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Thread: Religious Freedom

  1. #1
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Religious Freedom

    Interesting article and analysis. The headline is disproportionate to the content (because the article appears in the SL Tribune). Mormons are mentioned only in passing.

    Poll: Americans rank Muslims as least deserving of religious protections, put Mormons behind other Christians

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  2. #2
    This confirms a fundamental misunderstanding about what religious freedom actually is. If 82% feel Christians deserve religious freedom, but only 67% feel the same about Mormons, there's a sizable group of Americans who apparently believe religious freedom means you can tell others their freedom is inferior, and less deserving of protections.

    Sectarian conflict is exactly why Jefferson was so adamant about having separation. Mixing government and religion is a can of worms we all best avoid.

  3. #3
    The whole premise for this poll may seem ridiculous and flatly false--that the courts make value judgments about religious practices when applying the freedom of religion clause. But actually courts do that. The Supreme Court has held that religious beliefs do not excuse people from complying with laws forbidding polygamy, child labor laws, Sunday closing laws, laws requiring citizens to register for the military draft, laws requiring the payment of social security taxes, and laws forbidding the possession and ingestion of peyote. If the people who said Mormons or Muslims were less deserving of religious freedom were aware of this maybe they were under the impression that Mormons and Muslims engage in activities that ought not be permitted by generally applicable laws regardless of religious nexus such as the aforementioned laws. Assuming the poll isn't corrupt, the lesson to be had from this is that Muslims and Mormons suffer form negative PR, for whatever reason.
    One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike -- and yet it is the most precious thing we have.

    --Albert Einstein

    The fact that life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved out of literally nothing, is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice.

    --Richard Dawkins

    Be kind to all, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.

    --Philo

  4. #4
    Muslims definitely have a PR problem, and Mormons have the polygamy legacy, and probably some baggage from the door-to-door pitch, but there's also a vein of thought among some Christians(TM) that the freedoms and prosperity of America are direct blessings from Jesus, and are somewhat conditional on Americans having accepted Him as their Savior.

    In this mindset, there is no equivalence among religions. America is a Christian nation, and Christians have a predominant role to play, and letting others follow the Pope, or some false doctrine, or wallow in ignorance/defiance of Jesus' divinity (in the case of the Jews) threatens us all.

    I lived in Oklahoma City for a short time, and besides curing me of my tendency to look down on Wyoming, I always wanted to ask the locals why God keeps punishing them with those tornadoes.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Ma'ake View Post
    Muslims definitely have a PR problem, and Mormons have the polygamy legacy, and probably some baggage from the door-to-door pitch, but there's also a vein of thought among some Christians(TM) that the freedoms and prosperity of America are direct blessings from Jesus, and are somewhat conditional on Americans having accepted Him as their Savior.

    In this mindset, there is no equivalence among religions. America is a Christian nation, and Christians have a predominant role to play, and letting others follow the Pope, or some false doctrine, or wallow in ignorance/defiance of Jesus' divinity (in the case of the Jews) threatens us all.

    I lived in Oklahoma City for a short time, and besides curing me of my tendency to look down on Wyoming, I always wanted to ask the locals why God keeps punishing them with those tornadoes.

    Lol well put. No doubt it's religious people who want to deny other religious people religious freedom.
    One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike -- and yet it is the most precious thing we have.

    --Albert Einstein

    The fact that life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved out of literally nothing, is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice.

    --Richard Dawkins

    Be kind to all, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.

    --Philo

  6. #6
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by SeattleUte View Post
    Lol well put. No doubt it's religious people who want to deny other religious people religious freedom.
    No doubt. image.gif
    Last edited by LA Ute; 01-02-2016 at 11:24 AM.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  7. #7
    I can't find the actual wording of the questions they asked the 1,082 survey participants.

    It might also be informative to know what percentage of the participants believe the Bible to be a literal history, e.g. how many believe that Adam and Eve existed and were the ancestors of modern humans, that a cataclysmic flood wiped out all of humanity save Noah's family, etc. The results would likely mirror the 'Us vs. Them' dichotomy demonstrated in the poll result.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by NorthwestUteFan View Post
    I can't find the actual wording of the questions they asked the 1,082 survey participants.

