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What you need to know about the Supreme Court's latest religious liberty case (+video)

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  • sharrona layton, UT
    April 20, 2017 9:23 a.m.

    RE: Hutterite .The school playground is open to the community at large. Also the children in the preschool who use the playground are not students.

    Where would you drawn the line, would you bar the firemen or police in an emergency?

  • the greater truth Bountiful, UT
    April 19, 2017 5:33 p.m.

    The extreme left seems to be hooked on the false argument "they don't pay taxes."

    Payment of taxes is irrelevant to your constitutionally guaranteed rights.

    Our constitutional rights have no tax requirement.

    It is shockingly wrong thinking. You don 't get rights if you don't pay taxes? Where is that in the constitution?

    Treating one religion like other religions does not meet the 14th amendment. They must be treated equal like any other type of organization.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    April 19, 2017 2:25 p.m.

    @RH by your argument presentation you have also eliminated private schools from taking part in the grant.

    But let us look at the actual list of entities allowed to apply for this particular grant:

    Type of Applicant (Check one)
    Park or Park District
    Non-Profit Entity (attach legal status documentation) (they don't pay taxes)
    Private School
    Public Entity
    Institution Government Organization Other (Explain)

    Now where in are the limitations that those saying The Lutheran owned day care can be discriminated by the state?

    Property status (i.e., owned, leased, being purchased; attach proof of ownership)

    Based on bogus arguments presented here if Equality Utah opened a day care to serve families of LGBTQ families, they would not qualify for the grant.

    But that is false as they would be allowed to participate. So when the state rejects the Lutheran daycare, on the basis of religion, it is plain and simple discrimination on the basis of religion. See how many posters here actually promote the discrimination on grant approval on the basis of religion, with all kinds of arguments that do not apply.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    April 19, 2017 2:07 p.m.

    @RanchHand,

    Read my comment again. There are plenty of private, secular, non profit organizations that don't pay taxes that would qualify for these playground safety grants.

    A Shriners' or Primary Children's hospital is not taxed, but would qualify for the safer playground grant. So too if a private, non profit artistic endeavor like an opera, ballet, theater, or symphony company had a daycare for their performers' children.

    Importantly, the State has not claimed their refusal of the grant has anything to do with tax status. The State honestly admits it is about treating religious organizations differently because they are religious. A church that declined non profit status and paid taxes as if it were a for profit organization would be denied for exactly the same reason as present in this case.

    It isn't about tax status. It is about anti religious bias, clearly dating to anti Catholic and anti immigrant (xenophobic) policies of the early 20th century.

    Ironically, the liberals have thrown in with xenophobes of an ugly, bygone era.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    April 19, 2017 11:49 a.m.

    @summarizerer;

    Private school tuition is paid for by the student or the parent, not the taxpayers. Thus, they can pick and choose. Religious organizations, without even paying taxes, get to pick and choose as well.

    You're being purposefully obtuse.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    April 19, 2017 11:41 a.m.

    The tendency for these kinds of things is that it's only when discrimination is an issue that funding gets limited. Like with Catholic Charities in Massachusetts, they could still run the adoption center but since they wouldn't adopt to same-sex couples they were ineligible for government funding. I think the only argument against allowing this church to apply for the program that could be effective (I have no idea if it's applicable at all to this particular case) would be if the church had some sort of limits on who could attend their pre-school.

  • summarizerer Berryville, VA
    April 19, 2017 11:26 a.m.

    @Ranch

    "Schools serve ALL citizens who wish to go there. Religious organizations do not."

    No schools don't serve ALL citizens. There are plenty of secular private schools that only serve those that are ACCEPTED to them.

    There are plenty of religious organizations that serve the general population.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    April 19, 2017 10:12 a.m.

    NoNamesAccepted says:

    "The only rational conclusion that non-bigoted people can then draw is that churches and religious organizations (including religious schools) must not be denied equal access to government grants as is provided to similarly situated secular organizations."

    --- But they are NOT "similarly situated". Religious organizations are not taxed. The secular organizations are. Let the religious organizations pay taxes and then they should certainly be able to benefit from them. Until then, they shouldn't get any more subsidy than they already do.

    @summarizerer;

    Schools serve ALL citizens who wish to go there. Religious organizations do not.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    April 19, 2017 9:56 a.m.

    "The church in this case is the Lutheran church of so and so incorporated. The local elementary school is a public institution, owned by the public and in service to all." Which teaches and indoctrinates children at the whim of a few. The Lutheran daycare is a service available to all.

    A university owned and operated daycare is available for the playground grant. An Adobe, Inc. owned and operated daycare is available for the playground grant. Why even a daycare owned and operated by Planned Parenthood, would be able to participate in the playground grant.

    This grants purpose is playground safety. What is being advocated is playground safety grants can be issued or withheld because of who owns the playground.

    At issue is the grants were available to any other institutions public and private for making playgrounds safer. Denying them based a religion is discrimination. And Hu tells us often there is no discrimination against religion, as he advocates for the discrimination based on religion.

  • There You Go Again St George, UT
    April 19, 2017 9:17 a.m.

    Religious liberty...

    The Westboro Baptist Church will be able to jump on the protected class bandwagon to get taxpayers to pay for their next pet project.

