Poohbear: It's in the Mormon Newsroom.
Furry1993Ogden, UTAgreed.I am deeply religous as
well.I'm also a student of my ancestors who loved our country despite
their religous rights being trampled and STILL stayed in it.When a
State denies my right to vote, speak, worship, murders our
prophet, buy and sell, and issues an extermination order against me
for my religous convictions -- THEN I wiil say he have lost of
religous rights.It's also when my ancestors gave up and left
America for Mexico in the summer of 1847.
Oaks is acting as a de facto attorney, arguing a case in the court of public
opinion. He is selecting, construing and misconstruing factoids in a way that
will best fit the argument he is trying to make, and to heck with the full,
factual FACTS in existence. Nothing surprising there -- that's what
attorneys do when they are acting as advocates for a client or an issue.For the record -- I am a person of deep and abiding faith. I am deeply
religious (LDS). There is no threat to my religious liberty or the practice of
my religion. They have not been threatened or impaired in any way, nor has
their been any threat or impairment to or of the religious rights or liberty of
anyone else in the country. The only "threat" is to the ability of
religious organizations and people to impose their beliefs and belief systems on
the country and its people, and especially on those who believe differently from
them. In other words, a "threat" to their attempt to have the
government create an unconstitutional establishment of their religion on the
Will Elder Oaks' talk be available verbatim - would like to read the whole
If something is a sin, don't sin. Nobody will make you sin, hopefully in
America. That is a long way from trying to make everyone else not sin as you see
it, which is what SSM is all about. If you don't like it, don't do it.
Otherwise it has zero impact on you.
Please remember that this is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
It is not the church of, name your president from Joseph Smith to Thomas S
Monson. Jesus Christ and only Jesus Christ can or will make major changes such
as with the priesthood being given to all worthy males.I had concerns
about the black and the priesthood. At one of many bishopric and clerk training
sessions an apostle, I can not recall, asked for questions at the end of his
presentation. The first one was regarding the black and the priesthood. A
great change came over that apostle, he replied this was discussed in our weekly
meeting just yesterday. As you know President McKay loves all people. He said
the Lord is the head of our church. End of discussion for that meeting. I have
never before nor after felt quite as strong about hearing the Truth spoken.
I hope there will soon be a way to view this on youtube.
As always Elder Oaks has made a very well-thought-out and timely argument. What
people seem to forget is that the civil rights movement was religiously
motivated, and carried on the religious fervor of its participants.
I must add to the conversation that although the members of the LDS church
worked actively to support Prop 8, the majority of voters who supported it
were not LDS.
@GaryOActually religion CAN promote its agenda.That is the
whole point of the first amendment.They have every right to promote
their views in the public square, just like any other person or group.At the expense of the American people? Ye bet, as much any other person or
group can. It is by hearing those views and by voting by our
representation that law is made.All laws created are at the expense of the
American people, we just hope by our system the best laws are created, and if
not, they can be changed later by our system or ruled by unconstitutional if
found so by the judicial branch.Any group can push views their on
the American people if they can get the support of the majority representation
(and unfortunately through judicial activism), whether left or right, gay, or
even the religious..
Karen R.Houston, TX"If nonbelievers were to become the
majority in America, nothing about our Constitution would need to be changed. It
is already based in secular reasoning. All belief systems, including religious
ones, would continue to have its protection."How can you believe
there will be any "protection" after observing the selective and
arbitrary upholding of the constitution by the current regime in Washington?Also you must not be aware that in the current environment it is chic to
denigrate Christianity, but it's "death to you" if you blaspheme
the Muslim faith? And the government's executive branch does nothing.Your correct that the document does not need to be changed; but the
founding fathers always postulated fair and honorable citizens (i.e., not
corrupt professionals) would hold our high government offices.
I trust that Dallin Oaks knows there is no nation that provides greater
protections for free speech and worship than does this one. But his remarks were
addressed to an audience that rallies to cries of victimhood. That’s
become their signature defense and Elder Oaks seemed to be playing to it.On the news, I hear grievants smearing adversaries with cliché
epithets like racist, socialist, sexist, or worse. If there is any crisis in
free speech in this country, it’s in the lack of calmness and coherence.
As to Elder Oak's comments: He is correct in his opinions of the growing
animosity toward people of faith. Whether it's attempts to weed out any
public displays of armed service men and women of religious beliefs, or David
Silverman leading his army of atheists to remove yet another war memorial cross,
the evidence can't be ignored any longer. The church's position on gay
marriage continues to be a highly contested point in Deseret News stories, and I
continue to notice far more criticism of the church than support thereof. Uchtdorf stated (paraphrased) that God is perfect, but works through
imperfect beings. If the church falters or realizes that a better path can be
blazed to accepting and loving all without the need to pass judgment, so be it.
