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Letter: Our chapels, cathedrals and books of worship are safe

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  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    July 7, 2013 3:10 a.m.

    What conservatives call "political correctness" in a contemptuous tone of voice is merely inclusiveness and respect for others and our rule of law. It is not only politically incorrect to put up a religious monument on public property, it is illegal. It offends the spirit as well as the letter of the Constitution.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 7, 2013 7:15 a.m.

    As always, all the hyperbole is just exacerbating a problem that really doesn't exist.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 7, 2013 7:22 a.m.

    Freedom of religion is has too many meanings. For the organized religions and churches, it means the freedom for the group associated with the religion to do as it pleases. For others of us it simply means the freedom to control our own individual minds.

    Unfortunately these two extremes are at odds with each other. Organized religion has a fixed set of beliefs and wishes to impose these beliefs on the rest of the world. Individuals would rather seek their own beliefs and be immune to the efforts of groups.

    As an individual, I would gladly trade my freedom of religion for just plain freedom to believe what I may. I believe that the commercial aspect of an organization colors the truth of their message and would like them to keep their freedom of religion behind the closed doors of their church

  • FreedomFighter41 Orem, UT
    July 7, 2013 8:41 a.m.

    Thank you for bringing some sanity into this discussion.

    Paranoid and hateful letters like Pati's do all of us religious folk a disservice. It makes us all look paranoid, angry, and unable to think rationally. So it's good to see a fellow LDS and Registered Republican actually use their brain, take a breath, and contribute to the rational discussion on this subject rather than spew ridiculous claims or paranoid vitriol.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    July 7, 2013 8:47 a.m.

    Thank you for a fine and sensible letter.

    But if the conservative extremists and our friends whose voices blat daily over countless hate radio stations were to accept the truth, they'd have nothing left with which to frighten gullible listeners.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    July 7, 2013 8:50 a.m.

    No, Clark,
    Our chapels, cathedrals, and books of worship are NOT safe. Courts have already decided that church properties rented to heterosexual weddings MUST also be available for gay weddings, regardless of that church's opposition to gay marriage. Obamacare would force religious business owners to close their doors or violate their conscience. PC HAS run amok and is relentless in its attack on religion.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    July 7, 2013 10:00 a.m.

    Excellent letter, with one minor quibble. I really don't think there are 'lots of people' who are trying to take away anyone's religious liberties.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    July 7, 2013 10:09 a.m.

    Lost in DC -- may we see some documentation of those fibs? Real documentation, that is. Glen and Rush and Sean and Fox don't count.

  • Contrarius mid-state, TN
    July 7, 2013 10:11 a.m.

    @lost in DC --

    "church properties rented to heterosexual weddings MUST also be available for gay weddings, regardless of that church's opposition to gay marriage."

    That's a huge misrepresentation of the facts.

    Here's the actual facts of that case:

    Ocean Grove, NJ - the Methodist Church owns ocean front property open to the GENERAL PUBLIC. Some of the buildings are occasionally used for religious services, but not exclusively and they are not churches. The church was given a tax exemption directly related to allowing PUBLIC USE of the buildings. When they chose not to allow all the public access, their property was taxed at the same rate as all other non-public property in that area.

    That's ALL that happened. The church had been given a tax exemption on this land BECAUSE THEY AGREED TO ALLOW PUBLIC USE OF IT. They reneged on their LEGAL CONTRACT. Therefore, they lost their exemption on that land.

    "Obamacare would force religious business owners to close their doors or violate their conscience. "

    When people do business with the public, they have to uphold THE LAW -- **including** anti-discrimination law.

    What is so reprehensible about being forced to obey the law??

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    July 7, 2013 10:52 a.m.

    re:LostinDC
    "Our chapels, cathedrals, and books of worship are NOT safe. Courts have already decided that church properties rented to heterosexual weddings MUST also be available for gay weddings"

    Of course.
    You must be referring to the boardwalk pavilion in New Jersey owned by the Methodist Church.
    The church allowed public use of the pavilion in order to take advantage of a property tax deduction. The pavilion was then used for a wide variety of purposes by the public. A gay couple asked to use the pavilion for a "commitment ceremony" (same-sex marriage is not legal in NJ). The church refused. A judge simply ruled they could no longer get a property tax deduction for the pavilion.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 7, 2013 11:22 a.m.

    Where in the Constitution is the erection of a religious symbol on public property prohibited? Where in the Constitution is endorsing religion prohibited? Read the 1st Amendment. Congress is prohibited from making laws pertaining to AN establishment of religion. It does not say that Congress is prohibited from endorsing THE establishment of religion. The government cannot dictate to religion what doctrines those religions teach nor can government prescribe anything about the covenants that those religions offer.

    There is no Constitutional basis for a separation of Church and State, Thomas Jefferson, John Locke and Roger Williams notwithstanding.

