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In our opinion: Religious freedom requires each of us to accord equal dignity for all

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  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    July 20, 2014 12:25 a.m.

    "As a matter of sincerely held religious conscience, Hobby Lobby’s owners objected to paying for a handful of administratively mandated contraceptives that prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. "

    Such drugs are often used after rape to flush out a women's reproductive track. Would you object to the use of such drugs under that circumstance? Do the Greens? Ask them.

    Women because they often have fertilized eggs within their bodies (men don't of course) take a beating globally. Many women are stuck in abusive relationships in which sex is forced on them, and in turn they are forced to give birth. Don't think such happens? Just talk to people at the women's shelters.

    Sometimes the drugs which the Greens object to are the best ones for female patients. Physicians should help women make that choice, not the Greens nor you.

    Lastly, for the Greens this is just the beginning. They fund a wide range of initiatives to insert Christian fundamentalism in American law. That's religious freedom to you?

    It's entirely possible LGBT will be denied employment because such is against somebody's religion.

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    July 20, 2014 12:31 a.m.

    After inserting yourselves into a woman's most private of choices and constantly portraying gay people as sinners or less than (Notice how some on these boards constantly use the phrase "same-sex attraction" so it sounds like a disorder?), isn't it a bit disingenuous to complain about not being afforded "equal dignity"?

    Give and maybe ye shall receive...

  • E Sam Provo, UT
    July 20, 2014 2:30 a.m.

    That's fine, let's all be nicer, great. Meanwhile, we can't us a religious liberty argument to deny gay people fundamental human rights. Right?

  • Hugh1 Denver, CO
    July 20, 2014 5:40 a.m.

    The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is still a respected bipartisan bill. The Supreme Court's error - for the second time - is in granting rights to corporations normally reserved for 'persons.' In this regard, the difference between two recent Supreme Court rulings is the size of the corporation, no limit for Citizens United and political campaign contributions, and limited moral intervention in closely held Hobby Lobby. Speech rights, where corporate money can influence elections, is a new concept and limited rights to make decisions of conscience for 'closely held' corporations is another new constitutional concept. Both are wide-open invitations to abuse and the boomerang potential far outweighs any benefit to Christian values. As for equality and religious freedom, the flip answer applies, if you don't like gay marriage, don't get gay married. Additionally, it is not right to compare, "many who believe in God" defined by "religious identity," and for others, "sexual identity." Sexual orientation is not synonymous with "sexual identity" - identity implies choice, orientation is completely unchangeable. The "religious freedom" to deny equal marriage rights is not "freedom" to those denied those rights.

  • kmtown Danville, IN
    July 20, 2014 5:53 a.m.

    This was a very well thought out article. However I am certain the comments section will start to fill with comments about how religious belief is equivalent to base prejudice.

    We are in need of civil dialogue on ALL the issues facing our society and country. It is impossible to do it when only one group is willing to be civil.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    July 20, 2014 7:01 a.m.

    So, how do we balance the dignity of gays and lesbians who wish to marry and raise their children in dignity, with those who claim such practice violates their religious sensibilities? Conversely it could be argued as well.

    Does this not get us into the questions of whose religious views hold more validity? And the second question would be this: Does allowing a practice (or not allowing one in the reverse) truly violate a religious sensibility? Which is the greater "evil"?

    Democracy is a series of choices. Religion informs some of those, and at times it must be ignored. When we circumscribe choices through our religious lens, we begin the path to theocracy. I wish those who want laws based on their religious traditions would just have the honesty to bluntly advocate this rather than retreat to arguments based on fear and prejudice.

  • Linguist Silver Spring, MD
    July 20, 2014 7:46 a.m.

    With respect, I think you misstate the "conflict between religious liberty and gay rights".

    I am gay. I am also a person of faith. I see no conflict. I believe deeply that God loves me, understands my heart, and accepts me as I am-- a gay man. He understands and smiles when He learns that my relationship has been blessed by our congregation and protected by civil law in my home state in case of illness or death or other dire circumstances.

    The "conflict" you speak of is one inherent in a society with many religious beliefs. There are conflicts now and always will be. In a society with multiple points of view, no one view can prevent the other from enjoying rights under the law.

    Gay people didn't create that inherent conflict. "Sunday blue laws" meant that Jewish observers of the Sabbath were in conflict with Christian observers of the Lord's Day. The solution wasn't to force Jewish shopkeepers to close on Sunday and to work on Saturday. It was to end Sunday blue laws.

    No LDS temple should be obliged to marry a same-sex couple. But neither should my congregation be prohibited.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    July 20, 2014 7:51 a.m.

    I read the entire piece.

    Good for me.

    What is the veiled, or not so veiled point of this editorial?

    Sincerity?

    Dignity?

    The piece meanders through both concepts.

