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Readers' forum: America, religious beliefs

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  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    Jan. 7, 2012 7:32 a.m.

    Religion in America is under severe attack by the left wing. Indeed, the left has turned the 1st Amendment on its head by claiming that what the amendment really does is prohibit any religious influence in American life.

    Left wing judges have legislated from the bench to attack traditional practices such as prayer in school and government meetings, displays of the Ten Commandments, and Crosses to honor fallen troopers. Indeed, these leftist judges have even prohibited use of the word Christ in conjunction with the word Christmas in the public schools.

    This attack on religion has created a society in which crime, substance abuse, and immorality are at epidemic levels. But perhaps that is the goal-- the left wing goal of having citizens turn to the government to provide them with entitlement programs for this life, rather than to God to provide for the eternities.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 7, 2012 9:05 a.m.

    Thanks, Landon. I can count you among the supporters of my proposed casino in salt lake.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2012 9:09 a.m.

    Mr. Spring,

    What's with the "left wing judges" rant? It's never made sense and it's getting old.

    Do you know how many politically conservative federal judges appointed by conservative presidents are nonetheless ruling that your vision of a theocratic, authoritarian nation is in fact a violation of constitutional liberties?

    Enough with the persecution complex! There is no historical or legal merit to the fantasy that your private religious beliefs are under attack. Noting the dangers and historical failures of mixing religion and government is not an "attack," it's simple honest reality.

    How do you explain that in the US, crime, teen pregnancies, abortion and substance abuse are generally higher in "red" states than in "blue" states?

    How do you explain that in other industrialized nations, the less religious the government is, the better is the health, happiness, prosperity and civil liberties of its citizens?

    Is it the secularists, or the religious zealots, who are blowing themselves up in acts of mass murder in the Middle East? Are they committing these crimes in an effort to reduce the role of religion in government, or increase it?

    Keep religion out of government!

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2012 9:14 a.m.

    @John Charity Springs
    "Left wing judges have legislated from the bench to attack traditional practices such as prayer in school"

    Good, why would we want public school led prayer? The only reason you all complain about schools not leading students in prayers is because YOUR religion (Christianity) is the one that would have led the prayers. You'd be singing a different tune if this were a Muslim majority country and your kids had to deal wtih schools leading whichever of the 5 mecca facing prayers a day occurred during school hours.

    "This attack on religion has created a society in which crime, substance abuse, and immorality are at epidemic levels."

    New Hampshire has the highest percentage of atheists of any state and the lowest crime rate, there just isn't any correlation between religion, or lack thereof... and crime. And really suggesting atheists are criminals is just bigoted.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Jan. 7, 2012 9:16 a.m.

    What about religions who abuse people? Shouldn't there be a counter-weight?

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 7, 2012 9:18 a.m.

    You can believe what we want. No one will stop you.

    To JCS: Crime rates have fallen drastically over the last twenty years. They are now back down to levels not seen for almost fifty years. Drug use is down, the abortion rate has decreased by 30% in the last thirty years. How does that fit into your grand theory of a massive left-wing conspiracy?

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    Jan. 7, 2012 10:49 a.m.

    I honestly don't remember anyone, ever telling me what I can or cannot believe.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Jan. 7, 2012 11:00 a.m.

    American History

    Many religious groups formed the first colonies on the basis of their religious beliefs. Although the plan was to escape persecution, there was persecution happening in the colonies. For example the Puritans wanted everyone to worship in the Puritan way. In order to ensure that Puritanism. Nonconformists were fined, banished, whipped, and even imprisoned for not conforming to the way of the Puritans.

    Virginia enacted anti-Quaker laws, including the death penalty for refractory Quakers.

    Catholic fortunes fluctuated in Maryland during the rest of the 17th century, as they became an increasingly smaller minority of the population. After 1689 the Church of England was legally established in the colony and English penal laws, which deprived Catholics of the right to vote, hold office, or worship publicly, were enforced.

    Virginia was settled by businessmen operating the Virginia Company of London, who wanted to get rich. Early governors sent by the Virginia Company acted as crusaders. Sir Thomas Dale considered himself engaged in "religious warfare." During Dale's tenure, religion was spread at the point of the sword. Everyone was required to attend church and be catechized by a minister. Those who refused could be executed or sent to the galleys.

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    Jan. 7, 2012 11:15 a.m.

    @JCS your war is a myth. A myth that I believe most thoughtful, true Americans don't subscribe to. I love American diversity and we are a better nation because of it.

