There are cases in which a Church should compromise and indeed abandon its
principles. Who favors allowing religious believers to avoid medical treatment
for their children who will die if they don't receive it? Not me. In such
cases, the government should step in and put parents on trial for manslaughter.
Does the fashionable, religious right comprehend this?
Truthseekerthere is a vast difference between a Church compromising
its own principals and the government forcing them to compromise their
principals - a fact that no one on the fashionable intolerant left seems to
Two major and popular articles on DN claim that religious freedom is being
attacked.Actually, the rise of religious influence in politics is
the shocking and unfortunate change of recent decades. We used to be content to
let the Government do its best to protect the rights and beliefs of all, but,
today, this is called "blocking religious freedom"60 years
ago, it was common in many churches in parts of the USA to preach that the
separation of Blacks and Whites was God's plan. To a majority of Americans,
especially the younger ones, the issue of how to handle Gay people is settled,
but some churches are fighting it, perhaps because they have no convenient way
to fit acceptance into their doctrine.As for public accomodations --
many States have laws that say a business open to the public must serve
everyone. Such laws list particular groups that have been victims of
discrimination in the past.I think that citizens of Utah and other
areas that do not have anti-discrimination laws have no business in the laws of
other States. Making up stories about "Gay agenda" etc are beneath
members of any Christian church.
There is far more religious intolerance coming from the left than there is from
the right. There are some commentors on here that need to open their eyes to
that fact. As an athiest minister the left has forced me to start celebrating
christmas because not celebrating christmas is actually an expression of my
atheism...and they don't want me expressing my religion...so I have to
celebrate Theism. hmmmmmmmmm.
"we must protect the rights of others, including the most vulnerable and the
least popular," Meaning the LDS Church, which these days seems
to fit both descriptions. This site's purpose is rather
obviously transparent. However, if the LDS Church wants to stand its ground
against same sex marriage and one sex priesthood -- it will have to in more
overly preemptive ways, such as advocating the sort of reforms in housing, work
and benefits that would make same sex marriage necessary.
@GildasMany people consider orthodox LDS doctrine as outlandish and
isn't that what it is? After all we have "my ways are not your ways,
saith the Lord" and we have three full books of canon scripture which are
radically revisionary, even revolutionary.Sound doctrine is good but
it must be the fullness of doctrine not the watered down versions which have
become all too popular as the church tries to integrate with evangelicals. Take
our doctrine of the Godhead, do other churches respect our right to believe in
three distinct beings in the Godhead two of which were once as man is? Some do,
many go nonlinear. This is a good example of religious tolerance or lack of it.
Does the church stop teaching the doctrine of the Godhead to patch up the
differences or does it teach correct doctrine?
@ Ginger I never stated that there was a "script" for
teaching I referred to the lesson "guide" which is - a "guide".
A teacher's personality and personal supportive experiences legitimately
differentiates one class from another, not the doctrines taught or strange
lesson material. It is not intended that a teacher just read the
manual aloud. Questions that inspire uplifting thoughts and participation are
the mainstay of each class; the nature of the questions are supplied in the
manual. The teacher is to direct the discussion to sound conclusions attended
by his testimony.It is when personal, non-doctrinal, non-scriptural,
ideas are taught, or personal agendas and tangents followed, that the Church has
needed to reiterate that church doctrines backed by scripture and authoritative
references need to be taught in classes and talks, and the guide followed.The idea of a class or a talk is to establish and increase faith in
"sound doctrine" not to titillate people with outlandish statements, or
wrest scripture to make it seem to support the philosophies of men. I have
often challenged these false philosophies when they arose in a class, which
sadly they do too often.
Furthermore, during the Prop 8 campaign I spoke up regarding some false
materials that were presented in church meetings. Speaking up did little good
as I was ignored by the members and leadership alike. The false information on
the brochures was quietly changed, but no retractions or corrections were
issued.The feeling I got was that people feel you are introducing a
contentious spirit into meetings if you question things, even if false
information is being presented.
Furthermore, during the Prop
@Ginger"The problem isn't so much teachers or speaker presenting
speculative or false doctrine, the problem is the listeners blandly accepting
what was said without challenging it."In the words I've
attended, the members are pretty ignorant as to the doctrine, and certainly as
to the history of the church. And the manuals are not that helpful, containing
half-truths such as Eliza Snow was Brigham Young's wife (not mentioning
that she was first Joseph Smith's wife). So you get a bunch of listeners
accepting what is said because they're not intellectually capable or
prepared to challenge it.And let's face it, a lot of converts
would not be members of this church if they possessed personalities that
challenge things they hear from others that do not go along with what
they've been taught.
