Quantcast
Opinion

Drew Clark: Religious freedom is more than a right to speak and assemble

Comments

Return To Article
  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 12:24 a.m.

    Okay, but consider this. Since religion is purely conjecture and entirely subjective, whatever privilege you seek for a favoured group must by definition be available to any who wish to claim it, including your worst enemy.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 12:46 a.m.

    Religious freedom means that you have an absolute right to live your religion. It does not mean that you get to force other people to live your religion. Just because you own a large block of stock in a corporation does not mean that you can dictate your religious views to your employees.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 12:48 a.m.

    Mr Clark is really obsessed with the matter of contraception. The conservative Christian faiths (and Islam) are particularly exercised that businesses and corporations which belong (?) to their faiths not be required to provide contraceptive drugs. Why? The answer provided by Mr Clark and others is that such would interfere with their free exercise of religion. But we need to probe deeper.

    Why do conservative faiths so fear contraception? Because contraception liberates women! Women, both single and married, can avoid pregnancy through the use of contraceptives. This diminishes the control of women by men. And of course that is the last thing conservative Christianity and Islam want.

    So the freedom of religious expression as Mr. Clark sees it, is containment and erosion of actual freedom (not imagined) for women.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    Aug. 31, 2014 4:49 a.m.

    Could not disagree more with this editorial.

    As clearly stated in this article, we live in a pluralistic society. Not everyone is in favor of same sex marriage nor abortion, which seems to be the flash point in the entire argument made by religious conservatives. And there is no law which says that one must marry a person of the same sex or have an abortion.

    In my opinion, it is fatuous to suggest that allowing same sex marriage or abortion is a violation of religious freedom. And it is violates the rights of those who wish to be married to someone of the same sex or have an abortion for those who are against it to find novel ways of restricting that practice by arguing that it violates their religion.

    It would seem that religious conservatives wish to pass laws and secure rulings from a very conservative Supreme court majority that restrict any number of rights that the majority of the country favor: same sex marriage, non-discrimination laws and a woman's right to choose. Welcome to the new Christian Iran.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Aug. 31, 2014 6:28 a.m.

    "In a pluralistic society, people and communities need space in which to test differing modes of religious experience," Meese and Oman continued. "[That] is only possible if the government gives the religious marketplace the kind of breathing room that it gives to the free-speech marketplace of ideas."

    Yes, we should stop preventing religious-based content from filling our public airwaves: TV, radio, internet. We should stop prohibiting religious-based newspapers, magazines, books, and other print forums. Religions in the U.S. simply aren't given a fair chance to present their ideas. The dominant majority needs to show some consideration and give them a chance.

    When we contritely step aside and allow religion a voice, perhaps it wouldn't be too much to ask that it bring with it some rational justification for the beliefs it wants to impose on society? For instance, contraception. Perhaps it would be kind enough to show how prohibiting contraception is more beneficial than not? Or homosexuality. If it could show why it's more beneficial to our society to allow some to discriminate v. requiring all to be treated equally, I would be most appreciative.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 7:23 a.m.

    In response:

    Hobby Lobby didn't "affirm religious freedom laws" -- it allowed religion to impose itself on the secular public. The camel's nose is now in the tent.

    The Obama administration’s executive order on federal contracting did not attempt to redefine anti-discrimination laws without providing protections for religious freedom. It merely denied religion the right to impose itself on the secular public.

    The "free exercise of religion" does not allow religion to impose itself on the secular public. Religion and non-religion are equal in the public sphere. Religion is not pre-emptive. Unfortunately the religious, and the far right are tempting to make religious values and practices pre-emptive and impose them on the United States. They are, in effect, attempting to create a Christian Taliban. That is unconstitutional, and should be strongly resisted. As a person of strong fait, a Christian (LDS), I support the Constitution and strongly resist the attempts by the far right so-called Christians to undermine it.

  • Kimber Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 7:43 a.m.

    I believe the biggest problem between government and religion is defining what is really religion and what is freedom from religion. To most people, birth control is not or shouldn't be a religious issue. A religion can certainly have an opinion on the matter and speak to their people regarding it, but they shouldn't be able to force their opinions on others. If a company doesn't want to cover birth control because of their religious beliefs, then a woman has the right to find help from the government which has said that a woman (or anyone) has the right to basic healthcare. Some may not feel that birth control is a basic right in healthcare, but as a healthcare worker and as a mother, I know that it is. Women die everyday because of problems relating to their reproductive cycle and it is their right to receive care (regardless of their religion). I believe the Obama administration has taken a good step in resolving this issue.

  • Mikhail ALPINE, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 8:05 a.m.

