Letters to the Editor

Imposed beliefs

April 4, 2012

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To the editor:

The Kansas House, on March 29, passed legislation that would allow a religious defense to discrimination against gays. The bill is called the Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act.

In many times and in many places, religious beliefs have been cited as justification for bias and discrimination against Jews, blacks, Indians, Muslims, Mexicans, women, the deaf, the physically and developmentally disabled, etc.

Each of us is entitled to our own beliefs. None of us are entitled to impose those beliefs on others.

The proper role of democratic government is to protect all citizens from unjust behavior. Authoritarian societies (e.g., the Soviet Union) write unjust discrimination (read bigotry) into law. Is the state of Kansas en route to becoming an authoritarian society?

Comments

hujiko 3 years, 1 month ago

You sir are bigoted towards bigots. That makes you a hypocrite!!

Bigots have rights too, right?

Darrell Lea 3 years, 1 month ago

Sam, I didn't know you had time to assume an alias and comment in public forums like this. Shouldn't you be governing?

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

"Each of us is entitled to our own beliefs."

Doesn't sound like a bigot to me.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

Is the state of Kansas en route to becoming an authoritarian society?

Yes

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 1 month ago

Not just an authoritarian society but a theocratic one.

Pastor_Bedtime 3 years, 1 month ago

But the radical theocrats are on a mission from their God, so they feel justified. And smugly superior at the same time too. Their world view demands their evangelism and domination. And any resistance to their mandatory belief system comes clearly from the "radical leftists", "socialists" or "athiests".

Mark Zwahl 3 years, 1 month ago

Why aren't we making a distinction between religious freedom in the church versus in the marketplace?

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

Because for many religious believers, their faith doesn't start when they enter church and end when they leave it.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

The question was about separating religion from the marketplace.

I think it's not that simple.

Religious freedom doesn't just mean the right to go to church, in my view.

The issue of how that works in tandem with other rights in our society is complex and interesting to me, and I'm not sure how that all should get sorted out, really.

chootspa 3 years, 1 month ago

Because market regulation is perfectly fine when it's either used to suppress minority viewpoints or entrench established monopolies. When it's used to defend the little guy or little business, it's clearly government overreach.

lunacydetector 3 years, 1 month ago

the democrats are the party of no God, so no God is imposed on the rest of us, just like the soviet union, or the red chinese....no God, period.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 1 month ago

Actually, those nations set up atheism as a "religion" in and of itself. They were just as guilty of inserting that "religion" into their governments as ours is today for trying to form a theocracy. The Supremes decided a long time ago that the First Amendment was just as much a guarantee from religion as it was a freedom to religion. They set that precedent on the basis of the writings of the man who wrote that amendment, Thomas Jefferson. If you dislike that, I suggest you dig up his corpse and argue it out with him. That said, I get very irritated at being called an "atheist" because I'm a progressive liberal. It makes me think of that saying, "Obama isn't a brown skinned anti-war socialist who believes in giving away free health care. You're thinking of Jesus."

Fossick 3 years, 1 month ago

Actually, James Madison wrote the First Amendment.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 1 month ago

Actually, they wrote it together. Jefferson authored the Establishment clause. He, himself, made that perfectly clear.

asixbury 3 years, 1 month ago

How is "no God" imposed on the rest of you? Care to back up your assertion?

asixbury 3 years, 1 month ago

I was directing that question to lunacy detector. They have so far failed to answer, which is typical of the religious extremists.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 1 month ago

If common sense was used in government: Citizen: I don't believe in abortion. Government: Then don't get one. Citizen: I don't believe in birth control. Government: You don't have to use it. Citizen: I believe gay marriage is a sin. Government: Then don't marry the same sex. Citizen: I want my children to learn about Creationism. Government: Then take them to church. Citizen: I want my children to have "abstinence only" sex education. Government: Then opt your children out of school based sex ed and actually TALK to them about it yourself.

Liberty275 3 years, 1 month ago

Also,

I don't like drugs Don't take them

I don't like prostitutes Handle it yourself then.

