My View: There is a storm forming against moral standards

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • Darmando Parker, CO
    Oct. 17, 2013 12:29 a.m.

    Some of the so called attacks on religion come as a response to zealots, who mistake license to denigrate, abuse, and marginalize others as religious freedom. From an earlier Deseret article I quote: “Religious freedom is as much a duty as it is a right. Religious freedom and civility depend upon each other and form a mutual obligation founded on the inherent dignity of each person..." Many zealots are abusive and coercive. They bring about reactions [sometimes from governments obliged to protect all citizens] that are then deemed attacks on religion.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Oct. 12, 2013 7:40 a.m.

    I read the head line,
    and thought it was going to be about the proud and the rich,
    trampling the poor, the weak, the sick, the elderly and the children.

    It seems some would have us believe "morals" are only an issue about sex.

    BTW -
    This sort of fear is what drives terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and the Nazis.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 5:16 p.m.


    It's quite sad that your "morality" is completely based on sex. I base mine on how I treat others (no religion required). Sex is just sex and there's nothing moral or immoral about it.

    The other thing I find sad is that you only go back as far as Adam and Eve. Humans have been around much, much longer than those two and we developed our "morals" in order to better get along with one another as we began to congregate into large groups.

    @Utes Fan;

    If religious people would stop acting like bigots they wouldn't be called bigots, would they. Bigotry is a form of hate.

    Morals are not a derivitave of religion. Religion is not always moral (the crusades, witch trials, stonings, etc.).

    This entire article is nonsense.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 11, 2013 4:00 p.m.

    @ 1covey: Actually, the Abrahamic religions were not the first to define morality in a way that avoided social harms and repercussions - all religions have always defined morality in ways that promote their societal values.

    Any honest study of history will show this - just as it will show that the premises of this article are nothing new but are the last death throes of religions unable to adjust to changing societies.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 2:06 p.m.


    "Pointing out that public statements or attitudes are bigoted or hateful is not an attack on religion...negative attitudes toward gay persons have real world, harmful effects on the lives and wellbeing of gay persons."

    Saying that I believe that the government should not recognize certain types of marriages is not an attack on individuals, gay or otherwise. There are plenty of ramifications on the government recognition of same-sex marriages. I have a right to discuss them without the unnecessary labels. Negative attitudes towards gay persons should be eliminated, but that hardly means that I am obligated to accept government recognition of all types of marriages.

    "I know many faithful persons are deeply pained when they accused of holding bigoted attitudes. Pointing out that a statement or attitudes is bigoted is the beginning of the discussion, not the end."

    Pointing out that I "hate" somebody because I disagree on what the government should recognize is faulty logic and the beginning of disrespectful discussion. Also, religious persons are the attacks of bigotry also, and given the current anti-religious leanings of the media, religious people now have plenty to be hurt by. It's a two-way street.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 11, 2013 11:49 a.m.

    And am I the only one who thinks that we could bring back all the injustices of the past (racism, sexism, intolerance, inequality, etc…) but as long as people were modest & chaste many religious folks would consider that a morally superior society?

  • Gandalf Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 11:20 a.m.

    JSB, the "social" pressure you refer to are very different that having laws prohibiting particular behavior. In fact, I would argue that the likelihood of providing increased social pressure to stigmatize destructive behavior is actually increased by not having laws on the books that are not enforced and that deal with the same issue.

    As for your comment about Bill Clinton, I totally disagree with you that his idiotic behavior with Monica Lewinsky was "winked at." In fact, the House impeached him for it. And he will never have the positive reputation as President and as a leader generally he should have and would have had based on his generally solid leadership and policy proposals (welfare reform, responsible budgetary practices, great economic growth) but for his lack of self control with a White House intern. Such a self-defeating decision on his part!

    In short, we don't need government to reflect moral values in its laws nearly as much as we need citizens living up to them in their lives. If we have the latter, we'll be fine. When we use religion to prop up government, or vice versa, we weaken both.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 11:16 a.m.

    Thank you, Mr Atheist for being (mostly) honest. In all fairness, like the rest of us,hopefully. As previously mentioned, a moral life avoids the problems, and there are serious problems brought on by immorality. Is that not a rational basis for morality? By a quirk of fate, the Judeo-Christian faith was first in establishing this. My faith dates this back to Adam of Garden of Eden fame. Ancient records other than the Bible attest to this. Senator Reid was incorrect in saying this "storm" goes back 60 years; it goes back to time immemorial. Mass media ( magazines,movies,TV ) have given great impetus to molding public opinion; loss of faith in God, likewise. I see it in many of the comments given. One wonders whether or not all the crises we see today are not connected?