But prop 8 was supported ~75% in the black male vote, as opposed to 49% of white
males (src=Coulter, Mugged). And while Mozilla CEO "resigned", I'm
sure the options were about the same as what Willie Robertson faced on DDynasty.
I will cast my vote when it is on the ballot according to my conscience and what
I believe to be right and true.
Regarding the office of priesthood: My uncle recently emailed me several
articles on an LDS missionary brutally murdered in Georgia because of the
overall fear of Mormonism in its infancy. The community incorrectly surmised
that all women converts were being shipped off to Utah in a mass exodus for
polygamous relationships. John Standing was shot over 18 times in the neck and
head; his companion pleaded for his life and was spared. I tell you that to tell
you this: Had black men been freely offered the priesthood at that time, and had
been encouraged to become missionaries, I can tell you that the John Standing
incident would have been dozens, if not hundreds of murders. My opinion is that
the Lord mercifully spared those people of color that horrible fate of having to
knock on white doors, most likely staring at the barrel of racism. He gave his
blessing once our society advanced to the point making all men equal under the
law.The men in that "brigade" were never charged for their
crime in this life.
Hey SC Fantasy – I told you the O stands for Observant . And when
debating against weak right wing arguments, it stands for Overpowering.The wall of separation exists in spite of would be theocrats who try to push
their beliefs at the expense of everyone else. “ . . .
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof...”In other words, your
religion CANNOT promote its agenda at the expense of the American people.Get used to it.
Redshirt 1701Or having the President, any President, address a group
of religous people as most Presidents do. Or having religous leaders, like
President Uchtdorf and others visit in the White House to talk of public policy
issues. What many on the left (mostly) seem to think is that there is, and was
intended, a "wall of seperation" between religion (church) and
government (state). That wall is in their immagination or dreams, because it
clearly is NOT in our current U.S. Constitution. Thomas Jefferson wanted it in,
but was overruled. So we have a neutrality clause that basically says Congress
will stay out of religion altogether. What the secular left want is for
religion to stay out of public policy all together. Not going to happen. Get
used to it Gary Obama, and others.
Many of you did just what Elder Oaks was warning of. Calling people who
disagree with you bigots or racists. Thereby shutting down any civilized
conversation about those disagreements. Well, I guess I should thank you all
for making Elder Oaks point valid.
To "kla795" by celebrating events like Christmas it used to unite the
community around a common belief. You have not explained why putting up a
nativity on the lawn of City Hall or in a park is bad.At Christmas I
have seen Jewish menorahs put up, and I have no problem with it. I don't
know if there is a Muslim holliday during that time, but what is the problem
with the city putting out something to recognize them in the community? You
sound like you have a problem with it.If religious observance on
government property is so wrong, what about the Easter celebration that will go
on at the White House this weekend?
If this campus lecture was sponsored by UVU's Center for Constitutional
Studies, WHY (according to one of the photo captions) did Matt Holland
(president) give the introduction of the guest speaker?Traditionally, the speaker intro in an event of this type would more commonly
(and appropriately) be given by the Director of the hosting entity (i.e., the
Center for Constitutional Studies), or --even better-- by the Studentbody
President, Student Senate Chair, Studentbody Academic VP, etc. etc.IMO, the president at UVU is over-exposed, and should defer the
"spotlight" to more of his studentbody leaders and/or faculty and
I support Elder Oakes as an apostle of the Lord, and he may be experiencing some
religious persecution for him to continually make these allegations about
religious freedoms being endangered. From my experience, I've never felt
freer to worship according to the dictates of my own conscience. I am a
believing practicing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
and I believe that the first ammendment is alive and well.
I am hoping that this fear of losing religious freedom will prompt many of us to
become more Christlike. Wouldn't that be great?
Loss of unfair religious dominance is not the same thing as religious
@Redshirt: Why does a community need to use a public government space to
promote certain religious beliefs (as in showing a nativity scene), when the
government is supposed to be a safe haven for people of all religions (or lack
thereof)? What's wrong with placing the nativity scenes on church
property? There is nothing that is stopping Christians from doing that.
I'd be interested in how you would respond if city hall placed Jewish
symbols or Muslim symbols on their lawn. I doubt you'd be in favor of it
then. Christianity is experiencing a loss of dominance and privilege. It was
so commonplace that it wasn't even recognized for the heavy-handed
oppression that it was - it was just considered "normal". Now that
things are becoming more balanced and Christians (including Mormons) are no
longer able to dominate everything, Christians interpret that loss of privilege
@RanchHandIf you get government out of marriage (you would no longer
have to declare to government your are single or marriage or other), and
therefore out of your bedroom,Then you are free to practice any
belief you want.And there would be no need for any government or
public definition of marriage.Of utmost importance, is the freedom
of people to publically live there beliefs and conscience including religious
beliefs, and influence the making of public laws.When a segment is
seeking to punish those for publically proclaiming their beliefs and conscience,
that is not freedom.When you publically say you disagree with the
Mozilla CEO, that is one thing, if you seek punish him for that disagreement
that is entirely different thing.One is exercising freedom of
speech, the other is not,but is removing the belief and conscience of those you
oppose from the public square.Freedom of speech and religion is not
just about the government but is about we the people.
