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Readers' forum: Can the state silence conscience?

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  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 12, 2012 4:51 a.m.

    Unfortunately Anthony, some portion of our taxes will always be spent on things with which we disagree.

    You may disagree with war on general principle

    But lets look at some issues based on religion.

    A butcher or grocery store manager forced to sell meat on Friday during lent
    A Surgeon forced to give a blood transfusion
    A doctor with an HIV patient
    A worker called in on Sunday because of a crisis
    A restaurant worker forced to pour coffee or serve alcohol

    What is the solution to these situations?

    We call all find things to be upset about.

    And those causes do not become more noble just because one can link it to a religious belief.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    April 12, 2012 5:30 a.m.

    The thesis of this letter is ridiculous.

    Do I get to express and defend my conscience when I pay taxes, supporting only those public expenditures with which my personal sensibilities agree?

    Do I get to satisfy my moral objections and withhold the portion of my taxes that i know will be spent on a bloated military, corporate subsidies, and the degradation of our national infrastructure?

    Moreover, since when is it acceptable to hide behind a claim of "private conscience" to excuse the willful failure to either do the job you've been hired to do, or otherwise obey the law of the land?

    And when you encounter a claim of "personal conscience" as a rationale for unreasonable behavior, who gets to decide whether this claimed excuse is legitimate?

    Conservatives, you're not making any sense here.

  • acitizen Logan, UT
    April 12, 2012 5:59 a.m.

    Mr. Black, your argument has been offered many times by those who are opposed to the horrors of war, and to the bleak prospect of capital punishment, especially in the environment of justice miscarried. Keep raising the alarm.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    April 12, 2012 6:17 a.m.

    "Thomas Jefferson believed compelling a man to furnish money for that which he abhors is sinful and tyrannical."

    A portion of my taxes paid for a portion of the exprenses required for my country to wage a preemptive war of aggression against another country based on trumped up, phoney evidence of weapons that did not exist and reasons that were proven to be false. If I were a cynical man, and I often am, I would suggest that this war was promoted and promulgated by two specific men for egotistical revenge and/or to put maneys on the coffers of amulti-national corporation that profits from war and maintains great influence over one of these men. Over 4500 of our brave soldiers and thousands of innocent citizens were killed in that conflict and our country's reputation was dealt a body blow.

    If I had refused to pay my taxes over the past decade in protest of that action by my country I would have been punished, possibly jailed. I don't disagree with the premise presented by the letter writer but I wonder just how far we are all willing to promote that concept.

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    April 12, 2012 7:56 a.m.

    This letter is absolutely correct that central freedoms are under attack as never before in this Country. Something must be done before it is too late.

    The left wing is determined to turn America into an atheistic welfare state with abortion-on-demand. Indeed, the left seeks to destroy all ability to follow religious practices which disagree with leftist dogma.

    The left wants to destroy all religious influence on the public because it wants the public to rely solely on government for sustanence, protection, and guidence. The left would have man render everything unto Caesar, and nothing unto God.

    The actions of the left are a direct slap in the face to the Founding Fathers. The Fathers believed that religious freedom was of the utmost importance, which is why they protected it in the very First Amendment.

    The great masses must awaken in time to see what the left is doing before it is too late. All patriotic Americans must use this Fall's elections to throw all left wing extremists out of office.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    April 12, 2012 8:09 a.m.

    "... their taxes subsidizing Planned Parenthood abortions..."

    What percentage of abortions provided by Planned Parenthood are tax subsidized? I'll give you a clue - the number starts and ends with zero.

    I, personally don't wish to fund nuclear weapons development. I find it repugnant, yet I "get" to pay for it every two weeks.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 12, 2012 8:32 a.m.

    The Pope has said that access to healthcare is an "inalienable human right" and that all countries have a moral obligation to provide universal healthcare. Do Catholics have a right of conscience on this issue to require our government to do that? If not, then why do they have a right of conscience to force society to support the Pope's views on contraception?

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    April 12, 2012 8:34 a.m.

    Censorship is alive and well at Deseret News.
    Mr. Black
    The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funding of abortion period. Emergency contraception is not abortion. It prevents fertilization. Planned Parenthood does not use your money to fund abortions.
    But, you say money is fungible?

    The same argument can be applied to tithes paid to churches.

    Life is complex and diverse. Get used to it.
    Opposed to abortion? Don't have one.
    Opposed to contraceptives? Don't use them.

    Religion is not under attack.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    April 12, 2012 9:01 a.m.

