Why America's religious freedom ambassador thinks everyone can help 'fight' for this 'foundational' right

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  • Ranch Here, UT
    Oct. 15, 2018 11:43 a.m.

    @Mods; this comment meets the rules.

    @NoNamesAccepted;

    Whether you like it or not, the US Constitution GUARANTEES equal protection for ALL citizens. When the government provides benefits for OS couples who marry, then SS couples are GUARANTEED those same benefits. So, no right was "invented" - it ALWAYS existed.

    Whether you like it or not HISTORY (not just Roman) includes many cultures that included SSM. Your definition of marriage is not the only one.

    Whether you like it or not, SCOTUS did NOT rule that businesses can discriminate against LGBT customers. Selling a product is not "promoting" anything except the business.

    "I will oppose any expansion of anti-discrimination for one more favored group."

    -- Then give up your own FAVORED position! It's hypocritical to be protected and refuse to allow the same protections for others.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 12, 2018 8:08 p.m.

    @Not another naysayer
    "Their concern was not that the churches would likely interfere with the state but rather that the state would impose a state religion. "

    What is a state religion? A mostly symbolic meaningless gesture on par with a state bird (or national bird... like a bald eagle)? Or is it something more?

    The fundamental issue with a state religion is whether a state functioning as a religious proxy would interfere in the religious and other rights of others. It is both state interference in religion and religious interference in the state.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Oct. 11, 2018 8:22 p.m.

    @Ranch: "Not when those views involve violating the Rights of others."

    Doesn't happen. Until the Supreme Court spoke, there was no "right" to marriage benefits for homosexual couples in this nation. Nor was such a right ever supported by anyone who drafted any portions of the federal Constitution. Nor is such a right found in any English-American jurisprudence of any historic import. Going back to Caligula, an incestuous, crazy Roman emporer for precedence is not a strong case for a natural right.

    And according to the same Supreme Court judge who invented the "right" to homosexual marriage, there is not a right to force individuals or businesses to support your message or party.

    "We aren't going to accept less than full civil equality. Get used to it."

    And we are not going to accept being forced to choose between promoting your message/lifestyle and earning an honest living. Get used to it.

    I can and will support full anti-discrimination protections for sexual minorities as long as gun possession is included and there are exceptions so no one has to promote a message he opposes. Otherwise, I will oppose any expansion of anti-discrimination for one more favored group.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Oct. 11, 2018 9:44 a.m.

    "If they'll agree to strengthen religious freedom protections in their countries, to defend the rights of people of faith and no faith, he can promise a safer, more prosperous future, as well as more schools, hospitals and acts of service."

    If I'm a dictator of a Muslim theocracy and I'm familiar with the alleged prophecies of the Christian religion, why wouldn't I see this request as a Trojan horse? Ditto if the two switched places? Why wouldn't I see this as an attempt to get your foot in my door and eventually take over my house? Because that's what the believer thinks their god wants them to do, right?

    I happen to believe that freedom of speech/expression does make for safer, more vibrant societies, but a lot of religions don't. Which makes these religions part of the problem, IMO.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Oct. 10, 2018 1:17 p.m.

    mhenshaw says:

    "Right now, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is making a good-faith effort to try to engage with the LGBT community to find public policies that will let them "simply live without fear of government intervention or being socially ostracized" "

    -- Is that why Oaks told conferences goers that they must oppose the legal marriages of LGBT couples? It would seem to me that you're trying to tell us he said something else.

    We aren't going to accept less than full civil equality. Get used to it. If you want to able to use religious beliefs to discriminate against others, your religious beliefs should not be protected against discrimination themselves.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Oct. 10, 2018 1:13 p.m.

    Not another says:

    "Moreover the founders believed that people and churches had not only the right, but the responsibility... to participate in voicing their moral views without restraint or censure."

    -- Not when those views involve violating the Rights of others.

    mhenshaw says:

    "Don't assume that trying to follow one's conscience must mean the person dislikes others."

    -- We don't assume it means they dislike the others, we assume it means that you want to be able to use your religious beliefs to refuse to do for certain others what you would do for any/everyone else. We assume it means you want to practice bigotry instead of the golden rule.

    "2) if government can restrain or abolish someone else's freedom of conscience, it can (and almost certainly will) do the same to you."