@abtrumpet - agreed. However, that's exactly the problem. Our
"unalienable rights" shouldn't be up for a vote.
re:marxistFirst of all your conclusion that Obama is not a Marxist
is nonsense. Wealth redistibution is one of the CORE pieces of the Communist
manifesto as well as Barack's ideology. Go down the line now with the rest
of the Obama-vision for America including this "fairness" doctrine which
is meant to "equalize" society with no rich and no poor ...sound
familiar? Yes again this is vintage Communism. Second to suggest
that religion has "sometime been wrong" is quite broad don't you
think? Which religion are you referring to exactly? Science has also been wrong
depending on which science you are referring to. Like bad science there is also
bad religion which teaches false doctirne. However "true religion" or
revealved religion has never been wrong since the source is not man made.
Obviously atheists have no concept or belief of revelation or a spiritual self
but that doesn't make it disapear - opinion has no power over absolute
truth anymore than believing the world was flat made the world flat - it has
always been round regardless of opinion. We don't create truth - we
I am no longer LDS. However, all of my extended family is. The message of
Elder Oaks would resonate with them strongly. My frustration is that there is a
difference between having religious freedom for oneself, and imposing that
religion upon everyone else. There is nothing that prevents LDS citizens from
worshiping, how, where, or what they may. LDS people are not required to
perform marriages for gay members or allow them in the temple. They are not
even required to have gay friends. What the LDS community is experiencing (for
the first time in Utah since the days of polygamy) is the loss of a strong
majority. Utah is having a more difficult time passing laws that subtly require
everyone to live by LDS beliefs. Because of this, many LDS leaders feel
"attacked" and "censored". What the LDS leaders are beginning
to experience now is a balancing of power.
The major misunderstanding that I see is that people say that "you
can't push your religious beliefs on me." Yet, that is exactly what
anyone does when they vote. They push their beleifs on others.
To "RanchHand" until you actually exhibit tolerance for views that you
oppose, you will never get the compassion you are seeking.When you
stop mocking my religion, your anguish over SSM will not ring so hollow.You do realize that Utah is one of the most gay tolerant states,and that
gay travel magazines tell their readers how friendly Utah is to all people
regardless.Just because a minority are Anti-theists or athiests
doesn't mean that they should be government sponsored either. Just because
a city celebrates Christmas does not mean that they are establishing a state
Wow.Reading these comments, it's very clear that the
non-religious left is out in force here.Dont' worry, though,
folks. I have it on good authority that there really is no persecution of the
religious right, especially Christians, by those on the left. It's all
just a false "perception".How long, Lord, how long?....
To "RanchHand" nobody has voted against your rights.Per the
US Constitution, 10th Ammendment. If it is not in the Constitution then it is
up to the states or the people to decide what our rights are. People throughout
the US have decided that in their states that Marriage is to be defined as a man
and a woman. You still have the right to be married to a person of the opposite
gender. If gays really wanted to get support, they should stop seeking to
redefine marriage and come up with their own term. They could call it Joining
or Welding, or whatever they want as long as it isn't Marriage.If you recall recent history, the states had an easier time when your ilk
wanted civil unions. Why not go that route again and use a term that won't
offend most of the nation?
@RedShirt;When you stand up for the LGBT people who are fired every
day just for being gay, then your anguish over Mozilla's CEO will not ring
so hollow."Predominantly Christian" doesn't mean that
Christians still get to be government sponsored.
To "Craig Clark" what evidence do you have that " Elder Oaks
squander its energy perpetuating baseless fears that freedom of speech is being
diminished." If anything the past several years have shown us that our
freedoms are being eroded and that we need to push back.Free speech
is more than just a blog. Take the example of the CEO of Mozilla. He lost his
job, and most likely will have a very difficult time getting a new job because
he gave $1000 for a group supporting Prop 8 in California.Also take
a look at how communities that are predominately Christian cannot put a nativity
out in front of their city hall or in a park.You may not see it, or
you may even want to silence religions, but remember that is how tyrany begins.
First they come for your enemies, then they come for you.
@Let it Go!;Sharing your "testimony" doesn't offend me.
Voting against my rights is 100% offensive though.Turtle says:"Prop-8 was all about preventing the destruction of values which
have existed for centuries ..."Utter nonsense. Propd 8 was
about removing the right of LGBT Citizens to marry the person of their choice.
