Why you shouldn't blame millennials for religious freedom's image crisis

Legal scholars at this week's Religious Freedom Annual Review say religious liberty advocates need to do a better job promoting this First Amendment right.

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  • EscherEnigma Ridgecrest, CA
    July 2, 2019 11:01 a.m.

    @Nichol Draper
    "God is the concept of love for fellow humans. I've explained this to atheists and heard them say no God is like Thor."
    If you want to downsize your god from being a proper god to just being a "concept", go for it. But you should realize that you've just opted out of the actual conversation at hand.

  • Cougalum St. George, UT
    June 29, 2019 5:04 a.m.

    To answer the question: we should identify the cause of the “image crisis” on those who attack religious freedom. Those who make it funny and popular to attack people of faith as “deplorable” people “clinging to their Bibles” and all stripes of bigots because they believe and follow the tenets of their religion. We all know who they are.

  • SLC84103 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 28, 2019 10:21 a.m.

    I want to add something to these two paragraphs from the article:

    " 'I think the argument that "This is the way we've always done things" or "This is the way we've always believed" is not a particularly persuasive argument for young people,' he said."

    "Additionally, some religious freedom advocates seem inconsistent, Wear said. They fight hard for protections for themselves, but don't speak up when a Muslim death row inmate is put to death without access to an imam or a Sikh soldier can't wear his religious head covering."

    My comment is that when young people hear "religious liberty" and anti-LGBT messages as some of the most frequent talking points of their religious elders, they sense that they don't belong to such a group--their hearts tell them something else is truly more fundamental, and, hence, so many disaffect from religion. Religious leaders at this forum may be starting to realize, as the article pointed out, that their messaging and their biases are more of a problem than is "young people not valuing religious freedom." Sorry, but even the photos of some of the attendees should be an indicator. Young people don't want to be and look and act like that.

  • utahcoyote St. George, UT
    June 28, 2019 8:56 a.m.

    perhaps the biggest issue is that certain religious leaders use the pretense of religious freedom as a cudgel to beat others with different beliefs in their rush to make moral judgments. it has to be religious freedom for all or for none, and not just religious freedom for me and those who believe like me.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    June 28, 2019 8:52 a.m.

    I saw a survey today that was chilling. It surveyed people on their views towards using "religious freedom" as a means to discriminate against various minorities.

    In all cases, the newly minted "religious liberty" claims used to justify (where illegal) discrimination against the LGBT community has increased in popularity in the American electorate. Currently roughly 30% of Americans think that claiming "religious freedom" is a valid excuse for not offering publc accomodation to the LGBT community.

    But it gets worse. An increasing number of Americans see it justified to use "religious freedom" claims to justify discrimination against atheists and Muslims, over 20%. And increasingling Americans (19%) feel that discrimination against Jews is acceptable as well using "religious freedom" as the rationale.

    Black Americans fared the best, with only 15% of Americans accepting the proposal that "religious freedom" allows them to discriminate against them.

    Now, I rarely accept the logic of the camel's nose under the tent. However, in this case a disturbing trend is highlighted. "Religious freedom" is now an open reason for people to discriminate. This concept is toxic.

  • brian of ohio Kent, OH
    June 28, 2019 7:54 a.m.

    RiDal - Sandy, UT
    --
    Well spoken. A song from the musical Wicked comes to mind. "A mans called a traitor or a liberator, a rich mans a thief or philanthropist, ... it all matters in what label is able to persist." Secular beliefs are as changing as the wind and what is right is solely defined by what label is able to persist. 20 years ago, abortion would have been seen as outright wrong to both the republican and democratic parties. The current lack of sympathy on immigration would not have been tolerated. That is one reason why I view religion as so important.

    Politicians are more interested in casting stones at the other guy than caring about the people who elect them. This same trend is true for others too. Just read the comments here (I am guilty sometimes too). Most focus on why the other side is wrong/ bigoted/ needs to change/... rather than to understand the other view and see what they can change in themselves.

    Religion truly does make people better. I have seen it in hundreds of people. Are we perfect? No. Do we always get it right? No, but I am certainly a far better person because of it. I help others I normally would not, give money I wouldn't otherwise, etc...

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    June 28, 2019 5:22 a.m.

    @ RiDal

    "A divine principle has a source that is 'divine'."