    Well, I guess one approach would be to make sure that no policy is offensive to ANY faith tradition. So-- all food marketed must be certified kosher AND hallal AND vegetarian. No alcohol or coffee. And no spaghetti, lest the Pastafarians object to the symbolic cannibalism of their nondeity (or is that communion for them?). No business or government office could be open on the Sabbath, which of course starts at dusk on Friday and continues through Sunday. No technological drugs or medicine at all to avoid offending the Christian Scientists. But then, there wouldn't be any drugs anyway because budding scientists would have their biology classes given up to creationism. And no high tech at all, really (I forgot about the Amish). And no pledge to the flag-- can't offend the Jehovah's Witnesses.

    Yeah, the best way to deal with the problem of conscience is to find the lowest common denominator. That way no one is forced to make any hard decisions or compromise their values.

    Funny how contraception, a ban that the great majority of Catholics honor in the breach, has become a flashpoint for religious conservatives, while immoral wars get a pass.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    April 12, 2012 9:02 a.m.

    Mr. Black,

    Chaplains whose religion oppose Same Sex Marriage, are not only protected from performing these marriages, they are prohibited from doing so! The military cannot force a chaplain to preach or do something contrary to their beliefs.

    As far as Justices of the Peace, they are judges, and their job is to interpret, and enforce law, not create it.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    April 12, 2012 9:18 a.m.

    Good Letter.

  • Noodlekaboodle Salt Lake City, UT
    April 12, 2012 9:18 a.m.

    i wish I didn't have to pay for thing's i'm morally opposed too. Catholic Charities would no longer be getting my (tax) money. I wouldn't have to pay for wars. We lock up way too many people so I would only pay for half of the prisons in America. These are all things i'm morally opposed to so why am I paying for those? Or do I have to go to a building on Sunday for my morality to be considered?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    April 12, 2012 9:45 a.m.

    Conscience should play a MAJOR part in our lives. If WE believe that something is wrong, WE have the obligation to resist that "something".

    If WE believe that the government should not force us to perform abortions, WE have the obligation to NOT perform abortions.

    The same goes for dispensing contraceptives. If WE decide that we will not prevent birth then WE have the right to not dispense contraceptives.

    The result of doing anything is to accept the fact that there are consequences. Our employer may fire us if we don't perform our job to his satisfaction. We may be jailed if the government thinks that we have broken a law.

    The important point is that each of us has the right to decide for ourselves what we will do in any circumstance even though we will suffer the consequences of our actions.

    Speaking up allows others to know that what they are doing is unconscionable to us. When enough people speak up, society will change.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    April 12, 2012 9:49 a.m.

    I know of someone from my ward who refused to pay taxes. He thought it was "against his conscience" to pay federal income taxes. I don't need to go into details, but BOYYYY did he regret that decision!

    This is just another lame rant against taxes and against Planned Parenthood. Nutcakes like these want to talk about the evil Federal Government taking over and fighting religion. In reality, this war against religion lies within their isolated and dare I say, irrational, mind.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 12, 2012 10:08 a.m.

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

    However, It is fairly common knowledge that congress does make laws that restrict religious practices. The most notorious might be the law against human sacrifice.

    Further, religious belief is not an excuse for disobeying any American civil law. A priest should not exceed the speed limit just because he is going to a church meeting.

    Further, the notion that a person today can actually know the true motivation of people who lived hundreds of year ago in a different world is nonsense.

    Further, if everyone could ignore the laws that they find objectionable, our society would revert a free-for-all jungle.

    further, our government cannot give one set of freedoms to one group and withhold it from others.

    Further, the voluntary acceptance of American citizenship, requires the acceptance of American laws and membership fees.

    Further, I object to my tax money being use to finance religion and it’s commercial businesses.

    You may believe in Theocracy as a form of government, but the first amendment says you can’t use the government to help you achieve that goal.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    April 12, 2012 10:21 a.m.

    I think some study might help the letter writer...

    "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law."

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    April 12, 2012 10:49 a.m.

    Conscience and actions are two different things. Do you feel the same about people who refused to serve in Viet Nam? How about polygamists in 19th Century Utah, or even polygamists today? If there is a compelling state or public interest, then some may be mandated to provide goods and services. They should think about this when they voluntarily enter certain professions. They can choose whether or not to enter those professions, but once they do, they take on certain obligations. Thus, a pharmacist may be obliged to provide certain medications as instructed by a medical doctor, and it is not the role of the pharmacist to second guess the doctor's instructions. The pharmacist may not be aware of all the circumstances of the patient, so how can the pharmacist make the decision? Again, the choice is made when one enters a profession. Doctors and lawyers are in this position all the time and they make decisions based on the requirements of the patient/client. Don't like it? Do something else.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    April 12, 2012 12:28 p.m.