It had NOTHING to do with "preventing the destruction of values". You
actually destroyed the values of equality and liberty for every American Citizen
is what you did.If marriage is only about "producing life"
then you'd better darn well prevent infertile and old couples from getting
married because, no matter how you spin it, their "lifestyles" cannot
produce life either.@Meckofahess;Do you care about our
point of view? I sincerely doubt you do after reading your many, many Anti-LGBT
comments on DN.@Moontan;It isn't his opinion that
earns him those titles, it is his actions against LGBT equality.@RedWings;Your "doctrines" apply to YOU and nobody who
isn't a member.@digitalcamotim;Equal rights are not
"special" rights. We want the same rights you enjoy.@Craig
Clark;He is an intelligent man with an agenda.
I’m sad to see a keen mind like that of Elder Oaks squander its energy
perpetuating baseless fears that freedom of speech is being diminished. He
surely knows that countless new blogs start up every day, including some by LDS
members promoting aspects of their faith.Instead of lamenting that
religion is being marginalized in the world, Elder Oaks might give some
consideration to how religion is marginalizing itself.
@Hutterite"Religion is being marginalized to the point of ending
up where it should be. No longer the automatic ruler of the roost."Ruler of the roost? Really? Are you kidding me? I don't see religion
anywhere in the media, tv, movies, etc. unless it is being mocked in general.I am aware there have been a handful of religious movies depicting major
religiously known people but other than that.
I guess I have thicker skin than many of the LDS posters on here. I just
don't care all that much that someone doesn't like me if I disagree
with them. If that's why you think you've lost your religious freedom,
you might want to try turning the other cheek a bit. Relax and stop looking for
reasons to get angry at people.
Re: Patriot "- Barack Obama and his Marxist - atheist infrastructure are
leading this anti-christian crusade ..." I consider myself a Marxist, and
let me tell you Obama is NO Marxist. Most of the right wingers here hardly know
who Marx was.Back to topic, while I welcome religious expression in
our national debate, I don't think it deserves to be preeminent over other
types of expression. For example, it's taken modern biology to give
religion the racial facts of life. Religion has been wrong a lot of the time.
What one sees from the comments of the homosexuals, and their supporters, is a
demand for more special rights for homosexuals. If one exercises their First
Amendment riht to free speeh and to free eercise of religion by refusing to
provide a service or a produt to a homosexual, such a refusing to bake a cake
for a so-called marriage by two men or two women, then the homosexuals, and
their supporters, demand the intervention of the government to force this reuslt
or sanction to refuser for When the LDS Church encouraged its members to
support Prop 8 within the constraints of Section 501(c)(3) the homosexuals filed
repeated malcious and specious claims demanding the IRS revoke that exemption
despite the fact that they do not demand the same regarding Churches which had
opposed Prop 8. The homosexual concept of free speech is one which does not
tolerate opposing views because, in the open market place of ideas, homosexuals
can not witn. Today's so-alled LGBTQ Community is nothin really more than
an extension of Hitler' Storm Troopers which were a predominantly
homosexual group led by an open homosexual Ernst Roehm.
How is it possible for a person to be fired from there job for supporting/voting
for the "wrong" proposition or candidate. Hey, did you know the laday
in the corner cube supported the bond to build the dam.Our country
has no cultural norms, America is disintegrating.
Open Minded Mormon:Not sure where you got from my post that I wanted
to make all sin illegal? I was repsonding to another post and discussing the
importance of the family and marriage between one man and one woman in LDS
doctrine. Illegal and sin are two different things. In a
pluralistic society, we establish laws to protect all regardless of their
beliefs. Sin is confined to religion.I don't pretend to impose
my beliefs on others, but others beliefs are being imposed on me at every turn.
TV, movies, the news media, public schools have all taken a pro-gay stance
without any respect for the beliefs of those who oppose it. How is this
different than the left demanding that religious groups not impose their values
I see the anti-1st amendment religion attackers are out in force today
Bless Brother Oaks but this address is no more legal lecture than are my
comments. I hope he sees fit to reassign whomever is developing his talking
points. The list of cherished customs and religious practices that have been
abandoned by the LDS church is extensive, e.g.discrimination against blacks with
any African decent, interracial marriage, polygamy, the ideal that women working
and going on missions is incompatible with being a homemaker, woolen swimsuits,
caffeinated drinks on the BYU campus, creationism to the extent it is not the
basis for BYU biology courses, support for the Democratic Party, anything on
which the church has recently posted a clarification on its website, speaking in
tongues at least in the early LDS tradition, to name some. With few exceptions,
public animosity played a factor in diminishing these cherished practices.
Regardless, the church has grown, often because of, sometimes in spite of. I
used to think I was the only one who hated change, turns out we all do.
Irregardless, change happens and should be subject to dialogue. Whether
it's the LDS church or liberals complaining about societal censorship,
it's still just a talking point and certainly not legal analysis.
