Organizational Vs Individual Freedom: Elder M. Russell Ballard And Utah’s LGBT Law

In the LDS Church’s monthly publication, Ensign, which I recommend if you want some uplifting inspiration, I read through an article titled “The Eternal Importance of Family” written by M. Russell Ballard. The article was good as it related to traditional families and respecting those who disagree and/or don’t share those values. However, a portion caught my attention and caused some dismay. In reference to Utah’s 2015 LGBT non-discrimination law supported by the church, he states:

At the same time, religious conscience and the right to practice deeply held religious beliefs are protected by this robust legislation.

Back when the bill was developed and debated, I caught the discrepancy in the church’s justification to support the proposal:

Good For The Gander: LDS Church And LGBT Non-Discrimination Laws

LDS Church And LGBT Non-Discrimination Law Credibility

The disconnect is that the law protects organizations to practice deeply held religious beliefs via specific exemptions (see above links or the footnote 12 in the Ensign article). Individuals are not exempted; only certain organizations are.  It does not protect individual freedom, quite the contrary.

Individual freedom is the basis for freedom. Basically, it would be like saying there is only freedom of speech for specific organizations and if you aren’t working on behalf of it, you have no right and may be legally sanctioned for what you say; only specific organizations have protection from unreasonable search and seizure but you don’t and so forth.

While the church received an exemption and retained their right, individual members and non-members alike were thrown under the bus and lost their freedom. Meanwhile, we hear of Oregon upholding the fine against the cake bakers under the guise of non-discrimination. I don’t think Utah’s law is as bad as Oregon’s and, hopefully, won’t be construed or form the basis for similar actions here. Nevertheless, it doesn’t protect individual religious freedom and may open the door to exploitation in the future.

Disclaimer: I don’t advocate denying basic services – that sort of stuff isn’t my thing and goes against my beliefs. However, if there are plenty of alternative, willing sources for a basic need, then no law should be made and no freedom intruded upon (the issue is moot). Furthermore, economic and peer/societal consequences will be brought to bear as others use their free association to not conduct business  etc. with those denying the service. For fluff stuff like cakes, I think it absurd and unconstitutional to restrict freedom of the business or consumer.

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Daesh (ISIS) Now Specifically Threatens LDS Church (Annual Threat Update)

Apparently, this is turning into an annual Christmas tradition here. Two years ago, I posted about Daesh (ISIS) stating they would target churches in the US and last year I noted that they had reaffirmed that threat. Both times, I have highlighted LDS churches have been made into tempting soft targets. Just a week ago, Daesh demonstrated their appetite to kill at religious sites and the bloody carnage that results. That brings us to our third anniversary. This year, Daesh decided to not only reissue their threat but treat us with imagery specific to the LDS church (Image with LDS temple, terrorist, circulating online).

(KUTV) A disturbing, concerning image is circulating online claiming that a group is targeting the LDS temple in San Deigo, California. The picture which was allegedly released by a pro-ISIS media group shows a burning temple with an alleged member of ISIS looking on and the bloody words “Coming Soon.”

The FBI says they are “not aware of any specific and credible threat to [the LDS] community”. However, lone wolf and terrorist’s whole purpose is to fly under the radar.  The FBI isn’t able to catch everything; evidenced by recent terror attacks here and the still unresolved Vegas shooting (not to mention Fox 13’s report about Daesh recruiting in Utah). It is still up to individuals and organizations to maintain vigilance and situational awareness and be, preferably, granted a means of defense.

Unfortunately, we’re three years into this and folks are still stripped of the some excellent individual means of defense and a simple means to harden an exploitable soft target (i.e. the church’s firearms ban).

The article concludes with a U of U counter-terrorism expert:

“I think it warrants attention,” Guiora said. “We have a tendency to dismiss things that seem this can’t happen. but I think what we’ve learned in the past period – literally anything can happen. Terrorists say what they mean and they mean what they say.”