@LagomorphThere are some pretty commonly accepted reasons for instituting
government. They generally come down to 2 things. 1 protect the population from
predation internally. We solve that through the use of Police and the Court
System. 2 Protect the population from attack by external forces. We solve that
through the use of Military.I think that very few people would agree that
the core purpose of government is to guarantee everyone has contraception. So,
there is a significant difference between using someone's taxes to pay for
war they do not support and requiring someone to violate their religious
convictions regarding contraception. The first fulfills the primary role of
government, the second fulfills, ..., well, nothing.
Gildas, you have been deceived. There was and now is no teacher script. The
older manuals each contained outlines for three distinct lessons which the
teacher could prepare as inspired for his/her class. Deviation was designed in.
The newer youth courses do away with lesson manuals entirely. The teacher
prepares for teaching in the manner of Jesus Christ from an online outline but
there is no script. The lectures are being replaced with discussions. See Come
Follow Me The problem isn't so much teachers or speaker
presenting speculative or false doctrine, the problem is the listeners blandly
accepting what was said without challenging it. We grown-ups. We need to think
when we listen and challenge what isn't right.When someone says
something disrespectful or false about another religion, that needs to be
challenged and corrected. The reason for the decline of religious rights, if
any, are that we are uncritically accepting the nonsense that is being shouted
at us in the community and the church. The source of this problem is not the
president of the church it is those who then re-interpret what he meant.
To Shazandra: In answer to your question about why I think nobody called the
teacher about his/her spouting false doctrine, I quote sukiyhtaky's
Comment: "Not being LDS I thought I must have misunderstood what the
teacher was saying and returned the next Sunday only to hear the exact same
sentiment. Nobody stood to counter it and I havn't been back since".I was raised Protestant and became LDS in college so I know the
territory pretty well. I loved the churches I went to even though I was looking
for much deeper spiritual bedrock. There were, at least a few decades ago, many
Protestant ministers who said or wrote the kinds of statements that you refer
to. I heard a few of those pronouncements, myself. Whether they currently
describe Satan as early Christian artworks depict him is irrelevant to me now.
With so much need in the world I think it's best to concentrate on the good
we can do as a team within our mutual common ground, working with
God-worshipping religions of all kinds.
The teaching of personal opinion as doctrine in LDS Church organizations:This definitely happens at times even though clearly forbidden:We have been told in General Conference that no teacher has a right to teach
his or her own opinion in lieu of doctrine, or to substitute their personally
created lesson rather than following the guide given in the lesson books. I
have seen situations when false ideas have been presented in a talk or class
when the person so teaching has been corrected publicly (so every one knew the
false idea being taught was not doctrinal) by the presiding authority, and even
one teacher being relieved of her calling when she continued to proclaim her own
agenda.The Church in the days of Christ and his apostles warned of
false teachers who sneaked in false doctrines. They could still be a problem
when not dealt with in a timely manner.The President of the Church
in a recent General Conference even made sure that members were informed that
sometimes even apostles gave their considered opinions in a talk.
@Shazandra;Who said anything about monogamy or speaking with god?@John Pack Lambert of Michigan;"It is easy to support
those things that you agree with. We need to speak out in favor of things we
find questionable. ... should see that allowing such is a question or religious
freedom and should be allowed."--- So you support gay marriage?
Since there are many religious organizations that approve of it and, their
religious freedom is violated by laws preventing it, right?
Isn't it perversely interesting that those who freely flaunt their
sexuality, an intensely private aspect of one's life, in public, find no
room to consider the rights of those who wish to simply live their religion
24/7, which includes the hours they are in the view of the public. It is also perversely interesting that those who reject religion try to
dictate the doctrines the religious people are supposed to believe and follow.
So what is the 11th Article Of Faith?
Redshirt,You have a point, but Islam is also a religion, and it has
greatly expanded its religious liberty and power. What is good for the goose is
not always so good for the gander when it comes to conflicting religions; and
that is one of the many reasons why organized religion and corporate churches
should be kept out of politics and the public square. It most often is the
innocent who suffer the most from inane religious and church conflics. Also, in
my previous post I was referencing the source of the article, nevertheless it
pretty much applies across the board.
