Is Religious Freedom Under Attack in the United States?

Mormon Apostle Elder Dallin H. Oaks evidently thinks so, according to a major speech he gave before Brigham Young University-Idaho students on the importance of preserving the religious freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution. You can read the complete text of his speech here.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Do you think that various churches and religions should put aside their differences and join forces to defend religious freedom and democracy in the United States? Do you agree with the guidelines suggested by Elder Oaks as to what we can do to protect religious freedom in the United States? Do you have any suggestions of your own to add to what he recommends?

Yes, I do believe the there is a concerted movement attempting to suppress religious expression in America. Yes, all religions must work together to maintain religious freedom.

Yes, we are under attack, and we need to join forces to protect religious and other freedoms, but not democracy. The United States is a constitutional representative republic, not a democracy. We may use democratic principals to elect representatives, but God forbid we become a democracy. In fact, it is majority rule democracy that can destroy individual, constitutional rights. How? Simple. Majority rules!


I agree for sure. Ever since society swumg towards this false tolerance, people don’t outwardly show what they believe anymore. I get over this by gasp! doing the sign of the cross before meals… IN PUBLIC!:rolleyes:

We all already have a vested interest in staying legal, the trick is standing up for other religions we don’t agree with for their right to do what they do. It reminds me of that poem from Nazi Germany, how: they went after the Jews, but I didn’t speak because I wasn’t Jewish. Next they went after Catholics, but I didn’t speak because I wasn’t Catholic. …etc etc… Then they came for me. And there was nobody left to speak for me:(

It’s a HUGE problem. We need to be outwardly show our beliefs, or we will lose our rights to do so. And we must ALL defend the Muslim’s rights to wear the veils (revoked in France already!!) just as much as we should ALL defend the Catholic church’s rights to sound their bells (already revoked in American SW!!).

PS: Zerinus your comet is beautiful but a bit too big for the screen… It makes the words not all show up, and you have to scroll around to see them. Not sure if yours shows up that way too, being with all the different systems these dyas:D

Thank you. Any Comments on his recommendations about how to do that? Any suggestions of your own to add to what he recommends?

I must say that sounds a bit odd. Your definition of democracy must be very different from mine.

The United States is a constitutional representative republic, not a democracy. We may use democratic principals to elect representatives, but God forbid we become a democracy. In fact, it is majority rule democracy that can destroy individual, constitutional rights. How? Simple. Majority rules!

Sorry, I have had some difficulty digesting that.

Not an American, but from what i’ve observed here from over the ocean American freedom of religious expression is being degraded. Likewise all religions should unite for the right to freely practice their beliefs.

That is because you have set the wrong screen resolution for your monitor. If you right-click on your desktop a menu comes up that allows you to give your monitor at the right resolution. That should solve the problem.

The Catholic church is and always has been under attack since day one. I must say Religious freedom in a whole is under attack, but Catholicism, priests are still being killed in different countries.
People are trying to get God out of the country, but the secret is perserverance in our faith.

Yes, it is under attack. The problem is not the government however, Its other religious organizations. All the religious in the US should unite to stop this…the problem ocurrs when one religion fails to acknowledge validity of the other(s). You of course see the problem don’t you?

I didn’t read his speech. It’s very lengthy, I think Christians need to use the legal system, the same way that the atheists have. They need to work hard and send their young people to law school and contribute to Christian legal defense funds.

The Judeo - Christian Religious Practices here in the Good old USA are certainly under attack on multiple fronts. Others are not being Attacked or are being harassed by comparison to what we seem to be experiencing.

Religions in General are also being attacked by intolerant Nations, peoples, Religions. Iran,
China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Tibet, are only a few places where Ideologies and / or Religions are in direct conflict. ( Oh Did I overlook the USA?)…

Here we have what many call Constitutional Guarantees but it seems that enforcement is selective at best & intentionally myopic at worst. Creative interpretation is a daily exercise within the Judiciary. It can certainly seem at times that it is open season on Christians here in the USA. Where open discrimination and bigotry is tolerated and at times court supported.

Pray my brothers & sisters, Pray long & hard, it appears that things will get worse before they get better. ( I hope I’m wrong)


You can read a condensed version of it here. Elder Oaks was a distinguished lawyer before being called an Apostle. His speech is influenced by his legal training, and contains some subtleties that mke a good read if you get a chance to read it all the way through. Note for example this interesting paragraph:

It is important to note that while this aggressive intimidation in connection with the Proposition 8 election was primarily directed at religious persons and symbols, it was not anti-religious as such. These incidents were expressions of outrage against those who disagreed with the gay-rights position and had prevailed in a public contest. As such, these incidents of “violence and intimidation” are not so much anti-religious as anti-democratic. In their effect they are like the well-known and widely condemned voter-intimidation of blacks in the South that produced corrective federal civil-rights legislation.

If we focus too much on “anti-religion” we risk losing sight of where the greater battles are fought and won or lost. The opposition is more subtle than you think. The attack is on fundamental freedoms rather than just on religion. If it is lost, you are likely to lose a lot more in the long run than just “religious” freedom.

Thank you. See my previous post.

I suggest one reads the founding fathers’ views on democracy.


Since you know so much about it, why don’t you tell us what they say?

I never said I knew so much about it, but here is a small sample:

Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death.

A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51% of the people may take away the rights of the other 49%.

The experience of all former ages had shown that of all human governments, democracy was the most unstable, fluctuating and short-lived.
J.Q. Adams

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
attributed to B. Franklin

And my favorite,

Democracy was the right of the people to choose their own tyrant.

I would also be remiss were I not to include this quote:

Democracy is the road to socialism.
Karl Marx


That begs a lot of questions: what did they understand in their minds when they used the word “democracy”? Did they mean what we mean by it in today’s English? Evidently not. They thought of it in terms of the ancient Greek primitive form of democracy where people voted directly on every issue. That is not how we use the word democracy today. By the word democracy today we mean a representative form of government where sovereignty rests with the people, who exercise their sovereignty through their elected officials whom they can depose at will through the ballot box, rather than having to resort to armed struggle. It also means a form of government where basic civil and human rights are constitutionally guaranteed. The actual nuts and bolts of how those rights are safeguarded is not the most important factor in determining whether a form of government democratic or not. I consider the US to be a democracy. I also consider France and the UK to be democracies. But the nuts and bolts of how those basic civil rights are safeguarded in each country are very different. And I wouldn’t describe any of them as perfect democracies either. But I think they come close to what the ideal should be. Check out these links for more ideas on the subject:

What I and most other people understand by democracy today is not the same as what they understood by it. I use the word democracy in the context of today’s common meaning, not as understood by them in their timeframe.

The United States is not now, nor has it ever been, a pure democracy. We are a federal republic in which we have constitutional representative democracy. In this way, we are guided by the wishes of the majority while protecting the interests of the minority.

In a perfect democracy, minority opinion (and its holders) would be crushed. See Nazi Germany.

In our system, the minority has constitutional guarantees (see the Constitution; Separation of Powers, Checks & Balances, the Bill of Rights) which enable it to fight to protect itself. Consider the current debate over health care. While the majority is able to lead the movement to legislate some form of national health care, the minority is able to significantly delay and/or modify the actions of the majority. If the minority has sufficient numbers or better tactics, it can even prevent the majority’s plan from happening at all. (As was the case with ClintonCare in the 90s.)



Hmmm. :hmmm: That is what is meant by democracy in modern colloquial English. :whistle:

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