You may have noticed that Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples due to her strong religious beliefs, has been a top news story lately. Most people think she is ridiculous and a giant bigot (including yours truly), but there are a few who think she is a hero for standing up to our big, bad government who dares to declare that all people should have the right to marry the person they love. In short, Kim Davis and her supporters believe that God is in charge, not the federal government. When asked on whose authority was Kim Davis refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, she proudly exclaimed, “On God’s authority.” Sorry Kim, but God has no authority in the United States of America.
I could write a 10,000 word blog post solely discussing the hypocrisy of Kimmie D. and her God Squad, but instead I’m just going to write a few bullet points that highlight their blatant hypocrisy and their ignorance of the law. Here we go:
- They don’t understand the First Amendment to the Constitution or the concept of religious liberty. The religion clause of the First Amendment says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. Therefore it prohibits the government from establishing a state religion (such as Christianity) and from making laws based on religious beliefs. In addition, it also protects the public from the government interfering with their religious practices (as long as those practices are within reason and are not a danger to the public at large), and it prohibits individuals or groups from imposing their religious beliefs on others. In other words, Christians can be against same-sex marriage, but they cannot use their religious beliefs as an excuse to discriminate against same-sex couples. Religious liberty doesn’t exist solely to protect the religious among us from the government and anyone who disagrees with them. This protection extends to those who may suffer discrimination due to the strict religious beliefs of others — people like Kim Davis, for example. Kim Davis has absolutely no right to claim that her religious beliefs should exempt her from doing her job. If a gay couple wants to get married, her job requires her to issue them a marriage license. If she doesn’t, she is breaking the law. That is why a judge threw her bigoted-ass in jail — because she was disobeying the law. Law is the ruler of our country — not religious values.
- Going along with the above, we don’t live in a Christian county; we live in a SECULAR country. Contrary to popular belief, the United States was not founded on Christian principles — it was founded on democratic principles, central of which was the separation of Church and State (aka, religious liberty). Because the federal government is explicitly prohibited from establishing a state religion, or interfering with the religious practices of others, the United States is a secular country. If the United States were not a secular country and instead was a Christian country with laws that reflect Christian values, we would live in a theocracy, not a democracy. Iran is a theocracy, as are many Muslim nations. Would Kim Davis and her supporters want to live in a theocracy like Iran? If you asked them this question I bet they would without hesitation yell, “Hell No!” (except that they actually do want to live in a theocracy — keep reading).
- Kim Davis and her supporters want the Christian version of Sharia Law. Sharia Law is basically the Islamic legal system derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Qur’an (Islam’s version of the Bible). So if Kim Davis truly believes that our nation’s laws should reflect Christian values based off of what is stated in the Bible, then she wants Christian Sharia Law, and she wants to live in a theocracy like Iran. What is so incredibly ironic about this is that recently many Evangelicals have been terrified that Muslims are trying to take over the U.S. and impose Sharia Law on its citizens. This is beyond absurd because these accusations are completely baseless, but that didn’t stop some states from passing laws to keep this from happening (however, if they understood that the First Amendment bars the federal government from establishing a state religion they would then realize that they don’t need these laws). In effect, Radical Christians were all up in arms because they were afraid that Radical Muslims were going to take over this country and impose their religious beliefs on everyone. Buuuuuut, apparently it’s totally fine for Radical Christians to impose their religious beliefs on everyone. I’ll take Hypocrisy for $1,000, Alex.
- If homosexuality is a sin and should be condemned (according to the Bible, which, as we all know, is the Word of God — cue eyeroll), then Kim Davis and her supporters have to condemn all the other things that the Bible says are wrong, like divorce, for example. However, Kim Davis has been divorced not once, not twice but THREE times, so clearly she is totally fine with divorce, even though the Bible states she should be stoned to death because she is divorced (I’m not joking – it really does say that, but only divorced women should be stoned to death, not divorced men). And she also has to condemn working on the Sabbath, and wearing colored clothing, and adultery (she is guilty of this one too – she was pregnant with another man’s twin children before she got divorced from her second husband), and all the other completely asinine things that the Bible says are sinful. Except that it isn’t convenient for her to condemn those things (because she is guilty of all of them), so they are just fine and dandy with her. You can’t cherry-pick what parts of the Bible you want to follow and what parts you don’t. I’ll take Hypocrisy for $2,000, Alex.
- Kim Davis is the George Wallace of the 21st Century. George Wallace famously stood up against the government in an attempt to prevent desegregation in the 1960’s, and anti-segregationist across the country proclaimed him a hero for his efforts. It’s hard to believe that there really was a time when white people and black people weren’t allowed to share the same public space. To people in my generation that is completely ludicrous. Over 50 years later, while racism — and especially institutionalized racism — remain crucial issues for the United States, thankfully our nation has moved forward quite a bit since George Wallace tried to block two black students from entering a [formerly] white university. George Takei just wrote a wonderful opinion piece for MSNBC comparing Kim Davis to George Wallace. Here is an excerpt as to why history will not be kind to Kim Davis and her supporters:
“Happily, the days when overt racial discrimination and segregation are championed by social conservatives are long past. Imagine if instead of denying a license to a gay couple, Ms. Davis had sought on religious grounds to deny a license to an interracial couple. She likely would have been fired on the spot, and no politicians would have rushed to stand by her side, no matter what her sincerely held religious convictions were. Discrimination based on sexual orientation is headed to a similar, inevitable end in the dust heap of history.
But along the way there will be opponents like Davis to remind us that social change means social displacement and a recalibration of what is acceptable. And as with Gov. Wallace, decades from the day Davis stood her ground, we will no doubt look back and wonder above all why so many stood with her.”
Kim Davis and her supporters are using the Bible to defend their hate and bigotry — because that’s obviously what Jesus would do. It’s pretty disgusting, and I know many Christians who are profoundly upset that Kimmie D. and the God Squad are defaming Christianity. While I am not religious myself, I can sympathize with those Christians who are loving and accepting of all people, and who believe that we are all loved equally by God. It has to be so incredibly frustrating to see your cherished religion grossly misinterpreted and used as a means to discriminate and spread hate against others. So please, speak out against Kim Davis and those like her. Your silence only exacerbates this problem.
One day my grandchildren will ask me why it was such a big deal that same-sex couples were allowed to marry, like how I wonder why it was such a big deal that interracial couples were allowed to marry. And I’ll shake my head and say, “I honestly don’t know.” It’s baffling to me that some people care so much about who another person loves and marries. It’s not your life and it’s not your marriage, so why does it matter to you? Why would you object to someone being able to love the person of their choosing and to define their love in a permanent manner (i.e. through marriage)? Denying others of any human right is inherently wrong, but nothing is more unjust than denying someone the right to love. And from what I’ve heard about this Jesus fellow, He and His Father (God) would wholeheartedly agree with me.