At the same time, Guiora said the last thing we want to do is stay home.

“You don’t want people to stay home, because if you stay home then terrorism wins,” he said.

I have to admit that it’s a bit more tempting to stay home when you’re denied a defensive ability and hindered in fulfilling a God-given duty to protect the innocent. It’s not all that fun being told to be a sitting duck. Regardless, to reiterate last year’s conclusion: As you go to church, pray, be vigilant, look for improvised means of defense and be ready to act. Please also review the following (also linked on my prior two posts on this subject):
Recognizing 8 Signs of Terrorism
How Situational Awareness Can Save Your Life In A Terror Attack

Stay vigilant and have a Merry Christmas!

Repeating History: LDS Church And KSL Programming

Three years ago, I wrote about some of the LDS Church’s youthful members supporting gay marriage and the possible link to KSL programming which promoted and advocated for ‘alternative lifestyles’.

Rather than turning down this leftist advocacy, looks like they’re doubling down: Grateful cast, creators ready for ‘Will & Grace’ return (I also confirmed the show is on KSL’s program listings). What could go wrong?

Utah: De Facto Sanctuary State And Cities With Sanctuary Problems

Recently a criminal alien fugitive was caught in Utah. Jesus Guitron-Aguilera could be yet another poster child for the fruits of failure to enforce our immigration laws. He was convicted of sexual assault in 1992 yet able to hang around illegally, rack up some other convictions and ‘go on the lamb’ (and achieve ICE’s most wanted list). Well done ICE for catching this guy.

He appears to have been living in the Provo area for years. It really should come as no surprise since, with HB116, Utah and has put out the welcome mat for illegal and criminal immigrants of all stripes. Those putting out the welcome mat include Provo’s Mayor (John Curtis) who is now gunning for Chaffetz’s vacated seat in the House of Representatives.

Lifezette has an excellent write up (Criminal Aliens Taking Advantage of ‘Sanctuary’ Policies in Deep Red State) on why Guitron-Aguilera and others would feel quite comfortable here:

In Provo, both the mayor and the police department have made clear they’ll go soft on illegal immigrants, creating an ideal sanctuary for Guitron-Aguilera, who’d been convicted in Michigan in 1992 of felony sexual assault with an attempt to penetrate.

Last February, the Provo police chief instructed his officers that it was not their job to enforce federal immigration laws, and said that they would not work with federal authorities to detain or remove illegal aliens…

…In 2010, lawmakers were debating a bill to grant “guest worker” status to illegal immigrants — granting each a two-year work permit in the state. A similar bill passed the following year, with the support of the Republican governor, Gary Herbert. It did not take effect, however, as it would require a waiver from the federal government, which Utah is unlikely to ever get. But the bill was interpreted as a “message bill” — inviting illegal immigrants to come and work in the state without fear.

Please, read the article in full (it’s brief but I’m barely scraping the surface). The article quotes Chris Herrod who notes the pressure on the medical system and double standard law enforcement officers feel required to uphold. If we had a real E-Verify law, Guitron-Aguilera was probably using a false ID and would’ve been interdicted sooner but as Herrod notes:

“The establishment in this state has really pushed for sanctuary status,” said Herrod, saying there’s an “unhealthy relationship” between illegal aliens and big business in Utah.

“That lobby is very, very strong,” he told LifeZette.

No kidding. It includes the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and LDS Church Public Affairs, among others.

Maybe States, Cities, and other enablers would think twice about perpetuating the problem if they were subject to the same fines we’re beginning to see private business face from the Trump admin.

Note: Changed “Provo” to “Provo area” as I’m not positive if he was in Provo itself the entire time.

Utah’s Sanctuary Link To An Illegal Immigrant Cop Killer

During President Trump’s address to Congress, he had the widows of Officers Michael Davis and Danny Oliver in attendance. An illegal immigrant, Luis Enrique Monroy-Bracamonte (aka Marcelo Marquez), had murdered them.

