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Religious freedom as a core human right: A three-sided, global debate

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  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    March 24, 2012 2:18 p.m.

    The Middle-East region is lost, "even as chaff is driven before the wind, or as a vessel is tossed about upon the waves, without sail or anchor, or without anything wherewith to steer her".

    However many generations ago, their fathers have abandoned the true principles they once held to be true. The entire peoples of those areas of the world have lost their way and rejected anyone trying to help them find a better way. Just as concerning is that many within our own country are abandoning the basic principles that this country was founded on- abandoning democracy and freedom in favor of enforcing their own laws on everyone else. Sadly, many may end up just as lost.

    "We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life."

    Some people like to twist that verse to mean what it doesn't- but we all know right from wrong, and those wanting to know the full truth can receive it- Ether 4:11

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    March 24, 2012 2:40 p.m.

    If religious people want to preserve their "religious freedom", they are going to have to be more specific.

    What, exactly, do you mean by "religious freedom?"

    The freedom to blow up the infidels in gods name?

    The freedom to deny equality before the law to people who are not members of your religion?

    The freedom to vote as a homogeneous bloc so that only "believers" are serving in positions of political power?

    The freedom to use public money for tax exemptions on religious properties and businesses, and to exploit public property to your religion's advantage?

    The freedom to buy lobbyists, "cultivate political offices", and otherwise use religious influence to manipulate the political and governmental processes?

    The freedom to deny employees and workers access to insurance benefits for things the religion does not like? And the freedom to operate businesses but be exempt from the good and decent laws protecting employees of all other, non-religious organizations?

    When religion wants special rights and exceptional treatment, then religion is trying to scam the public by passing favoritism off as "religious freedom".

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    March 24, 2012 3:03 p.m.

    @ A Scientist 2:40 p.m. March 24, 2012

    **When religion wants special rights and exceptional treatment, then religion is trying to scam the public by passing favoritism off as "religious freedom".**

    Agreed 100%. Succinct & accurate about religion playing the victim when people see through their smoke & mirrors.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    March 24, 2012 3:11 p.m.

    I have students m my classes who have had to flee their country because they don't belong to the correct faith. They literally face being shot down. Its important to note that this is not being done by a "godless state" by but by a state controlled by one religion. I think the founders of the constitution knew what they were doing when they kept church and state separate.

  • Social Mod Fiscal Con West Jordan, UT
    March 24, 2012 3:49 p.m.

    @A Scientist
    Assuming your infidel comment is item #1, here goes.
    1) Clearly not acceptable. Anyone who believes they have the right to kill or oppress another because of religious beliefs has twisted their own religious into something evil.
    2) See as #1.
    3) Since each person in this country has the obligation to vote according to their conscience, it is reasonable that in an area where one religion represents a high density, that individuals belonging to that religion would tend to be elected.
    4) You statement doesn't actually make sense; I think what you are implying is that tax exemptions for religious organizations are bad. You are wrong, and I wish I had enough space to explain why.
    5) See #3. If a group of people all belong to the same religion, odds are high they will share some common political ideologies. They absolutely have a right to come together to express those ideologies.
    6) Do we as a nation want to have a federal Department of Theology? Keep the two completely separate. While not a perfect solution and some will abuse it, the alternatives are MUCH worse.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    March 24, 2012 5:05 p.m.

    Let's try this religious freedom thing in utah.

  • Mr. Bean Salt Lake City, UT
    March 24, 2012 5:05 p.m.

    @A Scientist: "What, exactly, do you mean by 'religious freedom?' The freedom to blow up the infidels in gods name?"

    Good question, Scientist.

    There is a religion on the face of this earth today whose tenets include the killing of infidels and errant children and the beating into submission certain family members. Should that religion be protected under our Constitution and be allowed to flourish in the home of the brave and the land of the free? We need to decide very quickly because the US is, as we speak, being invaded by such a religion. They appear rather benign at the present because they are a fairly small minority. But wait a few years and the problem will be upon us like odor on a skunk.

  • aumacoma SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 24, 2012 6:05 p.m.

    Imagine there's no Heaven
    It's easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today

    Imagine there's no countries
    It isn't hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace

    You may say that I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world

    You may say that I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will live as one

    John Lennon RIP

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    March 24, 2012 6:56 p.m.

    The instant Santorum-type evangelicals are in control and start moving to impose a strictly Baptist "Bible-based" curriculum on public schools and purging federal employees of anyone not properly "born again," this newspaper will discover the value of secular government.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    March 24, 2012 8:19 p.m.

    Mr. Bean,

    While there is a lot of truth in your comment, if it is referring to Muslims, or Islam- then I would have to disagree. I do not believe Muslims are some sort of 'enemy'. There are certainly those who do- but just as there are FLDS, catholics, jews, atheists, conservatives, liberals, and other groups who do horrible things in the name of their beliefs or opinions.