    Legislating from the bench is illegal. Only Congress can legislate. Either something is Constitutional or it is not. Think of the wonderful arguments that Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch had during Clarence Thomas' approval hearings. Kennedy wanted Thomas to guarantee that rulings from the bench took precedence over the Constitution. Hatch wanted the Constitution to be the steel ruler against which all Federal law is measured. Kennedy lost. Hatch won. Thomas is on the bench.

    Read the Supreme Law of the Land. It is supreme - even over the opinions of your law professors.

  • Claudio Springville, Ut
    July 7, 2013 11:51 a.m.

    Re: Mike

    So then you also agree that when Missouri, Illinois, and the United States passed proclamations and laws against the LDS Church in the 1800s, declaring that religion to not be protected by the First Amendment, these actions were perfectly in line with the Constitution? After all, they were explicitly not endorsing a so-called religion.

    If you can't accept your argument in every case where it can be applied, you are a hypocrite.

    "The government cannot dictate to religion what doctrines those religions teach nor can government prescribe anything about the covenants that those religions offer."

    Where in this letter do you find any suggestion, implicit or explicit, that government in any form in the US is doing that?

    DN Mods: If it isn't there, then he's off-topic.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 7, 2013 12:23 p.m.

    Claudio,

    In Missouri and Illinois, the States were not under attack. The Federal Government had no authority to dictate to a State what that State could or could not do except as enumerated by the Constitution. STATE law prohibited the actions of Gov. Boggs. Federal law did not. By the way, at the time, millions of people were living under slavery and the Federal Government could do nothing to stop that practice. That was part of the 10th Amendment. You may not like that. Justice tells us that government stops ALL lawlessness; but, lawlessness also comes when a government exceeds its authority.

    The LDS people left the United States to solve that problem.

    The Federal Government had no authority to dictate to the LDS Church which doctrines that church could have nor which covenants that could be performed. That protection is in the 1st Amendment.

    The Federal Court in Denver ordered that the monuments to the fallen Highway Patrol Officers be taken down, citing "establishment of religion" as the reason.

    Did I answer all your questions?

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 7, 2013 1:43 p.m.

    @Mike Richards
    South Jordan, Utah

    The Federal Government had no authority to dictate to the LDS Church which doctrines that church could have nor which covenants that could be performed. That protection is in the 1st Amendment.

    =======

    How can you say that with a straight face.
    Polygamy?

    So you now saying Warren Jeffs and the FLDS are right and Lorenzo Snow and the LDS are wrong?

  • Claudio Springville, Ut
    July 7, 2013 2:36 p.m.

    Slavery was constitutional. The Federal government upheld that belief long before the courts did. What the 10th amendment has to do with this example baffles me.

    You are also incorrect with your reference to the incident with Gov. Boggs. Both state and federal case law prohibited the action. The case in point is Chief Justice Marshall's ruiling in Worcester v. Georgia. Once again, you make false claims to substantiate your argument.

    As officers of the state of Colorado, the ruiling is sound. What you left out was that the monuments would not be erected in the shape of a Star of David, a Statue of Moroni, or a Crescent Moon to respect the different religions of deceased officers. If a memorial was to be erected, it would be a cross or nothing at all. That is discriminatory and does violate the establishment of religion clause.

    Again, the letter has nothing to do with your previous quote: "The government cannot dictate to religion what doctrines those religions teach nor can government prescribe anything about the covenants that those religions offer." Once again, you are still off topic. If those are your answers, they must be to a different question.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    July 7, 2013 4:32 p.m.

    Old man,
    Others have already provided the details concerning the situation to which I referred. Please tell Contrarius and truthseeker that THEY need more sources than Glen, Rush, Sean, and Fox. If you paid attention to anyone other than rachel madcow, you might also have known about the story.

    Contrarius,
    You call me a liar then substantiate what I said. You have me confused. Was it NOT church property, as I said? Was the church NOT forced to make it available to gay couples or face consequences? You speak of anti-discrimination laws. They will soon trump freedom of religion guaranteed in the constitution.

    Truthseeker (but never finder because you refuse to recognize it)
    See comments to Contrarius, though you did not call me a liar, as he did.

    Claudio,
    Your comments about the 1800s laws apply to what is happening today. Freedom of religion being trampled by PC run amok.

    LDS? lib,
    Nice twist and obfuscation. Typical.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 7, 2013 5:48 p.m.

    When is a church not a church? When it's a business.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    July 7, 2013 11:06 p.m.

    @lost

    Interesting that you think Claudio substantiated your claims, you do realize we can all read their post right? They very clearly arie against your mistepresentatipn of the facts not substantiate your twisted version of the facts.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    July 8, 2013 7:08 a.m.

    @ Mike: The Fourteenth Amendment extends the Bill of Rights to state governments. Local governments are bound by the rules and laws of the state. The First Amendment prohibits Congress from making any laws that respect (honor or favor) an establishment (an arranged or organized code; a permanent group) of religion.

    According to the plain language of the First and Fourteenth Amendments, government at any level cannot act in a way that favors one religion over another - including allowing one religion access to public grounds that is not equally provided to all other religions. This includes organized codes or rules that may be shared by some religions but not all religions.