    Then, it cuts to the chase.

    Zero-sum conflict resolution.

    As long as one side refers to the other as the enemy and the other side is coined as bigots...

    Dignity reducing, winner take all, zero-sum resolution will continue to win the day.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 20, 2014 7:52 a.m.

    Religious freedom is a oxymoron. Religion is the most controlling, most despotic, and opposite to freedom that you can find. That is, if you consider freedom to be an individual thing that enables a person to do those things of his own choosing and not the edicts of someone else.

    Nature has imbued people with many edicts regards survival, eating, drinking, sex and a whole lot more. The problem is that when people want to live together and benefit from the society, many of these natural persuasions have to be controlled. That control comes from governments, starting with our parents and extending to the hundreds of governments that we voluntarily submit to in the hope of making life good. Religion is one of those governments.

    The trick is to only give up the freedoms we have to.

  • Sal Provo, UT
    July 20, 2014 7:52 a.m.

    It isn't coincidental that as Americans participate less and less in religion their persecution of the religious increases. As America's spirituality declines basic rights to religious freedom will be challenged. We are now a nation that professes a belief in God but we no longer believe Him and the laws he has established.

  • Sal Provo, UT
    July 20, 2014 7:55 a.m.

    In the case of Hobby Lobby the government knows full well that no woman will be denied contraception if her employer does not cover it. The government can pay for it if it cares that much about women. Democrats hope to use this as a women's rights issue in the Fall elections. Hopefully, women will see through the deceit.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    July 20, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    This editorial admits what was heretofore denied: That the HL case will be used in an attempt to exempt oneself from public accommodation laws.

    BTW, the Douglas Laycock paper states unambiguously that SSM bans are unconstitutional, that marriage is a fundamental right, and that none of the arguments against SSM hold water.

    Also - and please correct me if I'm wrong, LGBTs - I don't believe that it's LGBTs that are seeking to be defined by their sexual orientation. I think this is the little box we've placed them in, but what they are seeking is to be viewed and treated as equal PEOPLE.

    And finally, I find it typically contradictory (and presumptuous) of the religious to speak loftily of "freedom" and then tell me that I have an "obligation" to seek religious truth whether or not I agree with this. Classic!

    Again, the gravest threat to religious freedom is the religious, thus our founders' decision to write religious freedom into the Constitution. They as well as anyone knew how invoking the authority of a god can lead humans to assault the dignity of others when they would otherwise not do so.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    July 20, 2014 8:42 a.m.

    "Many who believe in God define themselves, in large part, through a religious identity. For others, sexual identity has become a defining characteristic of how they see themselves."

    Not true. Straight people in Utah see being straight as normal, as much as they see being right handed as normal, as much as they see being Mormon as normal. If you asked the average person on the streets of, say, Lehi, to "define" themselves, they would probably list their sex, then gender, then age. They might mention religion, but only after these first three. I doubt they would mention race or sexual orientation unless asked--to them, it would be a given.

    If you doubt this, tell me quick. What's the first thing that comes to mind when describing Mia Love? Hint: it isn't that she's straight.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 20, 2014 8:45 a.m.

    This nation was not founded by people fleeing Europe because it was "godless". This nation was founded by people fleeing Europe because it was dominated by state churches that forced everyone to live by the state religion. This seems to be quite similar to what you are trying to accomplish here.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    July 20, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    Oh brother,
    talk about hyperbole....

    1st,
    The Pilgrims did not "found" this Nation.
    True, they left England for Religious Freedom,
    but they remained very loyal English citizens
    as a British Colony for over 160 years.

    This "Nation" was not founded in 1776 when we broke away from England.

    Now, if you'll excuse me,
    I'm off to change my clothes,
    Go to Church,
    say my prayers,
    read my scriptures,
    and
    FREELY worship, who, where, or what I may.
    and
    allow others to do the same.

  • Berkeley reader Berkeley , CA
    July 20, 2014 9:52 a.m.

    "The respectful coexistence each identity seeks will come through recognizing the dignity intrinsic to all men and women.

    The word “dignity” captures the desire all have to live in an environment free from discrimination, intimidation or harassment."

    --This statement is a perfect justification for recognizing the rights and dignity of gay families. But Utah REFUSES to allow equal rights and dignity to its LGBT citizens, but demands it for its religious adherents. Utah needs to walk the walk, and not just talk the talk. What's the deal?

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    July 20, 2014 10:27 a.m.

    re: Open Minded Mormon

    [1st, The Pilgrims did not "found" this Nation. True, they left England for Religious Freedom, but they remained very loyal English citizens as a British Colony for over 160 years.]

    Thank you. That 2nd paragraph made me laugh. Initially, the Puritans/Pilgrims went to Holland and then returned to England. Then, they came to America.