    Well said. Many misunderstand the first amendment relating to religious freedom. The establishment clause was meant to restrict government - not the other way around. Many falsely believe that the first amendment requires a "separation of church and state." Rather, it prevents the state from establishing a particular faith and forcing that particular faith upon the citizens. The founders understood that the rights of the people were given of God, yet they also understood that people would choose different ways of worshipping God. Over the last 50 years there has been a growing movement by a minority of the citizens to remove God and faith from the public discourse - attempting to forbid any reference of God and faith in a public way. They have tried to, as the writer of this article has pointed out, force believers inside the walls of their sanctuaries. By doing so, they ignore one of the essentials of religious worship - the service of our fellow man. Rather, they want to have such service forced upon the general population through government "welfare" programs.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Aug. 31, 2014 8:35 a.m.

    The view that the administration applies that one is free to believe and worship as they wish is not really religious freedom. It is right to privacy which is not even listed in the constitution. It is only assumed based on the right to unreasonable search and seizure. Freedom of religion for them is therefore not a human right or a first amendment freedom.

    @Roland Kayser: Hobby Lobby is not dictating their religious views to their employees. They are simply declining to pay for the contraception of their employees. The company is doing nothing to prevent their employees from buying their own contraception.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 8:45 a.m.

    This mindset that the religious fabric is a "marketplace of ideas" is primed and ready for abuse. Which religion is the most aggressive is converting people, and most fundamentalist in looking at the world? Islam.

    There is nothing in the article's description to inhibit a rise in Islam among poorer Americans who may look for security and power as being part of a group. Islam is the T-Rex of religions, capable of providing great security for adherents, and a highly toxic view of the rest of society.

    As the US struggles to offer economic security to a swelling pool of its poorest citizens, and many are left to struggle on their own, Islam can provide answers and tremendous strength to adherents in providing a respected (ie, "feared") identity and purpose.

    In this context, Islam is ready to exploit American freedom, expand and greatly amplify the power current (friendly) religions enjoy, in turning the US into something quite different than religious Americans imagine.

    Think it can't happen? Think again.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 8:45 a.m.

    "...but don't think about bringing religious values into public, into your place of work, into the political discussion.”

    1) Your coworkers don't WANT to hear you yammer on about your religion.
    2) You are trying to use your "religious values" to violate the rights of other American citizens in the public and political realm. The first amendment does NOT grant you that right.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,..."

    --- I.e., Your religious views are no more valid than other religious views.

    "The movement to redefine anti-discrimination laws without providing protections for religious freedom."

    --- Your religious views do NOT give you the right to refuse service to some customers that you provide to everyone else without a second thought.

    The hypocrisy of those claiming the right to "religious freedom" is clear when they do everything in their power to violate the religious freedom of others.

  • Light and Liberty St. George/Washington, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    Mr Huderite: according to your definition, you have reduced religion to whether a religion advocates murdering old people as a tenet, that is the reason we can't give religion it's rightful place as guaranteed under the Constitution. Just a tich extreme, wouldn't you say!

    Mr Kaiser: in your opinion then, nobody, including government, should be allowed to tell anyone what to do, since every law can be viewed as infringing on my "religious" views. Just a tich extreme, wouldn't you say?

    Mr. Marxist (who continues to deny Marxism's heritage): in questions before Man, questions of right and wrong have no merit, right? Euthanasia, abortion, abuse! Defend anyone's right to any number of immoral issues because it is "their" right to do it! Just a tich extreme, wouldn't you say?

  • Raytheist Houston, TX
    Aug. 31, 2014 9:24 a.m.

    Tekakaromatagi claims:

    >>The company is doing nothing to prevent their employees from buying their own contraception.

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    Aug. 31, 2014 9:30 a.m.

    >>Religious freedom means that you have an absolute right to live your religion. It does not mean that you get to force other people to live your religion.

    It's not Hobby Lobby which is trying to impose beliefs on employees; it's the government (and supporters of subsidized contraception) which is trying to impose its beliefs on Hobby Lobby.

    Hobby Lobby employees aren't being threatened with termination if they don't attend church on Sundays or if they commit some violation of the Ten Commandments. They're not being told that raises and promotions will be contingent upon proof that they read the Bible or pray. Rather, Hobby Lobby's owners are just asserting that they shouldn't be forced to subsidize employee behavior that conflicts with their beliefs--hardly an unreasonable proposition. I think many Democrats would be vehemently opposed to a government policy that said, say, companies must subsidize employees' firearms purchases.

    Hobby Lobby employees are, of course, perfectly free to seek employment elsewhere if they decide that subsidized contraception is that important to them.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 9:49 a.m.

    Freedom is not infinitely available to all people who choose to live in a civilized society. The fact is that in order to secure the freedom for some, freedom must be taken from others. A classic example being the forfeiture of the freedom to kill people you dislike, so that all people can have the freedom to be different.

    In the context of Hobby Lobby, their refusal to honor a civil law that gives freedom to be different to the employees, takes away the employee's freedom to be different. Not quite as drastic as killing people but discrimination none the less.

    I believe that the American Constitution provides the right and desirability of the freedom for individual people to be different, so long as doing so doesn't infringe on the rights and freedoms of others. Others being real, live, existing, human beings in our society.

