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Taking a step back from the specific conflicts of gay marriage, gay and atheist scouts, and related topics...  

 

The broader issue of Church and State looms large in these discussions.  This board being primarily USA and Canadian Saints have lots of assumptions regarding the role of the state when it comes to religious liberty.  The Latter-Day Saints are particularly sensitive in our organizational memory of times when the state stepped in and denied the free exercise of our religion.

 

I'd like to start a discussion on the broader concept of:

 

When and where it is appropriate (healthy, moral, right, or other synonyms) for the state to step in and regulate, limit, or require a religious institution to abide by laws that may be contrary to it's own doctrines and practices?  

 

Are these government interventions ever right?  

 

Do they apply equally to religions that reflect a majority population than they do to minority religions or traditionally marginalized groups?  

 

When two minority groups (LDS, LGBT advocates) are in conflict over their rights of free association, who arbitrates or mediates their differences?

 

Where is the balance between anarchy and tyranny, that still respects individual rights?

 

If we can step back from our own pet organizations or causes- this broader discussion might shed light on the proper relationship between community standards, individual rights, and the rights of faith based organizations. 

 

 

 

 

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I think it is important to remember that "separation of Church and State" is at best, a Terrestrial concept, possibly even a Telestial one.  It is a temporary idea that will eventually be taken from the earth.

We know that when the earth becomes Terrestrial (during the Millennium) that there will be freedom of religion still, but that every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ.

And then we know when we become Celestial (as God lives) we will be some form of Theocracy and separation of Church and State will be a memory.

 

So we can either start adjusting our thinking to a Celestial level, or for those concerned with the here and now, they can debate this.  I'd rather look forward to the time when it's no longer an issue.

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I'd like to start a discussion on the broader concept of:

 

When and where it is appropriate (healthy, moral, right, or other synonyms) for the state to step in and regulate, limit, or require a religious institution to abide by laws that may be contrary to it's own doctrines and practices? 

 

It is appropriate when "every man seeks to become a law unto himself" ~ Reynolds v US (1890) (paraphrased)

 

 

Are these government interventions ever right?

 

Yes

 

 

A growing problem I see in the current debate is not so much "religious freedom" being protected, but rather "freedom from consequences" being argued for.

 

So far, I have not seen a person proscribed in their practice or expression of religious belief. There are instances of individual dealing with the consequences of expression.

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JLHPROF - I too look forward to a time when our presiding leader is perfect.  It is not yet that time and we are in an imperfect state.

 

There are great examples of wonderful things being done by mortals in the name of God.  There are also abuses, unrighteous dominion, and terrible crimes done by those claiming divine authority.

 

This is why individual freedom, or its religious parallel agency is so important in my mind.  Which leaves the critical and unending debate...  where do my rights end and yours begin?  And how do we arbitrate differences when they are in substantial conflict?

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I think it is important to remember that "separation of Church and State" is at best, a Terrestrial concept, possibly even a Telestial one.  It is a temporary idea that will eventually be taken from the earth.

We know that when the earth becomes Terrestrial (during the Millennium) that there will be freedom of religion still, but that every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ.

And then we know when we become Celestial (as God lives) we will be some form of Theocracy and separation of Church and State will be a memory.

 

So we can either start adjusting our thinking to a Celestial level, or for those concerned with the here and now, they can debate this.  I'd rather look forward to the time when it's no longer an issue.

 

Until such time as Christ comes back I still want a say in how my government operates, and a near absolute separation of Church and State.

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It is appropriate when "every man seeks to become a law unto himself" ~ Reynolds v US (1890) (paraphrased)

 

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

A growing problem I see in the current debate is not so much "religious freedom" being protected, but rather "freedom from consequences" being argued for.

 

So far, I have not seen a person proscribed in their practice or expression of religious belief. There are instances of individual dealing with the consequences of expression.

 

A couple of examples I can think of off the top of my head...

 

Rastafarian-ism and use of marijuana during ceremonies.

 

Catholic owned businesses forced to provide abortifactants to employees.

 

Taxpayer funds used to provide abortion services.

 

The BSA being denied use of public parks and facilities unless they admit atheist or gay scouts/scout leaders.

 

(Let's please avoid the gay wedding cake debate - there are details in those cases that don't make them real religious rights cases IMO)

 

...and I do admit it is hard to separate our own views, religious beliefs, and assumptions about how things should be, from debates on how differences can be accommodated.   I'm not asking if men should become a law unto themselves, but rather how community standards, generally accepted but diverse views, and similar conflicts should or can be accommodated in a free society?

