine agendas, that's religious oppression. And it's Anti-American.

    Liberal "freedom" to force others to bend to their will is not "freedom." It's liberal tyranny.

    Real people understand that. Liberals don't.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 9, 2013 9:45 a.m.

    @Blue AZ Cougar;

    I fail to understand how providing a health plan that covers ALL the basic necessities can be construed as forcing a business to go against its religious "convictions". You don't need to avail yourself of the benefit even if it's provided, right?

    What these organizations are doing is saying: "We don't approve of our EMPLOYEES using birth control". The employee pays at least a portion of the cost of the insurance plan; they should be allowed to choose between plans that provide for THEIR needs, not just the "religious views" of their employers.

    Furthermore; it is hypocritical in the extreme for these organizations to scream "our religious freedom is being violated" when they turn right around and fight to enact laws that VIOLATE the religious freedom of other Americans. Jesus, the guy these so-called "religous" organizations claim to worship was an enemy of the hypocrite.

  • Bob A. Bohey Marlborough, MA
    July 9, 2013 9:33 a.m.

    @Blue AZ Cougar
    I respectfully agree to disagree with you as to the intent of this letter/coalition.

  • Blue AZ Cougar Chandler, AZ
    July 9, 2013 9:22 a.m.

    My original comment was hypothetical. Go back and read it again.

    @Bob A. Bohey
    I disagree. The intent of the letter is pretty clear -- "don't tell us we have to do things contrary to what we believe." That's a pretty clear message. The religious convictions were in place long before this law was established, so it's not like these churches are trying to "stick it" to the federal government just to be annoying. The same way non-religious people want churches to stay out of politics, religious people want politics to stay out of churches.

  • Richard J ,
    July 9, 2013 9:17 a.m.

    This is a very important fundamental question here. The churches are basically asking, is it right for the government to force someone to pay for something they find morally offensive? The answer is either "yes" or "no". If it's "no", is a "government" still a "government"?

    Right question to ask. Sadly, I don't believe the churches will fully accept the right answer.

  • Ron Burgundy Ogden, UT
    July 9, 2013 9:09 a.m.

    There sure are a lot of cafeteria christians among us.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 9, 2013 9:09 a.m.

    @Blue AZ Cougar
    "A great example of this is same-sex marriage -- can you imagine if the federal government mandated that all churches were required to marry any couple, despite it being in direct contradiction to their religious and moral teachings? "

    This birth control mandate has exceptions for religious institutions. What this is more like is those cases of businesses not wanting to provide cakes, flowers, or whatever for same-sex weddings.

    "This illustrates exactly why the government in the US should not be in the health insurance business"

    Actually this is why we need more involvement since gov't provided healthcare would eliminate the arguing about employer provided healthcare.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 9, 2013 9:03 a.m.

    "No other program, government or otherwise, comes close to chastity before marriage. That is as Pro-life as you can get. "

    Two problems with that...
    1. A lot of people end up having sex anyway, and typically it's unsafe sex.
    2. Over half of abortions are obtained by women who already have at least one child, birth control is important in marriage too, not just before it.

    "No one has ever gotten pregnant that was chaste! "

    Well... maybe one person... but we'll leave Mary out of this.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    July 9, 2013 8:02 a.m.

    Re: "By the way, there is plenty of evidence in the Bible that God authorizes the termination of unborn life in various circumstances."

    Not in any Bible Christians would recognize.

  • Bob A. Bohey Marlborough, MA
    July 9, 2013 7:25 a.m.

    This coalition really doesn't want religious liberty. They want to be able to dictate the laws of the land through their religious views and perception of morality. They should at least be honest about what they're trying to do.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 9, 2013 6:58 a.m.

    @1978 & Blue AZ Cougar;

    When your church is suddenly forced to marry MEMBERS that they feel are "unworthy" in their temples, then, and only then, will you need to worry about GLBT couples forcing your churches to marry them.


    So the rest of us aren't "real people"? Gee, who knew?


    Employees pay a premium, extracted from each and every paycheck. If you don't believe you should pay for birth-control pills, look at it this way, the EMPLOYEE is paying it out of a portion of their premium.

    It is VERY hypocritical for these very same organizations to include viagra, cialis, etc. in their health plans but not birth control. You'd think they WANT men to have sex and WANT women to be forced to have children.