    There's a reason no religious person can prove another wrong, RiDal. If any of it were more than opinion, this wouldn't be the case. So simply asserting a divine source isn't sufficient. Until you can prove it true, this necessarily remains in the realm of opinion.

    So the question remains. Remove the divine claim since you can't prove it (and, no, merely asserting it with great conviction does not magically make it true) and then defend your stance. What makes your opinion superior/more important than another?

    Re: the definition of equality you choose for your argument: That's the straw man version. Try the one that's talking in terms of equality before the law. How do you get freedom of religion without agreement that government is compelled to treat all beliefs equally, i.e., to avoid favoring one over another?

  • RiDal Sandy, UT
    June 27, 2019 12:21 p.m.

    @Karen R.
    "Also, what makes beliefs/values about the divine more important than, e.g., the secular value of equality?"
    A divine principle has a source that is "divine".
    A secular value is just an opinion...a belief based solely on a human thought. As a human opinion, it really has no more or less "value" than any other thought. One group might think "We like equality". Another might think "We are the Master Race". One might value compassion. Another might value only conquest. "Secular morality" simply becomes "a power struggle...a war". Might is the only thing that makes "right".

    "Additionally, I don't think freedom of religion can exist absent a belief in and enforcement of equality."

    "Equality" has no moral value by itself. People are obviously not equal. They do not have equal backgrounds or equal abilities. They do not achieve equal outcomes.
    "Equality" would be considered "a stupid idea" if not for the underlying idea that has permeated our society for millenia: A belief in the equality of each human soul in the eyes of God. That worth does not depend on physically observable qualities or outcomes. It merely motivates us to treat people with equal dignity.

  • sgallen Salt Lake City, UT
    June 27, 2019 10:16 a.m.

    I like how religious leaders are starting to understand that they need to meet people where they are, rather than make others fit in their box. Framing religion less as a system of behavioral restrictions and the “only way” to eternal life will go a long way. Open minded people are usually happier. I hope to see religions focus more on how an individual can cultivate a personal relationship with God, and less on dogma.

  • Nichol Draper West Jordan, UT
    June 27, 2019 4:41 a.m.

    God is the concept of love for fellow humans. I've explained this to atheists and heard them say no God is like Thor. I explain that choosing not to believe in something does not give your the right to define what that belief is. They become agitated and tell me all the lies that they believe and insist I must believe their lies. That is not freedom.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    June 25, 2019 11:03 a.m.

    @EscherEnigma

    "You know how you feel about Thor, Zeus and Perun? How you don't believe in them? I assume you don't have a "system" that disavows belief in them? Or any of the other gods you've never even heard of? Well, that's all atheism means. Their list of deities they don't believe in is just one name longer then your own."

    Sorry I just really like the way you explained atheism so much that simply liking your comment was not enough. it bared repeating. I hope you don't min if barrow from it in the future.

  • EscherEnigma Ridgecrest, CA
    June 25, 2019 9:28 a.m.

    I'm curious when folks think "religious freedom" got an "image crisis" such that it's logistically *possible* for it to be Millennials' fault.

    Heck, even the current "my religious freedom means I should be able to ignore non-discrimination laws" line? That was first tried in 1964. You know, the year the CRA was signed in the first place?

    None of this is new. So of course it isn't Millenials' fault.

  • EscherEnigma Ridgecrest, CA
    June 25, 2019 9:16 a.m.

    @AmkaProblemka
    "Atheism, even as a system that disavows belief in God, is reaching for [...]"
    nothing.

    For that matter, it isn't a "system" either. Some folks have built philosophical "systems" that include atheism, but atheism itself is just "I don't believe in any god".

    You know how you feel about Thor, Zeus and Perun? How you don't believe in them? I assume you don't have a "system" that disavows belief in them? Or any of the other gods you've never even heard of? Well, that's all atheism means. Their list of deities they don't believe in is just one name longer then your own.

    But no. There's no "system", no "reaching", none of that. Humanism, and other philosophical frameworks and value systems, might include atheism as a component. But don't confuse them *for* atheism.

    Or to put it another way... stop projecting religious frameworks onto atheism. It doesn't work like that.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    June 24, 2019 8:20 a.m.