    The way I heard it, people came to America to avoid religious oppression, now that they are here they want to start it all over again.

  • GK Willington Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 10:05 a.m.

    re: marxist

    Do we really want/need to probe deeper when it comes to contraceptives?

  • intervention slc, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 12:23 p.m.

    So how do we prevent "the state from establishing a particular faith and forcing that particular faith upon the citizens," without having a "seperation of church and state?"

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 1:11 p.m.

    "Religious freedom is more than a right to speak and assemble."

    Indeed to Christianity's conservatives it is a "right" to impose one's own religious dogma on others who apparently need to be brought to heel - especially women. Women must be denied reproductive freedom, and government's attempts to grant it must be villified.

    Due to circumstances in my own life I have had to become familiar with Islam. What an eye opener! Particularly alarming is Islam's view of women. In Islam women are seen as potential devils who need constant supervision lest they stray. Sound familiar.

    Conservative Christians can learn a great deal about their faith by studying Islam. Both dogmas come from the same source, and misogyny underlies both.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 1:45 p.m.

    What I find surprising is that this editorial and most others miss what is obviously the worst part of the Hobby Lobby decision. The companies involved didn't want to cover the cost of certain contraception medications because they believed these caused abortions. The key word there is believed. The actual science shows that they do not in fact cause abortions but who cares about actual science and facts right! Just because reality says one thing doesn't matter because these people really really believed something else and the court agreed with them! There are a whole lot of things I believe can I get the court to agree with me? I believe all religions are a detriment to our society and should be banned. It doesn't matter what you believe about that or what any facts might say, because I believe it and apparently that is all that matters anymore.

    What the court should have said to the Hobby Lobby people and lawyers was "what you believe is incorrect, goodbye."

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 1:53 p.m.

    "That’s why a corporation like Hobby Lobby needs a First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion no less than a corporation like The New York Times needs a First Amendment right to the freedom of the press."

    Well, let's see.
    NYT business is the dissemination of news, which relies on the right of freedom of the press.

    Hobby Lobby's business is selling crafts and supplies. The owners are not precluded from selling crafts based on religion freedom. Furthermore, it could be argued that by paying women of childbearing age a salary and not providing contraceptive coverage, they are actually increasing the likelihood of abortion and indirect involvement in abortion.

    One reason religion has flourished in the U.S. is because in a pluralistic society there has been a wall protecting the public space. The demise of religion commenced with it being used as a political tool and will continue as it tries to justify discrimination in the public square.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 2:21 p.m.

    There is one way to resolve these differences.

    Republicans and Democrats should join together in implementing a healthcare delivery system that doesn't rely on businesses and employers to provide it.

    Single payer.

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    Aug. 31, 2014 3:05 p.m.

    @marxist,
    projecting much? You claim that the "fear" of contraception is the basis for the belief that abortion is wrong? I don't fear contraception, and I certainly don't want to oppress women but I guess you do or you wouldn't accuse without facts.

    Comparing the sources of Islam and Christianity in that manner shows a very superficial knowledge of the two. Both claim Abraham in their lineage, but that's about it. Abraham didn't start Christianity, and I'm not sure how you make that connection. Perhaps is was in your own mind......

  • Wyoming Jake Casper, WY
    Aug. 31, 2014 4:37 p.m.

    Nothing prohibits women from paying for medical treatments on their own. What we resent is having to share the responsibility of behavior we find undesirable.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 31, 2014 4:40 p.m.

    “The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in favor of Hobby Lobby, decided on June 30, was an important step in affirming religious freedom laws in this country.”

    No it wasn’t. It was an important step in disassembling the Separation of Church and State, a guiding American principle that past leaders were smart enough to leave intact.

    But our injudicious Right/Wrong-leaning Supreme Court and our current Republican-infested US Congress are not at all similar to the truly-Conservative statesmen of the past, who had America’s best interests in mind, and not exclusively the interests of plutocrats, and religious and ideological zealots.

    In modern “Conservative” circles, what was once known as the Separation of Church and State is now known as “the Government’s War on Religion.”

    To destroy the separation of Church and State is tantamount to destroying America.

    ISIL, Al Qaeda and our other Islamic extremist enemies, would very much approve of the current “Conservative” drive to neuter one of the most definingly American principles . . . The Separation of Church and State.

  • the greater truth Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 5:23 p.m.

    MY The left and secularists love to mischaracterize and even lie about the religious anf religions.

    NO religious person I know of wants to impose there religion on any one.

    But they are part of public fabric.

    Religion is not confined to the home or the church.

    Nor can it be confined within the walls of your home or your church
    You live religion publically as well.
    It is part of every part of your life.

    Ann religious people and religions have every right to influence the making of law according to how law is made.

    I do not nay religious person who is imposing on any non religious person pretty for religious service or to celebrate their lifestyle choice.

    I do not know of any religious person demanding a baker or photographer to serve them and conscripting or forcing their labor under threat of civil punishment.