    @ Lost: The tax exemption the Methodists were enjoying was not a religious tax exemption. Under tax law, the property did not meet the requirements for religious property. The Methodist Church never appealed that designation. All property owners - individual or group, business or religious - in that area were given the same opportunity for tax-exempt status in return for public use. The Methidists chose not to participate. Not giving them special treatment is not a violation of their religious freedom.

  • Contrarius mid-state, TN
    July 8, 2013 8:26 a.m.

    @lost --

    "You call me a liar then substantiate what I said."

    Errr, no.

    First, I did NOT call you a liar. I'm confident that you actually believe what you said -- even though it isn't true.

    Second, I certainly did NOT substantiate what you said.

    You said, and I quote: "church properties rented to heterosexual weddings MUST also be available for gay weddings".

    In reality, that church property is STILL not available for gay weddings, even though it still IS available for heterosexual weddings. Therefore, your claim is quite false.

    That church was NOT forced to open their property to gay weddings, despite your claim.

    The ONLY thing the church was forced to do was to pay the same property taxes that everyone else pays for property. THAT'S ALL. They didn't have to change their exclusionary practices one bit.

    "You speak of anti-discrimination laws."

    Yes, I do. Anti-discrimination laws have been in effect for more than 50 years now.

    They are nothing new. They affected racist churches back in the 60s more than they will affect anti-gay churches in the present -- and yet, churches survived then, just as they will now.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 8, 2013 8:59 a.m.

    @lost;

    Telling a half-truth in order to deceive the reader into thinking they have the full-story is the same thing as telling an out-and-out full-on lie.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 8, 2013 11:07 a.m.

    In the United States, freedom of religion is a constitutionally guaranteed right provided in the religion clauses of the First Amendment. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof".

    IMO the left routinely use the 1st clause to infringe on the protections in the 2nd clause. They feel OBLIGATED to infringe on the people's right to freely exercise their religion using the boogy-man red-herring that allowing people to express ANYTHING religious in the public square violates the first clause (it doesnt).

    Remember.... the Constitution said "CONGRESS" shall not establish a State Religion. THE PEOPLE are not CONGRESS. It didn't say THE PEOPLE can't express their religious beliefs in the public square.

    IMO people should be able to express their religious beliefs even in the public square. The symbols in the public square SHOULD reflect the characteristics of the people in that community. A statue of a Dutch pioneer IS appropriate in Pennsylvania, a Mormon pioneer remembrance IS appropriate in Utah, and yes a Cross may be an appropriate symbol in some communities, and should NOT be prohibited from being present on public property.

  • spring street SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 8, 2013 11:19 a.m.

    @2bits

    So please address maudines post that addresses this exact same argument made by Mike earlier. lets pretend this conversation can evolve beyond simply restating past post while ignoring responses to them.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    July 8, 2013 11:29 a.m.

    Please explain how not allowing the Ten Commandments to be displayed in a park is somehow a violation of my freedom of religion? Last I checked, I could still believe what I choose, and worship how and when I choose. Unless your religion actively believes that the Ten Commandments must be on display at a public park, it isn't being violated.

    The recent rulings on Prop 8 and DOMA will not affect on the LDS Church. We aren't forced to marry every heterosexual couple, so why would this change now? We can still act, behave and worship according to the dictates of our conscious. To allow others the same right we believe they have according to the 11th Article of Faith, the public space must be neutral.

    If I am free to practice whatever religion I want, I must be free to not practice my religion.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 8, 2013 11:41 a.m.

    spring street,
    I always make my first comment before reading ANY comments (to insure I express my own thoughts on the ARTICLE itself). So my first comment won't be influenced or biased by any comments I read. Hope that explanation's good enough for you.

    I try not to get into commenting on people's comments, or adjusting my thoughts/comments in response to what's already been said (but I always fail).

    What I said is what I think. Does it matter if someone else said the same thing?

    I better go find Mike's earlier post and "like" it if he thinks the same as I do. Didn't see Maudine's post. Sounds like I better address that first.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    July 8, 2013 11:49 a.m.

    Complaints about "PC" being arbitrary bigoted double standards are well grounded.

    It is not PC to fear, or criticize Muslims, but feel free to smear Christians, and especially JW's and Mormons. That is OK.

    It is not PC to say anything derogatory about any race, except of course Caucasians. There is not harm in that.

    Don't you dare mock anyone who is unhealthily thin, but feel free to mock those who are unhealthily fat.

    Those are some of the big ones, but there are more.

    Such HYPOCRISY is the very definition of 'PC'.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    July 8, 2013 12:12 p.m.

    To "Clark Larsen" but by removing all references to God, or the 10 Commandments from public buildings, the government is establishing a religion. The government is setting up Secular Humanism as the official religion of the state. How can we protect our religious liberty if the state religion is Secular Humanism?