    "The rise of young religious "nones" makes it harder to make a case for religious freedom, since fewer and fewer Americans understand why it matters for them."

    -- Religious freedom matters for the non-religious as well as the religious. For far too long, the religious have been running rough-shod over the non-religious. It's finally reached a turning point. Also, religious freedom does not mean the right to discriminate in it's name. The only reason "religious freedom" has become the rallying cry is because LGBTQ people are finally starting to be recognized as human and deserving of equal treatment; the self-righteous religious are fighting equality with every ounce of their being.

    "There is less of an innate understanding or respect for religious experiences as something that should be treated differently than any other kind of belief or values system,"

    -- It shouldn't be treated differently. Evaluate the benefits and choose accordingly; superstition shouldn't get preferential treatment.

    "...freedom should protect all faith groups equally..."

    -- They should be treated equally, along with non-faith groups.

  • J. Smith Salt Lake City, UT
    June 24, 2019 7:05 a.m.

    Millennial's are onto "religion" and it's never-ending history of causing division, hate, exclusion, hypocrisy, sanctimonious and downright trouble in the world. Religion has brought this on themselves the jig is up folks.....

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    June 23, 2019 2:20 p.m.

    @AmkaProblemka wrote,

    "Forbidding religious collaboration would reduce the "market" of volunteers"

    You seem to be saying that religions motivate people to be compassionate and want to help other people in need. But in the above sentence you imply that the church members' motivation to help is contingent on their volunteering to help *as a part of the religious organization* rather than helping for the sake of doing good. More specifically, it implies that these good folk would be interested in helping if they could wear something which identified them as a member of "[Insert Name Here] Religion Outreach Group" but would not help if they had to wear ordinary clothes and work under the banner of, say, "Secular Compassionate Citizens Outreach Group".

  • Misty Mountain Kent, WA
    June 23, 2019 1:27 p.m.

    AmkaProblemka writes,

    "Religiously operated food pantries, disaster relief, and sheltering refugees..are regulated by governments."
    Well, no more than non-religious operations (e.g. Red Cross). There ARE regulations that prohibit public funded religious groups from requiring that recipients attend services before receiving assistance. Is this a problem?
    "Governments can deny them permission to do this work." Some governments (e.g. Sudan, Myanmar) have a vested interest in starving certain groups of their own citizens. But they are equally hostile to secular agencies.

    "Governments that are hostile to certain religions forbid them from helping."
    Let's stipulate that this is true, and that Country A feels hostile to Religion B. No problem. B's can simply start "Charity C", and fund it. Volunteers can go to Country A and do all the helping they want. They simply don't mention Religion B. No name tags, no T shirts.

    If they really want to help the people of A, they'll comply. If proselytizing was their actual goal, they'll bag the whole thing.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    June 23, 2019 6:06 a.m.

    @ AmkaProblemka

    "Atheism...is reaching for a higher understanding of the ultimate human condition."

    If I'm following your reasoning, if this isn't true - if atheism is neither a system nor about reaching a higher understanding - then atheists' beliefs/values should be deemed less important?

    Also, what makes beliefs/values about the divine more important than, e.g., the secular value of equality? I could see an argument for this if the existence of the divine were a fact, but to date all we can accurately call it is opinion. Additionally, I don't think freedom of religion can exist absent a belief in and enforcement of equality.

  • AmkaProblemka South Jordan, UT
    June 22, 2019 7:55 p.m.

    Great question, Selznik, and exactly why more information needs to be known about religious freedom. Religiously operated food pantries, disaster relief, and sheltering refugees, etc. are not isolated from governmental workings. They work together with governments and other nongovernmental agencies, and are regulated by governments. Governments can deny them permission to do this work.

    Laws that would prohibit any mingling of state and religion would make it impossible for religious organizations to partner with governments to relieve suffering. Governments that are hostile to certain religions forbid them from helping.

    Obviously, there are non-religious agencies doing the same, but since philanthropy is universal to all the major world religions, religious experience and practice powerfully motivate believers to engage in such activity. Forbidding religious collaboration would reduce the "market" of volunteers and support isolation that is not healthy for pluralistic societies.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    June 22, 2019 5:32 p.m.

    Rick for Truth wrote,

    "Just as everyone is responsible for their choices, making excuses for millennials only enables their poor choices. Stop coddling them and they will grow up."

