Saturday, September 05, 2015

Thoughts About The Kentucky County Clerk, Christianity, and Self-Righteous Bastards

Given the Far Right Christian viewpoint opposed to gay marriage being a civil right now, it was inevitable that someone in a position of government - county clerks who are responsible for issuing marriage licenses in particular - would make a damn circus out of refusing to issue such licenses in order to stop gays from marrying.

And so we've got a County Clerk in Kentucky sitting in jail for Contempt of Court, gleefully and happily playing the role of martyred victim for all the world to see.

This is giving the Far Right Christians every opportunity to host themselves an endless series of pity parties, of oh "Woe is us, we are being hated and persecuted for our beliefs."

Problem is, the reality is different from their fantasy Persecution Complex.

To quote Mary Elizabeth Williams in

Just kidding. We’re totally fine. And anyone who says otherwise is a great big crybaby...
...It’s a familiar refrain, this sob story that letting other people exercise their constitutional rights is an assault on their religious freedom. Last month, when actress Ellen Page confronted GOP presidential contender Ted Cruz at a state fair, Cruz asserted, “At the end of the day, what we should not be doing is persecuting people who follow their faith.” 
It would helpful to remember here that Davis is not being “punished” for her beliefs. Davis was found in contempt for refusing to abide by a federal court order to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. She is being appropriately dealt with for not doing the taxpayer-funded job the citizens of Rowan County elected her to do, for not upholding the Constitution she took an oath to abide by. I know that lots of Christians are used to cherry picking their Bible verses to make their points, but you’re not allowed to be quite so selective with the Constitution. Certainly not if you’re someone whose job involves issuing marriage licenses...
...And as a Catholic, I can quite honestly report that I have yet to be persecuted for my religious beliefs. I get a fair amount of pushback from secular friends who think I’m delusional, and conservatives who say I’m not a real Christian because I support reproductive choice and marriage equality, but I’ll say this — I am not writing these words from a jail cell. You know why? Because American Christians are not being persecuted. And considering that there are places in the world where Christians really are, this boo hoo hooing from people who are astonished that they’re not being given a free pass to discriminate against gay people is pretty damn enraging.

This is all true.  We are not seeing a massive wave of arrests of Christians for going to their churches, we are not documenting the numbers of street preachers getting dragged off in handcuffs for disturbing the peace, we are not engaged in any open warfare between faiths.

Number of churches under assault: several, but they all happen to be Black churches with the attacks aimed at them over race - such as the tragedy of Charleston - not faith.

We've had attacks on Unitarian churches for being targets of conservative hatred towards liberals.  I'm trying to think of a time when a liberal-leaning person did the same against a hard-core conservative church.

This is the United States.  The last time we had open warfare between religious sects was the fighting between Mormons and Protestants during the 1800s (neither side can claim the high moral ground by the by).

One of the genius moves by our Founders was to establish a No Religious Test in our Constitution to prevent one church-going group from gaining majority control of government and using our legal institutions to persecute non-Believers.  The First Amendment's point of confirming Congress not placing one religion over another encourages peaceful co-existence of faiths, and placed secular law separate from spiritual law.

And yet we get these charlatans and Pharisees who love nothing better than to use the excuse of faith to deny civil rights to others: there was a time - and there still are some Far Right Christians who still feel that way - when the likes of Kim Davis would have used her "faith" to stop Whites and Blacks marrying each other.

Davis' argument is that is answering "God's Authority" to deny gays to marry.  Using Leviticus and Romans and other cherry-picked parts of the Bible to back her argument.

This is coming from a woman whose violations of "God's Authority" over Adultery are well-documented.  Hypocrite.  Pharisee.  I have - millions have -better moral authority to label her on those sins than she does passing moral judgment on anyone else.

Davis wants to serve "God's Authority"?  Her solution is simple: go work as a pastor.  Go work in a church as an organizer, a lay person, go and serve God's will caring for the sick and the poor.

When you get elected to a public office, you are serving the Will of the People, of the citizens of your county and your state.  When you are a public official you serve the laws of the land, and if those laws conflict with your beliefs then by the Grace of God quit and find a better job for yourself.  If you want to fight those laws as unjust you have the courts (and they tend to be pretty supportive of church rights and faith in general): if the courts argue that the laws ARE just - and allowing gays the same rights in the law as straight people counts - you STILL have the freedom of your faith to believe as you do... to yourself and to your God.

There is a place for civil disobedience against unjust laws, true: there is still the expectation that those being disobedient still answer to the law and prepare themselves for jail (Thoreau, Rev. King, et al).  The end-game for those disobedience movements were reforms and freedoms for the many who were suffering unjustly.  What suffering was Kim Davis and the other anti-gay forces enduring that requires them to act this way?  Again, as Williams pointed out in her article, there isn't any suffering of the Christian Far Right: they're still free to move about, go to church, pray to God, commit adultery, etc. even as gays - a significant minority of people - are able to enjoy the same legal protections over marriage as heteros.

You do not have the right to impose that faith on others when serving the public trust.  That makes you the bully, the corrupt power in high places.  That's Sharia Law.  That's the sign of the Imposter, the one who does not have the self-confidence of a true religion.

In other news, gay people in that Kentucky county can now get married.

Marriage is supposed to be a good thing: stability, community, love, commitment, and celebration.  Good things.

And God abides.


dinthebeast said...

"Makes you wonder how Kim would have felt if a Catholic County Clerk had refused to issue her that fourth marriage license."

-Doug in Oakland

Anonymous said...

Saw something like this elsewhere and thought it brilliant: Waiting for the Muslim clerk to deny a driver's license to Huckabee's wife.