    I do know of secularists and atheists and gays imposing their views and life and the laws they want on everyone else.

    Why the double standard?

  • the greater truth Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 5:33 p.m.

    @1aggie

    How about a better plan.

    Like everyone just taking care of themselves, pay for their own contraceptives, and when they are able or wont, to help others as they choose.

    You know... real freedom... not government control.

    IF I am not mistaken it was religions and religious people that built the first hospitals, the first schools, that fought for free country, and to end slavery.

    Where were all the "liberals" and the atheists and the secularists, and the gays?

    Oh yeah... beheading their those they hated in France, creating the killing fields in Cambodia, having gay pride parades.

    Religion and big business has done more to advanced society and make better people, than the the left has ever dreamed of doing.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 31, 2014 5:51 p.m.

    We often write about religion, giving our opinions; but, are we really talking about the same thing? To many of us in Utah, religion is our way of life. We know that Christ has engraved in his palms, in his wrists, in his side and in his feet, His commitment to each of us. Those marks are real. They will be there until they no longer are needed to remind us of the terrible price He paid to redeem us from our desire to break Him laws and ignore His commandments.

    We follow Him because we have chosen Him as our leader. We serve Him because He served us. We accept Him because He accepted us.

    Our lives revolve around Him and around His commandments. He told us to respect life. We do. We abhor abortion except in those few cases where the woman had no choice or where her life would be destroyed if the pregnancy continued. We do not pay for contraceptives for others. We do not pay for anything that could destroy a newly formed embryo or that would keep that embryo from forming.

    It is our religion.

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    Aug. 31, 2014 6:55 p.m.

    @GaryO
    For once you are correct, destroying the separation of Church and State is detrimental to America. That's why the Supremes decided in this case that State was trying to impose its will on Church. That is what the Founders warned against, that like in Europe where certain churches had achieved state status as well as in some colonies here, they wanted the government to stay out of religion. The Hobby Lobby decision confirmed that indeed, the State was trying to impose on Church.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 7:19 p.m.

    @Wyoming Jake;

    "Nothing prohibits YOU from paying for medical treatments for your family on your own. What we resent is having to share the responsibility of behavior we find undesirable (i.e., reproducing like bunnies)." Why should we have to subsidize your behavior? We find it "undesirable".

    "the greater truth" says:

    "MY The left and secularists love to mischaracterize and even lie about the religious anf religions.

    NO religious person I know of wants to impose there religion on any one."

    --- Accuse us of lying and then produce a whopper of your own. Wow.

    "...erligious people and religions have every right to influence the making of law according to how law is made."

    --- Not at the expense of the rights of others you don't.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 31, 2014 7:19 p.m.

    Hey Jack -

    Right Wing religionists and their non sequitur non-arguments notwithstanding . . . facts remain facts.

    You have it COMPLETELY backwards.

    What the Separation of Church and State means is that the church cannot impose its will on the state.

    But the Church STILL must obey the law, so in that sense, the state CAN impose its will on the church.

    If a religionist want’s to break a law . . . The state can forbid it.

    Do you think we’re going to allow Aztec Fundamentalists to perform human sacrifice as a religious rite?

    Will the state condone the actions of a self-proclaimed prophet in kidnapping a young girl and transporting her across state lines?

    Nope . . . Not in the real world.

    The law is the law, and even religions are subject to the law.

    Get used to it.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 9:02 p.m.

    @thegreaterteuth

    Right.
    Survival of the fittest and wealthiest?

    Whatever happened to all those "charitable" religious people? They are rare today--many of the religious blame the poor themselves for their sorry lot in life.

    But at least one remains, Pope Francis.
    "The pope encouraged world leaders to challenge "all forms of injustice" and resist the "economy of exclusion," the "throwaway culture," and the "culture of death," which "sadly risk becoming passively accepted."

    Championing the cause for income equality, the pope called for "the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits by the state."

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 9:40 p.m.

    Clark: "But consider the task faced by defenders of religious freedom: They must confront the attitude, pervasive within the Obama administration, that religion takes place only within the walls of a church or synagogue."

    And yet conservatives like Clark make the vastly attenuated infringement of religion in the Hobby Lobby case (a non-corporeal corporation that is itself incapable of baptism, death, or salvation, doesn't want to provide insurance coverage that might be used by an employee to purchase a contraceptive that might be an abortifacient) a cause celebre while ignoring ordained flesh-and-blood clergy who face jail for conducting sacred rites within the walls of their churches or synagogues. Why they choose to focus on an indirect chain of potential events as a religious infringement but ignore laws that directly restrict how clergy serve their congregants is incomprehensible. If a law prohibited Roman Catholic priests from performing last rites or a rabbi from officiating a bris, I suppose Clark might notice. But why the silence about laws that threaten clergy with imprisonment for performing marriages?

  • Light and Liberty St. George/Washington, UT
    Aug. 31, 2014 10:03 p.m.