If you want to see religious freedom under attack you have to go no further than
New Mexico where people have been fined for following the dictates of their
The true test of religious freedom is supporting the right of individuals to do
things that you find downright wrong in the name of religion. It is
easy to support those things that you agree with. We need to speak out in favor
of things we find questionable. Thus, for example those who really do not
approve of women wearing full face coverings revealing only their eyes should
see that allowing such is a question or religious freedom and should be allowed.
Religious liberty has been a recurring theme in DesNews coverage lately, with
gay marriage and the ACA contraceptive mandate major concerns.To a
degree, I can understand the contraceptive mandate issue, but not entirely. An
employer is only required to provide insurance policies that cover
contraception. The employer is not required to pay for contraceptives directly.
An employee is not required to buy or use contraceptives. The employer's
premiums go into the insurer's account, where they are pooled with other
premiums. Some fraction of those pooled funds are used to pay for
contraception.Contrast this with mandatory federal taxes, a portion
of which goes towards paying for weapons and wars, which is deeply offensive to
many faiths, including Quakers, Mennonites, and many Roman Catholics. As with
the contraceptive mandate, there is no direct financial support of the
objectionable expense; their tax dollars go into a pool. I don't see a
significant difference. Yet this paper is remarkably silent in its coverage of
military spending as a religious freedom issue. In keeping with Elder
Pack's advice to defend both the popular and unpopular causes, I hope to
see more discussion of the war issue in these pages.
To "skeptic" I think the Christians in Iraq, Egypt, and Syria would
disagree with you. Thier liberties were removed and they are losing their lives
because of the lack of religious freedom.It is ironic that under
dictators the Christians in predominately muslim nations had more freedom than
under the so-called islamic freedom movements.
The church leaders need to explain how they think their religious liberties have
eroded. To the contrary, it seems the church's religious liberties have
grown an expanded wold wide: the church is richer, larger, more politically
powerful, more intrusive and controlling than ever; and increasing by the day.
It sounds like someone is crying wolf.
sukiyhtaky & Gracie...The issue of Doctrine of any particular church is a
gray area. Has the LDS Church ever rescinded Joseph Smith's testimony of
what he was told about other churches? I don't think so.But
that is very common in religions. Every church has zealots, expressing strong
testimonies, even though they offend others.Doctrine is a difficult
realm. The LDS Church has standard scriptures. Added to those are modern-day
prophetic teachings of living prophets. Throughout the scriptures, and even
modern day teachings, are principles never clearly determined to be doctrine.
An example is the use of meat in D&C 89. Or staying up late in D&C 88.
These may be considered to be trite, but the scriptures are laced with such
teachings. I suppose other churches have similar foggy parts of their
doctrine.The answer for those investigating religion is to follow
the Spirit and your heart.
@Uncle_FesterI assume you are talking about the religion of Secular
Humanism?One of it's core doctrine is that all religion is evil and
should be purged from society.Another of its core doctrines is easily
accessible abortion on demand, without limitations.
@Gracie in Boise-I think I understand your point to sukiyh, and we all
know there's a lot of freedom in Sunday School classes. But why do you
think that no one corrected the teacher? If he/she was quoting any early church
leader, who was quoting Joseph Smith, that is his direct quote. I have found
that many LDS church converts don't always study early church history, and
most lifetime members don't have time to carefully study early Mormonism.
Much of it is not taught any longer. Any temple-goer before the
mid-80's know how the Protestant minister was portrayed. There are also
plenty of church president's commentaries that allude to the total
ineffectuality of non-LDS rituals, from baptism to marriage.@atl-
Webster defines moral as "right conduct; doing what is right; in sexual
matters, chaste." Where do you think countries got their moral/ethical
codes of public conduct? From ancient Greece to modern Stockholm,
"morals" are defined differently. England and America had a Biblical
plumbline.@Ranch- Since you and God discuss why He gave the
Israelites monogomy, are you going to fight for the FLDS?