  • Bebyebe UUU, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 11:00 a.m.


    The question sin't whether these behaviors are harmful it's about using the government to pass laws limiting other peoples' private lives. I don't care about promiscuity. I'm not obsessed with other people's private lives. If you have issues with all those behaviors then don't engage in them. You nor the country should dictate personnel behavior.

    Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban because they considered her desire to go to school a violation of God's law and immoral. You are using the same justification - your definition of morality.

  • Contrariusier mid-state, TN
    Oct. 11, 2013 10:52 a.m.

    @JSB --

    "But,is it wise to change laws in order to make it more socially acceptable to live promiscuously?"

    Using your argument, we should all SUPPORT gay marriage.

    Marriage encourages stability, commitment, and monogamy -- the opposite of promiscuity. So encouraging gay people to marry is a GOOD thing.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Oct. 11, 2013 10:37 a.m.

    re Bebyebe. It would be difficult to legally "enforce" what I said. But,is it wise to change laws in order to make it more socially acceptable to live promiscuously? Frankly, social pressure can do a lot. I avoided making some pretty serious mistakes in my youth because what I was tempted to do was socially unacceptable; my reputation would be shot. And an awful lot of guys and girls I grew up with had the same feelings. But, a couple decades later Clinton's behavior was winked at. He's just a good old Arkansas Boy. The indisputable fact is that promiscuous sexual behavior causes a lot of social problems, misery and expense. A society that encourages chaste behavior, even if it's just with social pressure, will be a much healthier society. Can you show me how sexually promiscuous behavior makes a society better? That reduces disease, divorce, pornography, taxes, misery, sexual assault, etc. If you don't think things have changed, when I worked in a med lab in the mid '60s, gonoreha and syphilis were the only STDs we were aware of. Now there are over 30 STDs we worry about. Things have changed for the worse.

  • Gandalf Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 10:36 a.m.

    I agree completely with TheReverendOfReason's comment.

  • Bebyebe UUU, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 9:56 a.m.


    How are you going to enforce all the rules you list? Put cameras in bedrooms?

    Your morals are yours. Live them as you wish. The rest of the country has the same right.

  • redshirt007 tranquility base, 00
    Oct. 11, 2013 9:18 a.m.

    CIA type analysis - The Christian Taliban is armed and increasingly agitated. They want women to give up any former rights back to pre 1900's standards. Frankly, we're not sure what this group is capable of since shutting down the government in protest of the poor receiving healthcare.

  • glendenbg Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 8:36 a.m.

    @Utes Fan - "Personally, I see plenty of evidence that lack of morals is causing many problems in society." I know a lot of people agree with you on that, but that's not Sen. Reid's argument.

    Reid claims there has been a conspiracy for six decades to undermine morals and to attack religion. He offers no proof of it, no hints of the identity of the conspirators. He declares that propaganda is being distributed but doesn't tell us who is behind it. Propaganda doesn't distribute itself. A stratagem requires strategists. His basic assumption is deeply flawed and that calls into questions his conclusions.

    Pointing out that public statements or attitudes are bigoted or hateful is not an attack on religion. It's an argument about the real world effects of particular opionions and attitudes - religiously motivated, negative attitudes toward gay persons have real world, harmful effects on the lives and wellbeing of gay persons.

    I know many faithful persons are deeply pained when they accused of holding bigoted attitudes. Pointing out that a statement or attitudes is bigoted is the beginning of the discussion, not the end.

  • TheReverendofReason SLC, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 7:18 p.m.

    If law cannot be justified by secular means it cannot be justified under the Constitution. If religious arguments are used as justification, the result is a vote on who's religion to establish as the official religion-a clear violation of the First Amendment.
    If proposed legislation stands on its own merits, proponents need not resort to religious claims. Therefore, yes, it is proper to exclude religion from the 'public square', if what is meant by that term is the legislative process.
    If the intent of this very vague column is to incite legislative action-the prevention or retraction of same-sex couples right to marry, for example-it is very plainly in the wrong. If it is not, it is merely a rambling bit of whining about others not sharing a particular set of religious beliefs. Either way, it is useless.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Oct. 10, 2013 6:45 p.m.