    1aggie: there is no "legitimate" redistribution in a state that values liberty and justice! Theft is the appropriate word. If, in fact, politicians have become corrupt (no doubt exactly what has happened), then there is nothing that can come from whining and whimpering about Democrats and Republicans! The delusion comes from those who are foolish enough to believe that either the Democrats or Republicans are innocent bystanders in the the whole charade! They created the laws that protect the rich, the guilty, and the powerful! Rather than being a powerless victim and taking sides, informing an immoral people to find enough self esteem to stand up against the corruption wherever it is found is the only remedy. When people are lazy, immoral, and won't change, there is nothing that can be done.

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    Aug. 31, 2014 10:22 p.m.

    Ah, Gary O,
    You continue to confirm to one and all that you aren't up to speed with the concepts of the Constitution, and love to use hyperbole to support your misguided ideas.

    We aren't talking about human sacrifice, we are talking about the State trying to insert itself where it doesn't belong. The Constitution spells out limitations on the State, not the limits of the citizens to practice their religion, to peaceably assemble, to speak and write and publish without fear of the State, to keep and bear arms, to have privacy and property without fear of the State taking it without due process, all those limitations on the State enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

    You have it backwards. While the Church must obey the laws of the land, so must the State in obeying the limitations set forth in the bill of Rights. The State cannot redefine those limitations at will, and the Supreme Court affirmed them.

    The State cannot dictate religion to the Church.

    Get used to it.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 1, 2014 12:01 a.m.

    On these matters it is instructive to look at what are now extremes from the American perspective:

    Article 105 of the Iranian Civil Code "In the relationship between a man and a woman, the man is responsible as head of the family." The Council of Guardians, has decreed, "A woman cannot leave her home without her husband's permission, even to attend her father's funeral".

    What are you conservatives going to do with Shiria Law?

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Sept. 1, 2014 6:08 a.m.

    Hi Jack,

    Thanks for reaching out.

    “ . . . we are talking about the State trying to insert itself where it doesn't belong . . .” Well, in part. We are talking about the meaning of the term “Separation of Church and State.”

    You think I am not “up to speed with the concepts of the Constitution?” Well, I do know the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, the nation’s founding document, and the very genesis of our nation state. And nowhere in the Constitution does it suggest that any religion, even yours, can dictate to the people of the nation.

    Our disagreement concerns what Constitutes the “free exercise of religion” as mentioned in the first amendment.

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

    “Free exercise” means that you can practice your religion, but you cannot INFLICT it on anyone else against their consent.

    Does that make sense?

    You say “The State cannot redefine those limitations at will.” But NEVER before in the history of the United States has it been assumed that a religion can force its dogma onto others.

    I'm glad I could help.

  • glendenbg Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 1, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    This editorial begins with a flagrantly dishonest statement. The contraceptives in question do not cause abortions, they are contraception, i.e. they prevent pregnancy, just like any other contraception.

    When religious persons claim these contraceptions cause abortions, they are not being factual. They are stating a belief, a belief not supported by science. For reasons beyond understanding, the majority on the Supreme Court chose to privilege that false belief over actual facts because it came cloaked in the guise of religion.

  • Sven Morgan, UT
    Sept. 1, 2014 12:29 p.m.

    Hobby Lobby simply did not want to pay for 4 of eighteen forms of contraception. Big deal! What, 14 choices aren't enough for these women? Whether the four contraceptives in question result in abortions or not really doesn't matter. The bigger question is, why are businesses being forced to pay for other persons contraceptives? In reality, Hobby Lobby and other businesses shouldn't have to pay for others birth control...ever!

    Let's understand something folks, this wringing of hands over this SCOTUS decision and the "Republican War on Women" mantra is nothing but a political issue for the Democrat Party and other Leftists. They cannot run on Dear Leader's record, so they need an election year issue to divert attention away from the disaster that is Obama. Think about it; if the Obama economy is so strong, if his foreign policy is so successful, if Obamacare is such a raging success, why aren't they running on these issues? Nope, they're instead running on the tired and worn out "Republican War on Women." Epic fail!

    Good ruling by SCOTUS!

  • Kass SLC, UT
    Sept. 1, 2014 1:02 p.m.

    Using your freedom of religion to prevent me from doing things is similar to me preventing you from having a donut because I am on a diet.

    You are more than welcome to live, practice, and preach your religion. You are not welcome to use your position as my boss, landlord, or elected representative to force me to practice the dictates of your religion.

    Healthcare benefits are part of my compensation - if you don't want me to use that compensation in ways that violate your religion, promote single payer insurance so that you are removed from the equation entirely.

    If you don't want to provide services to "sinners," then limit your business accordingly - but don't think you can use religion to discriminate - it didn't work with interracial couples, it shouldn't work with LGBT issues.

  • Mikhail ALPINE, UT
    Sept. 1, 2014 3:09 p.m.

    @garyo

    Can you tell me where the words "separation of church and state" are located in the Constitution?