  • spring street SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 8, 2013 12:16 p.m.

    @2bits

    So then you are saying you are not really interested in a conversation that my challenge or heaven forbid cause you thoughts to evolve? if this is not the case then maybe you would be so polite when you join a conversation that has been going on for a while to not ignore the others in the conversation and waist peoples time with trying to draw it back to arguments already addressed.

  • Contrarius mid-state, TN
    July 8, 2013 12:26 p.m.

    @Redshirt1701 --

    "How can we protect our religious liberty if the state religion is Secular Humanism?"

    You do realize what the word "secular" means, don't you?

    By referring to "secular" **anything** as a religion, you are quite literally speaking nonsense.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    July 8, 2013 1:41 p.m.

    To "Contrarius" secular humanism is a religion. According to the Webster's Dictionary religion is "a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith". Under that definition Secular Humanism (Athiesm or Anti-Thiesm) is a religion.

    So again, why should we allow the US to adopt Secular Humanism as a state religion?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 8, 2013 2:02 p.m.

    Chapels, Temples, Cathedrals, Mosques, and religious books are safe. But they are safe because the pilgrims and our founding fathers realized how important this issue is.

    These things won't be safe for long IF we give up on preserving the protections written into the Constitution. Without the Constitution these rights COULD be done away with. As long as the Constitution exists as the irrevocable law of what the Government CAN'T do to you... they are safe (IMO).

    Religious institutions can withstand attacks from the outside (we saw that demonstrated in the threats of violence and vandalism to temples, chapels, and people who were openly for Prop-8 in California).

    IF our religious rights become threatened, it will be because of apathy (not some attack from the Left).

    When we take these rights for granted and do nothing to protect them... they will soon be gone.

  • Contrarius mid-state, TN
    July 8, 2013 2:35 p.m.

    @Redshirt1701 --

    "According to the Webster's Dictionary religion is 'a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith'."

    Nice try at misdirection, Red, but most of us are too smart to fall for that trick. ;-)

    You are attempting to use the **7th alternate definition** for the word "religion", and pretending that it is actually the main definition. We are not fooled.

    The primary definition for "religion" in Merriam-Webster is as follows: "the service and worship of a god, of multiple gods, or of the supernatural : commitment or devotion to a god or gods, a system of beliefs, or religious observance "

    Obviously, this is actually the definition used by the Constitution.

    According to YOUR definition, and as Merriam-Webster points out, even DEMOCRACY can be considered a religion. "by making democracy our religion and by practicing as well as preaching its doctrines — W.O.Douglas"

    In contrast:

    sec·u·lar
    adjective

    1a : of or relating to the worldly or temporal as distinguished from the spiritual or eternal : not sacred : mundane
    b : not overtly or specifically religious
    c : of or relating to the state as distinguished from the church : civil

    Keep trying, Red.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 8, 2013 4:02 p.m.

    @ Redshirt: Not allowing Christian symbols in public places no more promotes Secular Humanism than it promotes Islam.

    Your claim that not forcing everyone to honor your religion means they are being forced to honor a different religion is false on its face and ignores the pluralism of America.

    The 10 Commandment monuments in question were placed in parks in 1961 to promote the movie "The 10 Commandments." Do you really believe that prior to 1961 the government was forcing Secular Humanism on US Citizens?

    Prior to "under God" being inserted into the Pledge in 1954. Were we all atheists prior to that point?

    If your claim that the absence of "God" in public places and public documents means that the government is promoting Secular Humanism had any basis in reality, than America would have been founded as a Secular Humanist country - because the only mention of "God" in the Constitution is the date - everything else in the Constitution pertaining to religion is to limit its influence on the government and the governments influence on it.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    July 8, 2013 4:29 p.m.

    To "Contrarius" so then you agree that Secular Humanism is a religion. Democracy could be considered a religion, and would be in the category of Secular Humanism because it puts philosophies of man as your guiding tenents.

    The definition that I used was the first one that didn't have a derivative of the word religion in it. It is still a valid definition.

    Keep trying, some day you will figure it out.

    Try as you may, the more you try and prove that Secular Humanism is not a religion, the more you will find that it is classified as a religion.

    The courts would also disagree with you. Read up on Torcaso v. Watkins. The courts found that "Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism, and others."

    Do you know something the courts don't?

  • Contrariuser mid-state, TN
    July 8, 2013 6:02 p.m.

    @Redshirt --

    "It has occasionally been argued that the Supreme Court, in Torcaso v Watkins, "found" Secular Humanism to be a religion. This assertion is based on a reference, by Justice Black, in a footnote (number 11) to the court's finding, to court cases where organized groups of self-identified Humanists, or Ethicists, meeting on a regular basis to share and celebrate their beliefs, have been granted religious-based tax exemptions.

    Justice Black's use of the term "secular humanism" in his footnote has been seized upon by some religious groups, such as those supporting causes such as teaching creationism in schools, as a "finding" that any secular or science-based activity is, in fact, religion.

