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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Tom Cushing, a production expert at Fast Signs, cuts down a sheet of anti-Senate Bill 1062 signs that read "Open For Business To Everyone", Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 in Phoenix. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer will hold a series of private meetings with opponents and proponents of legislation adding protections for people who assert their religious beliefs in refusing service to gays. Brewer spokesman Andrew Wilder says the governor will spend Wednesday gathering information about Senate Bill 1062 as she considers signing it into law or a veto. She has until Saturday to act. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Pundit sampler: Religion, if that’s what it is, loses marriage fight ...

This is what happens when religion picks your pocket — George Pyle | The Salt Lake Tribune

"The lack of any real religious warfare through two centuries of American history flows from the fact that on issues of faith, as on many matters, we stand with Mr. Jefferson.

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" ‘It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods, or no god.’ Thomas Jefferson wrote in his essential ‘Notes on the State of Virginia.’ ‘It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.’ "

"But what if it does?

"What if religion does pick people’s pockets? What if it does break, if not the legs of many Americans, then their hearts?

"We may be about to find out. ...

Negotiating the terms of surrender on gay marriage — Ross Douthat | The New York Times

" ... We are not really having an argument about same-sex marriage anymore, and on the evidence of Arizona, we’re not having a negotiation. Instead, all that’s left is the timing of the final victory — and for the defeated to find out what settlement the victors will impose."

Disney to cut funding to Boy Scouts over policy on gay adult leaders — AP / sltrib.com

Ross Douthat’s Canny — and Utterly Dishonest — Defense of Homophobia — Mark Joseph Stern | Slate

How Religious-Freedom Laws Could Come Back to Hurt the Faithful — Jonathan Merritt | The Atlantic

"If conservative Christians really believe they are becoming a marginalized movement, why would they want to disempower marginalized people in the marketplace? ..."

Watch out for those ‘sincerely held’ beliefs — Timothy Egan | The New York Times

"You’re a fundamentalist Mormon — that is, the breakaway sect, not recognized by the main church, with a scary compound in northern Arizona. Women wear long prairie dresses, men rule with an iron fist. You believe in a host of things that violate civil and even criminal law. But your beliefs are ‘sincerely held.’ They come directly from God.

"Until Gov. Jan Brewer joined the avalanche of sanity and vetoed Arizona’s so-called religious liberty bill, you may have found some protection in the law. The bill was a green light for bigotry. And indeed, the measure gave those with ‘sincerely held’ religious beliefs the right to refuse service to perceived sinners. ..."

Arizona sort of helps out — Gail Collins | The New York Times

" ... Chastened, the very same elected officials trotted back to their posts and immediately took up the subject of surprise inspections of abortion clinics. ..."

SB 1062: who scored and who got singed — or even scorched? — Laurie Roberts | The Arizona Republic

" ... Our beautiful state was scorched but hopefully not permanently scarred by this embarrassment of a bill. Not so, however, for some of those whose fingerprints touched the thing. ..."

After Arizona, gay rights still remain work in progress in U.S. — Rehka Basu | The Des Moines Register

" ... The truth is, we’re a work in progress, guided by a constitution that points us on a path of greater equality, but is regularly challenged and undermined. We have no franchise on either human rights or prejudices. But we do have the right to protest and a legacy of organizing and speaking up for our rights, and bringing businesses and politicians along — even if just for practical reasons. ..."

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