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    Jan. 7, 2012 11:16 a.m.

    re: John Charity Spring | 7:32 a.m. Jan. 7, 2012

    Another parroted talking point memo from fixed noise. Seriously(?), was JCS vacinnated w/ a phonograph needle while riding a ferris wheel?

    The right has no activists & If they did they'd be pure as new fallen snow? What about the whole Terri Schiavo fiasco? Focus on Families? Pat Robertson? The Tea party? etc...?

  • Anti Bush-Obama Washington, DC
    Jan. 7, 2012 11:39 a.m.

    Some of you posters remind me about the citizens of ancient rome. They boasted of themselves and said their civilization was too mighty to fall also. Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it. America can fall just like Rome fell and if you read about how Rome fell, you will relize we are very close to falling as a nation. The problem is that people don't read books anymore they just listen to propogandists in the mass media.

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    Jan. 7, 2012 11:48 a.m.

    The usual left wing suspects have been quick to claim that all is well, and we need not fear. Let us look at the facts.

    Just this week, a central-Utah couple was murdered by a drug using couple involved in a non-marital sexual relationship. Five Ogden police officers were shot, one fatally, by a drug dealing maniac. A man was sentenced for strangling his live-in girlfriend. The list goes on and on.

    These senseless crimes may be acceptable to those who fight against religion, but they are not acceptable to those of us who want the peaceful, moral society that religious influence provides.

  • Grover Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2012 11:50 a.m.

    I am hoping that the gamers of the world will develop a new video game (with a dedication to JC Spring) pitting the forces of Religion vs. the Secularists. It would be based on actual scenes from the Crusades with the Secularists playing the part of the infidel (at least in the Utah version). The war would be refereed by black robed activist jurists who would decide which side would receive provisions, arms and reinforcements. The battles could be fought endlessly in video format instead of in the streets and courts of America. Players would be able to choose which side they represent and everyone would have a chance to burn up the excess energy now being used to argue the issue daily in these pages.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2012 11:59 a.m.

    @JCS
    "These senseless crimes may be acceptable to those who fight against religion, but they are not acceptable to those of us who want the peaceful, moral society that religious influence provides. "

    Nobody likes senseless crime. The fact is that crime rates are going down. That's good news. Yes there's still crime, there's always going to be crime, and we always want it to get better, but does that mean we can't be happy that crime rates are decreasing?

    Your argument says that removing religion from the public sector creates more crime. Statistically that doesn't hold up. New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine are 1 2 3 for least crime and highest percentage of atheists. If you look at the 50 states as a whole there's no real correlation between crime and religion (or lack thereof). Your argument is not valid because the reality is that statistics do not suggest that religion in the public square leads to less crime.

    I'm a Christian. I don't want public schools leading students with Islamic prayers, and in exchange for that that means no Chrisian prayers either.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2012 3:14 p.m.

    "These senseless crimes may be acceptable to those who fight against religion, but they are not acceptable to those of us who want the peaceful, moral society that religious influence provides."

    JCS, why would you believe that the people that committed these crimes did not have reluence influence in their lives? Why would you think they were not raised religious? Or still believe in religious principles?

    Or are you under the impression that only non-religious people "sin"?

    Crime rates have gone down. Don't be scared. Plenty of people want you to be scared, don't give in to them.

    There is plenty of religion in our country. As much as anybody wants. Have you never noticed the number of churches around? Nobody is making anybody tear them down.

    You can worship 24/7 if you choose. Pray as much as you want, proclaim your religion.

    Just don't do it in my house.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Jan. 7, 2012 3:27 p.m.

    skeptic wrote, "I guess the same can be said for the victims of the Morning Meadows Massacres also."

    Mountain Meadow Massacre was a tragic event instigated by a paranoid people who had been persecuted for years and who had lost almost 10% of their population in the process of fleeing that persecution and crossing the Great Plains. Despite that persecution the perpetrators had no right to do what they did and MMM will remain a dark stain on LDS history forever.

    But those that were tragically murdered at Mountain Meadow were not killed because of their religious beliefs. Their religious beliefs had nothing to do with their tragic deaths.

    So, no, the same cannot be said about the victims of Mountain Meadow Massacre. In the American experience, there are countless unfortunate examples of religious persecution but no religion has had to endure the unlawful persecution - often instigated by law enforcement, elected officials or clergy - that the members of the LDS faith have had to endure. And no religion was driven from their lawfully owned properties the way the LDS people were.