 

A hint into my own views is that I'd rather individual abuses of community standards, or religious standards, than a government enforcement of morality.  But even then, where and how much government oversight is appropriate in cases of conflicting values in the pubic sphere?

 

Blame King Henry VIII.

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Until such time as Christ comes back I still want a say in how my government operates, and a near absolute separation of Church and State.

 

The early prophets felt differently.  They wanted to establish a God run government on the earth.  Joseph wanted a political Kingdom of God on the earth.  Brigham ran Utah like an independent government under the Church.  The early prophets were all for uniting Church and State, under the Priesthood.

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For me, a large part of it has to do with the size of government.

 

I think the hand of government should only be used to correct Large Grievances.

 

I think a lot of the disputes could be avoided if people didn't look to the government to correct everything we find insulting.

 

Small stuff (Cake, Photography, etc) should not be part of the governments job.

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A couple of examples I can think of off the top of my head...

 

Rastafarian-ism and use of marijuana during ceremonies.

 

Catholic owned businesses forced to provide abortifactants to employees.

 

Taxpayer funds used to provide abortion services.

 

The BSA being denied use of public parks and facilities unless they admit atheist or gay scouts/scout leaders.

 

(Let's please avoid the gay wedding cake debate - there are details in those cases that don't make them real religious rights cases IMO)

 

...and I do admit it is hard to separate our own views, religious beliefs, and assumptions about how things should be, from debates on how differences can be accommodated.   I'm not asking if men should become a law unto themselves, but rather how community standards, generally accepted but diverse views, and similar conflicts should or can be accommodated in a free society?

 

A hint into my own views is that I'd rather individual abuses of community standards, or religious standards, than a government enforcement of morality.  But even then, where and how much government oversight is appropriate in cases of conflicting values in the pubic sphere?

 

Blame King Henry VIII.

 

I have no problem with the Rastafarian's use of marijuana in their religious services. Driving on the public highways while under the influence is another question.

 

So your boss gets to determine your medical needs? Or is just when the USSC determines if yours is the legitimate religion of the state?

 

The Hyde Amendment is still the law in the US.

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The early prophets felt differently.  They wanted to establish a God run government on the earth.  Joseph wanted a political Kingdom of God on the earth.  Brigham ran Utah like an independent government under the Church.  The early prophets were all for uniting Church and State, under the Priesthood.

 

That is a great illustration.

 

That worked for the Saints until the USA caught up with them in the wilderness.  Appointed Governor's who were disenfranchised with the LDS were primary drivers of the anti-polygamy statues.  A constitutional test where I disagree with the Government's final decision, even though I am a convert and had no dog in that fight.

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The early prophets felt differently.  They wanted to establish a God run government on the earth.  Joseph wanted a political Kingdom of God on the earth.  Brigham ran Utah like an independent government under the Church.  The early prophets were all for uniting Church and State, under the Priesthood.

 

I dare say that virtual every Christian wants Jesus the Christ as their king. Our sad experience is that us mortals aren't very good at governance, but until Jesus returns it's what we have to work with. The best form of government is a righteous king. The worst form of government is the unrighteous king that you can't get rid of.

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I have no problem with the Rastafarian's use of marijuana in their religious services. Driving on the public highways while under the influence is another question.

 

So your boss gets to determine your medical needs? Or is just when the USSC determines if yours is the legitimate religion of the state?

 

The Hyde Amendment is still the law in the US.

 

Flipping that on its head, does the state have a compelling reason to dictate the conditions of the membership of any religious or social group?  Even when community standards are in agreement.

 

That is the heart of this discussion and dilemma.  

 

What you are OK with (marijuana as a sacrament) and what I'm OK with, has no bearing on if the US Government declares it legal or not.

Edited by KevinG
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I dare say that virtual every Christian wants Jesus the Christ as their king. Our sad experience is that us mortals aren't very good at governance, but until Jesus returns it's what we have to work with. The best form of government is a righteous king. The worst form of government is the unrighteous king that you can't get rid of.

 

The Book of Mormon was pretty harsh on the King Men.

 

One man's benevolent father is another man's petty tyrant. 

 

 "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." - Sir Winston Churchill 

Edited by KevinG
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"Separation of church and state" is a political agenda held by many on the left. " Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people". Just to clarify...

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"Separation of church and state" is a political agenda held by many on the left. " Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people". Just to clarify...

 

Good clarification...  The law of our Land say we neither establish or prevent free exercise of religion.  

 

So the question becomes what is governments role (if any) when your free exercise of religion interferes with something I feel should be a right of the people?

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...