    Why such hostility?

    Millennials aren't the ones who are asking to discriminate with impunity-- excusing this with the claim that they are "living their religion". It's the old codgers whose sensibilities are so tender that they are unable to regard other people--at least the ones they disdain--as having the same rights as themselves.

  • Selznik Saint George, UT
    June 22, 2019 4:25 p.m.

    In the article Rlder Kearon stated, “Without [religious freedom protections], it would be harder for religious groups to operate food pantries, shelter victims of natural disasters or help refugees find new homes.” Can anyone explain what is interfering with these laudable works that needs more protection? Thanks

  • AmkaProblemka South Jordan, UT
    June 22, 2019 3:48 p.m.

    "'...an innate understanding or respect for religious experiences as something that should be treated differently than any other kind of belief or values system,' said Michael Wear..."

    I think people are reacting to definitions here. What exactly is meant by "other kind of belief or values system" that should not be respected as much as religious experience? By the tone of the rest of the conference, as reported, I believe they mean beliefs or values systems that don't look to an ultimate sense of being or the divine to guide those values.

    So, beliefs or values systems that do look to an ultimate sense of being or the divine, and the religious experience they engender, are more important than, say, corporate rules and regulations. A school's uniform requirements. Zoning laws. Food traditions (not directly related to religious practice). All of these systems have been used as an excuse to discriminate against religions.

    Atheism, even as a system that disavows belief in God, is reaching for a higher understanding of the ultimate human condition, and values rationality, integrity, ethics, and humanism. As such, they would fall under the umbrella as something more special.

  • furymouse Draper, UT
    June 22, 2019 3:47 p.m.

    Using "religious freedom" as a cudgel to make your beliefs law is what people have a problem with.

  • search diligently Lehi, UT
    June 22, 2019 3:02 p.m.

    Millennials have been told over and over again that they should be ashamed for the sins of their father so-to-speak, that America is not great, never was, was not built upon Christian-Judeo principals, etc. Sadly a large percentage believe these crazy notions.

    Wherever there are fascist or communist countries, you will find persecution of religion is well and thriving. Do some research and see this was always the case, is now the case. And it will be the case in the future. Religion is the enemy of these states who end up violating human rights and restricting or taking away personal freedoms.

  • shamrock Salt Lake City, UT
    June 22, 2019 2:11 p.m.

    Young people tend to be idealistic, open to social changes and alert to hypocrisy. They may find it difficult to reconcile some church pronouncements and political views with the their own personal experiences of the world and the idealistic principles underlying their religion itself. For example, Jesus focused on charity and empathy for the poor, the sick and the outsider, and that doesn't match up well with unkindness or disdain for minorities, women, gays and poor people.

  • Bloodhound Provo, UT
    June 22, 2019 2:00 p.m.

    We live in a secular, self-worshipping age. People who worship their own wills and desires, don't wish to hear that there is a God who has expectations of them. Jesus himself said, "If the people of this world hate you, just remember that they hated me first." So, it's not surprising many people today do not see the importance of religion and religious freedom.

  • shamrock Salt Lake City, UT
    June 22, 2019 1:58 p.m.

    @rlynn: I'm not sure what you're quoting, but it's not the First Amendment.

    The part of the First Amendment that applies to religion states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

    Article I, Section 4 of the Utah Constitution is even more specific. It says: "The State shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office of public trust or for any vote at any election; nor shall any person be incompetent as a witness or juror on account of religious belief or the absence thereof. There shall be no union of Church and State, nor shall any church dominate the State or interfere with its functions."

  • Rick for Truth Provo, UT
    June 22, 2019 1:06 p.m.

    Just as everyone is responsible for their choices, making excuses for millennials only enables their poor choices. Stop coddling them and they will grow up.

  • sashabill , CA
    June 22, 2019 12:58 p.m.

    People have mixed religion with politics throughout US history, going back into colonial times. Some religious leaders fanned the flames of the American Revolution.

    Later, the anti-slavery movement included strong religious involvement from Quakers and other. Meanwhile, still other religionists used Bible passages to justify slavery. Whole denominations divided against each other over that issue.

    The temperance movement of the later 19th Century was largely religion-based, while "Social gospel" leaders like Walter Rauschenbusch advocated progressive political ideas in the name of religion.