To "Open Minded Mormon" wow, you really jumped off the deep end. The
point I was making is that we don't truely have religious freedom in the
US. There are many instances where government prohibits some practices within a
religion.Al Qaeda is a terrorist organization. We are not fighting
them because of religion.I question your statements greatly. First,
by questioning Elder Oaks as a leader of the church you claim membership in, and
second questioning a former Utah Supreme Court justice on what they see
happening in the US courts. I would think that he has a better understanding of
law than you do.Actually God does not work with Karma. Karma is a
belief in Buddhism and Hinduism. God works on laws and letting you reap the
consequences of your own actions.
What about religions who sanction SSM?Who's violating who's
religious rights now?RedShirt tells us he's completely happy
and content with Muslims implimenting Sharia Law in America.and
RedWings wants to make all "sins" illegal.========== Tell me again, Why are we fighting AlQueda?And
who's not allowing an Islamic center in New York?And as for
Religous Freedoms being lost -- I would have thought Elder Oaks knew
our Mormon History and their loses of Legal rights better than this.We are not anywhere NEAR than level of repression, but God works with
karma, and what goes around, ultimately comes around.
@Eliyahu ... without civility, rights are doomed. Think on that. And
the "let me do what I want or I'm going to call you ugly names and make
unfounded accusations" approach is wearing thin. It won't last much
"One reason for optimism is that the threats to religious speech and
religious freedom have become so notorious that our citizens are beginning to
become concerned," he said.Well yes we in the LDS church and
those in the Catholic and other Christian churches have been REALLY concerned
for some time now but here is the problem - Barack Obama and his Marxist -
atheist infrastructure are leading this anti-christian crusade so unless we are
able to drain the political swamp in the near future and re-fill it with
traditional Americans who are respectful of the US constitution and bill of
rights we will continue to see religious liberty diminish and censorship
increase. Anyone paying even casual attention for the past 6 years has noticed a
HUGE jump in anti-Christian bias in America. Recall Barack started off his reign
by refusing to speak at a university unless they removed ALL Christian symbols.
He followed that up with his infamous "we are not a Christian nation"
comment. Continuing we see Little Sisters of the Poor being FORCED to abandon
their moral beliefs with abortion mandates in Obamacare and then all the public
school anti-Chritian rulings......
As a teacher, I see the face of irresponsibility of society in every way,
including kids that don't understand respect, civility, law, delayed
gratification, purpose, etc. all values that stem from Judeo-Christian roots.
Without them, social problems will not only continue, but get worse. You
can't have a stable, civil society based on athiestic thought. Athiests
owe their existence on the tolerance, effort, and values of religion. They are
the equivalent of welfare frauds, living off the system built by those of faith.
@Moontan"Hey Mountanman - What "religious freedoms" have you
lost?""The right to express a religious-based opinion
without being met with "bigot" or "racist" or "hater" or
allegations of wanting to establish a theocracy, re-institute human slavery
(based on race: human slavery is alive and well in the secular West). Minor
rights to most, perhaps, but important to the religious."There
is no such thing as a right to express an opinion without being criticized for
it or having it rebutted. The only way you could have that "right" would
be if the right to free speech were severely limited by law, and that would in
itself be a major loss of freedom. You're free to express any beliefs you
hold dear, and the rest of us are free to call them bigoted, hateful or racist
if they appear to be so to us. It's how freedom of speech works.
ThinksIThink: "I just don't think it is realistic to expect people to
sit quietly being called sinners - sometimes with no evidence to support the
assertion of sin."Sorry, but have you studies LDS Doctine? Did
you listen to the last (or any) General Conferences? Have you read the
Provlamation on the Family? If so, it would be abundantly clear that LDS
Doctrine only supports marriage between one man and one woman. That family, not
the individual, is the basic unit of society in Heaven. There is absolutely no
doubt as to why the LDS Church supports traditional marriage from a doctrinal
standpoint. Acting out homosexually, or any other violation of the
Law of Chastity, is sin. Sorry, there just is no other way to put it...
What we have in this speech is a guy whining about others who object to his
beliefs.He doesn't think they have a right to disagree, or
organize, or petition.Basically he's objecting to their right
to free speech, while simultaneously telling us he supports free speech.In fact, he's hinting that muzzling these people would be a good
way of protecting the first amendment.I'm guessing his
political affiliation is "Conservative."
The liberals here are funny because they only prove the point that Elder Oaks
was making. They don't like what he has to say and are happy to see
religion put away into a closet.To "GaryO" my religion
believes in Polygamy and in obeying the law. The government is infringing on my
religion's belief in polygamy by outlawing the practice of polygamy. There
are other religions that believe in the use of drugs as a means of communing
with their Gods. They are prevented from legally using those drugs. What about
Satanists that believe in human sacrifice, isn't their belief being
infringed on by laws against killing people? The government is active in their
push to suppress religious beliefs they don't agree with.