    They couldn't or wouldn't try to get along w/ anyone. It had to be their way or the highway (so to speak)... sound familiar?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 20, 2014 10:39 a.m.

    Many of us know that we are the spirit children of Deity. Many of us know that we were given mortal bodies so that we could prove to ourselves that we would choose to live lives that resembled, as closely as possible, the lives being lived by our parents in Heaven. Christ taught us to pray that we would do on earth as it is being done in Heaven. It should be no surprise to anyone that, because there is opposition in all things, that Christ's "opposite" would tell those who would listen that there is no God, that Heaven does not exist, that our physical bodies were meant for personal gratification and that the body controls what we do. It should be no surprise that many find it much more pleasing to listen to Christ's "opposite", rather than learning to control their physical appetites.

    Religion attempts to remind us that we covenanted with God to follow His teaching when He gave us the gift of mortal life. It is no surprise that opposition to those covenants are so popular.

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    July 20, 2014 11:48 a.m.

    " endowed with reason and free will and ... that all men should be at once impelled by nature and also bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth.

    What a mass of confusion. Never a better example of the "philosophies of men."
    What we are endowed with is rights. Dignity is impossible with recognizing that all have equal access to those rights.
    And once again, Roland is accurate. The original settlers came here to escape the tyranny of government protecting one form of worship. In 55 years, no one has ever stopped me, including today, from freely exercising my religion. That may not be the case if Hobby Lobby decides that hiring Mormons offends their religious sensibilities.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 20, 2014 12:37 p.m.

    It appears that there is a problem in the basic premise in that religious freedom cannot extend and afford dignity to all. Religion, if left free, will by definition attempt to remove dignity of and from some people.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 20, 2014 12:43 p.m.

    Ultra Bob,

    "Religious freedom is a oxymoron. Religion is the most controlling, most despotic, and opposite to freedom that you can find."

    Yet historically in this country people adopt, leave, or change religions all the time (I did). To those who are religious (or who wish to be or who wish to no longer be), is that not a vital part of freedom of conscience? Should that not be protected?

    I live as a Latter-day Saint. But I am under no compulsion to obey anyone. All the choices are mine to make. If I find the doctrine sound and the person worthy, then I choose to comply. If not, I will not. My obedience is my own. It is not compelled. Within Mormonism, agency is vital.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    July 20, 2014 1:10 p.m.

    @Hugh1

    Sadly this is far from the second time the Supreme Court has granted corporations the status of person hood. The first time the court did so was in 1819 in Dartmouth College vs. Woodward. I hear from a lot of lawyers that it is good for corporations to be given the right of person hood but I have never been able to understand the logic myself. Welcome to America; one nation... with liberty and justice for the rich.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    July 20, 2014 2:47 p.m.

    Our religious beliefs and societal traditions are vital to the fabric of society. Though each faith, minister, and individual can define marriage for themselves, at issue here are laws that act outside that protected sphere. Once the government defines marriage and attaches benefits to
    that definition, it must do so constitutionally. It cannot impose a traditional or faith-based limitation upon a public right without a sufficient justification for it. Assigning a religious
    or traditional rationale for a law, does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons.

    The beauty of our Constitution is that it accommodates our individual faith’s definition of marriage while preventing the government from unlawfully treating us differently. This is hardly
    surprising since it was written by people who came to America to find both freedom of religion and freedom from it.

    Judge John G. Heyburn
    in Bourke v Beshear (3:13-CV-750-H)
    February 14, 2014

  • Ralph Salt Lake City, UT
    July 20, 2014 3:00 p.m.

    > "This nation was founded as a wild effort of Christian reformers to free themselves of Old World godlessness and establish a New Jerusalem in America."

    Wut? You sure about that, Mr. Editor?

  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    July 20, 2014 3:05 p.m.

    The only way for this "dignity for all" to occur would be to based our laws on the libertarian ideals of punishing objective harm. Let everyone do what they want as long as it doesn't objectively harm others. This would prevent the religious, the right, the Left, etc... from imposing their ideas of a utopian society on others. People may be offended that under the above, gays could marry and that people could own guns. That's what freedom is about...allowing people to do those things you don't like. I may disagree with what you say, do, drink, smoke, or worship, but I will defend to the death your right to do such.

    No one has a right to not be offended. The only opposition to SSM is that it offends someone's SUBJECTIVE religion or SUBJECTIVE feelings. neither of these things provide an objective reason to ban the practice.

    One OBJECTIVE harm becomes the standard, all will be afforded equal dignity. People are free to object to others' behaviors. I may object to infant baptism or worshiping on Saturday, but since no objectively harm occurs, what right do I have to try to ban it?

  • vern001 Castle Rock, CO
    July 20, 2014 3:48 p.m.