    To "CHS 85" but the abortions are funded by tax payer money. Look at it this way. Planned Parenthood raises money from private sources as well as from the government. Their clinics operate usinging all of that money, they don't have clinics running on government money only. So, if the government pays for the clerical staff and the building/office space, then the private money does not have to be used to pay for that. Since their clinics are not separated based on funding sources, the government indirectly pays for abortions by paying for everything else so that the private money does not go for the non-abortion costs.

  • Furry1993 Clearfield, UT
    April 12, 2012 1:05 p.m.

    To RedShirt 12:28 p.m.

    So, if it could be proved that government money and private money was not co-mingled, and each went only to the things it was permitted to do, you'd have no problem funding Planned Parentood?

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    April 12, 2012 1:11 p.m.

    @RedShirt: So money is fungible. What's your point? Then my federal income tax dollars are also paying some of the Pope's salary, because federal grants to faith-based charitable organizations (like Catholic Community Services) mean that they can channel more of their other private donations to other church functions. Ergo, federal aid to faith-based secular charitable initiatives is actually paying for sectarian religious activity. The money all goes into the same pot, right? Any accounting that keeps the funds separate is just sleight of hand.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    April 12, 2012 1:12 p.m.

    Re:Redshirt
    The same argument can be made with tithing money and for-profit enterprises.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    April 12, 2012 1:30 p.m.

    @RedShirt

    Well, like or not, Planned Parenthood operates within the law as it was written and signed by President Nixon in 1970 (wasn't he a Republican?). Planned Parenthood receives 1/3 of its funding from the federal government directly or through grants. The grand total of that investment into contraceptive, female health, and education is a whopping $360 million per year. That is 1/3 of the cost of ONE B-2 bomber and about one year's operating costs for ONE aircraft carrier (not including salaries of the crew). Far more of my tax dollars are used to fund warfare, which I abhor, than your tax dollars that are spent on Planned Parenthood.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    April 12, 2012 1:30 p.m.

    It's interesting how selective the furor over religious liberty has been. Rick Santorum represented Pennsylvania for many years, but did we ever hear a peep from him about government forcing the Amish in his beloved Lancaster County to put slow moving vehicle emblems on their buggies contrary to their faith tradition? Or requiring photo ID? Has Charles Krauthammer ever been concerned about the morality of agricultural subsidies to swine and shellfish producers? Yet when someone dares suggest that a Methodist food service worker in a dorm cafeteria at the University of Notre Dame ought to be able to have birth control pills (prescribed therapeutically for ovarian cysts) covered by her employer-provided health plan, it's an all-out war on religion by the Democratic-Socialist-Atheist alliance. This folderol is less about conscience than it is about scoring cheap political points against President Obama.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    April 12, 2012 3:49 p.m.

    To "Furry1993" it is not so simple. I would want proof that there were essentially 2 sections to Planned Parenthoods. 1 that is government funded and does not perform abortions, and one that was 100% privately funded that did. No money could cross between the two seprate organization.

    To "Lagomorph" what you say can be debated because there are so many levels to the Catholic Charities that government funding could be contained to a charity, and not impact the general overhead of the Catholic church the way the Government Money is applied to Planned Parenthood.

    To "Truthseeker" what are you even hinting at, you make no sense.

    To "CHS 85" tell me where in the US Constitution there is a clause that states that the government should fund abortion clinics. But to be clear, you now agree with me that government funding of Planned Parenthood does indirectly go to fund abortions. You also should realize that it is against federal law to directly fund abortions, but is perfectly acceptable to use for funding weapons of war. Where is the constitution on funding abortions?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    April 12, 2012 3:55 p.m.

    Who gave the State the right to order a doctor to destroy a life when that life had done nothing wrong?

    Who gave the State the right to tell a pharmacist to dispense medication that would prevent a baby from being born?

    The duty of the State is to protect life, but Mr. Obama has decided that the duty of the State is to force the destruction of life.

    People of conscience will not obey Mr. Obama.

    People of conscience will not be forced to kill just because Mr. Obama tells them that the law requires them to prevent or to destroy life.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 12, 2012 5:27 p.m.

    My conscience objects to sunday closures, gambling prohibitions and war. But if you don't want an abortion, don't get one.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    April 12, 2012 7:39 p.m.

    Where does conscience come from?

    Ages ago, Herod told his soldiers that he was conscience. The believed him and all boys two years old and younger were killed.

    Hitler told his soldiers to turn on the gas and to turn up the furnaces. Most of his followers believed him and 6,000,000 Jews were killed.

    A few years ago "State Senator" Obama voted that doctors could NOT help a child who survived an "aborted" abortion. The child had to be left to die.