    Actually, if you read the bible, God not only authorized the killing of unborn babies, but babies, women and children as well. Didn't he COMMAND Joshua to exterminate the Caananites when they invaded? There were almost certainly pregnant women among those slaughtered.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 9, 2013 6:43 a.m.

    Those who claim their "religious freedom" are the same ones most oppressive and dissmissive of other's religious beliefs.

    Jesus condemned the hypocrites. Perhaps those of the Christian persuasion would do well to review their various hypocritical policies.

    One last note, when did religion become big business?

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 8, 2013 10:40 p.m.

    @Blue AZ Cougar

    Your same-sex example is equivalent to me saying "what if" Sharia Law replaced our constitution. It could happen, but it's a ridiculous example (as yours was) that does not further my argument.

    How were the Branch Davidians clearly harming society? For that matter, as Truthseeker points out, if we apply the logic of the Open Letter, then our Church must be against the government incarcerating Christian Scientists when they refuse medical treatment for their children. And certainly we must be in support of the FLDS's practice of polygamy (as long as everybody is of legal age)... they too are just following their religious beliefs.

    Calling the use of contraception a "lifestyle choice" is offensive and very right-wing radical thinking. Further, I don't believe our Church looks at contraception as a "lifestyle" so why would we sign on to such a letter?

  • Blue AZ Cougar Chandler, AZ
    July 8, 2013 9:55 p.m.


    My bad, you're right -- this is about contraceptives, not abortion. However, my example using same-sex marriage is not a bad one (nor is it all that far-fetched). I clearly said "what if" which implies it has not happened. It's a hypothetical scenario.

    Just because the church doesn't have a dog in this fight doesn't mean we just sit on the sidelines and watch the federal government steamroll the beliefs of other people (and cherry-pick their constitutional rights). Again, you can't pass a law that forces a religious organization to subordinate its beliefs or act in a manner that is in clear contradiction to those beliefs. I suppose the only exception to that rule is when the religious beliefs are a clear harm to society (such as the Branch Davidians), but that isn't the case here. As the letter states, "the federal government has neither a compelling interest nor the appropriate authority to coerce one citizen to fund or facilitate specific lifestyle choices of another." The contraceptive clause is a violation of First Amendment rights that allow for the free exercise of religious beliefs.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 8, 2013 9:09 p.m.

    @DN "Moderators"

    Please stop arbitrarily censoring opinions that you disagree with!

    @Blue AZ Coug

    This is about contraceptives not abortion. And your same-sex marriage example is a poor example because your example has not happened (and will not happen other than in the minds of delusional paranoids). Religious liberties are not being trampled in this country, and the church does not have a dog in this fight since we believe that contraception is fine.

    Joining in this right-wring political stunt makes no logical sense and is just plain wrong.

  • Jared from CT SOUTHBURY, CT
    July 8, 2013 9:09 p.m.

    The claim that an employee is "deprived of choice" by employers that don't provide insurance that covers contraception is false. The employee can (a) purchase supplemental insurance, (b) purchase their own contraception, (c) quit having sex, (d) find another job with an employer that provides their desired insurance coverage, (e) quit working altogether and go on the dole, (f) quit their job and start their own company where they are the boss and can choose the insurance plans they provide to their employees, (g) go to work for the government and have guaranteed job security, great benefits, bonuses in a down economy, tyrannical power over citizens they are supposed to serve, and attend lavish parties and conventions, or (h) end their own miserable existence because they aren't getting "free" contraception, something that most of the world doesn't get now, and that 99.999999999999999999% of humanity has never had.

    What's next? Mandating abortion coverage? Sex change operations? Plastic surgery? Liberty and the pursuit of happiness (and our own violated constitution) demand that the government stop manipulating the private sector.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    July 8, 2013 8:52 p.m.

    From the Letter:
    "Those who are not so opposed nevertheless resist the mandate because they believe that it is an “encroachment on the conscience of our fellow citizens.” They write: “Whether or not we agree with the particular conscientious objection is beside the point."


    What about polygamy? Will we support the FLDS in its practice of polygamy?