    I think it's great that the owners of Hobby Lobby have their own set of heartfelt beliefs, but it isn't right for them to impose said beliefs on others. Sure, the Greens pay for their employees' healthcare, but they also pay their employees' paycheck. And I'm pretty sure they object to things like gambling, pornography, taking drugs, etc. etc. If they can refuse to pay for contraception, can they then refuse to pay their employees' salary if they discover their employees are doing things with which they disagree?

    Just give your employees their pay and their benefits and let them decide, according to the dictates of their conscience, how they're going to spend their money.

  • Pendergast Salt Lake City, UT
    July 20, 2014 3:48 p.m.

    per Mike R

    "Religion attempts to remind us that we covenanted with God to follow His teaching when He gave us the gift of mortal life. It is no surprise that opposition to those covenants are so popular."

    Please. Religion is the ultimate long con designed to keep the simple afraid & subservient.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    July 20, 2014 4:26 p.m.

    Mr Richards,
    It appears you argue for theocracy. Is this your case? Whose God are we supposed to worship, and how? What is to be done with nonbelievers (as you define them)?
    Let us get real here, and down to brass tacks. Tell us your vision.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    July 20, 2014 5:04 p.m.

    The Hobby Lobby decision is about as logical as a Jewish employer refusing to pay employees because they might eat pork.

    Employers can offer choices in healthcare plans but have no business deciding what coverage the employees decide they want.

    Yet another reason to expand medicare for all citizens to get employers out of my healthcare decisions entirely. Shoot yourselves in the foot all you want.

  • UTCProgress American Fork, UT
    July 20, 2014 5:13 p.m.

    If the editorial board of the Deseret News really wanted to provide a serious commentary about religious freedom, they should not start their argument with a wholly false premise.

    This nation was not "founded as a wild effort of Christian reformers to free themselves of Old World godlessness and establish a New Jerusalem in America." The Church of England, which was the official religion of England, was not Godless, it was an offshoot of the Roman Catholic Church and was (and continues to be) considered a Christ based religion. It would be more appropriate to say that the Pilgrims came to America to leave a religion they disagreed with. Much like SSM supporters are trying to fight religion they disagree with. In this regard, SSM supporters have much more in common with Pilgrims than current leaders of religion in the United States.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 20, 2014 5:23 p.m.

    Some would tell us that the federal government has not established a "State Religion". That is absolutely false. Secular Humanism has been established as the official religion of The United States. That religion teaches people to worship themselves. It tells us that man's intellect is far superior to God's intellect. It teaches us that man has the right to define moral truths without examining the truths taught in scripture. It teaches us that the concept of sin and of satan is nothing but fantasy. It tells us that there is no God and that we evolved from a fish that crawled from the sea.

    Contrast that with the statement made by King Lamoni's father who told God that he would give away all of his sins to know God.

    Too many people want to hold on to their sins. They want to carry that excess baggage with them, all the way into God's presence. Unfortunately, God's Son, Jesus Christ, clearly told us that we would have to leave that baggage behind before entering into God's presence.

    Secular Humanism rejects Christ. We don't have to accept Secular Humanism as our national religion.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    July 20, 2014 5:51 p.m.

    " One of the most crucial of these now-challenged presumptions is the right to live one’s faith according to the dictates of one’s conscience."

    Is that why the Deseret News prints at least one anti-marriage equality OP-ED each week? There are many churches who believe that SSM is okay. If you truly believed in "according to the dictates of one’s conscience", then you would promote marriage equality in your pages. You don't, I don't believe you when you claim to cry "religious freedom" foul.

    "...Supreme Court decision affirming the religious freedom of the retail chain Hobby Lobby. "

    HL can't have any religious beliefs; it isn't a living organism.

    "... sexual identity has become a defining characteristic of how they see themselves. "

    I don't define myself by my sexual orientation exclusively, it's but one part.

    "The word “dignity” captures the desire all have to live in an environment free from discrimination, ..."

    Then why is it okay to discriminate against an LGBT couple and refuse to provide them the services you provide everyone else?

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    July 20, 2014 6:03 p.m.

    One of the greatest freedoms we have,
    and the most underappreciated,

    is the ability to move around this country,

    and live with like minded people and live with laws the majority want.

    When someone in the minority view moves into an area with a majority with a different view,

    who gets to make the laws?

    Does the minority get to compel and dictate he majority?

    It seems like the left and the progressives wantsto take more and more freedoms and rights away from the people (and the states), especially those with religious and conservative views, and dictate to them.

    "Good intentions" are enslaving us all, link by link, chain by chain, to the dictates of a central totalitarian government.

    If like minded people are no longer free to gather and live together and have the laws they want in their communities and states, then we have no freedom, and the constitution means nothing.

    If we are not free to gather and live our religions publically, there is no religious freedom.

    The religious must be give equal dignity.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    July 20, 2014 6:04 p.m.