    It might also be informative to know what percentage of the participants believe the Bible to be a literal history, e.g. how many believe that Adam and Eve existed and were the ancestors of modern humans, that a cataclysmic flood wiped out all of humanity save Noah's family, etc. The results would likely mirror the 'Us vs. Them' dichotomy demonstrated in the poll result.
    I agree.

    Over time, most religions have de-emphasized the supernatural stories, and expanded beyond a "tribal" view of the world. Jesus himself de-emphasized lineage as a pivotal factor in one's ability to be successful, to achieve salvation. There are plenty of scriptural remnants - the 10 tribes of Israel, the curse of Cain, the LDS notion of certain people being "select" based on their lineage... but post 1978, lineage has more or less evaporated as a indicator and predictor of spiritual success, within Mormonism.

    Today people can select their "tribe".

    To anyone who thinks Mormons have curious views on persecution revealing the truth in one's claims, read up on Ben Carson's Seventh Day Adventist background. Essentially, there are two groups within SDA, one that is literalist, sees persecution coming from other Christians (because the SDAs are the only ones who didn't change the Sabbath to Sunday), and that Jesus is returning, absolutely, certainly, within just a few years.

    The other SDA group seeks to moderate some of that thinking and foster better relationships with other religions, they see the recurrent "these really are the very last days!" pronouncements as undermining their own credibility as a force for good.

  9. #9
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Today is Religious Freedom Day.

    https://www.facebook.com/SupportReli...8104719646403/


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  10. #10
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  11. #11
    Malleus Cougarorum Solon's Avatar
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    There are a lot of items to digest & discuss in this conference / website:

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/8...s-freedom.html

    https://lds.org/religious-freedom?ci...us-freedom_eng

    I would appreciate any pertinent commentary - especially from the legal minds among us. I have a professional, in addition to personal, motivations behind understanding how freedom of religion is defined and how it interacts with other basic Bill-of-Rights freedoms.

    PS - I swear this DesNews article has been heavily revised in the 2 hours since I read it first. There was a whole list of societal benefits provided by religion, including democracy and basic human rights.

    There was also an Oaks quote about the "Utah compromise" (the deal hammered out in the 2015 legislature LGBT housing/employment, with religious exemptions) being mis-named because the church never compromises its principles or on its doctrines.

    On the one hand, I am glad that it was changed because some of the claims are ridiculous (like religion inventing democracy). On the other hand, changing it without acknowledgment feels Orwellian.

    Or maybe i'm just crazy.
    Last edited by Solon; 09-11-2016 at 11:43 AM. Reason: PS
    σοφῷ ἀνδρὶ Ἑλλὰς πάντα.
    -- Flavius Philostratus, Life of Apollonius 1.35.2.

  12. #12
    Administrator U-Ute's Avatar
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    My only comment on the article so far is the odd juxtaposition of this ad with the article.


  13. #13
    Administrator U-Ute's Avatar
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    Matthew Richards, like Dushku a partner with the Salt Lake City law firm of Kirton McConkie, described how religious freedom is threatened and where members can find additional information.
    I would like to know about these threats. As far as I have seen, the only place where I think the PC crowd has gone too far is making it so private business can't discriminate on basis of sexual orientation. Specifically in the hot and competitive market of wedding cakes. Although why you wouldn't want to cater a gay wedding is beyond me. They seem to live for lavish parties.

    But I digress.

    But all of the arguments about gay weddings and that is moot. You can discriminate all you want but your government can't. Want the 10 Commandments in your courthouse? Fine, then you have to allow for passages from the Koran to be posted as well.

  14. #14
    That Kirton McConkie firm did the appellate briefs for the LDS Church on same sex marriage. They're the LD S Church's lawyers. When they say religious freedom they mean religious freedom to abridge others' liberty.


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    One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike -- and yet it is the most precious thing we have.

    --Albert Einstein

    The fact that life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved out of literally nothing, is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice.

    --Richard Dawkins

    Be kind to all, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.

    --Philo

  15. #15
    Von Keech, the GA mentioned, until recently was a partner at kirton & mcconkie and did a lot of the Church's First Amendment work.

  16. #16
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by concerned View Post
    Von Keech, the GA mentioned, until recently was a partner at kirton & mcconkie and did a lot of the Church's First Amendment work.
    I wonder if he will succeed Lance Wickman as the church's general counsel?