While I appreciate some members of the LDS faith trying to build bridges, I get
so tired of hearing that something is not a church doctrine, but just the
"individual." Guess what? Your individual members are the public face
of your organization - not the 1st Presidency. The vast majority of Americans
could not tell you who the leader of the LDS Church is. They could tell you
about the Mormon neighbor who wouldn't allow their children to come over to
non-members' houses or the person in the next office who told them their
grandmother was residing in Hell because she drank coffee (both of these things
happened to me) or even calling people who are not LDS "people without
morals" as one writer on this thread did. You really need to work on your
front line. They are not helping your cause at all.
I really hope the curch is sincere with this effort. However, I have my doubts
since, for example, the church's arguments on gay marriage, e.g., "we
will be forced to allow homesexuals to marry in our temples", demonstrates
an exceptional misunderstanding or mistatement of very basic principles of
religious freedom under the First Amendment. There are certainly enough
talented legal minds in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to make better sense
of the Free Exercise Clause than that. I watched one of the videos referenced
in the article, and it encourages citizens to engage in Internet discussions
about principles of religious freedom. I tried posting a similar comment to
this article over 12 hours ago, and it has not been posted. So, only comments
supporting the church's interpretation of the First Amendment are worthy of
including in the discussion? Oh the irony . . .
@sukiyhtaky: In 40-plus years as LDS, I have never heard any such statement
(describing other religious leaders as "minions of Satan") in any LDS
class I have attended. The Book of Mormon affirms that all people are given
whatever degree of truth and enlightenment that is appropriate for them, and LDS
leaders have affirmed the truth found in other religions from the early years of
the LDS church to the present day. For most of my life, I have been studying at
length about other religions of the world, including Islam, the Baha'i
Faith, Sikhs, Eastern Orthodoxy, Zoroastrianism, and others. I look for those
things which are "virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy,",
and I have found much that fits that description.
To sukiyhtaky: I can see why you wouldn't want to go back to the ward
where you heard such things without anyone speaking out. This is not even close
to doctrine but teachers sometimes think their personal beliefs that are in
opposition to what they're supposed to teach should trump the manual given
them, often simply because they're the "teacher" and have a
temporary platform to spread their ideologies. I've lived in a few wards
where it was particularly uncomfortable because of this. Speaking out is tough
and sometimes has hard consequences. Under circumstances where one stands for
truth and the person of integrity is vilified for his/her stand, God watches and
angels keep track. Remember that nobody in the ward speaks for the entire church
unless you're visiting a ward in which the prophet resides. We muck around
sometimes and make mistakes on a local level. I hope you'll be willing to
recognize your bad experiences are not the way the church is supposed to be.
We're all learning to be decent human beings--or, we're supposed to be
on that track.
While I agree with the sentiment generally it seems a little silly to protect
any religion which has as doctrine the elimination the right to practice any
other religion and which enforces its own doctrine with lethal means.
@Gildas;The main reason for prohibitions against same-sex unions in
the OT is that many of the "pagan" religions of the time practiced
"temple prostitution" (both heterosexual and homosexual). The
Israelites, in order to separate themselves from their neighbors made that
observance taboo. So, in that regard, homosexuality and heterosexuality can
both be considered "religious" observations."I know
it" seems to think s/he's the only one around with any morals.
There's a scripture about a mote and a beam; it would serve him/her well to
To "mcbillay" maybe you should listen closer to the message being given
by the conservative LDS church representatives. It did say ""We must
show mutual respect for others and treat all civilly." Following that up
with an attack on the right only shows that maybe there is a lack of civility on
the left too.
This is a much needed article right now. I enjoyed it.
"It's meant to keep religion private, as it is intended to be."Says who?Really, this sums up the whole reason religious
freedom is under attack in the United States. The enemies of true religion want
to make religion just another hobby -- something practiced exclusively behind
closed doors, having no real effect on any of the significant aspects of
one's life. Religion is absolutely not meant to be private.
The American founders, while they opposed establishment of religion (please do
look up what that actually means -- a state church, like the Church of England
whose bishops the crusty Yankee congregationalists all despised), never meant
religion to be completely private. Part of life is public life; ergo, part of
religious life is public life. Public religious observance and conversation was
the standard practice of the Founders' time, and for years afterwards --
all the way until some anti-Catholic bigots on the Supreme Court (Hugo Black,
I'm looking at you) radically reengineered it.
