Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Kim Davis Story Has Little To Do With Same-Sex Marriage

Published in HuffPost
September 11, 2016 - 05:47 pm ET 
By Rich Weissman, Black Butte Ranch, Oregon (www.richweissman.com)
Who cares about this woman? She’s uneducated, simple-minded and provincial. She certainly doesn’t like gays or lesbians. She’s been married four times, had two children out-of-wedlock, and goodness knows what else is in her past. She managed to get her cozy government job because her mother handed it down to her, and now Ms. Davis is doing the same for her son. And she claims to talk with God. Such hypocrisy, such nepotism, such nonsense.

Yet, she is front page news. The likes of Huckabee visit and console her as she fights the fight, claiming that Christianity (specifically her brand) is under attack and being made illegal in America. Claiming she is a martyr for the religious world.

Huh? No one is attacking Christianity or any other religion. Lawlessness is being attacked. Theocracy is being attacked. We are attacking those who want to be able to place their religious beliefs above the U.S. Constitution, judicial system and the law.

But Ms. Davis and her supporters say otherwise. They say they have the right to disobey laws and court orders, and the right to refuse to carry out their job duties as government officials because of personal religious belief. Really? Well, for the moment let’s see where this would go. Imagine these headlines ...

Government official refuses to certify any pork product in his jurisdiction because his religion forbids the consumption of pigs. Pork production and pork product sales have come to a halt.

Government official will not issue gun registrations or hunting licenses in her jurisdiction because her religion forbids killing of any animal. Gun sales and hunting have essentially been banned.

Government official halts the transfer of all real property to any woman in his jurisdiction because his religious beliefs forbid women from property ownership. Women will not be able to purchase real estate in this jurisdiction.

Government official rescinds all lending authority to all financial institutions in her jurisdiction because her religion forbids the payment of interest. All mortgages, auto loans, personal loans, credit cards and business lending will be terminated.

And even on the marriage front ...

Government official denies marriage licenses to divorced people or people who have committed adultery based on religious beliefs that divorce and adultery are sins against God.

Government official denies marriage licenses to all inter-faith couples based on religious beliefs that people should only marry within their faith.

This list could go on and on. Pretty scary. The point is that the issue at hand is not about same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is the law of the land now, and is accepted by the majority of Americans. All but a few counties throughout the nation are issuing same-sex marriage licenses, quietly, respectfully and without fanfare. So why is Ms. Davis getting attention? She’s the renegade. She’s the one out-of-step and in defiance of court orders. She even appealed to the Supreme Court (the very court she refuses to follow) and her appeal was rejected. So why the attention to this silly woman who has violated the law and refuses to do her job as a county clerk?

Because she represents something dangerous. She represents a small but vocal group of Americans who think the United States is a theocracy and think that their personal religious beliefs allow them to act in ways that are against the law. Ms. Davis does not understand that in a constitutional democracy, her personal religious beliefs are of no interest to anyone other than herself. Within her home and church she is free to believe and practice whatever religion she prefers. But in a secular and free society, she is not free to impose those on others, and she has to follow the laws of the land. Make no mistake, she is not the victim. She is the bully, insisting that everyone in her county adhere to her personal religious beliefs. Such hubris! Indeed, Ms. Davis and others like her could very well take the next steps and start introducing policies the likes of which are quoted above as potential headlines. That’s why she is a danger to freedom and democracy. Religious freedom is not about forcing others to adhere to one’s personal beliefs. Religious freedom is about practicing one’s own religion personally, and keeping it out of government policy, positions and administration. In our homes and churches/synagogues/temples/ mosques we are free to voice our beliefs. But in government, industry and commerce, we adhere to the laws of our nation. Period.

Fundamentally, I believe religious freedom is a good thing. And for that reason, I believe that everyone has to the right to their own religious beliefs as long as they keep it to themselves.

So what happens to Ms. Davis? Well, like most people who engage in illegal activities, she sat in jail for disobeying the laws and the courts of this wonderful nation. She’s not a good American. She’s actually quite anti-American as she scoffs at the very judicial system on which this nation is founded and on which our freedom and rights are upheld. In the end, she’s just a criminal. But her cause is one that is dangerous, because it isn’t really about gays and lesbians getting married. It’s about people who think they are above the law and who use their religion to justify breaking the law. It’s about people who think that their personal religious beliefs are more “special” than everyone else’s and supersede the laws of the land. And that’s not what America is about.