    Today, similarly ignorant hatred exists for members of the Muslim faith. Like in the early days of the Mormon church, people would rather believe the hysterical rantings of uninformed bigots. Until that stops we cannot claim to be a free country with the right of believing what we want.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Jan. 7, 2012 3:38 p.m.

    It's just that conservatives don't seem capable of following through on how they would feel if the majority of americans decide they want to pray to a golden calf and do it school, during political speeches and make sure it's taught along with science in schools and universities.

    Then it would be a problem and you would want the separation of church and state. Liberals see the problem before it occurs - that's the difference.

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    Jan. 7, 2012 3:50 p.m.

    The liberals here ignore one crucial truth: although rates for certain crimes can fluctuate, the overall crime rate is still at epidemic levels. The liberal's argument is like telling someone with cancer that he is actually healthy because he could have more cancer than he has.

    As for citing the New England States as an example of goodness, that reference is ridiculous. Those three states lead the nation in the attack against traditional marriage as well as leading in rates of non-marital sex. This reference supports my point.

    The liberals also ignore the irrefutable fact that addiction to drugs and alcohol are deatroying the lives of millions of Americans. Clearly, the left is willing to overlook the casualties of its fight against religion.

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    Jan. 7, 2012 4:45 p.m.

    re:JCSpring
    Don't let the facts inform you.

    New Mexico had the highest teenage pregnancy rate (93 per 1,000), followed by Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Mississippi. The lowest rates were in New Hampshire (33), Vermont, Maine, Minnesota and North Dakota.

    The Census bureau found that people living in northeastern states have lower marriage and divorce rates. And while those in the southern states are more likely to get married, they also have higher divorce rates. The states with the highest divorce rates were: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alaska, Alabama, Kentucky, Nevada, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and Arizona.

    Analysis suggests that the difficult economic conditions of many southern states drives the divorce rate higher because residents tend to be poorer. The states with particularly high divorce rates have below median household income as well as a high proportion of the population living below the poverty line.

    98 percent of self-identified conservatives, 91 percent of moderates and 85 percent of liberals said they believed in God. according to a recent Gallup poll.

  • Cora Smith BOUNTIFUL, UT
    Jan. 7, 2012 5:06 p.m.

    After reading these post's, I'm certainly happy that I don't believe in something as a huge left wing war against religion. IF I spent as much time hating and worrying about something that does not even exist, I think I would welcome death. Life is very short, and to spend time on issues that I "think" are killing me and my way of life, without real reason and knowledge,(except for certain right wing radio and Tv host's promoting their latest hate filled rant, to of course work up their willfull listening puplic that is). Why is it that nobody can tell us what freedoms they have lost, and proof that demo's are trying to get rid of religion? No facts, just hyperbole and dislike for anybody who dosen't believe in a certain lifestyle. WoW.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    Jan. 7, 2012 5:49 p.m.

    per John Charity Spring | 11:48 a.m. Jan. 7, 2012

    What does this have to do w/ the initial letter?

    per John Charity Spring | 3:50 p.m. Jan. 7, 2012

    While conservatives turn a blind eye to megacorporations who are turning the US into a 3rd world country w/ a feudal economy.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Jan. 7, 2012 6:47 p.m.

    John Charity Spring sees boogeymen behind every curtain.

    People are welcome to worship whomever they wish. I don't care.

    I do care when they start using their religious beliefs to oppress certain members of society who are outside the norm of those beliefs.

    Keep your religion to yourself and nobody will bother you. Use your religion as a weapon to discriminate against American Citizens, and you'll have a fight on your hands.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2012 8:07 p.m.

    @JCS
    "The liberals here ignore one crucial truth: although rates for certain crimes can fluctuate, the overall crime rate is still at epidemic levels. "

    You are conceding that crime rates are at least not getting worse despite originally claiming that atheism (the fastest growing religion in america) leads to higher crime rates. That's what I'm arguing and you yourself just admitted it.

    If you want to argue that atheism leads to more people doing things contrary to Christian rules my response is... well of course... guess what, non-Jewish people have dramatically higher rates of loving bacon too. When using your set of religious rules... any set of religious rules, you can always condemn the groups that don't follow that set because people don't follow optional sets of rules that they don't belong to.

    Crime rates is a universal standard in this nation and that standard shows no correlation between religion (or lack thereof) and crime. When comparing religious groups you have to use a standard they all have to conform to and laws are that standard, not one set of religious rules.

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    Jan. 7, 2012 9:15 p.m.

    re: Ranch | 6:47 p.m. Jan. 7, 2012

    The proverbial reds are under his allegorical bed?