Looking up the case, one finds a Utah link of neglected opportunities in CBS Sacremento’s article “How Did Luis Enrique Monroy-Bracamonte Hide In United States Illegally Until Deputy Killings?” Apparently, Mr. Bracamonte was a return client to law enforcement and the revolving border door:

Luis Enrique Monroy-Bracamonte had a lot to hide. He was living in the United States illegally, had been convicted in Arizona for selling drugs and twice deported to Mexico.

Eventually, he and his wife moved from Arizona and settled in West Valley City. However, he still had brushes with the law:

A search of Utah court records for Marcelo Marquez shows a history of about 10 tickets and misdemeanor traffic offenses between 2003 and 2009, which typically don’t trigger a fingerprint check against immigration records. The records list one speeding ticket in 2009 and three small claims filings attempting to collect outstanding debts.

One of the traffic offenses was more than a minor parking ticket, it was a hit-and-run:

Police in West Valley City, Utah, said they took a fingerprint from a man using the name Marcelo Marquez during a misdemeanor hit-and-run arrest in 2003.

However, Utah authorities say fingerprints from such suspects are not regularly entered into a database that would flag other arrests in the US or deportations.

Fortunately, Utah is an accommodating State for illegal immigrants. Salt Lake City Police Chiefs consistently and explicitly state that they refuse to enforce immigration law. Meanwhile, the LDS Church monetarily assists illegal immigrants (via fast offerings), pushes “compacts” intended to lead to amnesty, and lobbies the state legislature to pass clearly unconstitutional legislation (among it’s myriad of flaws).

The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce (via Senator Curt Bramble “Bramnesty”), in an apparent lust for cheap labor, heads up efforts at the Utah legislature as well for the aforementioned legislation and fights tooth-and-nail to block legislation that would address enforcement or even identity theft prevention measures like E-Verify (illegal immigrants frequently engage in employment-related ID theft, leaving victims in their wake).

This welcoming sanctuary coupled with flouting established law has consequences. In this case, enforcement officers bore those consequences:

Two deputies who approached the pickup while it was parked alongside a road were shot with an AR-15-type assault weapon, police said. Homicide Detective Michael David Davis Jr., 42, died at a hospital.

Despite being illegally in the United States and a convicted felon, Bracomonte, aka Marquez, had illegally obtained a firearm  and, despite multiple police stops while he was using his Driving Privilege Card which clearly identified him as someone who could not provide proof of legal presence in the United States,  no law enforcement officer saw fit to check with or hold him for immigration authorities nor even run his fingerprints. After all, they were just following the policy established by their police chiefs and elected officials. However, had just one officer checked his immigration status or entered his fingerprints in the above database, he could have been incarcerated for illegal re-entry and two lives would have been saved.

It’s no wonder the Mexican Consulate plans on aiding illegal immigrants in Utah with legal assistance to fight deportation. If you were Mexico, would you want someone like Mr. Bracamonte/Marquez to ‘come home’? No, especially when you have a state and with leaders so willing to enable his presence and turn a politically-correct blind eye to his crimes and the victims left behind.

Utah’s Fake News And Single Sided Compassion: Park City ICE Action

Here’s a case study of local Utah media ginning up emotion by spinning a mundane report and presenting only one side to suit their bias/narrative.

A few days ago, Utah news outlets ran with a report that Park City Latinos were ‘panicking’ and in ‘fear’ after being targeted by ICE. Here are a few examples: ABC4, Fox13, SLTrib, etc.