    Will we support Christian Scientist's practice of using prayer instead of modern medicine for healing--including the death of children from preventable diseases?

    it's not about whether we agree or disagree with beliefs. It's about govt encroachment on free practice of religion.

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    July 8, 2013 8:45 p.m.

    @TRUTH: "god did not authorize the killing of the unborn, ever!"

    Wrong. In the Bible, we are told that God, through his prophets, authorized the stoning to death of adulteress women, some of whom would have been pregnant. In fact, some adulteress women were not found out until they began to "show."

    Also, in Numbers 5: 17-31, priests administer "bitter water" to abort the babies of women who were "defiled."

    In other cases, Israel according to the Bible is commanded by God to kill all people in certain villages, including some women who would have been pregnant. In cases where the pregnancy is far along, they are authorized to cut the unborn from the womb to make sure it does not survive.

    I hope this has been helpful in your understanding of the Bible, not every word of which I believe.

  • donn layton, UT
    July 8, 2013 7:17 p.m.

    Tyler D,Religious freedom i.e...'

    The Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. Hialeah, was a case in which the Supreme Court.

    The church would bring their practice of Santeria, which included the ritual sacrifice of animals, into the area. Animal sacrifice is practiced at birth, marriage, and death rites. It is also used for curing the sick and other annual ceremonies. As a response to this, the city of Hialeah passed several ordinances prohibiting animal sacrifice. The Church claimed that this violated their First Amendment rights to freely exercise their religion.

    This decision reaffirmed the standard set forth in Smith to determine whether a law violates the freedom of individuals' to exercise their religions. In order to not have to meet the compelling interest standard a law must be generally applicable and neutral.

    The Court unanimously invalidated the city ordinances that outlawed animal sacrifices.

  • The Taxman Los Angeles, CA
    July 8, 2013 7:11 p.m.

    This imaginary "war on religion" has become overtly political and the (supposedly politically neutral) Church is WRONG to step in here.

    Why has the Church not banded with the Christian Scientists against the government who puts their members in jail when their children die of easily treatable conditions? After all, it's not whether we agree with the practice (of withholding medical treatment) or not, it's religious freedom that's at issue here!

  • Todd_i Midway, UT
    July 8, 2013 6:57 p.m.

    @ Howard,

    "So if a Jehovah's Witness employer refuses to pay for a health care plan that covers blood transfusions, is that acceptable because of his religious beliefs?"

    Yes, a Jehovah Witness should not be required to provide health care coverage that conflicts with his/her religious beliefs. An employee then has the freedom to determine if they want to accept a business contract to work for a JW business because of the limited health insurance. To me I'd consider this healthcare package useless and I'd decide if I wanted to work for the JW owner or not--that is my choice.

    This illustrates exactly why the government in the US should not be in the health insurance business. Fundamentally, government mandated health insurance is unconstitutional. (I know, the SCOTUS deemed the law constitutional as a 'tax' and slid it under the commerce act, but fundamentally it is unconstitutional and violates the bill of rights).

  • Blue AZ Cougar Chandler, AZ
    July 8, 2013 6:54 p.m.


    What exactly offends you about it?

    I'm also LDS and believe the Church is spot on with their support of this letter. The Church is not saying it thinks abortion is wrong, because it has repeatedly said that under certain circumstances abortion may be necessary. The simple fact is that religious liberties are being trampled on in this country. You can't force religious organizations to provide services that contradict the beliefs of that organization.

    A great example of this is same-sex marriage -- can you imagine if the federal government mandated that all churches were required to marry any couple, despite it being in direct contradiction to their religious and moral teachings? Our nation has started on a path where we sacrifice so much in the name of equality.

    The ironic thing is that in the same-sex marriage debate, many people wanted separation of church and state. When it comes to healthcare benefits, though, it seems there is no line between church and state -- the "state" wants to mandate that the church subordinates its beliefs in favor of something that directly contradicts the church's teachings. That's a bad precedent.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    July 8, 2013 6:52 p.m.

    Atl, Hutterite, and Tyler: No other program, government or otherwise, comes close to chastity before marriage. That is as Pro-life as you can get. How come no one supports that as a government program? It doesn't work? It does for those who have believe in it. If one doesn't believe in it, then he/she needs to accept the consequences of his/her choices. Not reality? It's reality to those who believe in it. The statistics are unquestionable. No one has ever gotten pregnant that was chaste! You'd think that the liberals would get on board with something that has a perfect record. But, of course, that is not what they want. It is much easier to declare a 'war' on something then actually do something about it. Being chaste is the only pro-life movement that makes sense. It actually works! I don't live in a perfect world, I just live in one that makes more sense because the principles don't change.