My vette will do 185 Don't drive like Potter.

equalaccessprivacy 3 years, 1 month ago

Well-said! Street harassment is the most diabolical form of mob rule ever invented. So as long as country bumpkins continue to raise their kids to aggressively single out and approach strangers for discriminatory reasons KS will remain an offensively authoritarian place! You can't fix stupid.

skootermonkey 3 years, 1 month ago

C'mon guys! Think of the draw this will have on people looking to locate a place where they can live while maintaining their religious life-style that would otherwise be illegal! Sure gays will be discriminated against but now Mormons can come to KS and marry multiple wives, Muslims can establish Sharia law, and Rastafarians can light up! Think of the endless possibilities!

Ragingbear 3 years, 1 month ago

Religious beliefs were behind the reasoning for those that perpetrated 9-11 and the wars in the Gulf.

Fossick 3 years, 1 month ago

It's also behind the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and nearly every hospital worldwide with "St." in the name. Not to mention Action by Churches Together, Adventist Community Services, Brethren Disaster Ministries, Catholic Charities USA Disaster Response, Christian Disaster Response, Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, Church World Service (CWS) Disaster Response, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief, Friends Disaster Service, International Association of Jewish Vocational Services, International Relief Friendship Foundation, Lutheran Disaster Response, Mennonite Disaster Services, Nazarene Disaster Response, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Society of St. Vincent De Paul, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, United Methodist Committee on Relief ... and SOMA.

Actually, I'm kidding about that last one.

jonas_opines 3 years, 1 month ago

It does seem that at least 4 times out of 5 or 6 that someone identifying as a society's dominant religion cries about religious oppression, what it actually winds up being is that they've been denied government sanction to use their religion to oppress other people.

denak 3 years, 1 month ago

Poppycock! Care to actually cite a source rather than just making one up in your head and posting it.

asixbury 3 years, 1 month ago

He was using the ratio to make a point, not claiming that it was exact. With or without the "4 times out of 5 or 6" statement, his point remains just as valid.

asixbury 3 years, 1 month ago

Good to know. I never can make much sense out of his comments, anyway.

asixbury 3 years, 1 month ago

Thank you for clarifying! I appreciate it.

verity 3 years, 1 month ago

I had a very interesting conversation the other day with a rather conservative, fundamentalist Christian who I grew up with. She was complaining about the "legalists" in the church where I grew up and she still attends. Some are saying others aren't "saved" because they believe the wrong way on a certain point of doctrine---I couldn't even understand the difference between the two beliefs. I was surprised when she said, "It's all about power and control," something she repeated numerous times. We talked about how if you are secure in yourself, you don't feel the need to control other people.

She also talked about how if you have prayer in schools then we would have to allow the prayers of all religions---and that you can pray any place you wish, and so forth.

Unfortunately, reasonable Christians like my friend get drowned out by the minority (at least from my experience, I think it is a minority) who think that religious freedom means forcing their beliefs on others. It's not about religion at all, it's about control, and those who feel the need to control others will never be satisfied because they can never have enough.

After this conversation it also hit me that is the reason why some people will continue to do anything to make more money even when they have more than they will ever be able to use. Money means you can control things---and they will never have enough control.

Fossick 3 years, 1 month ago

Cait48: "Actually, they wrote it together. Jefferson authored the Establishment clause. He, himself, made that perfectly clear."

No, they didn't. The exact wording of the Establishment Clause arose out of a conference committee of the House and Senate in September of 1789, from whence it was passed to the states for ratification. Thomas Jefferson was not in the Congress - in fact he was not even in the country. It was not until after the bill was written, hammered into its final form and passed that Jefferson returned from his tour as the US Ambassador to France and accepted the position of Secretary of State. You are probably confusing the First Amendment with a earlier bill that Jefferson wrote while in Virginia.

