Kim Davis is Not a Martyr for Religious Liberty. She’s a Tool of Religious Right Hysteria.

The plight of Kim Davis has taken America by storm this week.

kimdavisThe Kentucky county clerk’s steadfast refusal to carry out her job, followed by her imprisonment for contempt of court, is the stuff Kirk Cameron and Kevin Sorbo movies are made of. Whether you think her a martyr or a bigot, you have to admit: this is dramatic stuff, especially for the apocalyptic crowd.

I’ve read two takes on the situation this week that I really enjoyed, and that I want to riff off of a little bit.

Over at Religion Dispatches, Sarah Posner is as usual a refreshing source of common sense and clarity, by cutting through the rhetoric and getting to the heart of the situation:

Religious freedom, of course, has long been seen as the hot 2016 culture war issue, so it’s not surprising to see some of the candidates line up to support Davis. Religious freedom is a new litmus test on the right; of course abortion is still there, but now religious liberty is the proxy for opposition to marriage equality.

But if you listen to what Davis is saying, her real argument is that God’s authority trumps that of the courts (a truly odd statement for someone who is employed by a court), not that her religious liberty is under siege.

And over at Patheos, Brandan Robertson keeps religious liberty in the mix, but explains how Kim Davis is actually undermining freedom of religious expression:

Kim Davis posed a great threat to the religious liberties of our nation by refusing to carry out her duties as an agent of the state, issuing marriage licenses to all couples, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity. Davis forced her Christian faith on the people of Rowan County, and violated their right to be able to receive equal treatment from the government, regardless of their sexuality, race, religion, or values. If Davis was able to continue serving as the county clerk, she could, in theory, continue to refuse to grant marriages licenses or provide services to everyone she disagrees with, which would, in effect, completely dissolve the religious freedoms of the people in her county.

I think together, these two takes on Kim Davis make such an important point. Davis is not some private citizen made a martyr by a rampaging federal government intent on stamping out Christianity. Kim Davis is a state employee, an agent of the government, tasked with carrying out the duties of that government. When she goes to work, like it or not, she has a duty to check her Christianity at the door and do her government job.

Our government is one that makes no special priveleges for, or discriminates against, any religion. By refusing to do her job on religious grounds, Davis is discriminating on behalf of the government she represents against the citizens who have a right to equal treatment under the law, the right to receive a marriage license from the state.

Kim Davis has no right to her government job. If she doesn’t want to do it, she can step down. If she is more interested in working for what she see’s as “God’s law” then she should go work for a church (though, knowing what kind of church she likely comes from, they probably wouldn’t let her.) Nor is she some sort of brave martyr. She is breaking the law, as upheld by the Supreme Court just over two months ago. She is refusing the serve the citizens of Rowan County, Kentucky fairly and equally. She is acting as an agent of religious discrimination, instead of a beacon of religious liberty.

The sad thing about this is, Kim Davis is merely a tool of the religious right. Her jailing will last long enough for it to play well with right wing email appeals for money to fight secular liberalism. Folks like Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson and televangelists everywhere care little for the plight of Davis outside of her use as a fundraising tool. I’m sure she will make the rounds of speaking and interviews with all the usual suspects after this, but her fame is temporary.

She’s the perfect stand-in for the religious liberty fight in that sense. The religious fears and concerns of white middle America have become fodder for raising money for right wing politicians and opinion leaders who actually can do very little for those they are taking money from. The actual contours and ideas of such a complicated idea hold little appeal for them, and thus they will never actually enact policy that could actually do anything, as 1) religious liberty is a real non-issue, and 2) to do so would eliminate it as a fundraising tool. The legislating options around this are nonexistent; instead, these guys raise money and then govern in a way that devastates places like Rowan Co, Kentucky economically.

So, when Kim Davis resigns and goes home finally, she will be forgotten. She will go back to her life, and Mike Huckabee will go back to New Iowa or New Hampshire or wherever the next “Crisis” pops up. Religious freedom will still be assured in America, but right wing politicians will continue to use things like this to rake in the cash on false pretenses.