    However, such attempts to conflate non-religious, secular or scientific ideas and activities with religion HAVE BEEN EXPLICITLY REJECTED BY SUBSEQUENT COURTS, most notably Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District....In fact, prior to its use by Justice Black, the term "Secular Humanism" had never before been used in any court case, and it is unclear why Justice Black used the term in this instance, other than to perhaps emphasize the groups' non-belief in any divine force."

    Keep trying, Red.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    July 9, 2013 7:06 a.m.

    Contrarius

    "What is so reprehensible about being forced to obey the law??"
    The law says: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

    Its a huge misrepresentation of the facts to imply that forcing people to violate their religion by expecting them to pay for your free stuff or to accommodating things they disagree with on their own land is NOT prohibiting the free exercise of said religion

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    July 9, 2013 7:55 a.m.

    To "Contrariuser" you say it has been rejected, but it hasn't. In "Smith v. Board of School Commissioners of Mobile County" it was determined that secular humanism was a religion. Then again in "Kalka v. Hawk et al" they determined that "humanism, no matter in what form and no matter how practiced, amounts to a religion under the First Amendment."

    Again, the courts have determined that Secular Humanism is a religion. The SCOTUS hasn't decided if it is a religion, but other courts have.

    Nice try, but keep trying.

  • Contrariuser mid-state, TN
    July 9, 2013 10:54 a.m.

    @RedShirt --

    "you say it has been rejected, but it hasn't."

    Peloza v Capistrano School District 1994 (9th Cir.) -- "neither the Supreme Court, nor this circuit, has ever held that evolutionism or secular humanism are 'religions' for Establishment Clause purposes."

    The Supreme Court refused to review this case, allowing the Federal court decision to stand.

    Red: "In 'Smith v. Board of School Commissioners of Mobile County' it was determined that secular humanism was a religion."

    That's an interesting court case. His definition was so broad as to be essentially meaningless. Using his definition, you could just about qualify all of science as "religion".

    And, of course, that court's decision was REVERSED by the US Court of Appeals (11th Cir.).

    Red: "Then again in "Kalka v. Hawk et al" they determined that "humanism, no matter in what form and no matter how practiced, amounts to a religion under the First Amendment.""

    Nope. You are grossly misrepresenting the facts here.

    The actual quote reads: "The Court's statement in Torcaso DOES NOT STAND FOR the proposition that humanism, no matter in what form and no matter how practiced, amounts to a religion under the First Amendment...."

    to be continued!

  • Contrariuser mid-state, TN
    July 9, 2013 11:04 a.m.

    Further, from that court's decision:

    -- "The BOP official also mentioned the Supreme Court decision in Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 468 (1961), commenting that the Court's reference to Secular Humanism as a religion applied ONLY TO A PARTICULAR GROUP of humanists known as the Fellowship of Humanity." (the Fellowship are RELIGIOUS humanists, not secular.)

    -- "The most one may read into the Torcaso footnote is the idea that a particular non-theistic group calling itself the 'Fellowship of Humanity' qualified as a religious organization under California law."

    -- "There was neither precedent declaring humanism in general to be a religion nor any prior ruling on the religious nature of Kalka's beliefs."

    -- "Information considered by the Religious Issues Committee suggested that the American Humanism Association's precepts were rooted in philosophy not religion."

    -- supporting cases cited: Grove v. Mead Sch. Dist. , Alvarado v. City of San Jose, Peloza v. Capistrano Unified Sch. Dist.

    Keep trying, Red. This is interesting stuff!

    @Counter Intelligence --

    Fortunately, I never implied any such thing. It is a simple fact that people doing business with the public must operate within the laws of their jurisdiction.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    July 9, 2013 12:44 p.m.

    To "Contrariuser" then, since the supreme court has not ruled about Secular Humanism being a religion, then we will take the lower court's ruling, which is that Secular Humanism is a religion.

    Not only have courts recognized Secular Humanist groups as religions, so has the IRS. That means that the Federal Government does recognize Secular Humanism as a religion.

    The American Humanist Association was granted not only religious tax exemption in the 1960s.

    So, again, do you know more than the judges and the IRS about what is and is not a religion?

    You keep arguing that it isn't, yet the federal government keeps recognizing it as a religion.

  • Contrariuser mid-state, TN
    July 9, 2013 1:45 p.m.

    @RedShirt --

    "...then we will take the lower court's ruling, which is that Secular Humanism is a religion."

    No, hon.

    District courts have ruled multiple times that secular humanism is NOT a religion. The Supreme Court refused to overturn THOSE rulings.

    As I already quoted:

    -- "neither the Supreme Court, nor this circuit, has ever held that evolutionism or secular humanism are 'religions' for Establishment Clause purposes."

    -- "The Court's statement in Torcaso DOES NOT STAND FOR the proposition that humanism...amounts to a religion under the First Amendment...."

    -- "Information considered by the Religious Issues Committee suggested that the American Humanism Association's precepts were rooted in philosophy not religion."