    That concept is a fiction, as relating to the "establishment" clause of the constitution. The government, in the 1st Amendment is prohibited from establishing a "religion." Those are the words. Your exaggerated and misleading statements lead to misunderstanding and hostility.

    Again, the 1st Amendment restricts government - not religion, or religious belief.

    Further, your continuing assertion that the Republicans in the House of Representatives are the source of all bad things is getting really old and has always been lame.

  • Mikhail ALPINE, UT
    Sept. 1, 2014 3:13 p.m.

    @ Kass

    Where in the Constitution does it declare that health care is part of your compensation? Such an assertion is not only an expression of ingratitude, but ignores the reality that it is a cost of employment that many - not all - have elected to provide for employees. Employment has never required providing for health care - until Obamacare.

    The advantage of employee health insurance is that insurance companies are able to offer lower rates because they are able to spread risk across a larger population.

    Things have gotten way out of hand and ignorance of realities has caused expectations to be more than unrealistic.

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    Sept. 1, 2014 3:35 p.m.

    @Gary O- The Hobby Lobby decision tells the State to stop trying to force a "closely-held corporation", which is family owned, to violate their religious beliefs. It does not force anyone to believe another's religious faith. Employees at Hobby Lobby do not have a religion test as a condition of employment, nor are they required to attend services with the owners. They aren't being forced to do or believe anything. Your point is moot.

    @Kass, Your analogy is appropriate, but using the State to force me to pay for your donut when I am on a diet and not eating them is more to the point. You can have all the donuts you want, I shouldn't be forced to pay for them.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Sept. 1, 2014 4:33 p.m.

    Let's get something straight. Congress cannot legislate religious doctrine. Congress has attempted to do just that when it compels an employer to pay for contraceptives and abortifacients. The 1st Amendment reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

    MANY Churches have doctrines that forbid the use of contraceptives and abortifacients. Many people who belong to no church still believe that they cannot stop life and that they will be condemned to hell if they take an innocent life. That is religion. That is the FREE EXERCISE of religion.

    Money is not the issue. Being FORCED to participate in a government program that restricts life or destroys life is against everything that I believe. Being FORCED to do Obama's will is antithetical to having agency to choose for ourselves to follow God.

    Those who mock God by saying this is only about dollars know too little about God to understand what the freedom to exercise religion is all about.

  • Utefan60 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 1, 2014 4:52 p.m.

    Mike Richards, we are members of same church, and that church does not condemn birth control or contraceptives. What you have stated is not a truth in the church today. Contraceptives are used by good temple going members of the church. In my family we have members whose health conditions would be imperiled by a pregnancy. So they still can have a normal sex life without Church sanctions by using contraceptives.

  • Kass SLC, UT
    Sept. 1, 2014 7:43 p.m.

    @ Mikhail: Where in the Constitution does it say your paycheck is compensation for your work? Oh, that's right - business contracts aren't spelled out in the Constitution- but that doesn't make them not real. If my boss says they will give me money and insurance in exchange for my work for them, that is a business contract and the insurance is part of my compensation for working.

    Not everything in your life is contained in the Constitution.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Sept. 1, 2014 8:29 p.m.

    UteFan,

    Read what modern prophets tell members of the Church about restricting the size of their families. It would take thousands of words to quote them, but here is just one sample: "The world teaches birth control. Tragically, many of our sisters subscribe to its pills and practices when they could easily provide earthly tabernacles for more of our Father's children. We know that every spirit assigned to this earth will come, whether through us or someone else. There are couples in the Church who think they are getting along just fine with their limited families but who will someday suffer the pains of remorse when they meet the spirits that might have been part of their posterity.”

    - Prophet Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, April 1969

    Religious freedom also means that we are responsible for the words God gives us. Every couple sealed in the temple is told to multiply and replenish the earth. Every couple! Not everyone can have children, but selfishness is never an acceptable reason to restrict family size.

  • USU-Logan Logan, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 12:37 a.m.

    @Mike Richards

    What Utefan 60 said is that church does not condemn birth control or contraceptives TODAY.
    Yet you quoted something from 1969, almost half century ago.

    I would like to know if LDS church condemns birth control or contraceptives TODAY.
    Church's stance may change over time. at least we have changed the stance on ordaining black priest since 1969.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 5:01 a.m.

    @Mike Richards 8:29 p.m. Sept. 1, 2014

    So, Mike, you are suggesting that women should put their lives, health and general well-being at risk by over-breeding. Pregnancy and childbirth are some of the most risky activities a woman can pursue. It is wisdom, not selfishness, that leads a woman to limit the number of pregnancies she gestates -- that way she can be more assured of enjoying a long and fulfilling life with her husband and children. A husband putting his wife's life and health at risk by having her undergo childbirth 5 or 6 or 7 (or more) times, especially if she has a difficult pregnancy or pregnancies, shows a glaring lack of love and consideration for his wife and shows an appalling selfishness on his behalf by valuing his fecundity more than his wife's welfare. That has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with his ego.