 

When and where it is appropriate (healthy, moral, right, or other synonyms) for the state to step in and regulate, limit, or require a religious institution to abide by laws that may be contrary to it's own doctrines and practices?  

...

 

 

Well, quite obviously when the polity of that community is comprised

of something like 99.99% members of the dominant church.

 

Calvin's Geneva might well have enforced local laws prohibiting the

display of crucifixes.

 

Smith's Nauvoo might well have prohibited publication of the doctrines

and beliefs of the Laws, Fosters, Higbees, etc., in periodicals like the

Nauvoo Expositor.

 

Brigham Young's Utah might well have enacted legislation to make the

stay of the Morrisites, Gladdenites, Josephites, etc. an uncomfortable one.

 

But Geneva was not a planet unto itself -- goings on there impacted what

became Switzerland.

 

And Nauvoo was not an island in the vast ocean -- its citizens had to take

some notice of the laws and constitution of Illinois.

 

And Utah Territory was not the Sovereign State of Deseret -- it was an

entity of the U.S.A., and bound by that nations laws and administration.

 

So -- it might be asked -- how does a government protect minorities, and

especially so in cases where those minorities differ with the rest of the

citizens, primarily in matters of religious practice?

 

The British Empire outlawed polygamy at home, but tolerated it in India.

In the case of sutee (killing off widows), Parliament disallowed it both in

the colonies and in the mother country.

 

What was the deciding factor that convinced the British legislators to

outlaw the religious practice of sutee, while not enforcing restrictions

against multiple wives in India?

 

It certainly was not due to "majority rule" -- for in 1840 or 1850 or 1860

the Indians themselves would have protested ANY such restrictions.

 

Somewhere along the line, the welfare of the citizens as a whole must

end up as the deciding factor -- no matter if the controversial religious

practice is carried on by dozens, hundreds, or millions.

 

In some democracies the supreme judicial body makes such decisions.

Then again, a supreme court can inform Dred Scott that he is merely

property, and his dark-skinned children and grandchildren destined

to perpetual slavery.

 

Even Supreme Court decisions can end up being problematic.

 

UD

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Flipping that on its head, does the state have a compelling reason to dictate the conditions of the membership of any religious or social group?  Even when community standards are in agreement.

 

That is the heart of this discussion and dilemma.  

 

What you are OK with (marijuana as a sacrament) and what I'm OK with, has no bearing on if the US Government declares it legal or not.

 

Largely no, but not totally no, until membership in such religious or social group advocates for and/or uses violence or the threat of violence to enforce their religion or social groups message. IE; The Pastafarian's can believe all they in the giant invisible flying spaghetti monster that made and controls the entire universe. The government whether local, state, federal has no legitimate claim on them. As long as they're peaceful about it. Its between them and their giant invisible flying spaghetti monster God. Same with the Rastafarian's they can smoke all the pot they want, but stay off the public highways.

 

Actually if enough people could decide that they no longer wanted marijuana use illegal the laws would change. It wouldn't effect me one way of the other as I believe that just because something is legal doesn't mean I should do it. IE: Drinking alcohol is legal, but I don't do it; Smoking tobacco is legal, but I don't do it; Going to porn sites is legal, but I don't do it.

Edited by thesometimesaint
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Taking a step back from the specific conflicts of gay marriage, gay and atheist scouts, and related topics...  

 

The broader issue of Church and State looms large in these discussions.  This board being primarily USA and Canadian Saints have lots of assumptions regarding the role of the state when it comes to religious liberty.  The Latter-Day Saints are particularly sensitive in our organizational memory of times when the state stepped in and denied the free exercise of our religion.

 

I'd like to start a discussion on the broader concept of:

 

When and where it is appropriate (healthy, moral, right, or other synonyms) for the state to step in and regulate, limit, or require a religious institution to abide by laws that may be contrary to it's own doctrines and practices?  

 

Are these government interventions ever right?  

 

Do they apply equally to religions that reflect a majority population than they do to minority religions or traditionally marginalized groups?  

 

When two minority groups (LDS, LGBT advocates) are in conflict over their rights of free association, who arbitrates or mediates their differences?

 

Where is the balance between anarchy and tyranny, that still respects individual rights?

 

If we can step back from our own pet organizations or causes- this broader discussion might shed light on the proper relationship between community standards, individual rights, and the rights of faith based organizations.

I'm not sure the current issue has much to do with Church and State at all. But I'll read along and see what others suggest.

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Largely no, but not totally no, until membership in such religious or social group advocates for and/or uses violence or the threat of violence to enforce their religion or social groups message. ..

 

Well then, what is violence?