  • cindyacre Shelley, ID
    July 8, 2013 6:36 p.m.

    Brain capitalist: The Church is not a for-profit organization, it is funded by donations. It does not use its money in endeavors to make more money - it uses it for public good. The tax exempt status that religions have it because of that reason. They have the right to speak out on moral issues. LIFE is a moral issue, not a state one.

  • TRUTH Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2013 6:33 p.m.

    god authorizes Unborn killings of unborn....By Steve Warren!

    Steve, Obama is not god, and Dreams of my Father is not the Bible.....and no god did not authorize the killing of the unborn, ever!

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    July 8, 2013 6:20 p.m.

    Through taxes, individuals and organizations see lots of money spent in ways that make us uncomfortable. I'm still glad, for example, that as a young man I didn't have to directly participate in the needless killing of 2 million Vietnamese civilians, although my taxes did support that.

    That's why Mark Silk is right to refer to this letter as "right-wing flapping."

    By the way, there is plenty of evidence in the Bible that God authorizes the termination of unborn life in various circumstances.

    July 8, 2013 5:57 p.m.

    The issue is not birth control. The fundamental question is whether or not a company can enforce the religious beliefs of its CEO on its employees. Imagine that your wife is pregnant. There are issues with the fetus, but not to worry, there are drugs that can be prescribed to save that baby. However, the CEO of your company just happens to be Muslim. Those drugs just happen to violate some portion of Sharia Law as he has interpreted it. If you pay out of pocket the drugs are extremely expensive. Of course you will mortgage your home and run through all your credit doing anything to save your child. Or your company could just have an insurance plan that happens to cover the needed medications and treatment that your wife needs instead of the select portions approved by your CEO's religion. With this letter, the LDS Church is stating that Sharia Law may be imposed on employees if the president of the company deems it and the government can do nothing about it.

  • GD Syracuse, UT
    July 8, 2013 5:54 p.m.

    So why do health insurance have to furnish contraceptives. We bought our own throughout our married life. We seem to get closer to a socialistic state daily.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 8, 2013 5:52 p.m.

    The LDS Church has gone way too far in signing on to this right-wing political (and ridiculous) letter and I, as a member, am offended and ashamed by it.

  • From Ted's Head Orem, UT
    July 8, 2013 5:50 p.m.

    Having seemingly withdrawn from the battle over same-sex marriage the LDS Church is drawing its line in the sand in regards to religious freedom. I don't think that the LDS Church is concerned about birth control as much as they are about government dictating churches' actions. I also believe that there is an alliance building aspect to this letter and that the LDS Church is seeking to make friends in anticipation of the possible attack on religious freedom re same-sex marriage. The wagons are circling.

  • Chris from Rose Park Hartford, CT
    July 8, 2013 5:49 p.m.

    @Russell Howes
    Yes, the employer should be able to decide not to cover blood transfusions. I am of the particular belief that it is not a companies responsibility to provide health insurance. How in the world did it become so? It's a benefit and the company should be able to decide what benefits to give. It's a form of compensation. Jared from CT is correct.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    July 8, 2013 5:48 p.m.

    This issue affects married women as well. Married women use contraceptives--not just "loose" college co-eds.

    If no employer is required to pay for contraceptive coverage--only to make available to their employees health plans which include contraceptive coverage what is the issue?

    Are we against allowing contraceptive coverage because "money is fungible? ie, even though no employer is required to PAY for the contraceptive coverage, the fact that money is interchangeable we can't allow it?

    That "money is fungible" can be applied to churches as well.

    For example, when churches collect "tithes" they might say "our tithes don't go for a fancy car for the Priest or tithes don't go for shopping malls and luxury housing" but under the "money is fungible" concept one could argue that "yes" tithes are going for fancy cars and shopping malls.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 8, 2013 5:43 p.m.