I would like to comment on the practice, already raised in this thread, of
medicine in the United States.Previously no one was forced to visit
a doctors' office on any regular basis, so far as I know. Even under
"Obamacare", if Congress insists on funding it, we would not be obliged
to regularly seek medical opinion as to the state of our health or how doctors
think we should treat diagnosed diseases, though quarantining might sometimes be
a legal requirement. There are good laws on public water supply and issues
affecting contagions and environmantal poisons, but no adult was or will be
forced to seek personal medical intervention. We would be forced to pay
national medical insurance premiums though.The idea that medical
practice is always benign in practice and intention is false, and so I remain
opposed to coercion to accept medical opinion as if law. The issue of children
is vexatious; an unborn child can be killed at the request of its mother;
children who are not aborted, and their parents, must be subject to
doctors' views and practices. Medicine cannot constitutionally be made an
effectual established religion.
@I know it"In the LDS faith, we are often seen as politically
oppressive by those who don't have moral standards"Also
seen as self-righteous, though of course that really only applies to some of
you. Oh, and pretty much everyone has moral standards, we just disagree on some
things. New Hampshire has the lowest crime rates in the nation but the highest
rates of atheism (looking at all 50 states there's basically no correlation
between crime and religiosity). That wouldn't be the case if they
didn't have moral standards.
Is polygamy legal? Not any more and not for a long time but there was once no
law of the land specifically forbidding it. Was it a part of a religion? Yes
it was. Is homosexuality legal? Not for a long time, but I think it is
universally now, that is within the United States. Is it a religious practice?
No, I don't believe it is, or ever was, a part of any religion in the
United States. Yet polygamy was made illegal, and homosexuality was
de-criminalized. Religious freedom was a part of the discussion on polygamy but
not the latter practice.Congress has been forbidden to make any law
prohibiting the freedom of religion. Polygamy, to be repetitive, was part of a
religion, though homosexuality never was that I am aware of. I cannot see
where homosexuality has any relevance to the subject of religious freedom, as it
is sacrosanct by our first amendment constitutional rights.You
don't have to think homosexuality is wrong; and I don't have to think
it is all right. To verbalize or print either view is part of my freedom of
speech - and yours.
The Church also needs to support other Constitutional freedom, such as the right
to bear arms, be free of unreasonable search and seizure, and not be required to
incriminate ourselves. We also need to support our right to be free of
priestcraft enforced by the sword, which, in our time, means tax-supported
experts who rule us without Constitutional power.I also hope that
LDS people who are working for the NSA in Utah will seek other employment.
On this September 11, Patriot Day, it is important to keep both patriotism and
religious freedom in proper context. Both have great influence and powerful
forces that can bring about vast change in individuals and nations.The early LDS history was of conflict and discrimination against the Church.
Other religions were involved. The boiling conflict subsided after polygamy was
outlawed and Utah Territory was certified as complying.That history
highlights the importance of civil law/government having some regulatory value
regarding religion. In America, our elected officials create laws that
soemtimes seem to impinge on religious freedom. Such as the anti-polygamy law,
marriage laws governing minors, where a temple can be built, Muslim women's
clothing at the airport, etc.In order for these laws to be
Constitutional, they have to be necessary to to meet a greater need than
religion, such as protection of children, protection of others, equal rights for
minoities or women.Patriotic enthusiasm and action must also be
within Constitutional limits.All of us Americans have inalienable
rights. But, we must recognize and respect the rights of others.
The materials would be far more persuasive (and have some actual value) if they
included anything about religion's duty to not infringe upon our other
inalienable rights. The materials emphasize two duties religions should follow:
(1) the duty to be civil and (2) the duty to respect other religions'
beliefs. Clearly as citizens we owe other duties that may come into direct
conflict with religious beliefs. Simple examples exist all around
us. For example, what if my religion says I owe no duty to provide medical care
to my children? By not addressing the important issue of where religions should
not infringe, these materials do not further the public discussion and provide
little insight into how to address the important real-world issues we frequently
Everybody's religious liberties are in tact. Our government has not
prepared any lions dens in which to throw people to don't follow a certain
set of religious beliefs. I hope that some day in this country (and
particularly in our Deseret), secular liberties will be in tact as well. That
would really be something. When people object to organized prayer in
school, for example, that is not meant to infringe on anybody's civil
liberties. It's meant to keep religion private, as it is intended to be.
I'm a member of a church (Unitarian) that teaches that each person is
of worth and that allows or even encourages gay marriage. But I wonder if the
people opposing marriage equality on a government level care at all about my
supposed religious liberties. What's not okay is infringing on a
person's secular liberties because their beliefs go against your religion.