    The issue isn't just a religious issue. It's a serious social issue for our whole society. What would happen if we actually lived in a chaste society; a society in which the only intimate sex is between a man and woman legally married to each other?

    1. Fewer divorces resulting in fewer children psychologically damage by divorce. Less poverty, abuse and neglect of children, less crime and drug and alcohol abuse. The list goes on.
    2. Total elimination of STDs.
    3. Fewer unwanted pregnancies. Abortions and the associated psychological problems reduced.
    4. No sex crimes.
    5. No pornography and related problems.
    6. No homosexual or other unnatural sexual relationships

    On the other hand, what are the benefits of living in a sexually promiscuous society like the one in which we currently live? Wouldn't we would be better off if we lived in a society that discouraged sexual promiscuity rather than in a society that is looking for more ways to legitimize sexual perversions?

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 6:12 p.m.


    'The Rights in the Bill of Rights are individual liberties'

    What utter fallacious nonsense.

    The bill of right doss not create rights, and it certainly does not create individual rights.

    It guarantees the rights of the people and the states,

    and guarantees those rights no matter how the people organize themselves.

    Furthermore, they say what congress can NOT do, nor what the people can do.

    And in regards to religion it simply says that congress can not make any law favoring a religious organization, nor any law interfering with religious worship.

    It say nothing else.

    It certainly does not say government be must hostile to religion or the religious.

    The founding fathers who helped write the constitution and bill rights, certainly exercised and practiced those rights differently than the extreme left and the anti-religious would have us do.

    All rights belong to people and however they choose to organize themselves.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 5:33 p.m.

    Ok, i'm an atheist. Let's run through the 10 commandments and see which ones I (as an athesist)follow.
    1.Thou shalt have no other gods(I guess I follow this.... I don't have any gods I follow)
    2.No graven images or likenesses (Same as #1)
    3.Not take the LORD's name in vain(Ok, I don't follow this)
    4.Remember the sabbath day(See #1 and 2)
    5.Honour thy father and thy mother(Yes, my parents are very important, and I respect them)
    6.Thou shalt not kill (Never killed either)
    7.Thou shalt not commit adultery(never cheated on my wife, or thought about it)
    8.Thou shalt not steal(nope I don't steal things, it's wrong)
    9.Thou shalt not bear false witness(I HATE liars, while i've lied before, it's not a habit)
    10.Thou shalt not covet(ya, i'm pretty happy with what I have)
    Ok, so out of those commandments I completely follow 6, don't believe in god so the other 3 are out, and one I just don't follow it. Is society going to crumble because I realized this stuff was bad without religions involvement?

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Oct. 10, 2013 4:03 p.m.

    "A stratagem is marching . . . it is marshaling forces . . . it commenced a conflict . . . it split faiths . . ." . Sen. Reid, you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. A stratagem is a means, not an actor.

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    Oct. 10, 2013 2:54 p.m.

    Those of great fear....
    Lock yourselves in your homes, but be sure to keep the internet going, however, so you can search for a new America. Those early settlers of this country came here from around the world to avoid religious intolerance, evil leaders, etc.
    Keep your ears and eyes open.
    Word is that South America is they place to go.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 1:52 p.m.


    "Senator Reid's editorial is filled with extraordinary claims but no evidence."

    Perhaps due to limits in the length of the article. Personally, I see plenty of evidence that lack of morals is causing many problems in society.

    "Claiming "my religion says so" is no longer a persuasive argument in the public square"

    Claims of "bigotry" and "H8" etc. for opposing views are certainly not persuasive arguments neither, and these claims ARE attacks on religious persons.

  • glendenbg Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 12:52 p.m.

    The late Carl Sagan liked to say "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

    Senator Reid's editorial is filled with extraordinary claims but no evidence. This editorial alleges a six-decade long conspiracy which the senator names a "radical, sexual stratagem." He provides no details of this alleged stratagem. Who is behind it? How have they sustained it all these decades? Who is currently coordinating the efforts? It's a conspiracy without conspirators.

    Since the alleged "sexual stratagem" lacks evidence to support it, the Senator's other claims are deeply suspect.