@GaryO ... re "Hey Mountanman - What "religious freedoms" have you
lost?" The right to express a religious-based opinion without
being met with "bigot" or "racist" or "hater" or
allegations of wanting to establish a theocracy, re-institute human slavery
(based on race: human slavery is alive and well in the secular West). Minor
rights to most, perhaps, but important to the religious. @Mountanman
- Press on, sir.
@Meckofahess["In this circumstance of contending religious
rights and civil rights, all parties need to learn to live together in a
community of goodwill, patience and understanding."I hope our
gay friends in the community will demonstrate goodwill, patience and
understanding toward the straight point of view]Half of straight
Americans including myself support same-sex marriage. If you really cared about
living together in a community of goodwill you'd support same-sex marriage
in civil law while leaving churches to determine for themselves what sorts of
marriages they want to have in their churches and temples."However, if gay citizens continue to call religious/straight folks
"bigots", "inhuman", "selfish", "haters""I think you all would be called bigots or haters less often if you all
stopped repeatedly calling gay people sinners and suggesting that children need
to be prevented from having them as parents.
@Mountanman -- I'm as religious as you are probably, but I don't feel
any loss of religious freedom. I can worship at church, I can go to the temple,
I can tell my friends about my religion, my son has gone on a mission, I can
refuse to shop on Sunday, I can pay my tithing, I can close my business on
Sunday, I can listen to church music and watch the BYU channel, etc. etc. I may
be losing the "right" to tell others that THEY have to, by law, live my
religion. Is that really a loss of MY liberty? I am still free and have never
been legally prohibited from living any aspect of my religion. I've had
some people think I'm crazy for being LDS and some people criticize me for
it, but so what? It hasn't stopped me and honestly, the criticisms have
been few and far between, most occurring when I was college age and people
couldn't understand why I didn't drink. But so what? I've
probably been critical of someone else from time to time myself.
Hey Mountanman -What "religious freedoms" have you lost?The freedom to tell other people what to do?No, you
DON'T have that freedom.Get used to it.MountanmanHayden, IDThe non-religious scoff at the idea of
losses of religious freedom in America. How would they know since they feel no
effect? Liberals love to tout the need for separation of church and their
version of government but are very eager to force their government into other
people's religions (Islam excepted of course).
The non-religious scoff at the idea of losses of religious freedom in America.
How would they know since they feel no effect? Liberals love to tout the need
for separation of church and their version of government but are very eager to
force their government into other people's religions (Islam excepted of
Just because some individual or group disagrees with you, even if they disagree
in an uncivil manner, doesn't mean censorship exists. It's just public
square free speech. That can't, by definition, constitute unconstitutional
action because it doesn't involve the government. It's just people and
groups talking and disagreeing with each other. People need to get a
thicker skin. We should encourage civility and courtesy and sensitivity in our
discussions about political, cultural, and religious matters. But we should also
recognize that the deep emotional connection of people with these things will
cause them, perhaps inadvertently, to be uncivil at times and under some
situations. So be it. It's the rough and tumble of our democracy. If speech
arises to the level of some other criminal act (battery, vandalism, theft, etc),
the government can take action to restrict it. But short of that, it is
Constitutionally protected. Some will embrace the jostling and
debate in the public arena. Many won't. But if you don't want to
embrace it, at least reconcile yourself to the reality of it and stop whining.
This applies to people and groups on all sides of any given debate.
In our free exchange of ideas, if one in any way attacks the ESSENCE of another,
the first can expect a vigorous response. And even if the attack proceeds from
religious conviction, vigorous response is to be expected. What things define
the essence of a human being? I would list race, gender, and gender-orientation
because these are things we cannot change. In the SSM debate those advocating
for same sometimes feel assaulted because of their gender-orientation, sometimes
with reason. So in our exchanges care must be exercised so as to not attack the
essence of people, that is, who they are.
I think Elder Oaks' claims about the abuse of religion at the hands of
secular society ignore the years of ill treatment of non-believers where
religious majorities were able to. I'm not just referring to the actions of
individuals either. In Utah beginning with LDS trade boycotts with Gentiles
there has been a chosen people mentality perpetuated by official policy and
teaching that still remains today. Non-religious are finally just speaking up.
Oaks comments suggest that religion is the victim here when really this is just
a shift towards secularism, towards balance and away from preferential treatment
of religion. Elder Hugh B. Brown famously said:"We should,
of course, respect the opinions of others, but we should also be unafraid to
dissent -- if we are informed. Thoughts and expressions compete in the
marketplace of thought, and in that competition truth emerges triumphant. Only
error fears freedom of expression." I think this quote applies
@Ranch"Were you equally "concerned" about the religious
freedom of the LGBT people and their churches that were infringed upon by Prop-8
preventing them from practicing their religious beliefs that SSM is not bad? No?
Hypocrites were rejected by Jesus you know."Prop-8 was all about
preventing the destruction of values which have existed for centuries and which
allow parents to raise children in a wholesome environment rather than confuse
them on their gender. Children can only be born through a legitimate marriage
relationship - no matter what you think the lifestyle you espouse cannot produce
life - worlds without end...