This would be akin to me telling others that they can't have a donut
because I'm on a diet (which I violated last night, btw, by eating a donut
but it was a hard day- what can I say?).
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof" (1st Amendment). What this says to me
is that the government cannot legislate what is, or what is not, religion, or
conscious, and they cannot prohibit citizens from exercising their religious
beliefs. But isn't that EXACTLY what the 501C3 Corporation does? Does the
government not use said Corporation to define what is acceptable religion and
what is not? And do not religions, by participating in government-sanctioned
religion, i.e. 501C3 status, denigrate the religious freedoms of others? Does
501C3 recognize a family religion as falling under the definition of the 1st
Amendment? Or recognize individual religious beliefs not covered under their
creation of 501C3? Is 501C3 religious regulation even permitted under the
"Congress make no law respecting establishment of religion" clause of
the 1st Amendment? Let's get down to the nitty gritty. Doesn't the 1st
Amendment bar the government from defining or regulating religious beliefs or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof? Can the 501C3 Status churches please
speak up on these questions?
Politics is a big area to cover and defined by every person and their
perceptions. One can scrutinize every word of an article to skew
anything that may be written or even quoted from someone else.We
need to be retrospective in our approach to what good people try to accomplish.
There are plenty of good people that have to defend what they do for the good of
the world. There are just too many real bad things in the world to
have one's sensitivity skewed to just one side that the people that do good
are doing it for bad reasons.People need to take away their biases
off on both sides of a point of view. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints and this newspaper do 99.999% good for the world in all aspects of their
existence. Their point of view is for the dissemination to the world in all
forms of communication, even Twitter and Facebook.I am grateful for
their attempt at trying to improve the world and the perception members and
non-members have in these difficult times.
Perhaps even more important than freedom of religion is freedom from religion.
Modern day religion is little more than incorporated big business marketing
generic non-sense to the gullible public under the name brand and cloak of
religion. It is a very profitable business for the top echelons in both treasure
and life style. The church needs a defense for a proclamation of freedom of
religion the same as freedom of religion.
I know it says: In the LDS faith, we are often seen as politically oppressive
by those who don't have moral standardsStatements like this do
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' history indicates they had
people and even governments that thwarted their religious freedom that this
country had as a valuable principle since the days of the Pilgrims and others
that came to this country. These individuals came to a country that was
developing a Constitution that would be a hallmark for others to hear about.Did that prevent bigotry in this country?The early members
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had to move several times,
several of those were by force, as they practiced their beliefs. I
am grateful the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is reemphasizing
this principle of religious freedom which is part of all principles of freedom
that we enjoy, especially in this country of the United States of America.With freedoms come a responsibility to promote the same freedoms to
others. In a perfect world, people should show love and appreciation for each
other. Antagonism does not show love, no matter what side of the fence one is
positioned.We live in a world where governments would take
people's freedoms. They disguise their attacks as "safety" for
Interesting.... The church put out The Proclamation on Marriage in 1995 and
here we are a decade or so later mired in the constitutionality of that union.
Wonder what may be coming down the pike in the not-too-distant future for
religious worship?It is so awesome that we have Seers today. (And we
get to hear them again in a few short weeks!)
Pursuit of Knowledge hit the nail squarely on the head. Hamath as well states
that the message of tolerance needs to be heard by all religions. I want to add
my voice to that saying that there must...MUST...be mutual respect. I applaud
the LDS church for all their outreach as of late, but it all crumbles and is
destroyed as mere lip service when people walk into the meetinghouses of the LDS
and hear in the Gospel Doctrine class that the pastors of all other faiths are
"minions of Satan." Which is exactly what I heard on one Sunday a while
back. Not being LDS I thought I must have misunderstood what the teacher was
saying and returned the next Sunday only to hear the exact same sentiment.
Nobody stood to counter it and I havn't been back since. I brought this up
to a member of the Stake Presidency so they would know why I wasn't going
back. I like Mormons, but sometimes it is reallllllly hard and really hard to
believe their sincerity.
The freedom of religion is essential. The freedom to believe and practice what
ever religious principles give meaning to your life. But that does not mean the
freedom to enforce your beliefs and practices on others.