    Red: "The American Humanist Association was granted not only religious tax exemption in the 1960s."

    Once again you are confusing RELIGIOUS humanists with SECULAR humanists.

    "In 1991 the AHA took control of the Humanist Society, a religious Humanist organization...After this transfer, the AHA commenced the process of jettisoning its religious tax exemption and resumed its exclusively educational status. Today the AHA is recognized by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a nonprofit, tax exempt, 501(c)(3), publicly supported educational organization."

    Keep trying, Red.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    July 9, 2013 3:53 p.m.

    To "Contrariuser" yes they voluntarily dumped the religious status, but they were RECOGNIZED as a religion.

    Keep trying. Secular Humanism is a religion, you keep insisting that it isn't, but the government has recognized it as such. Just because they don't want the religious tax exemption does not mean that they are not a religion.

    In addition to the AHA, the First Church of Athiesism was granted religious tax exemptions.

    So again, the IRS has granted some Athiest (Secular Humanism) religious groups religious tax status.

    Explain how they are not religions if the IRS is giving them religious tax status.

  • Contrariusier mid-state, TN
    July 9, 2013 5:26 p.m.

    @Redshirt1701 --

    "but they were RECOGNIZED as a religion."

    Yet again you are confusing RELIGIOUS humanism with SECULAR humanism.

    The AHA originally encompassed both religious and secular humanist functions. They no longer do. They shunted any religious functions off to the Humanist Society -- therefore, IRS originally recognized them as religious, and now no longer does. Originally the IRS was recognizing RELIGIOUS humanism. The AHA is now SECULAR humanist, and therefore no longer has the exemption.

    "the First Church of Athiesism was granted religious tax exemptions."

    Notice those words: "First CHURCH of Atheism".

    That doesn't mean all atheists are religious, Red -- only that one small group of atheists decided to don religious trappings.

    One rough comparison:

    Some forms of yoga encompass strong religious beliefs, while other forms are simply physical exercise and nothing more.

    Another rough comparison:

    "Progressive National Baptist" doesn't mean that all progressives are religious, or that all Baptists are progressive.

    "Conservative Judaism" doesn't mean that all conservatives are Jews, or that all Jews are conservative.

    Similarly, the existence of religious humanism does NOT mean that all humanists are religious.

    "SECULAR humanism" **literally** means NON-RELIGIOUS humanism -- by the very definition of the term.

    Keep trying, Red.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    July 10, 2013 7:47 a.m.

    To "Contrariusier" the more you try to deny that secular humanism is not a religion the more it is.

    Now, your argument has gone from Secular Humanism (this includes athiesm and anti-thiesm) is not a religion to saying thata specific group isn't good enough to be called secular humanists.

    Your grasping at justification for you argument is laughable.

    Again, the Government has recognized Secular Humanism (this is athiesm or anti-thiesm) as a religion.

    If you disagree, tell us how the government is wrong, and what you are going to do to change the definition of religion.

    But, as I have shown, Secular Humanism is a religion based on the Webster's definition of a religion. A religion is a set of beliefs held to by faith. God or a supernatural being is not a requirement for the definition of a religion.

    I am going to repeat it again.

    The US GOVERNMENT has recognized Secular Humanism (Athiesm) as a religion and has granted it all of the benefits of religion. Why don't you agree with the federal government?

  • Contrariusier mid-state, TN
    July 10, 2013 10:05 a.m.

    @RedShirt --

    "the Government has recognized Secular Humanism (this is athiesm or anti-thiesm) as a religion."

    No, Red.

    I've already proven, several times, that "government" has NOT recognized secular humanism as a religion.

    You'll never make a falsehood turn into truth just by repeating it.

    Furthermore, "secular humanism" is NOT the same thing as atheism. Some secular humanists are atheists. Some are not.

    "Secular Humanism is a religion based on the Webster's definition of a religion."

    No, Red. Once again, you can't make a false statement into truth simply by repeating it.

    Secular humanism isn't a religion any more than democracy is. Neither one qualifies for protections under the Constitution's establishment clause.

    Yet again, the prevailing US court stance on secular humanism is as follows: "neither the Supreme Court, nor this circuit, has ever held that evolutionism or secular humanism are 'religions' for Establishment Clause purposes."

    I don't know how I can make that any clearer for you, Red. The court spelled it out very clearly in that statement. Are any of those words confusing for you?

    Keep trying, Red. But please -- stop the attempts at disruption through repeating false statements.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    July 10, 2013 1:54 p.m.

    To "Contrariusier" I am still waiting for you to explain how the IRS acceptance of a Secular Humanist group as a religion is not government recognition of Secular Humanism as a religion?

    Why can't you answer that basic question or reconcile that in your thought process?

    Again, the IRS (branch of the Federal Government) has recognized a Secular Humanist Sect as a religion and has granted them religious tax exempt status. Is the IRS part of the Federal Government? If they are part of the Federal Government, then doesn't that mean that they are an officially recognized religion? If they are officially recognized as a religion, then doesn't that mean that Secular Humanism is a religion?