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    I wonder if he will succeed Lance Wickman as the church's general counsel?
    I would bet yes. He clerk ed on the Supreme Court, I think either Thomas or Alito but I can't remember who.

  18. #18
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Religious Freedom

    I haven't followed the HGTV story (have never watched the show involved) but Megan McArdle is a smart writer abe I think she's persuasive here:

    The Left's Doomed Effort to Coerce the Right

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/artic...oomed-coercion


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  19. #19
    Administrator U-Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    I haven't followed the HGTV story (have never watched the show involved) but Megan McArdle is a smart writer abe I think she's persuasive here:

    The Left's Doomed Effort to Coerce the Right

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/artic...oomed-coercion


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    Yeah, I agree. I've always been of the mindset that forcing bakers to cater gay weddings is just as bad as telling bakers it is illegal to cater gay weddings.

    There is a segment of the left that is pushing way too hard on some of these issues. They're no better than the ones on the right who want to make teaching creationism in public schools illegal.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by U-Ute View Post
    Yeah, I agree. I've always been of the mindset that forcing bakers to cater gay weddings is just as bad as telling bakers it is illegal to cater gay weddings.

    There is a segment of the left that is pushing way too hard on some of these issues. They're no better than the ones on the right who want to make teaching creationism in public schools illegal.
    But where do we draw the line?

    That's the hard question

    I also find the "but it's because of my religion" argument to be a big slippery slope.


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  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Diehard Ute View Post
    But where do we draw the line?

    That's the hard question

    I also find the "but it's because of my religion" argument to be a big slippery slope.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    That's right. It is illegal (and it's not a Bill of Rights issue) to refuse to cater a wedding for blacks because they're black. Does anyone have a problem with that?

    What this past election has taught me is that many religious people love their hatreds more than they love Jesus or his teachings.
    One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike -- and yet it is the most precious thing we have.

    --Albert Einstein

    The fact that life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved out of literally nothing, is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice.

    --Richard Dawkins

    Be kind to all, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.

    --Philo

  22. #22
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Here's a smart piece from a middle-of-the-road thinker, touching on these issues.

    You Can Argue What Ought to Be, or Make It Happen


    Excerpt:

    For example, in a column last week (and in private for longer than that), I argued that however noble the goals that social justice warriors seek, total war against religious conservatives is probably not the right tactic to achieve them. Offering religious conservatives the choice of recanting their beliefs about sexuality or forfeiting their livelihood is apt to create fierce political resistance that could reverse recent victories. Even if you don’t place much value on religious liberty, even if you are outraged by the beliefs those people espouse, I argued that it is far better to adopt a live-and-let-live policy than to try to exterminate those beliefs by any means necessary.

    Now, I could be wrong about this. But what’s notable is that basically no one has tried to argue that my concerns about backlash were overblown, and that forcing people to convert under economic and legal threat would, in fact, be more effective than letting religious folks run their businesses as they wanted, and trying to change their minds through gentle persuasion.

    Instead I got a litany of outrages that conservatives had perpetrated when they were winning the culture wars, a number of heartfelt paeans to the benefits of birth control and the love that gay couples feel for each other, demands to know why I had written about this rather than some recent outrage committed by conservatives, and (from liberal evangelicals), pronouncements that “those people don’t really love Jesus.” These are, you will notice, all “ought” arguments -- as if a claim of injustice were a blank check that the universe was obligated to cash.

    Conservatives are every bit as bad, and every bit as damaging to their own cause.


    Consider the government shutdowns that were, in their very best light, completely useless, and seen at a more realistic angle, a bit of wildly counterproductive showboating that cost conservatives their best opportunity to roll back Obamacare. Advocates of a shutdown argued that they’d tried everything else to cut government, and been stymied at every turn, and this was the only option that they had left.


    This is, of course, another “ought” argument: smaller government is right, and if no other tactic has worked, then I am justified in resorting to whatever remains. The focus is entirely on what is morally permissible, or morally required, and not on any outcomes those actions might produce. They had that check, and they wanted what they were entitled to.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  23. #23
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    I think this WaPo op-ed by David Bernstein is pretty much correct about the Evangelical vote, even if the headline overstates the case a bit:

    The Supreme Court oral argument that cost Democrats the presidency

    According to exit polls, Trump received 81 percent of the white evangelical Christian vote, and Hillary Clinton only 16 percent. Trump did significantly better than the overtly religious Mitt Romney and the overtly evangelical George W. Bush. He likely over-performed among other theologically conservative voters, such as traditionalist Catholics, as well. Not bad for a thrice-married adulterer of no discernible faith.