@Owen An excellent comment. I couldn't agree more. The trends
for religious liberty do indeed remain positive. For example, I haven't
heard of a single community in the United States where the voters have
prohibited churches from meeting on Sunday. On the other hand, voters in
Highland, Utah, recently prohibited businesses from opening on Sunday.
I wish Elder Oaks had provided more explanation for his belief that freedom of
speech is diminishing. The court cases in particular seem to rebut that belief.
The courts have given ear to every argument that opponents of SSM have
mustered, including religious arguments. What the courts have not done is
*agree* with those arguments, but that is a far cry from restricting speech.
The problem with religious arguments in courts is not that they are not allowed,
it is that they offer little-to-no substance.Let's try one
example. Suppose that State enacts a law disallowing marriage between people of
Race X and Race Y. A majority of the citizens of State believe the restriction
is justified because their religion teaches that, in a prior existence, people
of Race X were righteous and people of Race Y were not. These citizens believe
god has commanded that the two races not mix. What should a court do with this
belief? Should the belief matter in deciding whether the law violates civil
rights? If the court rejects the belief, is that a violation of the freedom of
religion? Or the freedom of speech? Clearly no.
I agree with him on the point that religion is becoming more censored or
condemned in our society. I think that is happening because people do not want
to offend other people. They have to be "politically correct" in order
to address everyone. But when they do that, they limit their testimonies of
their faith and,even worse, start to not believe in it. This is after all
a country where we do have the right to say whatever we want. We do have the
right to share our testimonies of the gospel, whatever religion we are in. The
problem lies in people choosing to be offended. Should I be offended when
someone says that Mormons hate gays? If that is what they believe, let them
believe it, but tell them that is not the case.
Meckofahess wrote:"I hope our gay friends in the community will
demonstrate goodwill, patience and understanding toward the straight point of
view . . ."and"Remember, to straight folks much
in the gay life style is offensive."You seem to be mighty
comfortable speaking for ALL straight folks. But do you? I'm afraid if
you'll look around, events might have over-taken you. More and more
straight folks I know simply don't make the assumptions about gay people
you seem to make.And what is a "gay life style" again?
@BYUalum says:"I, for one, am grateful for this talk and Dallin
Oakes' strong stand for the freedom of religious cause and liberty in this
country as guaranteed under the First Amendment of the Constitution! His
concerns are mine with regards to the ill-treatment of supporters of Prop 8 in
California."Were you equally "concerned" about the
religious freedom of the LGBT people and their churches that were infringed upon
by Prop-8 preventing them from practicing their religious beliefs that SSM is
not bad? No? Hypocrites were rejected by Jesus you know.
The LDS church is against same sex marriage. No law forces anyone to get same
sex married. The LDS leaders and followers give money to political campaigns to
eradicate same sex marriage. No law says you may not do so. The LDS leaders
assert that criticism of their stance against same sex marriage causes them and
the Church harm as it labels them as purported "bigots". The LDS
leaders are free to make this claim in a court of law, and ask for a variety of
sanctions against those who label them so. Yet this has not been done. A man
resigns his position as head of a private non-profit company when it is
discovered he gave money to an anti-same sex marriage campaign (as well as to
other far right wing politicians and causes). No government act compelled his
resignation nor of his Board to accept it.Just precisely where is
the injury here? What does this Church want? Freedom to make the laws to their
religious sensibilities? Freedom of religion and speech mean freedom for those
views you may find abhorrent as well as those with which you agree.
Elder Oakes gave good counsel:"In this circumstance of
contending religious rights and civil rights, all parties need to learn to live
together in a community of goodwill, patience and understanding."I hope our gay friends in the community will demonstrate goodwill, patience
and understanding toward the straight point of view as many of us straights are
trying to do for the concerns of the gay community. However, if gay citizens
continue to call religious/straight folks "bigots", "inhuman",
"selfish", "haters" and to disregard our concerns then you do
your cause a diservice. Remember, to straight folks much in the gay life style
is offensive. Consider the consequences when you gays imply that we are bad
people because we disagree with your life style. If we were doing things in our
life style which you perceived was harmful to you - you would be concerned too!
Do the uber-religious types ever get tired of playing the martyr complex?Their Joseph McCarthy like quest is getting tiresome. If
they stop imaging the boogeyman is everywhere they might find things aren't
so bad. Its not like the Spanish Inquisition... oh wait... sorry bad analogy.
If nonbelievers were to become the majority in America, nothing about our
Constitution would need to be changed. It is already based in secular
reasoning. All belief systems, including religious ones, would continue to have
its protection.If any one version of a religion were to take over
the government, especially a version that purported to be "the one and
only," how long do you think those protections would last? The believers
would see it as a duty, even a kindness, to stifle other forms of belief.So I maintain that it is the religious that pose the greatest threat to
religious freedom. Our founders understood this, thus the language in the First
Amendment. Elder Oaks fails to recognize that those fighting to maintain the
proper boundaries are doing his religion a great favor.