As Christians, we should be ashamed that this is what is being allowed to be the face of our faith in America right now. It should outrage us that those we consider “Religious leaders” are more concerned with fear mongering and raising money than spending time on real injustices in America. It’s stuff like this that is at the root of the rapid decline of self-professed Christians as detailed in the Pew Report this summer.

This is not the face of a loving, compassion filled, merciful faith. This is small-mindedness, cruelty, and greed masquerading as religion. It’s infuriating, but it’s what we have come to expect from mainstream American Christianity.

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176 thoughts on “Kim Davis is Not a Martyr for Religious Liberty. She’s a Tool of Religious Right Hysteria.

  1. normapadro

    I like how today we have options to write what we feel on blogs. This is a great opportunity to share what we feel about certain issues that matter. I wouldn’t put my career on the line like that if I had a job like that. I have always thought that making a living means more to me than anything else. After all it’s what you do for a living. If I don’t like what they are selling I just won’t work there. If I had a job like that I will follow rules after all I have to set an example and that’s obey the laws not break them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stalwart Sam

    To follow up,

    Kim Davis has returned to her post. She is now issuing licenses without her name on it, as was the suggested compromise before being jailed.

    So, what was the point of this debacle?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think Kim did the right thing to remember what the Lord say in the bible. Also i disagree with send her to jail was a great big mistake. Also I disagree with the ruling of gay marrying and it should be banned again. And it also break the lord commands in his bible. Did anyone who read the bible?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Joshua Gibson

      been a christian since childhood, i dont support same sex marriage, never will, however the problem lies with this, she is imposing her will on the same-sex couples, i don’t agree with their lifestyle at all, however they are free to do what they want. And if you take a look at the bible, you will notice you common thing, that God,Jesus, and even anybody who followed him or spread his word in the bible….you know what that is, they merely spread god’s word, they didn’t impose their will like kim davis is doing, they let the people choose what they wanted to do, and did not interfere with the peoples lifestyle, kim davis is doing the opposite, she is imposing her will, pretty much making their decision for them based off her beliefs, which is exactly the opposite of what all the messenger’s of god did, and even God himself. God always allows people to live their life the way they see fit, and does not interfere, I also believe Gay marriage is a sin, i know the commandments.

      however, by choosing for the people what they should receive or not, is exactly the opposite of God’s will. If he didnt want people to have the freedom of choice, then there would be no need for people to wait to get into heaven, because in the end God wants us to have a choice in what we do, and lets us choose freely if we will or will not follow his ways. Kim is making their choice for them. Something God would never do.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. stufooy

        Don’t assume to know GAWD’s will, besides humans created their Gawds, perhaps why there are so many. If there was one true GAWD all would know intuitively, hence humans greatest gift is making stuff up, but fortunately for us the models we create, have science to separate the wheat from the chaff as they say, else babies either come from a female vagina, or from a stork, both are human models, but in this case, only one is reality. YECs are like flat earthers, if their stupid WHOLLYBABBLe said the Sun rises in the West, they’d not contradict it, however science can show it is not true. Like I said, humans greatest gift is creating mental models, but there must an arbiter. I have no reason whatever to believe anyone who told me as a child there’s a being greater than humans and called GOD…or Zeus, Odin, they are all the same, and whether they exist, or more likely, not, means absolutely nothing. And some ancient book reveals very little about reality, or even human morals(which came before the codification of monotheism), it should be remembered nothing new has come from the Xian BUY-BULL past 98 AD, yet the earth has turned humans have grown in understanding and knowledge, so what we know most about the world came only in the last few hundred years, and nothing from 98 AD and earlier explains anything about reality that we live today. Kim Davis is a typical indoctrinated Xian as most are, and having been taught since childhood the Nutzoid nonsense from religiious books almost cripples the mind and prevents any using of one’s mind to question what was taught as children, who you must recall will believe anything you tell them, the younger the better(Xians are nothing if not opportunists). Kids are taught to read in their native language, how to count and that GOD loves, wait…the last of those three isn’t required, and not exactly verifiable, and hence not necessarily even true.
        You are so ignorant and so stuffed with fairytales, no wonder you’re unable to even think logically about your own, to you, well thought out ideas about sin and gays . You mind is like a child’s, and so, too your views, simple, black and white, right and wrong. Idiot as defined by the Greeks as one unable to communicate with, so wrapped up in their own small world. I don’t mean to insult, but to give feedback.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Joshua Gibson