    There is a religion invading the United States right now- it's called Relativism. The problem is that relativists are really arguing for dictatorship and essentially a state religion (what they claim they are fighting) by claiming rights to what belongs to others, rights to exemption from law, rights to exemption from democratic process- all to negate the votes of others in favor of their own power over others.

    State recognition belongs to the people to decide, it isn't a right exempt from democratic process. Choosing to get pregnant is a right, not to use abortion as birth control. People want their own views to be justified and accepted by people, even if they have to force it against our will. This is the only 'religion' I would be concerned about.

  • Kirk R Graves West Jordan, UT
    March 24, 2012 8:36 p.m.

    @Blue,

    LDS believe very much in secular government. It is nearly a tenant of the faith. However, secular government does not mean immoral populous. Secular government simply means that the government does not promote religion. Government should still promote the viewpoint of it's citizens.

  • Mr. Bean Salt Lake City, UT
    March 24, 2012 9:58 p.m.

    @A voice of Reason:

    "While there is a lot of truth in your comment, if it is referring to Muslims, or Islam- then I would have to disagree."

    You can decide which religion.... but the religion I referenced does, indeed, murder the infidel, honor kill errant daughters, and whip their wives into submission. The point being, is if this religion is to be protected by the Constitution, we're in deep trouble.

    "There are certainly those who do- but just as there are FLDS, catholics, jews, atheists, conservatives, liberals, and other groups who do horrible things in the name of their beliefs or opinions."

    The religions you mention might have weird tenets but none do the abhorrent things as listed above. Atheists, conservatives, and liberals are not religions.

    "There is a religion invading the United States right now- it's called Relativism."

    To my knowledge that's not a religion either... at least one protected by the 1st Amendment.

    "This is the only 'religion' I would be concerned about."

    Your fears are unfounded.

  • Sorry Charlie! SLC, UT
    March 25, 2012 12:00 a.m.

    @VOA
    why do you get to decide if something is a right aren't rights determined by the constitution? how is your desire to control others behavior not trying to dictate? Is it your body? why is it your business? how can those that think such decisions should be left up to the individual dictators?

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    March 25, 2012 12:15 a.m.

    Re:AVoiceofReason

    Nobody cares what conservatiives think about abortion anymore. We've learned the conservative's world view is that contraceptives cause sexual immorality. They care less for the unborn than they do about a fantasy world where people only have sex when they want to have children.

    I can hardly wait for part 2.

  • Melanna Salt Lake City, Utah
    March 25, 2012 12:25 a.m.

    @ A voice of Reason: "Choosing to get pregnant is a right, not to use abortion as birth control. People want their own views to be justified and accepted by people, even if they have to force it against our will."

    Do you not see the irony of your statement?

    As long as it is something you agree with, it is a right - but if it is not something you agree with, then it is not a right and someone is forcing their will on you.

    I have read several of your posts and it always amazes me that you can be so close and yet so far.

    When you pass a law prohibiting me from doing something, you are forcing your will upon me. When I engage in a legal behavior, my participation in that behavior in no way forces anything on you - nor does it prohibit anything to you.

    How can you be so close and yet so unable to go that last little bit of reason to understand that?

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    March 25, 2012 2:08 a.m.

    Mr. Bean,

    "The religion" you referenced does nothing. A religion is made up of people and to generalize an entire people by a title- while all members of that group do not in fact support the same actions, is logically fallacious. It's called a "faulty generalization"

    My comparison of other belief systems or belief associations was simply to show that 'just because members of an organization have done wrong, doesn't mean you ban the organization altogether'. Banning a political party would in effect be no different than a religion, thus the reference. FYI, we do not have a clean record ourselves. If you look at violence and crime here in comparison we aren't that much better and in some cases worse. We may not use bombs, but killing is killing, and so on.

    Furthermore, from your comment you implied that Muslims should not be permitted to be in the U.S. or at very least worship freely in the U.S. - Is this your opinion?

    I clearly used "religion" to refer to people maintaining specific beliefs. Perhaps you missed this. I used the word liberally, but only to illustrate a principle.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 25, 2012 6:42 a.m.

    Religious freedom for individuals. Good.

    Religious freedom for churches, religion. Bad.

    The purpose of religion is the enslavement of men. The reason for religion is to gain control and ownership of wealth.

    Churches and religions are business operations. They have a product for sale and engage is fierce competition with other churches and religions. And like the business interest competition of nations, it often results in war.

    Denied the force of government for their cause, American religions had a sort of truce but because of the burning desire for conquest even American churches are straining at the bit.

    The shrinkage of the world and the close proximity of world religions, not party to the truce, is kindling the need to become more aggressive and fortified in their competition. It is likely that the war that ends the world will be a war of the religions and not just a war of commercial profits.