    There are more likely scenarios than a nefarious decades long "stratagem" by a nameless cabal of faceless conspirators. As for example, society is simply changing and with that change more and more people identify as religious "nones"; those persons are willing to challenge the cultural supremacy of religious claims, to question the validity of the policies supported on the basis of "my religion says so."

    Claiming "my religion says so" is no longer a persuasive argument in the public square, which may distress the faithful, but is not an attack on religion or the rights of religious persons.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    Oct. 10, 2013 12:49 p.m.

    We live in a time of unprecedented wealth, luxuries, freedoms, conveniences, and so forth.

    People can freely choose to mock, persecute, and tear down the very fabric of our nation that was built upon faith in God, moral principles, and freedom. Sure, that day was far from perfect and the idea of the Constitution did not exactly ensure liberty for all people. Mormons know this very well actually.

    All of us have lost touch with both the simplicity and trials of yesteryear. This was a time of humbly placing faith and trust in God for very survival sakes. This mindset is where the world's attractions became swallowed up in a far grander eternal perspective of immortal glory. The world cannot see such a perspective today and this notion is considered the blind hope of foolishness in make-believe things.

    But, what if this life is the consolation prize of a probationary existence and decisions made here have eternal implications? For all those who doubt God and the truth about events in the world today that were referenced in this article, they will one day see things as they really exist. Until then, we must preserve freedom of worship.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Oct. 10, 2013 12:14 p.m.

    A few questions for the Senator -- what happened 60 years ago, i.e., in 1953, that gave rise to this monstrous "sexual stratagem" you fear so much? I checked Google for that year . . . Was it the death of Stalin? The coronation of Queen Elizabeth? The academy award for that titillating film "Roman Holiday"? Just what was it that happened "six decades ago" that turned the world into a sexual nightmare?

  • ProSteve Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 11:05 a.m.

    Living in fear of the grand conspiracy....

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    Oct. 10, 2013 11:02 a.m.

    The new morality is an old immorality that's been whitewashed.

  • The Skeptical Chymist SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 10:26 a.m.

    What nonsense! "A virtuous society cannot exist without the faith of a religiously free people." Have you ever heard such a ridiculous, self-aggrandizing and offensive statement? I have never observed religious people to be any more virtuous than atheists. They simply proclaim that they are, very loudly.

    Secondly, what Mr. Reid wishes is the ability to enforce his religious views through government edict. What about the rights of the Unitarians to marry same-sex couples? Shouldn't they have the religious freedom to do so?

    Mr. Reid stands for family rights, he says. So do I. But I will not denigrate the family just because the couple at the head of it are of the same sex. Their children deserve to have their family recognized as such, and provided with the same governmental blessings that are provided to Mr. Reid's family.

    As with most people who exclaim vociferously about the decline of religious freedom,
    Mr. Reid is mostly concerned with his reduced ability to limit other peoples freedom
    according to his own religious views. He is not really concerned with freedom at

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 10:02 a.m.

    @ procurador: Perhaps before criticizing comments, you should read the article.

    From the first paragraph, "...a radical, sexual stratagem, which is victoriously marching on religion’s defense of moral standards. Now it is marshaling forces against rights of religion and religious conscience across the nation. The question is, can it be stopped or will religion lose its God-given, sacred rights memorialized in the First Amendment of the United States’ Constitution."

    The entirety of Mr. Reid's piece is about the rights of religion - not the rights of the individual. Kalindra's comment has everything to do with the article being discussed.

    Your attack on her - and liberals in general - exemplifies the off-topic, throw in a red herring because you can't argue the point comment of which you accuse her.

    You really should read the article before you accuse others of not understanding it.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 9:56 a.m.

    The latest liberal thinking is that religious influence should be removed from the "public square". Meaning, political debates should exclude religious beliefs, and people should not use their religious beliefs when voting.

    Nothing could be more non-American than that. A person running for political office has every right to bring his/her religious beliefs into the debate. A person listening to the political debate has every right to hear a religious idea should one be presented. A person voting has every right to vote according to his/her religious beliefs. A news organization has every right to print opinions that reflect religious beliefs. And political representatives have every right to vote on proposed laws based on their religious beliefs.

    The US government has no right to limit or stop the influence of religion in the "public square". The government can only allow all religious ideas from all religions to be presented.

    It is shocking that so many want to move to a dictatorial, non-freedom based government where these rights are limited, or taken away, as so many of the liberals desire.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 9:47 a.m.