    It's nothing short of criminal for any organisation to fail to support birth control to the fullest yet decry any abortion. The empowerment of women is the single greatest means of improving life for all mankind, anywhere on earth. Yet religion, despite all it's claims about charity and helping the poor, refuses to do this lest it lead to women taking control of their own reproductive cycles. Churchy types always want to tell you when and with whom to have sex, it seems. Seriously let's start talking about sex like adults, and start acting like we actually want to prevent abortions short of just trying more legislative tricks.

  • Prodicus Provo, UT
    July 8, 2013 5:19 p.m.

    Russell Howes: Absolutely. If you want a blood transfusion you should not expect the JWs to pay for it.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    July 8, 2013 5:14 p.m.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg.There will many more fights against this Obama-nation we find ourselves in. The Obama administration is as close to a full blown communist state - at least that is the desired direction. If people want freedom - a bill of rights - and liberty they are going to have to fight Barack and his progressive - communist - atheists every step of the way.

  • Gunner South Jordan, UT
    July 8, 2013 5:13 p.m.

    Northeast Kingdom: How are these religious groups forcing their beliefs on anybody? They aren't saying their employees can't use birth control. All they are saying is they shouldn't have to pay for it. Not even close to apples to apples. More like apples to watermelon!

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 8, 2013 5:03 p.m.

    I consider birth control money well spent next to have to pay the costs (in real dollars or societal consequences) associated with millions of unwanted children.

    And if Repubs don’t like the mandate, let’s start a “national charity” where birth control is given out free to anyone who cannot afford it.

    Now that’s a 10% tithing program I can get behind!

  • Stalwart Sentinel San Jose, CA
    July 8, 2013 4:56 p.m.

    This group of religious leaders misses the mark right off the bat when they call themselves "informed" in the first sentence of the letter. The supposed rights of which they speak do not exist, which is why they have and will lose in court on this subject matter.

    Chalk this up as another social policy upon which our Church has not only taken the losing side of the argument but also aligned itself against actual rights recognized under the COTUS. Indeed, such short-sightedness and poorly informed choices by leadership only provides fodder to people who oppose the LDS faith.

  • grandmagreat Lake Havasu City, AZ
    July 8, 2013 4:53 p.m.

    this is a very frustrating subject, when I was in the Child Bearing Age, the best way to avoid getting prgnant was to sleep alone. If you were married, then use the calendar, and have sex on the days that you were likely not to get prgnant. When you were a teenager, Parents had a little more control and rules of conduct for their child and Morals were much higher A little common sens could solve the problem, and parents using a little more leadership roll with their children, could put this all behind us. Doctors an pill Pushers might not like it, But noone would be committing legal murder.

  • Instereo Eureka, UT
    July 8, 2013 4:47 p.m.

    An adult child can now be insured up to 26 even if they are married. So that means a woman who is married, supporting her husband through school, can not have access for insurance paid birth control. In other words the issue is not so black and white. The Obama may be have their 'final' offer on the table but they compromised and moved their position to be more appealing to religions. This letter shows no such compromising attitude. Again considering the complexity of the issues, it's easy to show how one set of religious principles can be violated by rigid adherence to another set of principles.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2013 4:43 p.m.

    If there were a church that was opposed to war (and some of them are) do we get to pay less taxes to avoid paying for wars because of moral beliefs? Nope. Why should healthcare be any different? It's not anyone is forcing you to use birth control and churches themselves have exemptions.


    "They just don't understand that real people have a conscience."

    Who is "real people"? Most Catholics use birth control so do they not count? Your church allows for birth control use so do they not count? My side supports universal healthcare to everyone based on what we consider to be a matter of conscience but obviously you think we don't count.

    @banderson and John20000

    I sort of assumed pro-life advocates were interested in reducing the frequency of abortion.

  • mattwend IDAHO FALLS, ID
    July 8, 2013 4:39 p.m.


    Your statement that "liberal political hacks" don't understand that real people have consciences seems to completely ignore some with liberal beliefs that all children are entitled to quality education, food and healthcare and that people in this country shouldn't be starving or dying of perfectly curable diseases just because they don't have a good job or health insurance. Democrats and Republicans are not all correct or all wrong and accusing liberals of being without conscience is not accurate. Sometimes consciences are different. If you believe in ultimate truth, as I do, some specific ideas are abhorrently wrong. Abortion is one of these. But those who disagree may be looking at things differently and their conscience may say otherwise. As moral people, we are told to vote according to our consciences. I will continue to fight against abortion except when the mother's life is in danger, but I will also continue to support safety net programs because they are morally the right thing to do according to my moral compass. Denigrating liberals is of no value. We are all better off discussing issues instead of liberals or conservatives.