    BTW -- the 1969 quote is out of date. The Church's position now is that the husband and wife together has the right to determine the number of children (if any) they add to their family.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    Sept. 2, 2014 7:32 a.m.

    I am shocked and disappointed in our common humanity to see this debate continue raging.

    Religious conservatives are adamant in legislating woman's health. And woman's reproductive freedom is part and parcel of that a woman's health (unless you believe that a female is only on earth to satisfy male urges and make heirs). It is fundamental in evolved society that a woman has the right to use her conscience and circumstances to decide when and if to have children.

    However, the reactionary views of the fundamentally religious reject this basic notion. Using any artifice available and very questionable science, courts and state legislatures make law that pushes back the advances to a woman's choice. And all in the name of religious freedom or conscience.

    What the fundamentalists apparently really want is Christian sharia law. At least be honest enough to admit it, folks.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Sept. 2, 2014 7:34 a.m.

    Some people would like Christ, Himself, to ring their doorbell and tell them personally each and every commandment. We have the Prophets. They testify of Him and they speak for him. Elder Neil L. Andersen said, in 2011 Conference:

    "The family is ordained of God. Families are central to our Heavenly Father’s plan here on earth and through the eternities. After Adam and Eve were joined in marriage, the scripture reads, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” In our day prophets and apostles have declared, “The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.”

    ---

    No one is forced to obey Christ's commandments. Those who love Him don't need "proof" that His commandments are still in force. Those who don't love Him wouldn't believe His words if He entered their home and spoke them Himself.

  • L White Springville, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 8:24 a.m.

    I wonder what the mothers of the posters would say if they read what their children wrote about women. Some wrote of "breeding". Are we cattle? Some told us that we are chatel. I don't believe either statement.

    We are daughters of our Heavenly Father. We are here on earth to provide bodies for some of His spirit children. He didn't have to knock on my door and read off the names of the children He had selected for our family. We knew that there were children waiting. We WANTED those children. We rejoiced when they came. We loved them. We nurtured them. We taught them of their Father in Heaven.

    Why would we think that religion was like a shirt, something to be worn once a week and then put back into the closet. Religion is what makes us what we are. We wrap it around us to protect us from the concepts taught by ungodly people. We live it everyday, all day.

    Government has no right to strip religion from us so that Mr. Obama can furnish contraceptives to those would won't vote for a Democrat unless they get some "freebies".

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    Sept. 2, 2014 8:39 a.m.

    Mike Richards:

    "It is the privilege of married couples who are able to bear children to provide mortal bodies for the spirit children of God, who they are then responsible to nurture and bear. The decision of how many children to have and when to have them is extremely intimate and private and should be left between the couple and the Lord. Church members should not judge each other in this matter."

    -1998 LDS Church Handbook of Instructions

    You're not the only one who can throw around quotes...

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 8:44 a.m.

    A business entity may impose its religious will on others? I don't think so. That is a perversion of the Constitution and the rights of the people. What a warped view!

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    Sept. 2, 2014 9:38 a.m.

    L White
    So what if I don't believe as you do? Am I supposed to obey only laws or beliefs you seem to endorse? Or are you yet another person masquerading as one who believes in religious freedom only for those who believe as you do?

    Be honest for once and admit you want Sharia law for your brand of Christianity as the law of the land. The rest of us are only to serve you and your wishes.

  • L White Springville, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 10:15 a.m.

    Which religion speaks with authority from God? That question was answered in 1820. Anyone who tells that the only voices are Obama or Sharia are using religion as some use race. They want to divide people.

    God invites all people to come to Him by learning of His Son, Jesus Christ. He told us that we must become one with them. He told us that there would be no divisions among HIS people.

    Religion helps us to learn of His Son. Religion helps us to put aside bickering. Religion teaches us to welcome children into our homes. Religion teaches to have compassion towards all. Religion rejects petty bickering. Religion teaches us to not get involved with anyone or anything that rejects God or His teachings.

    We need religion. We need government to stay far away from the way we exercise religion. Some may think that Obama is god, but God does not think He is Obama.

    Yes, we truly need religion in our lives and we need government to respect religion.

  • Understands Math Lacey, WA
    Sept. 2, 2014 11:12 a.m.

    @Mike Richards wrote: "Let's get something straight. Congress cannot legislate religious doctrine. Congress has attempted to do just that when it compels an employer to pay for contraceptives and abortifacients."

    The employer does not pay for contraceptives and abortifacients. The employee earns them, through her or his work.

  • RedWings CLEARFIELD, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 11:24 a.m.

    I see so many comments about "religious" people trying to force their values on others.

    However, isn't that exactly what the left is doing today? There is plenty of evidence of religious people being pushed to acccept atheistic and secular humanistic principles and "doctrines".

    The same posters demanding that religion be barred from the public arena have no trouble forcing others to conform to their views and opinions.

    The world is full of hypocrisy, and most of it is coming from the Left these days...