    The civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements of the 1960s and '70s included prominent involvement from Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish leaders.

    I confess to being somewhat amused by those today who object to conservative political advocacy in the name of religion. I agree that it is problematic, yet those who complain never voice any such objection when religion is used to promote THEIR agenda.

    Coming of age during the '60s and '70's. I was "bigly" alienated by the liberal-left religious advocacy of that time, mainly surrounding the anti-war movement.

    To each his own.

  • RiDal Sandy, UT
    June 22, 2019 12:30 p.m.

    I don't think religious freedom really has an " image crisis". We are simply more aware of the conflicts because the mainstream media no longer has monopolistic control of the narrative.

    Religious people got tired of being silenced and dismissed and were finally given a voice. Religious freedom is actually winning virtually every court battle on these issues. So its "image" is that of "a winner". Of course the more extreme amoral and secular grouos are complaing about this loudly in the liberal media, creating the false impression of an " image crisis".

  • Chungman St George, UT
    June 22, 2019 11:48 a.m.

    THEREALND. You, in my opinion nailed the issue perfectly. The “Religious Freedom” title is just a fancy way to discriminate against minorities.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    June 22, 2019 11:21 a.m.

    "Crisis" is a bit of hyperbole, but there certainly is a "religious freedom" image problem. It is rooted in the refusal of the older generations to be candid about what they mean by "religious freedom", because it's obvious that it has zilch to do with the historical meaning of the phrase. Sure, there's a token lament for the Christian pastor in a Turkish prison (allegedly) because of his religious beliefs. But that's window dressing. All of this posturing about the "specialness" of RF (Michael Wear's statement is an eloquent example) is a Hail Mary attempt to stay legal and socially acceptable when using RF as an excuse to treat other groups--specifically LGBTs and Muslims--badly.

    Millennials have grown up with fellow students who were Muslim or who came out as gay and they reject the arguments that "those people" should be denied the same rights that they have. When Grandpa rails against those groups, the M's don't say, "Go for it, Grandpa!". They say, "Grandpa, you're nuts. "

    Millennials know that the Religious Freedom Emperor has no clothes. And they don't hesitate to say so. That's the "crisis".

  • WallE Walla Walla, WA
    June 22, 2019 10:33 a.m.

    As far as church attendance, I don't blame young people for not attending, rather I fault the older church members who should be mentors and looking out for the young people and their families.

    The biggest impediment is offerings. Most churches expect a proportion of income as an offering. This is much more difficult for a young person recently graduated with college debt, housing expenses, and sometimes a new family to support. Plus they have lower incomes just starting out. Churches expect a share of the pie, but it's a smaller pie for young people. For those of us in the mentor category, our houses were bought years ago and house payment are less due to inflation, student debt was paid long ago, and our incomes are much higher with experience. Our pie is much larger with more disposable income, and it's easier for established people to give, but the same is expected of people starting out. Its tough for young people.

    In college I joined a service club with dues. I felt harassed to get service hours in. When I quit, I saved the dues and wasn't harassed anymore. Churches often have the same issue.

  • charrette Provo, UT
    June 22, 2019 9:15 a.m.

    I am a very faithful person and value my religious practices and freedoms deeply. However, I don’t see millennials as the main obstacle to religious freedom. Why is no one addressing the real elephant in the room?

    Faith groups who attach some kind of “religious rightness” to the Republican Party, to the extent that they elected a racist, bigoted, and immoral president —who is at this very moment threatening to launch a raid on 2000 immigrant families as if that’s some prideful badge of goodness—need to rethink a few things. It is this kind of behavior that gives religious freedom a bad name. Christians need to be Christians, not divisive mud-slingers, not greedy oppressors of the poor, not haters and not excluders. Whatever happened to “love God and love thy neighbor?” If we can’t love those who are different from us, that is the real threat to religious freedom.

  • portlander Arlington, WA
    June 22, 2019 8:31 a.m.