    Again, where have I lied. I have shown the definition of religion, and have even shown how the government recognizes it as a religion.

    Do you or do you not recognize the IRS as part of the Federal government, and do you or do you not recognize their acceptance of the First Church of Athiesm as receiving religious tax exempt status?

  • Contrariusier mid-state, TN
    July 10, 2013 3:21 p.m.

    @RedShirt --

    "... how the IRS acceptance of a Secular Humanist group as a religion is not government recognition of Secular Humanism as a religion?"

    This has already been asked and answered, Red.

    At the time the IRS gave AHA the tax exemption, AHA was NOT a secular humanist organization. Your repeated claim that it has always been secular humanist is simply -- and provably -- false.

    It's really a very simple concept, Red. I don't understand why you refuse to understand it.

    For your further education, there are helpful articles on humanism in general, as well as on both religious and secular humanism, all available on wikipedia.

    "do you or do you not recognize their acceptance of the First Church of Athiesm as receiving religious tax exempt status?"

    I have no idea whether a group called the "First Church of Atheism" has a religious tax exemption or not -- and I don't especially care.

    As I've already pointed out, humanism and atheism are not the same things. Further, religious humanism and secular humanism are not the same things.

    If you actually wish to understand the differences, please look up those wikipedia pages. Please stop repeating falsehoods here on the boards.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 10, 2013 3:39 p.m.

    @ RedShirt: I have been following the conversation between you and Contrarius, and I have to admit that I am a little confused.

    You started out claiming that secular humanism is a religion and to support that claim you have started referring to the First Church of Atheism. How does your reference support your claim?

    I mean, I imagine that some members of the FCA are secular humanists, but certainly not all of them are and it is not a requirement to be a member. And while there are similar beliefs between the FCA and secular humanism, there are also similar beliefs between Mormons and Catholics but that does not make them the same.

    I taught my child to read, but that does not make me a school.

    Please further explain how FCA proves secular humanism is a religion.

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    July 11, 2013 11:07 a.m.

    To "Kalindra" it is very simple.

    Secular Humanism encompases Athiests and Anti-Thiests. If the IRS (part of the Federal Government) recognizes the FCA as a religion, that means that Secular Humanism is a religious category, like Christian, Budhist, or Muslim.

    If the Federal Government recognizes it as a religion, then it meets some test or checklist for a religion.

    If the Federal Government recognizes it as a religion, why shouldn't your or Contrarius recognize Secular Humanism as a legitimate religion?

  • Contrariusier mid-state, TN
    July 11, 2013 11:55 a.m.

    @RedShirtMIT --

    "Secular Humanism encompases Athiests and Anti-Thiests. If the IRS (part of the Federal Government) recognizes the FCA as a religion, that means that Secular Humanism is a religious category, like Christian, Budhist, or Muslim."

    That's a ridiculously flawed argument, Red.

    Roman Catholicism encompasses Democrats and Republicans. If the IRS recognizes Democrats and Republicans as political parties, that means that Roman Catholicism is a political party.

    That's how your logic works, Red. IOW, it doesn't work at all.

    Keep trying, Red. But PLEASE -- learn a little bit about logic first.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 11, 2013 12:51 p.m.

    @ RedShirt: Schools encompass education. I taught my child to read. Using your logic, that makes me a school.

    Christianity encompasses Mormons and Catholics. Using your logic, all Mormons are Catholics.

    Another example. Priests are people. Some people have blonde hair, therefore all blondes are priests.

    You are engaging in several logical fallacies - false analogy, overgeneralization, reductionism, snow job, and the big lie technique. You also have some circular reasoning in there.

    No many how many logical fallacies you utilize, they don't make your point true.

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    July 11, 2013 2:19 p.m.

    To "Kalindra" and "Contrariusier" you don't understand classification. You are using unrelated attributes in your classification, when classifying something you use the attributes of the general class as your basis.

    In your example, reading is a result of going to a school, but is not a subset of school. Educational facilities have many subsets, such as private, public, charter, and homeschool.

    For example. Secular Humanists all believe that there is no Supreme being(s). Athiests have that belief, but don't care if you believe in a God. Anti-Thiests believe the same thing, but also believe that any reference to a supreme being(s) should be eliminated from society.

    To simplyfy your analogy it goes like this. I have a red rock, some tomatoes are red, therefore your rock is a tomato. You are starting at the bottom and working up, you are starting at the specific and going up, which is what lead you astray.

    You left all logic when you started to use unrelated attributes to associate one thing with another. Hair color is not related to Christianity.

    If the FCA is a religion, then explain why Secular Humanism isn't.

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    July 11, 2013 3:27 p.m.

    To "Kalindra" and "Contrariusier" you both show that you do not understand how to classificy things.