    One of two things that might save us is the actual appearance of God or the complete discounting of religious notions and needs among men.

  • tyndale1 Pullman, WA
    March 25, 2012 9:27 a.m.

    Having the freedom to choose which faith works for you is important. That is a right that our next President will protect in America. Having and maintaining the freedom to choose is a major tenant of the LDS faith which is not in any way compromised by preaching the gospel. We reserve the right to share what we have, but we allow all other faiths to also share. And then to make an informed decision free from persecution.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    March 25, 2012 9:38 a.m.

    @AVoiceofReason,

    "There are certainly those who do- but just as there are FLDS, catholics, jews, atheists, conservatives, liberals, and other groups who do horrible things in the name of their beliefs or opinions."

    Of course he doesn't list LDS or Mormons here ... when A Voice of Reason talks the Reason is always the BOM ... like others mentioned he can be so close but always so far with his religious bias.

    Religious freedom should be a core human right. Unfortunately, as you see in Utah probably more significantly than any state in the country, religious groups put laws in place that remove your religious freedom (granted you're not of that religion).

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    March 25, 2012 10:03 a.m.

    Ultrabob,

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" or in denying "the right of the people peaceably to assemble". Maybe you missed the memo, but I have rights, just like you. You start taking away people's rights, and peace can not exist.

    Group meetings, panels, conferences- with purpose to find common agreement- for a political party, Religion, or philosophical panel are all free expressions of the human voice. People financially support such human organizations to peacefully, lawfully, and democratically build on those ideas, as free expressing bodies of the human voice. Limiting specific groups from peaceable assembling, using money, voicing opinions in this democracy- is establishing a state system of beliefs and opinions.

    "The purpose of religion is the enslavement of men... to gain control and ownership of wealth."

    Compare the LDS Church's spending to Wall Street and the U.S. government. You may not agree with all its dealings, but one would very quickly see how that accusation is wildly without substance. Study up on the straw-man fallacy. Because until you give your opponents the most plausible representation of their views- you won't have credibility.

  • ohheck SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 25, 2012 12:51 p.m.

    No need to go off topic by talking about the conflict between church vs. government. That is a great topic of discussion for another day.

    This article is talking about Individual Religious Freedom -- the right of each individual to follow their own conscience and choose their own form of religious beliefs and form of worship.

    Simply read the wording of the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights regarding the individual freedom to choose our own religion (signed by almost all countries of the world EXCEPT Islamic-dominated or communist-dominated countries) VS. the 1990 Islamic Declaration of Human Rights. The importance is what is MISSING from the Islamic Declaration. There is no guaranteed right for an individual to change religions. As Mohammad taught, anyone is allowed and encouraged to become Muslim. But, once Muslim, that individual can never be allowed to change to another belief. The Koranic/Sunnah punishment is death.

    That INDIVIDUAL right is the one being discussed in the article. Those of us lucky enough to live in countries which guarantee that right should try to find ways to help those trapped in countries where even this fundamental freedom of conscience doesn't exist.

  • Jeromeo Salt Lake City, UT
    March 25, 2012 1:25 p.m.

    @Mr. Bean.

    A mystery religion. Another religious mystery. Hmmmmm.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 25, 2012 3:56 p.m.

    A voice of Reason

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

    This First Amendment is a promise to the people of America saying the government will not interfere with the beliefs and actions of the individual citizen with regard to religion.

    It is not a cart blanch declaration of freedom for churches, religious organizations or their business operations. With some exceptions the government has pretty well stayed true to it’s word. But we don’t allow human sacrifice or denial of the American basic rights.

    If you believe that your church is the true church of God, then you can also believe that your church can do no wrong and therefore should have total unrestricted freedom.

    But if you don’t believe in a God you would look at a church as something else. That something else would be just another giant corporation competing with the other giant corporations for the wealth of the world.

    I think that the American experiment was sold to the people as a protection from the giant competitors, both business and religion.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    March 26, 2012 11:44 a.m.

    @Mr.Bean;

    Are you aware that the favorite holy book in the US condones the beating & killing of children for disobedience and it basically considers women chattel? One could imagine that the Religion you're insinuating is actually Christianity. And yes, they do appear benign at the moment, but they've begun enacting laws forcing their religious beliefs on non-believers all over the country. Many of them were passed just this last legislative session.

    @VoR;

    You consistently post the most hypocritical comments on these threads.

    @KirkRGraves;

    Not at the expense of the Liberty of Citizens who aren't of your "viewpoint".

  • IMAN Marlborough, MA
    March 29, 2012 7:20 a.m.

    Re: A Scientist 2:40 p.m. March 24, 2012

    Well said SPOT ON! The protests/arguments against your post ring hollow and are merely more smoke and mirrors.