Gary Johnson: a post-game analysis

Recently, in an impromptu interview, Gary Johnson expressed some deep reservations about the idea of “religious freedom.” He essentially argued that it could lead to a slippery slope, in which religious individuals justify all sorts of crimes using their religious conscience. He said:

I mean under the guise of religious freedom, anybody can do anything. Back to Mormonism. Why shouldn’t somebody be able to shoot somebody else because their freedom of religion says that God has spoken to them and that they can shoot somebody dead.”

Now, this comment was admittedly incomplete. We’re not getting the full picture, since he’s referring to something previously addressed in the conversation, but wasn’t included in the interview transcript. So some people reached out and asked for clarification. Johnson responded:

My point, made with an unfortunate example, is that religion has been used too many times to justify discrimination, persecution and, yes, violence. Acts of violence and aggression can not be excused by religion and all people must be held accountable for their own actions.

Here’s my issue. No one (credible) is advocating for an unfettered ability to justify any crime under the auspices of relgious conscience. In short, nobody who is concerned about the rights of wedding vendors, doctors, and religious schools is asking for the ability to murder people with impunity.

His example may have been unfortunate, but he has only doubled down on his strawman: he believes that if you enact accommodations for those of religious conscience, you risk a slippery slope where you must accommodate ANY crime undertaken in the name of religion. And this simply is not true. It is wholly, unequivacably false.

Johnson’s perspective ignores hundreds of years of actual jurisprudence surrounding religious freedom. Since the founding of our nation, it has been recognized by courts that religious freedom is bounded by laws that protect public health and safety, or any other “compelling state interest.” Never has the Supreme Court — even under the strongest and broadest readings of the First Amendment — permitted people to engage in criminal behavior with impunity merely because their motives were religious.

There is no slippery slope here. No law passed by a legislature in the modern U.S. to protect limited religious freedoms of wedding vendors, pharmacists, pro-life doctors, or church universities is going to give ANYONE legal pretext to murder, plunder, or steal in the name of religion, or anything like it. Nobody (credible) in the debate even wants such a pretext. To imply otherwise is not merely a straw man of the religious freedom movement, but a overtly hostile reading of their intentions and proposals. Continue reading

Gary Johnson campaign responds to comments on Mormons

I reached out to the Gary Johnson campaign today in response to his comments on Mormons and religious liberty and got the following response:

Statement from Gov. Gary Johnson regarding comments reported in Washington Examiner column:

“My reference to the LDS church, made during an impromptu conversation, was an admittedly very imprecise reference to the violence that accompanied the Mormon’s early history in the 1800s– violence that was prompted by the persecution of the Mormons themselves by both the federal government and others. Absolutely no offense was intended, and I regret any that has resulted.

My point, made with an unfortunate example, is that religion has been used too many times to justify discrimination, persecution and, yes, violence. Acts of violence and aggression can not be excused by religion and all people must be held accountable for their own actions.

Few in America have experienced that persecution more than Mormons, and I understand and respect that. The LDS church and its historical struggles with the government are perfect examples of the need for true religious freedom, not selective freedoms legislated and created by politicians. I consider many of the LDS faith to be my closest of friends including National Campaign Manager Ron Nielson.”

My take: Gov. Johnson still does not seem to understand the importance of religious liberty, but at least he was not accusing Mormons of wanting to use religion as an excuse to shoot people dead. Personally, I am very relieved that he is aware of the Mormons’ history of religious persecution. Many readers may know that the Johnson campaign is based in Salt Lake City, so it is clear that Gov. Johnson has many Mormon friends.

If only some of his friends could help him understand the importance of religious liberty….

As some readers may know, Gov. Johnson was quoted as saying the following:

“Back to Mormonism. Why shouldn’t somebody be able to shoot somebody else because their freedom of religion says that God has spoken to them and that they can shoot somebody dead.”

So what the candidate was apparently trying to say was that Mormons have suffered from other groups because of religious persecution, and this is what he wants to try to avoid.

I am thankful that the Johnson campaign clarified.

Gary Johnson sees no value in religious liberty and implies that Mormons want religious liberty so they can shoot people dead

I wish I were making this up. Long-time readers know that I am an economic libertarian. I was planning on voting for Libertarian party candidate Gary Johnson. No longer. Johnson has a long history of left-wing activism on various social issues (he is virulently pro abortion and pro drug use and pro gay marriage). I was willing to forgive all that because the other choices are Hillary and Trump. No longer.

UPDATE FROM JOHNSON CAMPAIGN: THE CANDIDATE RESPONDED TO HIS COMMENTS, AND YOU CAN READ HIS RESPONSE HERE.

Please read this. Continue reading

Buy a Blizzard® Treat, Make a Miracle

Emma - CMN Hospitals Connecticut Champion 2016 - 2017 - at Dairy Queen
Today is a special day for my family and millions of other families with children who rely on a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital for help. Today is #MiracleTreatDay!

On Miracle Treat Day, $1 or more from every Blizzard Treat sold at participating DQ® locations will be donated to local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals®. Every minute, 62 children enter a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital for treatment. Help participating DQ restaurants help local kids by purchasing a Blizzard Treat on Thursday, July 28*. Find your nearest participating DQ location by clicking here and when visiting the #MiracleTreatDay link–typing your zip code into the store locator tool below.

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Eight things the prophets didn’t say

This is one of those must-read articles if you follow social media. There are so many things false things passed around on the internet, that sometimes the very elect will be fooled!

Here’s one example:

If you vote for the lesser of two evils you are still voting for evil and you will be judged for it. You should always vote for the best possible candidate, whether they have a chance of winning or not, and then, even if the worst possible candidate wins, the Lord will bless our country more because more people were willing to stand up for what is right.

Supposedly this was said by President Ezra Taft Benson, but nobody has found any confirmation of it, and the quotation may simply be made up. (We welcome any evidence that President Benson actually said this).

The moral of the story is: check and double-check any quotations from the prophets before passing them on.