    Now, those who carry out the "law" tell us that doctors must perform abortions and that pharmacists must dispense drugs that prevent conception or destroy life that has been conceived.

    Who gives us conscience? Is it the government? I don't think so. The Declaration of Independence tells us that our CREATOR gave us unalienable rights, including the right to life.

    Every one of us has to decide whether "conscience" comes from, Washington or from God. Before deciding that conscience comes from government, please reflect on Herod and upon Hitler.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 12, 2012 10:31 p.m.

    Could someone please find one example of a doctor who was forced to perform an abortion against his will?

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    April 13, 2012 12:06 a.m.

    Who gave the State the right to order armed forces to destroy lives that had done nothing wrong?

    The duty of the State is to protect life, but Mr. Bush decided that the duty of the State was to force the destruction of life.

    People of conscience should not have obeyed Mr. Bush.

    People of conscience were forced to pay for killing just because Mr. Bush told them that the law required them to destroy life.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    April 13, 2012 7:23 a.m.

    Could someone find the name of a President who is trying to force a religion to pay for abortions, to pay for abortifacients, and to pay for contraceptives under the guise of providing health care?

    Could someone find the name of a self-proclaimed "Constitutional Scholar" who has no understanding of the words, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"?

    Could someone find the name of a President who told the Catholic Church one thing and then did the opposite?

    I'm help you find that name: Barrack H. Obama, 44th President of the United States.

  • Dektol Powell, OH
    April 13, 2012 8:07 a.m.

    Where is the protest over insurance companies providing Viagra to old men?
    If men could get pregnant mandatory laws providing contraception would be the norm.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    April 13, 2012 9:38 a.m.

    To "Roland Kayser" I couldn't find a doctor who was forced to perform an abortion, but the prescedence has been set with a nurse. See "Catholic nurse forced to participate in abortion, lawsuit filed" at the Catholic News Agency. A nurse was forced to participate in an abortion contrary to her beliefs.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    April 13, 2012 9:40 a.m.

    @ John Charity Spring 7:56 a.m. April 12, 2012

    And what about the jingoism, quasi-morality, economic numbskullery that the right wing touts?

    "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful.- attributed to Seneca the Younger (4BC - 65 AD)"

  • Furry1993 Clearfield, UT
    April 13, 2012 10:15 a.m.

    Let me correct the John Charity Spring post at 7:56 a.m. today:

    This letter is absolutely correct that central freedoms are under attack as never before in this Country. Something must be done before it is too late.

    The right wing is determined to turn America into a theocracy. Indeed, the right seeks to impose religious practices on every citizen.

    The right wants to impose religious influence on the public because it wants the public to rely solely on religion for sustanence, protection, and guidence. The right would have man render everything unto God, and nothing unto Caesar.

    The actions of the right are a direct slap in the face to the Founding Fathers. The Fathers believed that individual freedom was of the utmost importance, which is why they protected it in the Bill of Rights.

    The great masses must awaken in time to see what the right is doing before it is too late. All patriotic Americans must use this Fall's elections to throw all right wing extremists out of office.

    You see -- I can play the game too. Personally, I think that all extremists, left and right, should be rejected.

  • Furry1993 Clearfield, UT
    April 13, 2012 11:03 a.m.

    To J Thompson | 7:23 a.m.

    The answer you provided to your questions is incorrect. President Obama did none of those things.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    April 13, 2012 11:12 a.m.

    No, J Thompson, the question was can someone name a doctor that has been forced to provide abortions. But I don't care if you can provide this example.

    Because I know that if you do that doctor was working for a facility that provides abortions. Maybe you guys don't understand, but when you work for someone you have to follow their rules. You will not find any doctor in private practice that has ever performed an abortion against their will.

    But it doesn't matter. You've lost anyway. I'm implementing the Hitler rule. The rule that says whenever you bring Hitler into the discussion you automatically forfeit.

    And yes, when you compare the Holocaust to condoms that rule comes into play.

    Sorry for your forfeit. Better luck next time.

  • metisophia Ogden, UT
    April 15, 2012 3:29 p.m.

    "Consider citizens with misgivings that their insurance premiums will pay for government mandated coverage of free abortion pills, sterilizations and contraceptives,"

    SERIOUSLY? While I also disagree with your premise about tax supported endeavors (I really do hate war and am sad that part of my tax obligation goes to it), how can you possibly include insurance coverage to something you object to? Health care is personal!

    I have a dear friend who follows the principles of Christian Science. She and her husband always accepted the insurance coverage offered by their employers. They never used it, but knew that others who believed differently would be blessed through it.

    Selfishness and pettiness are ruining society.