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 7, 2012 9:16 p.m.

    JCS, you bemoan the fact that prayer and scripture reading are banned, but if it were allowed, I bet Dearborn, Michigan with a LOT of Muslims, would have Koran reading and prayers to Mecca everyday. How would YOU like your kids/grandkids to live in Dearborn and be forced to do that everyday?

    What if your grandkids lived in Bugtussel, Oklahoma? They wouldn't be reading a KJV Bible. They'd be reading NIVs and learning Evangelical Protestantism.

    Parents shouldn't try to have the schools do those things that the parents should be doing...teaching about religion, morals, etc...If you want this, then don't complain when they teach Sex-Ed, etc...

    JCS
    As for citing the New England States as an example of goodness, that reference is ridiculous. Those three states lead the nation in the attack against traditional marriage

    LDS4
    Because of their atheism, they require laws be based on preventing objective harm rather than on subjective religious doctrine. There is NO objective reason to outlaw same-sex marriage. Opposition is based only on religion and the "ick factor". Christians are forbidden to use their morals as justification to infringe upon the rights of others (1 Cor. 10:29).

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Jan. 8, 2012 11:41 a.m.

    Let me correct one huge miscompetion (among many) the JCS has, and that is that being non religious and atheism are the same thing. I would conceed that someone who is using drugs and killing other human beings is probably not religious..but that doesn't mean they don't believe in God. Atheists don't believe in God and therefore very rarely are religious, but millions of people believe in God and aren't reliegious (practice an organized religion).

    Personally having lived around the world I have found that people who are avowed atheists are more consistenly moral and ethical. They have to be because they are responsible for their own actions and can't explain away actions to the influence of some form of magic.

  • homebrew South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 8, 2012 12:22 p.m.

    A hundred years ago, people believed in witches and werewolves. As the population progresses, and people become more educated, fairytales lose their luster. Science takes over from paronoia, and superstition. The egyptians have images in the pyramids of men with helmets on, and unusuall spacecraft.That was thousands of years ago. Jesus it says in the bible, ascended in a blaze of light. Maybe by spacecraft. Who is to say that the god you believe in, is in fact, an alien. Just food for thought.

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    Jan. 8, 2012 1:17 p.m.

    re: pragmatistferlife | 11:41 a.m. Jan. 8, 2012

    Agreed. Atheists by its very definition don't believe in God. Being irreligious mean you are against religion... obviously.

    They are very different concepts altogether. Then, there are concepts like Deism.

    Can't remember where I read or who said the following, but...

    "Morality is doing what is right regardless of what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told regardless of what is right."

  • L Kaiser REDMOND, WA
    Jan. 8, 2012 5:03 p.m.

    Wally west: "Agreed. Atheists by its very definition don't believe in God. Being irreligious mean you are against religion... obviously."

    While I agree with your first, I disagree with your last sentence in this statement. One who is not religeous or an atheist doesnt at all mean their against religion or want it gone, it simply means they dont believe it to be true. I dont believe santa clause exists but im certainly not against him, I Get my picture with his best impersonator every December.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Jan. 8, 2012 5:51 p.m.

    RE: lds4gaymarriage

    In a truly free society, like one where government does not dictate your life or schools,

    you would be free to choose what school you send your children to,

    and local communities would have schools they want,

    and you can choose to live where people share your values, morals and even religion,

    so no one would be forced to do anything.

    Do you get it now?

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 8, 2012 8:48 p.m.

    the truth
    RE: lds4gaymarriage

    In a truly free society, like one where government does not dictate your life or schools,

    you would be free to choose what school you send your children to,

    and local communities would have schools they want,

    and you can choose to live where people share your values, morals and even religion,

    so no one would be forced to do anything.

    LDS4
    That world exists today...It's called private schools..private neighborhoods, etc..with no government funding. As long as the government is building schools, they have to be theologically neutral. If we have vouchers, which I favor, then we can have schools as we wish, provided that those schools educate kids to pass standardized tests.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Jan. 9, 2012 8:43 a.m.

    Forced Religion.
    Prayers in Schools.
    The Scriptures are the Supreme law of the Land.
    Self perscribed Doing of God's Will.
    Taking upon youself the Cleansing of "sin" from the Earth.

    The "religious" right hate the Muslims for doing all this in the Middle East, and beat the drums of war, committing OUR kids to go kill them into accepting secularism....

    While advocting the very same thing in AMERICA.

    Hypocrites.