 

If a religious group sincerely professes that contraception within

the womb constitutes "violence" against a newly conceived "person"

or, to a "person" God intends to immediately bring to life, if the

interfering "violence" is not enacted -- then what?

 

In Guatemala such sincerely professed religious doctrines resulted

in the enactment of very strict civil legislation. And, it seems that

very, very few folks there protested that limitation placed upon the

nation as a whole (because the vast majority of citizens were RCC).

 

Food for thought...

 

UD

Edited by Uncle Dale
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I'm not sure the current issue has much to do with Church and State at all. But I'll read along and see what others suggest.

 

State in this case being my sloppy attempt to include all federal, state, and local government and judicial influence on faith based institutions and individual beliefs.

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I think it is important to remember that "separation of Church and State" is at best, a Terrestrial concept, possibly even a Telestial one.  It is a temporary idea that will eventually be taken from the earth.

We know that when the earth becomes Terrestrial (during the Millennium) that there will be freedom of religion still, but that every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ.

And then we know when we become Celestial (as God lives) we will be some form of Theocracy and separation of Church and State will be a memory.

 

So we can either start adjusting our thinking to a Celestial level, or for those concerned with the here and now, they can debate this.  I'd rather look forward to the time when it's no longer an issue.

Then why would it be part of a divine constitution?

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"Separation of church and state" is a political agenda held by many on the left. " Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people". Just to clarify...

 

That isn't what the First Amendment says. It not only prevent the government from establishing a state religion it prevents the state from determining what church beliefs/doctrines are law, and the church from determining what are the laws.

 

The separation of Church and State is based on the principle that We the People rule, not God, not Popes, not Archbishops, not Ministers of religion, not Prophets. The bloody history of Europe gave even them pause.

SEE http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state_in_the_United_States

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The early prophets felt differently.  They wanted to establish a God run government on the earth.  Joseph wanted a political Kingdom of God on the earth.  Brigham ran Utah like an independent government under the Church.  The early prophets were all for uniting Church and State, under the Priesthood.

And yet JS and BY organized their versions so that people could opt out and leave if they so desired.

These days leaving a particular federal government can be impossible for many, at least legally.

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Then why would it be part of a divine constitution?

 

Divinely inspired and perfect are two different things.  We don't even believe the Book of Mormon is without error or need of inspired translation.

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Good clarification...  The law of our Land say we neither establish or prevent free exercise of religion.  

 

So the question becomes what is governments role (if any) when your free exercise of religion interferes with something I feel should be a right of the people?

Like for instance- praying in and of itself is not a "religion" and as such the government cant pass a law that prohibits a body or group who decides to pray whether in private or in public. The word "God" in and of itself is not a religion either and as such having our National motto "In God We Trust" doesnt establish a government religion. All three of these instances are the people choosing to express religious beliefs without government interference. Congress also prays before they pass bills everyday.

"01/30/2015 Chaplain Lt. Cmdr. James Dance, USN

Eternal God, we acknowledge that the Earth is Yours and the fullness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein.

Because of whom You are, we deem it imperative that we seek You for wisdom and guidance as we endeavor to open yet another session of the House during which we shall attend to the interests of the American people.

Help us to temper our conversations with humility and patience as we give due diligence to the work that has been assigned to our hands. May we be imbued with a renewed sense of passion, purpose, and patriotism as we strive to serve this great Nation that we all love.

Bless these, our United States. It is in Your most holy Name we pray.

Amen."

And, the first prayer of our Continenta; Congress-

"O Lord our Heavenly Father, high and mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires and Governments; look down in mercy, we beseech Thee, on these our American States, who have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent only on Thee. To Thee have they appealed for the righteousness of their cause; to Thee do they now look up for that countenance and support, which Thou alone canst give. Take them, therefore, Heavenly Father, under Thy nurturing care; give them wisdom in Council and valor in the field; defeat the malicious designs of our cruel adversaries; convince them of the unrighteousness of their Cause and if they persist in their sanguinary purposes, of own unerring justice, sounding in their hearts, constrain them to drop the weapons of war from their unnerved hands in the day of battle!

Be Thou present, O God of wisdom, and direct the councils of this honorable assembly; enable them to settle things on the best and surest foundation. That the scene of blood may be speedily closed; that order, harmony and peace may be effectually restored, and truth and justice, religion and piety, prevail and flourish amongst the people. Preserve the health of their bodies and vigor of their minds; shower down on them and the millions they here represent, such temporal blessings as Thou seest expedient for them in this world and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior.

Amen.

Reverend Jacob Duché Rector of Christ Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania September 7, 1774, 9 o’clock a.m"

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