  • sanpaco Sandy, UT
    July 8, 2013 4:31 p.m.

    Pay for your own choices. That's what it comes down to. If you want to be able to have sex and avoid having children then you should buy your own birth control. Part of the reason no one can have an intelligent conversation about these topics is because people are forced onto one of two sides instead of people acknowledging that everyone has different opinions and for different reasons. I think a lot of people simply prefer for people to be responsible for their own actions. Learn the difference between a right and a priviledge. You have to earn priviledges by showing that you can act responsibly and are willing to accept the consequences of your actions.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    July 8, 2013 4:26 p.m.

    "...they are united against government requiring any faith or its followers to violate those teachings."

    Why the misrepresentation? There is NO law anywhere, and never has been, that "requires any faith or its followers to violate those teachings." Individuals are free to choose to use contraception or not -- except when they are employed by a company or organization that tries to control the private lives of their employees! Then there are many employees who have been deprived of the choice because their bosses and owners want totalitarian control over not just their professional/work lives, but their private lives as well!

    This is yet another example of the LDS Church jumping on the ["religious freedom"] bandwagon, only to find itself on the wrong side of history... again!

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    July 8, 2013 4:01 p.m.

    Yea, let's shoot down responsible reproduction. Makes perfect sense.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    July 8, 2013 4:00 p.m.

    So if a Jehovah's Witness employer refuses to pay for a health care plan that covers blood transfusions, is that acceptable because of his religious beliefs?


    July 8, 2013 4:00 p.m.

    I have a good friend who was diagnosed with endometriosis. She spent more than a year in terrible, excruciating pain that finally ended in surgery. In the process, she lost her job (because she was always in pain) and her insurance. One of the many different treatments for endometriosis is birth control. There are about 27 different kinds that are prescribed and their costs vary. Amazingly no one blinked an eye last year when the Navy bought three new destroyers at a cost of $7 billion each, but asking an insurance company to cover birth control for a single, unmarried, celibate woman is seen as some kind of heresy. We will pay to kill someone far away, but we will not allow insurance to cover the health needs of the woman next door.
    This is why I feel the way I do about Christians. This is also why I am an athiest.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    July 8, 2013 3:51 p.m.

    As an LDS member this is extremely disturbing.
    The Obama Administration has tried to work with religious groups to address their issues. For example, employers (who employ non-adherents) are NOT required to pay for contraceptives--only to allow access to plans which offer contraceptives.

    What is the LDS church's goal here? Does the LDS church have restrictions on contraceptives? If they do it is news to me. To support other religions who do? Why? Why would we stop there? Why not defend religions which use hallucinogens or prayer to cure disease?

    First and foremost, contraceptives save lives--women's lives, not just by preventing pregnancy but also reducing the risk of ovarian cancer and also in treating other conditions.
    Use of contraceptives also reduce disease and abortion--saving the lives of the unborn.

    Once upon a time the LDS Church marched to its own drummer. Now it appears they are foolishly jumping through hoops so they can be part of "the club," the "popular" group.


    (BTW, I am an ovarian cancer survivor--who also worked for a Catholic Hospital which provided birth control coverage).

  • Jared from CT SOUTHBURY, CT
    July 8, 2013 3:49 p.m.

    The entire idea that the gov can force employers to provide health insurance in the first place, and then force them to provide certain coverages, is outrageous. The Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves right now. Employers should be able to choose whether they will provide insurance to their employees. If I employ part-timers and want to compensate them with a "Cadillac" health plan, I sure as heck ought to be able to. If I have full-timers that work 60+ hours a week, and I don't want to compensate them with health insurance, I sure as heck shouldn't have to. And they don't have to work for me either, they can go elsewhere. And I ought to be able to pick the health insurance plan I want to provide, whether it has bare minimum coverages, or high deductibles, or covers birth control or not, or maternity, or whatever. The bottom line is that the gov needs to get its filthy politicized corrupt claws out of private enterprise, enable true liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and allow free market economics to work.