    -- If the government refuses to protect LGBT from discrimination, it should also refuse to protect the "religious beliefs" that are used to justify discrimination.

    "So we shouldn't give government the power to limit any personal liberty that we're not prepared to surrender ourselves."

    -- You shouldn't ask for protections you aren't willing to give others either.

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    Oct. 9, 2018 7:19 p.m.

    >>In the US, Christian believers have shown themselves, given the power, to impose any amount of restrictions on those who do not believe as they do.

    No. That is an overly broad generalization and so is false.

    Right now, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is making a good-faith effort to try to engage with the LGBT community to find public policies that will let them "simply live without fear of government intervention or being socially ostracized" while also allowing people of faith to practice their faith "without fear of government intervention." Dismissing such efforts in favor of smearing all Christians as bigoted would-be tyrants suggests that the only "engagement" critics want is total capitulation.

    >>if religion is allowed to set laws and determine social conduct.

    All laws are expressions of collective morality -- statements about which behaviors a society deems to be right or wrong. And all citizens helping shape those laws have the right for their politics to be grounded in any moral philosophy they choose—religion, atheism, humanism, whatever. To demand that a whole class of moral philosophy be kept out of the process is inherently discriminatory.

  • jeclar2006 Oceanside, CA
    Oct. 9, 2018 5:54 p.m.

    John Pack Lambert of Michigan - Ypsilanti, MI
    ---
    Many people seem not to understand what religious freedom is. At heart it means that the government needs to recognize all religious groups, instead of just a few it likes for various reasons, to treat all groups equally, to allow people to practice their religion and to not compel people to violate their religion.
    ---

    Ever since Reynolds v. The United States, it has been clear that the government may enact laws which limit the expression of religious belief. In that case it was the religious belief that having multiple wives was authorized by the believer's deity.

    Utah continues that prohibition, even when the believers no longer attempt to register their relationships as marriage with the state.

    I consider this to show the hypocrisy of a demand for Religious Freedom, when Utah refused to remove its own laws limiting such behavior, despite being based on strongly held religious belief.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Oct. 9, 2018 4:58 p.m.

    Many people seem not to understand what religious freedom is. At heart it means that the government needs to recognize all religious groups, instead of just a few it likes for various reasons, to treat all groups equally, to allow people to practice their religion and to not compel people to violate their religion.

    In many of the most controversial cases like Masterpiece Cakeshop it is more free speech rights than religious freedom rights that are being debated. The government should not be allowed to force people to create works of art they do not want to create, and that is what is going on in Masterpiece Cakeshop, the Baronelle Stutzman case and several related ones.

  • jeclar2006 Oceanside, CA
    Oct. 9, 2018 1:40 p.m.

    mhenshaw - Leesburg, VA
    ---
    1) knee-jerk denouncements of people who don't share our beliefs as bigots undermine the respectful discussions needed to find that balance--we should always assume good motives when people are willing to engage with us; and
    ---

    There is no knee-jerk reaction. In the US, Christian believers have shown themselves, given the power, to impose any amount of restrictions on those who do not believe as they do.

    The years long battle of the LGBT community just to simply live without fear of government intervention, or being socially ostracized, aka discriminated against legally, should be a lesson on the freedom that is to be had if religion is allowed to set laws and determine social conduct.

    And even now, the fervent believers have expressed their hope that Congress and the Supreme Court will roll back any progress made on that front.

  • RiDal Sandy, UT
    Oct. 9, 2018 1:38 p.m.

    It is "freedom of religion".
    There simply is no "freedom to never hear about religion or be influenced by religious people".
    As with many things, the Left has completely twisted the original meaning into nearly its direct opposite.
    Each individual is free to reject religion if they wish. But there is no requirement that the government be completely free of religious influences from religious people. "Separation of church and state" means that the government cannot create or sanction a religion. But religious people can and must influence government. That is what "freedom" is all about.

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    Oct. 9, 2018 12:23 p.m.

    >>The "foundational right" to discriminate against people you don't like?

    Don't assume that trying to follow one's conscience must mean the person dislikes others.