Religious freedom does NOT give "people of conscience" carte blanche to
run rough-shod over other citizens rights in the name of "religious
freedom". The biggest thing that you "people of
conscience" are missing is that using your religion to violate the rights of
other citizens even violates the commandments of your own god: "Do unto
others as YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU".
How about the far Left? They're trying to crush religion freedom, even to
the point of court martial, even requiring the military persons to set aside
their own moral and religion values to permit degrading influences on their
@ mcbillayAgreed that some in the Religious Right need to hear this. But
this is a great message for all to hear. Pointed to one group minimizes it and
possibly keeps one from learning a better message. Everyone from any viewpoint
(Mormons, Baptists, Muslims, Gays, Atheists) etc. needs to hear it. When a
pushy or bigoted Religious Right person reads your comment, I strongly suspect
that they only see/remember the bigotry among the Left that they've seen
and experienced in their life. To say it's not there would only be naive
and I am sure you don't believe that yourself. The best change
that one can make, in my opinion, about bigotry and hate is within themselves
and possibly within their own circle of friends and associates. Cure the inner
vessel first and then these problems will lessen. I certainly will continue to
confront it among myself, my associates and friends.
This is a very important issue, not just from the rise of religious persecution
by law suits, public intimidation, forced removal of symbols, and so forth, but
also society is shifting away from basic moral values that offer protection
against the very elements contributing to the downfall of every historic
civilization.There is no lasting balance or equality in those who
promote tolerance of their agenda at the expense of freedom for everyone.
Rather, these parties seek to go many steps further with eradication of public
expression as well as negation of private policy long held by religious
organizations, through false claims of unconstitutional discrimination. Our constitution explicitly provides protection for religious
organizations to practice according to their own dictates, so long as such is
permissible within the laws of the land. But, when so many anti-religion groups
or those opposed to aspects of traditional religious values seek to force
beliefs upon religious organizations within their own operating space, then this
constitutional protection is in jeopardy. These very conditions are
beginning to be a greater reality and future concern for religious
organizations. But, many cannot see this fact and instead slander religious
organizations as paranoid, ignorant, and discriminatory.
Religious freedom is important. However, problems arise when one's
"religious freedom" impinges upon another's rights. Which is more
important? Which right takes precedence? There are not easy answers to many of
these situations:1) A parent's religion does not believe in
seeking medical help. Their child has cancer and they try to pray it away
rather than seek medical help. Is this religious freedom or child abuse (or as
occurred recently, negligent homicide, when the child dies)?2) A
religious person has a business that serves the public and does not hire gay
people because they believe being gay is a sin. Is the business owner's
choice religious freedom or discrimination? What if instead of gay, the
business owner's religion said blacks were inferior? Where is the line
drawn? When does religious freedom give you the right to override other's
rights?3) A religion states that it is alright for girls to marry at
12. If this happens, is it religious freedom or child abuse and sexual
assault?To me, religious freedom stops where other's rights
begin. It would be interesting to see where others draw the line.
In the LDS faith, we are often seen as politically oppressive by those who
don't have moral standards, or at very least a political philosophy other
than moral relativism. Because of this, we are often portrayed as being
forceful, despite our strong belief in moral agency.The truth:
Oppress vs ExpressA practicing Muslim and a practicing Homosexual
can live peacefully as long as both choose to. They may protest whether the
state recognizes the other as a religion or a marital institution. Only recently
has Italy recognized the LDS Church as a such. They didn't have to.
Italians have the right to govern themselves. That isn't our choice,
it's theirs.We don't have to recognize, agree, disagree,
or like each others opinions. But in order to live in ANY form of peaceful
country, we MUST uphold the freedom of the conscience. WE can take interest in
what organizations/institutions OUR government recognizes. To do so does not
meddle with the rights of individuals, only how our self-made government
recognizes their beliefs.Expressing, even officially establishing an
idea, is not oppressive. Fighting the freedom to live by your conscience is.
Freedom of religion is a constitutionally guaranteed right. The freedom to
believe is absolute; the freedom to practice those beliefs is limited.The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins
– Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Mc-I agree that this is an important message. It's far too easy to
close off your heart to someone, to label them as something in particular, and
to be unwilling to take the effort to see each as an individual, valued and
valuable child of God.That said, it's also far too easy to
think that love means protecting others from natural consequences or agreeing
with their decisions. "Mutual" respect is what is needed.