    Sal says:

    "It isn't coincidental that as Americans participate less and less in religion their persecution of the religious increases."

    Sal, it isn't concidental that as religions insert themselves more and more into our government and laws, that conflict arises. You aren't being persecuted, you're being challenged and it's a new feeling for you. Challenge isn't persecution.

    @Twin Lights;

    If agency is vital, why do you oppose an LGBT couples right to choose to marry?

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    July 20, 2014 6:25 p.m.

    These sort of conflicts always come down to one basic question. Who is taking away what from whom?

    In your perceived conflict of "religious freedom" versus "gay rights" ask yourself that question. No one on the religious side is in danger of losing any religious rights. You can still believe whatever you like, worship how you like, and live your life how you like.

    Yet, despite the fact that no one is seeking to change your life, you are seeking to curtail others' lives, to restrict whether their lifetime committed relationships can receive legal equality, whether they can even live with common dignity without being excoriated at every turn for how God made them.

    In the battle for equal marriage rights, the term "asymmetric warfare" comes to mind. Goliath seeking to crush David like a bug, but David using the legal leverage of the Constitution to gain the protection of the courts. This is not a battle where the bully should win. All of us should be pulling for "the little guy," which in this battle is the LGBT minority.

  • Linguist Silver Spring, MD
    July 20, 2014 6:45 p.m.

    Mike Richards wrote, "Secular Humanism rejects Christ. We don't have to accept Secular Humanism as our national religion."

    With respect, I am a Jewish, and a person of faith. I reject Jesus as the son of God. Are you suggesting that we have a national religion that requires me to believe he was the son of God? How would that work? Doesn't the Constitution forbid us from having any official religion?

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    July 20, 2014 6:49 p.m.

    RE: Mike Richards " It should be no surprise to anyone that, because there is opposition in all things, that Christ's "opposite" would tell those who would listen that there is no God, that Heaven does not exist, that our physical bodies were meant for personal gratification and that the body controls what we do. It should be no surprise that many find it much more pleasing to listen to Christ's "opposite", rather than learning to control their physical appetites."

    Many of us find your views repulsive because of the assumptions you make about those who disagree with you. You see your opponents of hedonists. Most of us are not. As one of your opponents let me say that I believe in morality. I believe in self-control particularly when it comes to protecting the rights of others. I believe in the enlightenment and science. I believe we must put the next generation first in our priorities, including protection of the world they will inherit. I don't believe in sex orgies, nor do I so participate. I believe in the Golden Rule.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    July 20, 2014 7:41 p.m.

    @the truth;

    "One of the greatest freedoms we have, and the most underappreciated, is the ability to move around this country"

    --- Is your marriage recognized in all 50 states? Then why not the marraiges of LGBT citizens?

    "If like minded people are no longer free to gather and live together and have the laws they want in their communities and states, then we have no freedom, and the constitution means nothing."

    --- That's pretty ironic since you're taking away the freedoms of that minority you so despise and then howling about your own "loss" of freedom. "Like mindeded citizens" have never had the right to violate the US Constitution in their laws.

    "If we are not free to gather and live our religions publically, there is no religious freedom."

    --- When have you ever been denied the right to gather and live your religion in public?

  • Owen Heber City, UT
    July 20, 2014 8:32 p.m.

    An editorial on dignity - respectful consideration of opposing viewpoints Yet another single-minded pronouncement of "the way things are" by Mr. Richards. As the editorial implies (weakly), regard for other humans means you occasionally engage in a coversation - in including listening. Take a break from endlessly sharing your opinion (for that's all it really is) as truth, and try responding with empathy to another's views. Otherwise, the conversation moves on without people reading beyond your name.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 20, 2014 8:35 p.m.

    Re:truth
    "One of the greatest freedoms we have,
    and the most underappreciated,
    is the ability to move around this country,
    and live with like minded people and live with laws the majority want.

    One of the greatest freedoms we have is that of being treated equal, and of having enduring peace despite great diversity. Self-segregating doesn't make us stronger--it makes us ignorant and weak. The responsibility of the majority is to ensure minority rights are protected--that they have equal rights too. That is the basis of our Constitution. Equality doesn't exist if a couple moves from one state to another and their marriage is dissolved--not recognized--and they lose rights.

    I've been LDS my entire life--over 50 yrs. My rights to worship as I choose are intact--precisely because of the separation of church and state. And my gay married neighbors haven't changed that one bit.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    July 20, 2014 9:20 p.m.

    "This nation was founded as a wild effort of Christian reformers to free themselves of Old World godlessness and establish a New Jerusalem in America."

    Others have commented on this statement, but let me say it is "wild"ly off the mark. The colonies were founded largely by Britain through its brand of mercantilism, to make a profit for British investors and further the interests of the British crown. Those colonies which were branded by specific religions were founded to free their populations from the interference of OTHER PEOPLE'S RELIGIONS. There was no intent to found a common New Jerusalem - where did you get that from?

