Monday, May 26, 2008

UWF Meeting May 14, 2008 The Honorable Judge David Sam

United Women’s Forum Minutes – May, 2008

The United Women Forum convened their monthly meeting on Wednesday, May 14, 2008, at the Bountiful City Library at 10:15 am. Debra Poulsen welcomed everyone new guests to the meeting. Opening prayer was offered by Kris Kimball and Teresa Crapo led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Debra announced that the Davis County Republican Women have scheduled a pre-Primary Election debate on June 3, 2008, at Bountiful City Hall. The public is invited to attend to hear the candidates. The Primary election will be held on June 24.

Barbara Derricott was introduced to present to the forum, the role of religion in a free society. Barbara is a wife, mother and devoted member of our community who has volunteered in schools in Bountiful for many years. She and her family lived for several years in Japan but she loves America and is very patriotic.

Barbara taught that a government of free people, without religion cannot be maintained – principle #4 from the book: A Miracle That Changed the World – the 5000 Year Leap. “Our founders” she stated, “felt that the role of religion would be as important in our day as it was in theirs.”

The Northwest Ordinance, written in 1787, the same year as the Constitution, emphasized the essential need to teach religion and morality in the schools. Article 3 states: “Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

National morality can prevail and virtue is a necessity in government. Ben Franklin summarized five fundamental points that were to be taught in schools. They are:

1. There is a Creator who made all things and mankind should recognize and worship Him.
2. The Creator has revealed a moral code of behavior for happy living which distinguishes right from wrong.
3. The Creator holds mankind responsible for the way they treat each other.
4. All mankind live beyond this life.
5. In the next life, mankind is judged for their conduct in this one.

In America, we sometimes put religious traits behind issues of government.
In the 1700-1800’s, the clergy were anxious to maintain separation of church and state but they had great influence on the morals and customs of public life. They did not want religion to become involved in partisan politics but believed that it was their duty to keep a message of religious principles and moral values flowing to the people to safeguard America.

The First Amendment provides that “Congress shall make NO law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The First Amendment was designed to eliminate the interference of the federal government in any religious matters with the states. The federal judicial system was also prohibited from intermeddling with religious matters within the states.

Jefferson and Madison were anxious that states intervene in religious matters so that all religions would be treated equally. In recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court has taken an extremely inflexible and rigid position regarding the state governments and religion which creates tension and litigation throughout the land. Non religious people litigate any matter where they feel there is mention of anything religious – such as display of the 10 Commandments in a federal building or having a Christian display at Christmas time in a public park.

As citizens, we need to study the Constitution and understand our rights as citizens, stand up for them and elect representatives who also support the Constitution.

Diane Prince reminded us about an organization called: Write Your Congressman where we can send opinion ballots to our Congressmen regarding our feelings about any issue in congress. She said that our representatives will listen to our opinions and sincerely desire to represent their constituency. We can get these opinion ballots monthly and can get more information on their website.

Debra announced that the Bountiful recycling program will be held on Tuesday, May 27th at 7:00 pm at the City Hall – for any who wish to attend.

Adrienne Buckley told us about the Barnes and Noble issue re: decency in displaying literature. She said that the B&N response to our many letters was that there are no enforceable laws and the store is in compliance with the law. She was appreciative of the huge amount of support from the community on this issue and she felt that it was somewhat effective. Adrienne said that there will be a Summit Meeting for the Community on Decency at BYU on May 31st. She suggested carpooling for any who might want to attend that meeting.

Dalane England urged us to support the effort to inform public schools about Constitution Day (week) - September 17th – 23rd. This week is set aside to teach the Constitution in the schools. She said that there is a lot of information already out there to use but she wants to make sure that this program in implemented in the schools this year. Contact Dalane, Deborah Poulsen or Kaylma Rohwer if interested.

Laura Bunker needs a committee of volunteers to help with a fall event for United Families Utah. She will welcome your help. Laura also told us of the recent variance which El Matador restaurant was given to allow the sale of beer at their restaurant. The city council voted 3/2 to grant the variance and it was determined that this vote was not an oversite by the council but a pre-arranged deal when urging the El Matador to relocate. Promises were made to them to help them get the variance. She urged us to start a Bountiful citizens group, run for city council and mayor offices.

Linda Hess told us that McDonalds recently donated $20,000 to gay rights. While only about 2.9% of the population is gay/lesbian, they have a huge voice because they are funded by large organizations such as McDonalds and Ford Motor Co. Some of these organizations just want to be politically correct – as do our politicians and they are always in the spotlight. She urged us to contact our representatives to vote AGAINST ENDA which is supposed to be a non-discrimination bill but actually does discriminate against the rights of some to choose to hire homosexuals, have them as scout leaders and so forth. Gays have no tolerance for Christians but expect tolerance from themselves.

Our guest speaker was introduced by Marva Lyman. The Honorable David Sam was our speaker today. Judge Sam is from Indiana. He was born of Romanian immigrant parents. He received degrees from BYU and U of U. Judge Sam served in the US Air Force where he was a Captain. He lived and practiced law in Duchene County. He was also a County attorney there. He has served on many boards and as a bishop, stake president and mission president for his church. In 1985, he was appointed US District Judge of the 4th District, by President Ronald Regan. Marva stated that she honors him as a good neighbor and friend most of all. “He is a charitable, good man.”

Judge Sam expressed that he felt it an honor to be in this group and he complimented us for our interest in the Constitution. He stated “I am your humble servant” and we felt that from his remarks. He told us that it is so important for each of us to be a good citizen. He spoke fondly of his wife Bennie, who was named after her father who was killed as an American hero in WWII. He also stated that his 3 brothers felt that it was such an honor for them to serve their country in the military. He said “A few people make things happen; a lot of people watch things happen and the overwhelming majority of people do nothing.”

Judge Sam felt that it was a miracle for his family to get out of Romania. His family had the gift of life in Romania but they found the gift of freedom in America. Freedom is not free. It requires something of all people who benefit from it. He told us of a case he had involving the American Atheist Society of America. They were suing the state of Utah for erecting crosses at the location where highway patrolmen lost their lives in the line of duty. The AAS stated that it was a violation of the 1st Amendment and that the government cannot get involved in religious symbols. Judge Sam researched the case and discovered that in the early 70’s, the Lennon case made a decision on symbols. He determined that the law had been defined by the Supreme Court which stated that the government does not violate if secular purposes do not advance religious purposes. Erecting the crosses does not cross that line.

Judge Sam stated that we are the watchdog at the grass roots level. We need to make sure our voices are heard. Our founders put power in the federal judiciary based on righteous principles. He issued an invitation for us to visit his chambers. It was a privilege to listen to his good man.

UWF was encouraged to attend the legislature meeting held on the 3rd Wednesday of June and July. We need to all help shape the laws for our next legislative session.