  • John20000 Cedar Hills, UT
    July 8, 2013 3:34 p.m.

    Belgium is 97% urban with 5% of the population attending any church. It is a country were "soft" drug use isn't prosecuted. It is the size of Hawaii with the population of Ohio. It is not a very good case study for the United States to follow.

  • MoJules Florissant, MO
    July 8, 2013 3:32 p.m.

    If those who want others to pay for their birth control stopped buying soda's they could afford their own.

  • brainoncapitalist Orem, UT
    July 8, 2013 3:29 p.m.

    As a corporation, the Church is a creation of the State and as such is subject to public policy. If the Church wants to avoid having to abide by public policy decisions that affect all corporations, they should rescind their 501(c)(3) status, which they mistakenly believe is the only way to be tax exempt and rely upon the FACT that churches are by their very nature, ALREADY tax exempt. This would also free them from being muzzled by the government and allow them to speak freely about any subject they wish.

  • 1978 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2013 3:26 p.m.

    Same-sex marriage supporters claim that Catholics, Baptists, LDS members, etc. don't need to worry about being forced to perform same-sex marriages (or face the consequences) because we have a seperation of church and state.

    Don't try and convince me. Convince your beloved president that the federal govt. can't dictate actions within churches that violate their deeply held religous beliefs.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 8, 2013 3:24 p.m.

    I think it's a bad decision for a high level Church authority to endorse the letter. I don't think the Presiding Bishop would decide such a thing without the First Presidency's approval if not at their direction.

  • play by the rules SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    July 8, 2013 3:20 p.m.

    Beautifully stated Banderson.

  • Northeast Kingdom Portland, OR
    July 8, 2013 3:20 p.m.

    So let me get this right, religious groups don't want beliefs/laws forced on them (i.e. universal birth control coverage), but they have no problem forcing their beliefs/practices on others (i.e. banning same sex marriage). Granted it isn't an apples to apples comparison, but definitely food for thought.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    July 8, 2013 3:17 p.m.

    ATL134: I'm always amazed at the Non-sequitors and comparisons between countries such as Belgium, or similar countries, to the United States in regards to a whole host of issues, including this most recent post about birth control coverage. It's kind of like comparing my neighbor's walk to get the mail from his mailbox to the fitness industry. Belgium only has 10 million people and without immigration would become extinct in a few generations. I would hardly consider them an example for anything, including the bearing of children.

  • GiuseppeG Murray, Utah
    July 8, 2013 3:10 p.m.

    re: Mountanman

    I think they cost something like $9 for a month supply without insurance. You don't think that's too much?

  • Russell Howes Los Angeles, CA
    July 8, 2013 3:09 p.m.

    So if a Jehovah's Witness employer refuses to pay for a health care plan that covers blood transfusions, is that acceptable because of his religious beliefs?

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    July 8, 2013 3:03 p.m.

    Re: "The letter comes four days after the Obama administration released its final offer to . . . allow nonprofits . . . to hire a third party to administer the benefit."

    Or, in other words, its final offer is -- "my way or the highway."

    So typical of liberal political hacks!

    They just don't understand that real people have a conscience. That real people would rather offend liberals than offend God. And that real people understand that hiring someone to do what your conscience forbids, is the moral equivalent of doing it yourself.

    They've clearly convinced themselves that everyone is as cynical and disingenuous as they are, so, if they just offer the right transparent political fig leaf, any opposition must clearly bend to their superior powers of reasoning.

    And, of course, the corollary to that is -- any opposition that doesn't bend will be subject to attack by the IRS, the NSA, the DOJ, or some other wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democrat Party.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2013 2:50 p.m.

    Belgium, the nation with the lowest abortion rate in the world has achieved that in part through their universal birth control coverage system. Funny how the Catholic church doesn't care about that so much since it's a gov't provided healthcare system rather than employer provided. Maybe we just need single payer.

  • play by the rules SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    July 8, 2013 2:48 p.m.

    In my opinion the Church has been far too soft on the regime and it is good to see them standing up against the oppressors.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    July 8, 2013 2:47 p.m.

    If any individual wants birth control pills, buy them yourself! Problem solved!