    "Freedom of religion" could be renamed "freedom of conscience"; and balancing the freedom of conscience against society's need for justice and order has always been difficult--for both individuals and government. Sometimes the right to obey conscience wins out; sometimes it gets limited for the good of the whole. Either way, it takes time, respectful discussion, and more than a little trial-and-error to find the best balance--especially when cultural shifts make the balance point a moving target. But two things are always certain:

    1) knee-jerk denouncements of people who don't share our beliefs as bigots undermine the respectful discussions needed to find that balance--we should always assume good motives when people are willing to engage with us; and

    2) if government can restrain or abolish someone else's freedom of conscience, it can (and almost certainly will) do the same to you. So we shouldn't give government the power to limit any personal liberty that we're not prepared to surrender ourselves.

  • jeclar2006 Oceanside, CA
    Oct. 9, 2018 11:38 a.m.

    President Trump has taken many opportunities to back out of global initiatives to 'help' the world.

    Yet we have a global ambassador for Religious Freedom. How about a global Ambassador for Refugees, or a global Ambassador to deal with the effects of weather, regardless of the origin of weather changes.

    Instead Trump is allying himself with the likes of Kim Jong-un, who has total control of North Korea, which according to some reports is the worst offender of restricting the Christian religion, or Putin who is working hard to catch up to the Late Great Soviet State.

  • Endure2End San Jose, CA
    Oct. 9, 2018 11:38 a.m.

    Freedom of religion is most important so that we have freedom of choice.

  • Not another naysayer Lehi, UT
    Oct. 9, 2018 11:36 a.m.

    Wow! I am always amazed at how many people are illiterate about the interplay of religious liberties and the US Constitution.

    What people so frequently misunderstand is what the founders meant by separation of church and state. Their concern was not that the churches would likely interfere with the state but rather that the state would impose a state religion. And in the early days of this country that was happening. Why? Because that was how it was in the old world. Virtually every country had a state religion. And so, at first, this was the case in America.

    The founders did not have a problem with religion. With little exception they were all profoundly religious and wanted to ensure the right to worship in the constitution. Moreover they felt that religion was fundamental to ensuring freedom. Indeed most laws were based upon religious tenants e.g. Thou shalt not steal, commit murder, covet, etc.

    What they didn't want is for a state to dictate what that religion was or would look like.

    Moreover the founders believed that people and churches had not only the right, but the responsibility... to participate in voicing their moral views without restraint or censure.

  • dmcvey Los Angeles, CA
    Oct. 9, 2018 8:41 a.m.

    The "foundational right" to discriminate against people you don't like?

  • J. Smith Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 9, 2018 7:48 a.m.

    Thomas Jefferson, from Letter to Danbury Baptist Association, 1802 Tomas Jefferson calls for a "wall of separation" between church and state. This phrase has profoundly influenced the way that 20th century courts have understood the constitutional relationship between government and religion. It led the Supreme Court to restrict prayer in schools and the display of religious symbols in public spaces.

    Jefferson used his response to present his views on the proper relationship between religion and government. He wanted to explain why he, unlike earlier presidents or governors, refused to designate days of public prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving. And he wanted to answer the Federalist charge that he was an enemy of religion because he opposed government support for churches.

    The President stated that religion is a matter lying solely between an individual and that person's God. In his view, the First Amendment absolutely prohibited the federal government from meddling in peoples' beliefs or from favoring a particular religious denomination.

  • THEREALND Mishawaka, IN
    Oct. 9, 2018 6:49 a.m.

    US Taxpayers are paying to have The U.S. Ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom preach to the choir.

  • Seven Footsteps Australia, 00
    Oct. 9, 2018 4:37 a.m.

    Um, bombing lots of mostly innocent Muslims is not a really good example of religious freedom.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Oct. 8, 2018 9:57 p.m.

    "If they'll agree to strengthen religious freedom protections in their countries, to defend the rights of people of faith and no faith..."

    The term "religious freedom" is misleading and biased because it does not acknowledge that people of NO FAITH also have rights!

    Find another term, and you may have some support from the non-believers who are growing faster than all of the "religions" combined!

  • Selznik Saint George, UT
    Oct. 8, 2018 8:01 p.m.

    George-it would be nice if some of that love would extend to fellow ward members ov varying political persuasions.

  • Red Corvette St George, UT
    Oct. 8, 2018 7:52 p.m.

    Jim and Tammy Faye Baker come to mind.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Oct. 8, 2018 7:08 p.m.

    I don't know much but the one thing I do know is 1. Love God. 2. Love your neighbor. Hebrew has at least 200 meanings for the word love in english.