    Re: "Religion is very happy to steamroll over my rights, and proves it all the time."

    Thanks for proving my point.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 9:23 a.m.

    Those so called God given sacred rights are mine, not religions'. Religion is very happy to steamroll over my rights, and proves it all the time. This is about the loss of individual freedom to religious attack.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 10, 2013 9:21 a.m.

    Articles like this always make me think, “Gee, I wonder if people are ever going to grow tired of others pushing their emotional buttons (most frequently, Fear) and start thinking for themselves?”

    And in the case of this article, we can easily dismiss its false premise by simply citing the following:

    Sweden, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Finland, Australia, etc…

    Religion and Morality are NOT synonymous and losing one does not imply the loss of the other, as these and other mostly agnostic (and very pleasant) countries clearly demonstrate.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 8:35 a.m.

    Re: "The First Amendment is about individual religious liberty, not about the right of religion to demand adherents."

    Agreed. And, of course, that comment has absolutely nothing to do with the arguments laid out in Mr. Reid's opinion piece. The comment is standard liberal sophistry that has, sadly, become accepted as liberal thought.

    When confronted with arguments they can't win, liberals change the subject, disingenuously asserting that the discussion is about something it's not. They'll inject some irrelevant, but hard-to-refute, party-line talking point, then triumphantly raise a fist and declare victory. Real people walk away, shaking our heads in disbelief.

    Of course the First Amendment is about personal religious liberty. And the article is about the loss of it to liberal attacks. Obviously, no American religion demands adherents.

    But that obviously won't stop liberals from asserting as much.

    Our only demand is the God-given right, identified and guaranteed in the Constitution, to freely exercise our religion in our own way, free from government intrusion.

    But, then, that's a hateful concept to liberals.

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    Oct. 10, 2013 7:56 a.m.

    Translation: I can't use the law to force my standards on other people and that's not fair!

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 7:54 a.m.


    I would imagine almost everyone could identify some of the main teachings of Jesus: forgiveness and mercy. Likewise, no churches today emphasize the Abrahamic Law and the uncompromising edicts found in Leviticous, and other parts of the Old Testament. Stoning people to death for wearing two types of fabric? Really?

    Even Jesus left much of the Old Testament in the past, when he stopped the crowd from stoning the adulteress to death, clearly and disruptingly upending the morality that prevailed to that point.

    As we've seen on issues of race, interracial marriage and other topics in ourrecent past, maybe Jesus' implicit message of changing historic understandings is the right one.

  • Church member North Salt Lake, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 7:52 a.m.

    Religion wants to control everyone else. They want to tell everyone what they can and can't do in this life. Seems like they don't believe in "free agency".

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 7:22 a.m.

    @Bubba Royce

    To protest what? This article is so vague that I have no idea what he is trying to say. Does his "sexual stratagem" mean the strategy of homosexuals, birth control pills, divorce, scantily-clad women, polygamy, short skirts, Victoria's Secret ads, condoms in grocery stores, movies, tv shows, or what exactly?

  • Bubba Royce Port Charlotte, FL
    Oct. 10, 2013 6:56 a.m.

    Is it time for we the people to form a ten million person protest in D.C.?

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    Oct. 10, 2013 6:50 a.m.

    Senator Stuart Reid has summarized my own observations over the last 6 decades. When I was a boy, we tried to adhere to the Ten Commandments. When I was a teenager, I was surrounded by teens who were not so committed to them. When I was a young adult, the Ten Commandments were openly flouted. Twenty years ago, I found that many people couldn't identify many of the Ten Commandments. Now the teens of today ask "What are the Ten Commandments?"

    Satan has done his work well. Those of us who have made covenants to obey the Lord and teach His Gospel must be urgently engaged in the work.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 10, 2013 3:51 a.m.

    The Rights in the Bill of Rights are individual liberties. The First Amendment is about individual religious liberty, not about the right of religion to demand adherents. Congress cannot pass laws that prevent individuals from practicing their religions (unless that practice creates a harm, such as child marriage or denying necessary healthcare) nor can Congress pass laws that favor (respect) the beliefs of one or more religions over those of other religions.

    You and your religion may define something as a sin, but that is not sufficient reason to pass a law prohibiting that thing.

    And what is with all the vague references to the topic? If you are going to write an editorial calling others to action, at least have the courage of your own convictions to state the issue clearly instead of just hinting around it.