    Moreover, the colonists were not fleeing a godless old world, not even close.

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    July 20, 2014 9:22 p.m.

    As more religions recognize and begin to perform same-sex marriages, won't the First Amendment's guarantee of the free exercise of religion become a compelling argument in favor of those marriages?

    Also, since same sex marriage has become an accepted tenet of a number of religions, why wouldn't the 11th Article of Faith apply...let them worship how when and what they may.

    Seems many are afraid they'll be thought of as supporters of SSM. Do they consider themselves supporters of Catholisism or Buddism because they don't try to stop its followers from following the tenets of their religion? You need not support or agree with a tenet, but if we've been instructed to allow others to follow their beliefs, is it appropriate to attempt to legislate that tenet out of existance?

    Thoughtful responses appreciated.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    July 21, 2014 6:18 a.m.

    Mr Richards

    I asked you a question. Do you advocate theocracy, with a religion designated to suit your purposes.

    Instead, you go off on a rant about secular humanism, ignoring Christian belief, and something about a long dead King.

    I know others suspect you of being a troll, but I am truly interested in your ultimate desires.

    Plainly and simply, do you wish this country to be a theocracy? And just which religion is supposed to dominate the rest of us?

  • Frank Fourth New York, NY
    July 21, 2014 8:48 a.m.

    "This nation was founded as a wild effort of Christian reformers to free themselves of Old World godlessness and establish a New Jerusalem in America."

    The Old World of the Pilgrims and Puritans was not godless at all. Quite the opposite. It was saturated with God.

    The minority that left for America to create their New Jerusalem created, instead, their own new dystopia. Just ask the Baptists, Quakers and "witches." Religious majorities tend to do this when they become majorities in their new geographical areas, something echoed at Mountain Meadows, among other places and in other ways, in the Mormon corridor.

    In the century after the Pilgrims and Puritans, Enlightenment thinkers in America tried to work their way out of this problem. They argued that government should not longer be a religious matter and that religion should no longer be a governmental matter.

    Less God filled dystopic New Jerusalems, more Enlightenment, perhaps this could become the new message of the 24th of July.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    July 21, 2014 8:52 a.m.

    A Quaker: "No one on the religious side is in danger of losing any religious rights."

    After months of spot-on perfect posts, I finally have something of yours to nitpick. I know what you meant, but your overgeneralization of the "religious side" as being opposed to SSM overlooks the many faiths (your own included) that are perfectly fine with gay marriage and are prevented by law from solemnizing them. As the pending lawsuit by North Carolina clergy shows, many on the "religious side" have already lost their religious rights (to astounding silence from this paper).

    BTW, @Karen R, Laura B-- excellent posts, as always.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    July 21, 2014 9:18 a.m.

    For true religious freedom to exist, we must be a secular nation built upon secular laws.

    If we enshrine one religion's beliefs into laws we have destroyed that religious freedom.

    We can either be religiously free and secular or have a State Religion, but not both, nor something in between.

  • Jared NotInMiami, FL
    July 21, 2014 10:37 a.m.

    George Washington said: "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism who should labour to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens…. And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." (Reference: Farewell Address - text available online)

    That is directly from someone who participated in the founding of the United States. Just as the Founding Fathers were separating church from state, they were not separating religion from politics (note: I use the word "religion" in the sense of public religion, and not as a specific sect). The U.S. is free because of religion, not in spite of it.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 21, 2014 11:05 a.m.

    Re:Jared
    Sure, we can pick and choose various quotes from the Founders of our Constitution, (who disagreed with each other on various aspects and "correct interpretation/applications of the Constitution) the same way we pick and interpret scriptures to support our views.

    The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”
    George Washington

    “The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries.
    James Madison

    “Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law.”
    Thomas Paine

    “Besides the danger of a direct mixture of religion and civil government, there is an evil which ought to be guarded against in the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity by ecclesiastical corporations. The establishment of the chaplainship in Congress is a palpable violation of equal rights as well as of Constitutional principles. The danger of silent accumulations and encroachments by ecclesiastical bodies has not sufficiently engaged attention in the U.S.”
    James Madison

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    July 21, 2014 11:15 a.m.

    I wish that the Supreme Court decisions that qualify corporations with religious and free speech rights were a bit more specific. It would make much more sense to differentiate between private and public corporations. A private, family owned corporation should indeed be afforded the same rights that these individuals would hold individually. The legal structure does not define its purpose.

    However, a public traded corporation is truly owned by a vast collection of individuals, whose only common interest in the corporation is their return on investment. Giving rights to such an entity presupposes that the only use of those rights by the stockholders is to promote their personal profits.