I strongly disagree with the bunker mentality reflected by the speaker's
comments. What he is more concerned with is the erosion of the interests of
religious institutions. The rights of the individual have probably either not
changed or are actually better. Freedom of religion does not mean unfettered
rights of the institution. And I would say that the power, wealth and influence
of the Church is greater now than ever, and there seems to be walls being built
by the leadership to fight for the interests of the institution, which are often
different than individual rights. In a church that claims to rely on common
consent, that principle is never actually applied.
Elder Oaks is confusing the non-existent government restriction on religious
beliefs with public criticism of religious practice and belief. The latter is
part of our freedom of speech, protected by the same First Amendment that
provides for religious freedom. Few, if any, of us would want to live in a
nation where it is illegal to criticize churches or religious beliefs. This
includes criticism of churches that lobby for restrictions on the freedom of
others or that push for legislation that forces religious beliefs on
non-believers. If God is behind a religion, then it doesn't need the power
of the state to enforce its beliefs. If not, then no amount of legislation will
help it in the long run.
Elder Oaks'comment,"I believe that in time, with patience and goodwill,
contending constitutional rights and conflicting personal values can be brought
into mutually respectful accommodation," is something that all religious
people can work toward to make this "mutually respectful accommodation"
occur more rapidly than if we religious people are quiet.
I, for one, am grateful for this talk and Dallin Oakes' strong stand for
the freedom of religious cause and liberty in this country as guaranteed under
the First Amendment of the Constitution! His concerns are mine with regards to
the ill-treatment of supporters of Prop 8 in California.
I find it deeply ironic that the example Elder Oaks gives of freedom of religion
is the Prop 8 campaign in California. In that example, the LDS chuch and SOME
of its members were exercising their freedom of religion and speech to prevent
gay and lesbian couples from the ability to choose who they want to make a
personal and legal committment to.
I can understand some of his frustration. However, people who are marginalized
are going to make any legal arguments they can to advance their cause.For example, when blacks were denied the Priesthood prior to 1978, it was not
unreasonable for black to claim they were being discriminated against and that
the practice was bigoted. Ultimately, society and the Church agreed and the
policy was changed.Now, gay people are asserting that criticism
leveled at them is not based on anything factual but is rooting in bigotry.
Time will tell whether the Church policy will continue to change on that front.
I just don't think it is realistic to expect people to sit quietly being
called sinners - sometimes with no evidence to support the assertion of sin.
It seems to me that our claim to religious liberty is weakened when our leaders
are found in the White House supporting those who break the law AND the
commandments.Must we join in the amnesty campaign and support
non-enforcement of existing law?
I respect and sustain Elder Oaks. I, too, am alarmed when people are gunned down
for religious reasons by racist bigots, or kept from building mosques or are
restricted from exercising their right to any type of religious speech
(including Wicca or voodoo) under our divinely inspired Constitution. Thank goodness my own religion has not experienced anything remotely close to
that. A few buildings vandalized have not kept me from worshipping how, when and
what I please. My church gets millions in tax breaks. An army of young people
(including my own son) go door-to-door largely unmolested. Even the
fundamentalist picketers are protected in this country. There is every reason
for hope since the trends for religious liberty in the U.S. remain as positive
as ever for Christians.
I believe in free and open dialogue in as many arenas as possible. I am all for
freedom of expression of religious views and other views. People should not
feel muzzled.Unfortunately the muzzling of people happens all the
time, and not just with regard to religious expression. When one goes to work
for an employer, that employer often imposes restriction however informally on
that employee. For example it's not a good idea to say the word
"union" at Wal-Mart or Fedex. Various academic programs impose vicious
orthodoxies on their students' expressions of view. There are many other
examples. In general we have a hard time with free speech.
Certainly Elder Oaks realizes that the First Amendment only protects you from
censorship by the government. Yet, the cases he cites were all situations where
others exercised their own free speech rights as well. In the case of Eich and
Mozilla, the outcry came mostly from within the company and it was clear he
would not be able to lead the company with this distraction. I wouldn't
weep to much for him either. I'm sure he negotiated an excellent
severance.Even today, the National Organization for Marriage, who
has an ongoing boycott on Starbucks, has called for a boycott on Mozilla. These
are not infringements on First Amendment rights, these are examples of the First
Amendment in all its glory.
Any mention of notable atheists or secularists in the audience?I
didn't think so.Until you reach across that aisle, believers
are not serious about "religious freedom". You still fight for the
rights of believers at the expense of non believers, which only perpetuates the
hegemony of religion.
Religion is being marginalized to the point of ending up where it should be. No
longer the automatic ruler of the roost.