    To what can we attribute Trump’s success? The most logical answer is that religious traditionalists felt that their religious liberty was under assault from liberals, and they therefore had to hold their noses and vote for Trump.

    Let’s focus on one of these incidents, the time the solicitor general of the United States acknowledged that religious institutions that oppose as a matter of internal policy same-sex marriage may lose their tax exemptions. At oral argument in the Obergefell same-sex marriage case, there was the following colloquy:

    Justice Samuel Alito: Well, in the Bob Jones case, the Court held that a college was not entitled to tax*exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same* sex marriage?

    Soliticitor General Verrilli: You know, I *, I don’t think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics, but it’s certainly going to be an issue. * I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is **it is going to be an issue.
    With the mainstream media busy celebrating the Supreme Court’s ultimate recognition of a right to same-sex marriage, this didn’t get that much attention in mainstream news outlets. But in the course of researching my book, “Lawless,” I noticed that Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.’s answer was big news in both the conservative blogosphere and in publications catering to religiously traditionalist audiences. . . .

    In short, many religious Christians of a traditionalist bent believed that liberals not only reduce their deeply held beliefs to bigotry, but want to run them out of their jobs, close down their stores and undermine their institutions. When I first posted about this on Facebook, I wrote that I hope liberals really enjoyed running Brendan Eich out of his job and closing down the Sweet Cakes bakery, because it cost them the Supreme Court. I’ll add now that I hope Verrilli enjoyed putting the fear of government into the God-fearing because it cost his party the election.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.49a82747f046

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    I think this WaPo op-ed by David Bernstein is pretty much correct about the Evangelical vote, even if the headline overstates the case a bit:

    The Supreme Court oral argument that cost Democrats the presidency
    It will be interesting to see if Trump's court reverses the gay marriage ruling.

    What do you think the chances are that will occur? A lot of Trump's supporters are angry he's not going to prosecute Hillary. How many of them want a REAL rollback of LGBT civil rights? (Certainly there's a segment on the far right that would support ethnic cleansing.)

  25. #25
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma'ake View Post
    It will be interesting to see if Trump's court reverses the gay marriage ruling.

    What do you think the chances are that will occur? A lot of Trump's supporters are angry he's not going to prosecute Hillary. How many of them want a REAL rollback of LGBT civil rights? (Certainly there's a segment on the far right that would support ethnic cleansing.)
    I don't think that will happen and I hope it does not.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  26. #26
    Here's a fascinating opinion piece from the D-News about how to reverse the rise of the "Nones":

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/8...challenge.html

    Essentially, they're saying it's a mistake for parents to let the growth of faith within their children to be a voluntary thing. Parents need to be more insistent that children participate in religious activities, scripture study, "Mutual", etc.

    This is clearly a reactionary move to the rise of the Nones, but I would argue many Nones became that way because of force-feeding / guilt trips / coercion they didn't appreciate.

    Completely ignored are issues of conscience that came from religious teachings that conflicted with kids' growing sense of morals / civil rights resulting from religious teachings. In my day, the topic was race, for today's youth, the topic is sexuality.

    The longer history of religion was far more forceful in perpetuating religious affiliation - the Catholic missionary effort to "Christianize and uplift the savages", the dark ages where only Priests were literate... up to the heavy amounts of fire & brimstone / social pressure widely prevalent in the 19th and 20th centuries, etc.

    Wasn't social pressure / parental coercion a big part of the change in attitude about sending only kids who *wanted* to go on missions? (How many missionaries in the 80s and 90s and beyond went because there wasn't really much of a choice?)

    My aunt took a heavy approach with her six kids, my cousins. Three are still "active", three are long gone, and we're learning there was a far amount of serious manipulation / "Old Testament" tactics within the family to get kids on the correct track. A lot of repressed anger coming out, now that my aunt has dementia.

    Then again, among me and my siblings, we're all four "Nones". So, you could say a 50% batting average is better than zero.

    My hunch is that some people are wired to be religious, and some are not. There are stories of change, both ways, but in general, the kids who aren't inspired by what they experience in Sunday School are probably inclined to be those who scare the D-News Editorial Board.

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