  • Bob K Davis, CA
    July 21, 2014 4:00 p.m.

    gmlewis
    Houston, TX
    "I wish that the Supreme Court decisions that qualify corporations with religious and free speech rights were a bit more specific. It would make much more sense to differentiate between private and public corporations. A private, family owned corporation should indeed be afforded the same rights that these individuals would hold individually. The legal structure does not define its purpose."

    --Not OK. At what size do we cut off the right? Privately held companies with thousands of employees can control major portions of a market, or can constitute a significant percent of the jobs in an area.

    Everyone should leave his or her religion at the door.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    July 21, 2014 9:49 p.m.

    @Lagomorph: I've posted (more than!) a couple of things on this website which could have been better. Thank you for amplifying my core message. I had been trying to place it in the context of the Deseret News' "religious freedom" campaign. (Notice the quote marks.) For the truth remains, that removing unconstitutional barriers to marriage will cause no loss of religious freedom for anyone.

    And as you so rightly note, some denominations, including mine, stand only to gain our religious freedom to solemnize those marriages, and the legal standing to have all the marriages we solemnize accepted by the State. Because we believe in Equality as a core Testimony of our religion, this affects us in ways it doesn't affect Mormons, Catholics or Evangelicals. They already have all their solemnized marriages respected by the State, because they only solemnize straight couples. However, we who NEED to offer equal rites ;-) (because it's a religious tenet) are told by some States that we cannot.

    If they were truly interested in religious freedom, the DN would report on the plaintiffs brief in the North Carolina suit.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 21, 2014 10:10 p.m.

    Ultra Bob,

    Should we not oppose those things we believe will be detrimental to ourselves or to others? I take it you do not believe gay marriage will be harmful so you endorse it.

    It is not a matter of whether you believe this or not, but rather whether each of us should vote our conscience.

    Only the most fanatical libertarians believe all things should be legal. Most believe in a sliding scale (license on one side, prohibition on the other).

    Up until just over a decade ago, the vast majority did not endorse gay marriage. So it is hardly an outrageous position.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 22, 2014 7:55 a.m.

    @Twin Lights;

    You don't have the right to "vote your conscience" and remove rights from others.

    Period.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    July 22, 2014 8:21 a.m.

    Mike Richards said: "Christ taught us to pray that we would do on earth as it is being done in Heaven."

    So Corporations control Heaven and a capitalistic free market exists with the higher heavens being occupied by those who accumulate the most "In God We Trust's."

    MR you continually try and compare being gay to atheism or hatred or rejection of God, You are completely wrong and leave no room for those who belong to religions that don't judge others by who they love. That word "Love" –your Christ used that word often, and admonished men such as your self to not judge lest the be judged.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    July 22, 2014 9:59 a.m.

    Jared said: "The U.S. is free because of religion, not in spite of it."

    I beg to differ, Religion in Europe sent it into the dark ages and slid it back nearly to Roman technology.

    Freedom from adhering to strict religious dogma, allowed America to grow and thrive as a melting pot of ideas. People came together across languages and religions to work for a better tomorrow. Not a longing for the good Ol' days, that weren't that great.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 22, 2014 5:33 p.m.

    RanchHand,

    I have the right to believe those rights, which never existed previously, should not be granted. You may disagree - and that is fine. But I have the right to vote what I think just as you have the right to vote what you think.

    It is hard for me to see how this is a fundamental right when it frankly did not exist anywhere on the planet (of consequence) 20-30 years ago. No one saw it as a right for thousands of years and then magically it is now a right all should have. It is not as if gay people were invented in the last few decades.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    July 23, 2014 10:40 p.m.

    @ Twin Lights

    "It is hard for me to see how this is a fundamental right when it frankly did not exist anywhere on the planet (of consequence) 20-30 years ago. No one saw it as a right for thousands of years and then magically it is now a right all should have. It is not as if gay people were invented in the last few decades."

    Being wrong about something for a long time is not an argument for maintaining the status quo. For example, think mid-1800's and swap out one word in your last sentence: "It's not as if slaves were invented in the last few decades."

    Does this make it easier to see?

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 24, 2014 7:48 a.m.

    Karen R.,

    Thanks. But for as long as there have been slaves there have also been uprisings and those who advocated for the abolition of the practice or the freedom of a people. In Europe this traces back to at least the 1300s.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    July 24, 2014 8:55 a.m.

    @Twin Lights.
    The difference is at some point the slaves realized they were the majority, a group that has always been a minority isn't afforded the same strength in numbers.

    My uncle was suppose to be sent to a "training school" for the mentally retarded (that's what they were called then) because he was deaf, no other problem just deaf. My mother who was raising him, had to fight tooth and nail to get him into regular school. This was only in the 50's. He ended up being a computer scientist in the 70's.