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 11:24 a.m.

    @L White
    "Which religion speaks with authority from God? That question was answered in 1820. "

    There is no evidence to support that claim.

    "They want to divide people."

    Didn't you just say one specific religion has authority to speak for God?

    "Religion helps us to put aside bickering."

    Didn't you just accuse other people of wanting to divide people?

    "Religion teaches to have compassion towards all."

    Hang on a minute...

    " Religion teaches us to not get involved with anyone or anything that rejects God or His teachings. "

    What happened to the compassion and not bickering, now everyone else should be shunned?

    "Some may think that Obama is god"

    Nobody thinks that. That's just an attack on Democrats by people who want to be divisive.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 11:47 a.m.

    Those who reject the fact that God called a new prophet to speak for him in 1820 and explained to him why Christ's Church could not be reformed but must be restored, will reject anything that God told us through His prophets.

    Many people rejected the fact that God called Noah to be a prophet.

    Many people rejected the fact that God called Moses to be a prophet.

    Many people still reject the fact that God speaks through authorized prophets to us today.

    If we believe in God, we will find His prophets and we will pay strick attention to everything that they say. We will not debate how many children to have because we will follow the prophet and invite children into our homes. If we believe in God, we will not debate what constitutes marriage. He has already defined that unit of society. Instead, we will follow His instructions and raise our children to worship Him.

    As others have said, we live our religion. It is part of everything that we do. We invite everyone to follow God according to the light and knowledge that they are willing to receive.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    Sept. 2, 2014 5:01 p.m.

    J Thompson
    May of us have found our prophet, and he/she is not the same as yours. Who is right? Are you the judge? Is your standard that to which we must all live?

    If you are so arrogant as to believe only your or your beliefs hold sway in the country, you must advocate theocracy? At least be bold and honest enough to admit this.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 6:44 p.m.

    Of course everyone has the right to follow whichever "prophet" he desires. God knows who He has called. He knows what information is freely available to those who seek for a true prophet. He knows how hard we search for His chosen prophets. He and He alone will decide whether we chose to follow the promptings that He sent, or whether we hide from those promptings and chose what we wanted to do.

    Moses tried to choose what he wanted to do, but the Lord corrected him. Are we so arrogant that we think that we can choose to live our lives however we want without accountability, when Christ has sent us help time after time?

    Religious "freedom" does not mean that we are free from the responsibility to become as little children, humble and teachable. Christ will "teach" each of us when we "get over ourselves". Until them, we are just like everyone else who rejected the prophets who were sent to assist them.

    Government assumes that we will never "get over ourselves". Christ has more faith in us. The decision is ours to make.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 2, 2014 11:29 p.m.

    @Furry1993



    The idea that Hobby Lobby not paying for something that violates their conscience, yet others can easily and cheaply do for themself makes you the oppressed party is one of the most passive/aggressive and dishonest arguments I have ever heard.
    When YOU force someone to do something they do not want, while you remain free to do it yourself: YOU are the perpetrator - not the victim.



    The hypocrisy and hate on these posts confirms my observation that the illiberal left is the personification of everything it claims to despise.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Sept. 3, 2014 8:19 a.m.

    @ Wyoming Jake

    "What we resent is having to share the responsibility of behavior we find undesirable."

    But aren't you going to pay for it anyway? Do you really think the insurance companies are going to foot the bill without passing it along to the consumer? To me, all this does is once again exempt religious institutions - and now some individuals too - from paying into the pot just like the rest of us. Which is a behavior I find undesirable.

  • Mikhail ALPINE, UT
    Sept. 3, 2014 9:27 a.m.

    Kass,

    Since it is contractual, don't try to get the government to interfere with your right to contract with your employer. If you don't like the terms of the contract, don't enter into it - or leave it when you become dissatisfied. If you don't like the belief system of your employer, find one that you agree with.

    My point is - the government really isn't a party to your contract with your employer - neither should they be. Perhaps is time to move the tax deductability of health insurance premiums to the individual - rather than the company. That way people will understand the true costs of health insurance.

  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 4, 2014 11:13 a.m.

    Religious freedom includes the right to believe or to not believe in a religion! So how far do they go with it? Do they allow corporations to determine who can work for them based on what religion they belong to? Religious freedom does not mean that corporations get to dictate the religious beliefs of employees, that would be taking away the employee's right to freedom of religion!

  • Confused Sandy, UT
    Sept. 4, 2014 12:15 p.m.

    RFLASH,
    Religious freedom includes the right to believe or to not believe in a religion! So how far do they go with it?

    So where does it stop for those who don't believe in God or Religion against those that do?

    I always hear things like "Stop forcing your religion on me" type statements, but are you that don't believe do the exact same thing by stripping anything religious out of government?

    There needs to be a balance of some sort, where neither side is having their rights taken away.

    Remember, the Constitution says that the Government can not "ESTABLISH", not that we can not have religious prayers or whatever in Government.