    Perfect.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    April 19, 2017 9:13 a.m.

    religion can't have it both ways, they cannot claim that they get to discriminate against the public in their hiring practices and who they will serve then expect that same public to fund them. either religion is held to the same standards of equal rights as the rest of the public and qualify for public funding or they are a private religious organization exempt from equal protection laws and do not qualify.

  • AerilusMaximus Berryville, VA
    April 19, 2017 8:58 a.m.

    @Hutterite

    There are plenty of secular private schools that are not taxed.

    Your argument that religious institutions shouldn't have the same access to state programs because they don't pay taxes is wrong.

  • Thomas Thompson SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 19, 2017 8:28 a.m.

    It's a fascinating and rather difficult issue and one I'm guessing the Supreme Court will decide is moot given the governor's new proclamation.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 19, 2017 8:17 a.m.

    "Ohhhh you mean like other schools? Which aren't taxed btw."

    But what is the school and what is the church in this case? The local elementary school is a public institution, owned by the public and in service to all. Managed by the school board.
    The church in this case is the lutheran church of so and so incorporated. The very fact it's incorporated suggests it is not entirely a public entity, but rather is shielding it's board from liability and has no interest in service to all. Like it were a retail outlet or fast food place, instead of a school.
    McDonalds can buy whatever it wants for its' playground. So can the church. McDonalds' pays taxes...

  • summarizerer Berryville, VA
    April 19, 2017 7:05 a.m.

    @Hutterite

    "That being the case, like other business or private organisations, they can pay taxes."

    Ohhhh you mean like other schools? Which aren't taxed btw.

  • summarizerer Berryville, VA
    April 19, 2017 7:00 a.m.

    @Shaun

    "I believe absolutely zero public dollars should go to religious institutions. They already receive a huge benefit of not being taxed."

    Uhhh.....so do secular institutions with respects to education as least. So what is your point?

    "...Universities, like all nonprofits, are also exempt from paying federal corporate income taxes, and state and local sales and property taxes. "

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    April 18, 2017 10:11 p.m.

    In Ireland years ago, the British taxed owners of cattle, but Churches were tax-exempt. So, people turned their cattle over to the Church priests to evade taxes. The tax-exempt status of Churches was exploited by Church leaders to make the Church and themselves wealthy. And the Churches exploited their privilege to essentially bribe/incent and control people.

    History shows that nothing good can possibly come from even the slightest Church-State entanglements. State power is corrupt enough on its own. The power to tax, to control public funds. And Church power is even more susceptible to corruption. Combine the two even in the smallest ways, and the corruption is lethal to free societies and the health of civilizations.

  • Harrison Bergeron Holladay , UT
    April 18, 2017 9:09 p.m.

    It may sound like I'm siding with the liberals on this, but for constitutional reasons, not for knee-jerk anti-religious reasons.

    Under the Establishment Clause, donating or not donating shredded tires to the Church's playground would only be a problem if the State favored one church over another. But they seem to be applying the state constitutional prohibition equally.

    So I think question is one of state's rights, and the prohibition is part of the state's constitution. My thought is that the Supreme Court should be deferential to the state in this case. This should be an issue for the Missouri State Supreme Court.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 18, 2017 7:22 p.m.

    They are an organization that just wants to be treated equal under the law to any other organization be it business or private.
    That being the case, like other business or private organisations, they can pay taxes.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    April 18, 2017 6:41 p.m.

    What is the law? "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

    By rejecting the bid because of the non-existence belief that there is separation between Church and State, the "state" has made a law respecting an establishment of religion and violated the practice of that religion to keep children safe - or is safety only available to organizations who have no affiliation with God?

  • the greater truth Bountiful, UT
    April 18, 2017 6:22 p.m.

    Wrong Shaun.

    They are an organization that just wants to be treated equal under the law to any other organization be it business or private.

    A right that is guaranteed by the 14th amendment!

    When you start treating organizations or people differently under the same law well... that was the whole reason for the 14th amendment.

    It doesn't matter whether you agree with that organization or person or not.

    Tax exemptions are for the benefit society, to "Promote the general welfare", not to punish or limit organizations.

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    April 18, 2017 6:19 p.m.

    The language of the video makes it clear that those who produced it are biased in favor of the religious school.

    Maybe a good compromise in this case would be to simultaneously rule in favor of the school while revoking the church's tax-exempt status.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    April 18, 2017 6:08 p.m.

    It seems quite simple to me that when government offers a general program or benefit, it should not, must not, discriminate against any citizens.

    To offer an energy efficiency credit for homeowners, but to deny that credit to homeowners who happened to be black, would be grossly offensive and obviously unconstitutional.

    To provide small business mentoring generally, but to deny female applicants equal access would also be illegal and offensive.

    To offer police protection to business expo events, while denying similar protection for events hosted by non-profit organizations (Red Cross, Salvation Army, Utah Symphony and Opera, Huntsman Cancer Foundation) is also offensive.

    The only rational conclusion that non-bigoted people can then draw is that churches and religious organizations (including religious schools) must not be denied equal access to government grants as is provided to similarly situated secular organizations.

    The First Amendment does not permit--and certainly does not require--hostility toward religion. Atheism may no more be established as the official "religion" of this nation than may Christianity.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    April 18, 2017 3:29 p.m.

    After watching the video the case clearer.

    I believe absolutely zero public dollars should go to religious institutions. They already receive a huge benefit of not being taxed.

    With public dollars there comes strings attached and these religious institutions want these dollars with out the strings.