(from a source) The text of the First Amendment:

Some early draft amendments to the religion section were:

  • James Madison, 1789-JUN-7 "The Civil Rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, nor on any pretext infringed. No state shall violate the equal rights of conscience or the freedom of the press, or the trial by jury in criminal cases."

  • House Select Committee, JUL-28 "No religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed,"

  • Samuel Livermore, AUG-15 "Congress shall make no laws touching religion, or infringing the rights of conscience."

  • House version, AUG-20 "Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or to prevent the free exercise thereof, or to infringe the rights of conscience." (Moved by Fisher Ames)

  • Initial Senate version, SEP-3 "Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

  • Final Senate version, SEP-9 "Congress shall make no law establishing articles of faith or a mode of worship, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion."

  • Conference Committee "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." http://www.religioustolerance.org/amend_1.htm

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 1 month ago

Then just why did the Supreme Court use the writings of TJ to interpret the First Amendment?

Fossick 3 years, 1 month ago

Because Jefferson provided the court with intellectual cover to get the result they wanted. You may not know this, but the first Establishment Clause case that quoted Jefferson's words was Everson vs. Board of Education, in 1947. That almost 160 years after the Amendment was written.

The 5-4 majority quoted Jefferson's famous Danbury Baptist letter thusly: "In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between Church and State.'" 330 U.S. 1, 15-16. (from a source) The court did not quote the author of the amendment, but a later interpretation of the amendment, by a politician, in response to a religious group's appeal for a national day of fasting.

Some find Jefferson's interpretation of the amendment's meaning conclusive, but to do so they must ignore Washington's proclamation of a similar national day of Thanksgiving (Jefferson opposed it). Thanksgiving as a national holiday was finally established permanently under Lincoln. What Washington and Lincoln did was no different than what Jefferson refused to do.

IMAO Jefferson's opinion of the amendment's meaning is no more valuable than any other founder who did not vote on it.

denak 3 years, 1 month ago

All this doom and gloom over nothing. First of all, this is the HOUSE. It isn't a law and more than likely will not become a law. The next step for this bill is for it to go to the Senate. Given the current makeup of the Senate, it is highly unlikely it wil ever be voted on and if it did get that stage, it wouldn't be passed. There are not enough votes in the Senate for it. What will more than likely happen is that it will be sent to a committe where it will either be altered or it will die a slow death in bill purgatory,never to be seen again.

I do have to wonder though, just why the LJWorld, doesn't actually print that fact. I guess it is more acceptable to rile up the masses about "discrimination against gays," as if the bill is actually a fact RIGHT NOW, then to mention that a) the bill doesn't actually mention the "gay" community and that this is a bill that has no chance of passing. I guess the "sky is falling" Chicken Little style of reporting has replaced the axiom, "if it bleeds, it leads." Or maybe it's just that they think the inner working of our government is so boring and its readership too dense to understand it. Much better (and easier) to print something dramatic and salacious than to actually print facts.

verity 3 years, 1 month ago

This is a letter to the editor, not a LJW article.

We all should be educated enough to know that any law has to pass both the House and Senate.

Should we then wait until a bill has passed and signed into law until we come out against it? You are right, it doesn't have much chance to become law this session, but the way things have gone in Kansas recently, we don't know that.

Personally, I'm upset that the House is wasting precious time on crap like this and doing nothing about jobs. From Paul Davis' newsletter:

"Every major issue of the legislative session has been pushed to the Veto Session. Also, absolutely no new job-creating proposals have made it to the House Floor, even though Democrats proposed 14 bills in January specifically designed to get Kansans back to work. Yet, somehow, we have had time to debate a number of other bills that focus on social issues. Overall, the priorities of House Leadership have been very disappointing. The Veto Session is also known as the “Wrap Up” session, but this year it's going to be less of a "wrap up" and more of "cram down." Pushing every major policy reform to the last possible minute has created a tremendous logjam. This causes tensions to run higher and increases the probability of a total breakdown in negotiations in the final hours of the session. If that happens, this could end up being the least productive legislative session in recent memory."

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