    Left handed people could be killed in many cultures, because they were different.

    Lots of minorities have been victimized over the years, by the majority, that doesn't make it the right thing to do.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    July 24, 2014 2:03 p.m.

    "It is hard for me to see how this is a fundamental right when it frankly did not exist anywhere on the planet (of consequence) 20-30 years ago. No one saw it as a right for thousands of years and then magically it is now a right all should have."

    You are wrong. You don't know history.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    July 24, 2014 7:53 p.m.

    It doesn't matter anyway, your argument makes no sense. It doesn't matter if something has been done for a long time, it doesn't matter if people fought against things, for a long time. All of that, your argument, is a distraction.

    What matters is if something is right, or wrong, in how we see it NOW. And WE see, our society, that discriminating against people for who they love, is WRONG.

    HVH, points out that societies used to (and still do, in many ways) discriminate (in the harshest possible way) against people that were different. People with mental disorders were treated, historically, in terrible ways. Didn't make it right.

    In fact many societies, and people have thought that who you choose to love was a mental disorder, if it wasn't who society thought you should love. Very twisted, indeed. And it didn't make it right.

    Bottom line, it's NONE of your business who somebody loves and marries, as long as they are consenting adults.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    July 25, 2014 7:30 a.m.

    @ Twin Lights

    That the right of homosexuals to marry has only recently been recognized is a reflection of our ignorance, not a reflection on the merits of the claim.

    What is a hopeful sign about humanity is that we're getting better at discarding our fears and biases when new knowledge demonstrates that we've been mistaken. As you note, slavery has long been recognized as morally wrong, yet it remained the tradition for thousands of years. It has only been in the last 50 years that our assumptions about sexual orientation have been proven false and yet already we are changing our laws and mores to reflect this new understanding.

    Our vision is expanding and we're seeing that we really are much more alike than we are different. This in turn is prompting us to be more inclusive and accepting. Aren't these good things? Do we really want to look for reasons to continue to exclude and divide?

  • Dave M Louisville, KY
    July 25, 2014 1:52 p.m.

    This is Twin Lights

    Mark,

    I have had this discussion before and read articles I was referred to. I could find little history of actual marriage (not relationships or open practice but marriage).

    The history matters. Same Sex Marriage is now touted as a fundamental right. If it that view was almost entirely missed before but now presents as undeniable, then we have to consider if our current view might be simply be wrong rather than simply default to the prior generations being wrong.

    I am not advocating mistreatment of anyone. But that we should think and think again before we elevate something to the level of fundamental (non-deniable) right.

    Careful reference consenting adults. If that is the one and only standard, there are other issues that can come to the fore.

    Karen R.

    It may be a reflection of ignorance or it may be a well-considered position that we abandon to our detriment.

    Every generation thinks that it is smarter than the previous one. Not always the case.

    I certainly agree it is correct to be accepting and loving. But that does not require extending marriage as a fundamental right.

  • nycut New York, NY
    July 25, 2014 6:01 p.m.

    @DaveM: No one is touting "same sex" marriage as a fundamental right as you suggest. We're pointing what should be obvious: marriage is fundamental right for each person, and each of us has a right to choose our spouse.

    As many acknowledge, historically marriage has been and meant many things, for a variety of reasons, under a variety of conditions.

    But one of the most basic understandings of marriage is that when you fall in love with that special person, you want to get married and spend your life together.

    When someone says, "I am romantically, erotically, sexually, overwhelmingly, profoundly in love with this person," they know what they're talking about.

    And marriage is the natural expression of this most wonderful, and banal, human phenomenon.

    Like you, gay people know who they are, and what they think and feel. But by suggesting gay people shouldn't marry each other, you're objecting to the kind of *person* they are, not objecting to the kind of *marriage* they want.

    They want the same kind as you: one where they say what it means and who it's with.

    We fall in love. We marry. Straight and gay.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    July 25, 2014 9:09 p.m.

    @ Dave M.

    "History matters" is just a variation on the tradition argument.

    The past is where the ignorance and prejudice lie. Why would you expect to find a well-considered position there? The knowledge that has been changing minds has been developed over the last 50 years or so. Shouldn't a well-considered position include it?

    BTW, the silence doesn't mean the idea was considered and rejected. For Pete's sake, homosexuality was criminalized in many locales. How objective a consideration could there have been assuming one was even undertaken?

    "I am not advocating mistreatment of anyone." I believe you, but this doesn't stop the harm being done by the status quo that you do support.

    I keep hearing how serious a sin homosexual sex is. Murder is serious, as is child abuse. No one struggles to come up with reasons why. Not the case for homosexual sex. Multiple legal teams have yet to forward one that isn't riddled with holes. Does the Bible say why beyond "because God said so?" I've never understood what's so terrible about it. It's sex. MYOB, everyone!