    Missing the point entirely. The conference, and church leaders, especially. Church leaders always think that the Church belongs to them. It does not. It belongs to God and the Savior. Church leaders always think that we get to to God and the Savior through them, or because of them. We do not. Church leaders are to blame, in part, because they don't present the fact that they are there to protect and promote our relationship with God and the Savior. When they fail to teach that we, the people have so much at stake, so much skin in the game, then people, both youths and adults, lose site of that imperative and just move on to what seems more important in life. It's a very sad situation we have here. I struggle each day to maintain my own personal relationship with God and MY Savior and to try to teach that principle to my family, and within my calling. I pray that church leaders will one day, wake up. And soon!

  • UtahBlueDevil Alpine, UT
    June 22, 2019 8:05 a.m.

    The bundling of faith and politics as you walk through the church doors chases away a lot of people. Sometimes it is very overt, often less so. But how many times have we read here in the comments posted that people don't understand how you can be anything but a Republican if you are LDS? Most people don't overtly "harass" those who don't conform, but there is a discomfort non the less.

    And then there is the competitive religions aspect. While things are better, when you have the attitude that every other church is "false", it makes the house of worship a place of competition. There are tons of "cultural" issues that make churches less welcoming and places of refuge from the world - and if the sanctuary within the walls of a church aren't that - people will leave.

  • rlynn Brandon, FL
    June 22, 2019 7:53 a.m.

    Still do not undersatnd the for Religion Freedom Acts. The 1st Amendment is very clear: "The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed."

    "There is less of an innate understanding or respect for religious experiences as something that should be treated differently than any other kind of belief or values system,' said Michael Wear..." These very words go against the 1st Amendment that "Civil rights of none shall be abridged...nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner or any pretext infringed." My right of conscience, value system or belief is equal to any religious experience.

    I find that the number one cause for these acts is to fight against Same Sex Marriage, as such thy infringe on my right of conscience to belief in a God who created me as a Gay man. That being Gay is not a sin, but a God given right?

  • The Dark Knight Salt Lake City, UT
    June 22, 2019 7:50 a.m.

    If religious freedom has an inage crisis, its because of people snd organizations who are using it as an excuse to push laws that discriminate against the LGBTQ community and turn Christian beliefs into civil law ehile ignorong the rights of genuinely marginalized religious groups like Muslims. I am an actively religious Christian, but I believe religious freedom has become little more than a code for right-wing Christian extremism.

  • THEREALND Mishawaka, IN
    June 22, 2019 7:13 a.m.

    How ironic that a conference called "Religious Freedom Annual Review" would be held at a place that students can be expelled for changing or losing faith.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    June 22, 2019 7:08 a.m.

    SAS,

    I thought the same thing.

    On the same note, how many atheists were involved?

    "There is less of an innate understanding or respect for religious experiences as something that should be treated differently than any other kind of belief or values system," said Michael Wear.

    Really? This is the core of the issue: religious people thinking their experiences, their thoughts and feelings, their beliefs, their rights and privileges, are superior, unique, special, more valuable and deserving of special treatment.

    That is the arrogance, hubris, and foolishness that divides us!

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    June 22, 2019 6:46 a.m.

    "'There is less of an innate understanding or respect for religious experiences as something that should be treated differently than any other kind of belief or values system,' said Michael Wear..."

    Good, since believing this strikes me as antithetical to the 1st Amendment and quite the entitled stance.

    Seriously, if this is a foundational premise for the outreach to millennials or to the public at large, you're going to offend a lot of people. Declaring oneself more special than others tends to do that (and is why religion can be so divisive).

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    June 22, 2019 6:00 a.m.

    I think it is very important that religious leaders need to explain the value of their interpretations of religious freedom. It most certainly adds to every social issue debate we have in this country. In my opinion it adds clarity to what the decision is really all about, positively and negatively.

    However, many young people along with their elders have seen the creeping politicization of religious leaders into arenas that are tangential if not outside of this kind of debate. Religious leaders also become aggressively engaged in the politics of the moment further adding a bad taste.

    I would never mute these religious leaders from expressing their opinions. However, doing so has consequences for a younger generation who increasingly don't affiliate with any strain of religion. Now why that occurs is another subject, but it is indeed the effect of monolithic pronouncements and witnessed hypocrisies emanating from so many religious leaders.

  • SAS Sandy, UT
    June 22, 2019 12:48 a.m.

    It doesn't look like there are many millennials at the conference, either speaking or in the audience.

    If the conference organizers want to involve young people in discussing and debating religious freedom in our society....perhaps they might invite a few to participate.