    When classifying thigns you start at the top and go down. In this case, start at Secular Humanism. Basically this is a belief that there is no God. From there you go down into the sub categories where things get more specific. Athiesim is a belief that there is no God, but they don't care if others believe in God. Anti-Thiesm is a belief that there is no God, and that God should be removed from the thoughts of humanity. This isn't circular reasoning because I don't go back to the original point. I have made a simple logical progression.

    Let me give you a non-religious example. Educational Facilities is the classification, with subsets of public schools, private schools, charter schools, and home school. They all teach something, but are different in how they handled by the state. (reading is a byproduct of education, it is not a qualifier for education)

    Now, can you explain why Athiesm (subset of Secular Humanism) can be accepted by the Government as a religion, but Secular Humanism can't?

  • Contrariuserer mid-state, TN
    July 11, 2013 4:19 p.m.

    @O'really --

    "Does that make it OK for humans to do so, too?"

    Nope.

    As I've stated before -- "natural" doesn't mean either "right" or "wrong". It simply **is**. I offer it simply in rebuttal to the people who claim that homosexuality is unnatural. In fact, it is NOT unnatural. And, in fact, it DOES have survival/selective value, even though it is not directly reproductive. But, again, survival/selective value doesn't make something "right" or "wrong", either.

    @J-TX --

    "We are just about there...."

    Don't exaggerate.

    We are nowhere near the upheaval that preceded the Civil War, or the riots and unrest of the 60s. No National Guard troops have been called out to protect gay couples as they enter into courthouses to get married.

    You do reinforce an important point, though. Specifically: every time someone like Card starts spouting craziness like "any government that attempts to change it is **my mortal enemy**. I will act to **destroy that government and bring it down**," other people feel more empowered to talk and think in insurrectionist terms as well.

    Speech like this only encourages more people to act on their hatred.

  • Contrariuserer mid-state, TN
    July 11, 2013 4:50 p.m.

    @Redshirt --

    "Basically this is a belief that there is no God."

    Nope. You've got it wrong already.

    For one thing, there is no single dogma that all humanists (or Humanists) must subscribe to, including the existence or non-existence of God. Their "manifesto" is specifically described as a "consensus" rather than an edict or credo. People who consider themselves to be humanists have widely varying beliefs.

    Here's just a few sentences from the AHA website. I hope these help.

    ----------

    Humanism teaches us that it is immoral to wait for God to act for us. We must act to stop the wars and the crimes and the brutality of this and future ages. We have powers of a remarkable kind. We have a high degree of freedom in choosing what we will do. Humanism tells us that whatever our philosophy of the universe may be, ultimately the responsibility for the kind of world in which we live rests with us.

    [....]

    Only a humanist can suggest that, even if there be a god, it is OK to disagree with him, her, or it.

    [....]

    Humanists make no claims to possess or have access to supposed transcendent knowledge.

    ----------

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 11, 2013 5:09 p.m.

    @ RedShirt: FCA is a religion because they sought that classification from the government. Secular humanism is not a religion because as a general principle, they are not a coherent group and did not seek that designation from the government.

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    July 12, 2013 8:14 a.m.

    To "Contrariuserer" that is nice, if you are just looking at "humanism", however, if you were honest, you would look up "Secular Humanism". From the Council for Secular Humanism's 1980 declaration "We find that traditional views of the existence of God either are meaningless, have not yet been demonstrated to be true, or are tyrannically exploitative. Secular humanists may be agnostics, atheists, rationalists, or skeptics, but they find insufficient evidence for the claim that some divine purpose exists for the universe." In other words, they don't believe in God.

    To "Kalindra" that is a wrong assesment. Budhism, Taoism, Muslims, Jewish, Wiccans, and many others are not a coherent group, yet they are considered religions. So being a coherent group is not a requisite. There is no requirement to be a coherent group to be considered a religion. So again, can you explain why Athiesm (subset of Secular Humanism) can be accepted by the Government as a religion, but Secular Humanism can't?

  • Contrariuserer mid-state, TN
    July 12, 2013 8:49 a.m.

    @RedShirtMIT --

    "From the Council for Secular Humanism's 1980 declaration "We find that traditional views of the existence of God either are meaningless, have not yet been demonstrated to be true, or are tyrannically exploitative. Secular humanists may be agnostics, atheists, rationalists, or skeptics, but they find insufficient evidence for the claim that some divine purpose exists for the universe." In other words, they don't believe in God."

    Red, this very quote just backs up the points that Kalindra and I were making.

    This DOES NOT SAY that there is no God. In fact, it specifically stipulates that NOT ALL SECULAR HUMANISTS ARE ATHEISTS. It simply says that they have found a lack of evidence for a divine purpose. That's quite a different statement, especially if you know anything about logic.

    Read up on the differences between atheism, agnosticism, rationalism, and skepticism. You might even learn something.

    "There is no requirement to be a coherent group to be considered a religion."

    So tell us exactly what you think the requirements ARE, in order to be considered a religion.

    And remember, your definition will have to be able to distinguish between things like the Baptist Church and the Democratic Party. ;-)