The news was spun for some emotional pap and glossed over the following:

  1. Only those who committed crimes (besides entering illegally) were arrested: “According to Park City police the arrests were part of a normal operation by ICE agents and only those with criminal records were taken into custody.”
    “He said his son and nephew were taken but he was left behind despite being in the U.S. illegally.” (ABC4)
    Additionally, the SL Trib states that some of them had re-entered (ie been previously deported).
  2. The operation was a normal operation – it was under Obama’s guidance as Trump is just issuing new guidance (just today) and has thus not yet been implemented. Yet the media would prefer you believe all this angst is due to some Trump policy. It’s BS just to try to demonize Trump or any enforcement, for that matter (under Obama, it ok but the same thing under Trump is of the devil…).
  3. Given they have a criminal background (felonies), it seems the media and the virtue signalling organizations, couldn’t give a rip about the possible victims these guys have left in their wake. Nope, it’s all about families being separated.
    Here’s the thing: plenty of citizens and legal immigrants commit crime and are separated from their families understandably, no one cares about them no should they (“If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime”). There we care about victims. BUT if an illegal immigrant flouts our law at the border/visa entry point and commits additional crime…well, that’s different! No, it is not!
  4. Speaking of Trump policy: Here’s a gem from today. Apparently, he’s cool w/ DREAMers committing ID theft and not having to inform the victim thereof. Nope, they get the same free pass Obama gave them. So no, they sure don’t have much to be ‘fearful’ of.
  5. The media continues to intentionally conflate illegal immigrant with “immigrant”. The two are very different things.
  6. Lastly, why is this stuff only focused on Hispanics? They are aware that plenty of illegal immigrants who are (hopefully) deported aren’t Hispanics, right? Sure they know – but that doesn’t fit the ‘racism’ narrative they’ve been pushing all these years (especially now that Trump is in office).

This crap has been going on for years and will only increase if allowed. Certainly, the media and illegal immigration proponents/enablers will continue the one-sided compassion and attempt to ‘wag the dog’ for the foreseeable future. I hope the dog is now alert enough to this crap and will bite the fake news media’s hand.

ISIS Reaffirms Attacking You At Church (LDS Church still soft target) (UPDATE)

***See 2017 update below about Daesh now specifically targetting the LDS Church***

Last year, I posted that LDS churches present themselves as a tempting, if not ideal, target for Daesh/ISIS (or any other terrorist group). Bluntly, the church has made decisions to present itself as such a target and is aware of the threat.

Nothing has changed in church policy to reduce this threat and the threat has certainly not diminished. Far from it, today it is reported that Daesh is reaffirming it’s call to target US churches and appears to include an updated list of churches to target:

Exclusive: ISIS Puts Out Holiday Attack List Of U.S. Churches

As I said a year ago:

In the meantime, it would be very wise for members to review the video (Recognizing 8 Signs of Terrorism) published by the Utah Department of Public Safety and carefully watch for the clues presented. Additionally, come up with a survival plan for various attack scenarios (hint: naively going with the instinctual “it will never happen here” is not a plan).

To add to that, don’t just think of ‘traditional’ attacks with explosives/weapons. Up your situational awareness everywhere you go:

How Situational Awareness Can Save Your Life In A Terror Attack

Stay safe and Merry Christmas.

UPDATE (12/23): It’s official, the FBI & DHS have issued a security bulletin: Feds Warn ISIS Sympathizers ‘Continue Aspirational Calls For Attacks’ On Churches, Holiday Gatherings

Update #2 (12/23): No, Daesh isn’t bluffing. From our southern neighbor: Phoenix cops arrest alleged ‘jihadist’ plotting midnight Mass attack: ‘Get down with this ISIS s-t’

Addendum: As an aside, the LDS Church appears unconcerned about basic security but should SJWs clearly take lyrics out of context and get their shorts in a wad, then the church will take action: LDS Church yanks song ‘White’ after lyrics fell flat with Mormons of color

…I suppose I should crack open the hymnbook and look for offensive lyrics too (out of context, naturally).

Update (1/14/17): Something else to consider  from 2015 – FBI director says ISIS recruiting in every state — including Utah

Update (12/2/2017): We’re up to three years in a row of Daesh threatening churches. Now they specifically depict an LDS temple in their imagery. There’s still no change from the LDS church – you’re still denied the right to an effective means of defense and remain a soft target.