        before you write anything you might want to think about a few things, you talk about things like science and all that, so lets get technical, science believes in things like evolution…..man supposedly evolved from ape…i have a question then…..where did the first ape come from, animals dont create themselves from nothing, something had to create the first male and female animal, or did they mysteriously come out of the air…..secondly the whole big bang theory, that sounds logical enough….however what created those atoms that caused this effect, once again has to create an atom for it to exist in the first place. Any living thing, whether human, animal or planet has to have been created by something, they dont just appear out of the air. The first animals on this earth had to have been created by something, they didnt just appear out air….these other gods were man made, and notice how people are simply told they exist, there is not a religion for them….they are simply there.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Not everyone pulls the same passages from the same Bible to worship… yes worship. Do you realize you are worshiping what ancient men decided to write about… writings that have been modified throughout the years to accommodate the beliefs of who is currently transcribing. God has very little to do with the ancient writings anymore. I do not use the Bible for my moral compass, I simply try to treat people as I would like to be treated. Therefore I try not to be judgmental as to how other people live. The government should HAVE NOTHING to do with RELIGION!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Barbara CT

    Reblogged this on Myndrover's Musings and commented:
    I think she should have been fired for insubordination instead of jailed and martyred, but I couldn’t have stated things any better than this man did. The very last line is such a sad truth from many who have not been exposed to REAL Christianity. It’s not about religion or religious beliefs, but about belief and faith.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Francis Philip

    Here’s the rub. DOMA is the law of the land. But, the POTUS decided he would not enforce the law. Marriage has never, before this decade, in the history of humanity, ever been considered to be anything other than a union of man and woman. Know that just as easily as government leadership can be corrupt, laws can also be corrupt. Our country once had laws supporting slavery and segregation, both immoral laws. Now we have a law which ignores basic human nature, and it is therefore corrupt. It is not that it is wrong for two people to live together and be friends for life. But it is wrong for humans of the same sex to think that they can be “married” and exist in a sexually-complementary way. That is confused and disordered – a condition which does not seek life or the good of humanity (no human life is possible or desired of such a union, but only consumption and sexual / emotional excess, and government financial benefits for simply being labeled “married,” but being impotent to actually produce what a marriage is meant to produce.). Love would see this truth and seek the right path. Love seeks to correct this situation. Mercy seeks to instruct the blind and confused so that they will not fall into this trap which voids persons’ true end of procreation and bringing forth healthy and happy children.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am getting bored with all of this. As I recall from my Bible reading years, the Bible teaches “judge not lest ye be judged” and then we are side-tracked by “what the Lord said about homosexuals”. So it’s OK to judge if the victim happens to be of a different gender preference? No that’s not good enough, I hear judgements from Christians on a regular basis about every subject under the Sun if it suits. The most common is judgements about those who don’t follow the particular credo of the judge. I checked this one on the Internet and I find that there are something like 40,000 different Christian denominations, creeds, isms and schisms and they all think they are right. Let’s look at this logically? They can’t all be right, but they can all be wrong.
      cadexx

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Francis Philip

        The Catholic Church is right. The Protestant cults are actually based upon opposition to Christ’s own Catholic Church…their primary reason for existence. They “protest” the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Christ’s special gift to mankind.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. A lot of good things come from spiritual works. On the other hand Christianity has killed more people on this planet than any other group. With the Roman Catholic church leading the way. Force is how christianity gained its foothold on this planet, anyone who disagreed was burned at the stake. These words are divinely inspired prove otherwise.

      Like

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  8. I wonder what they would think of a Quaker clerk who refused to issues gun permits due to the pacifism of her religion or a vegan clerk who refuses to give fishing licenses or a muslim clerk who insisted woman wear burqas to be waited on. Whose religion takes precedence? No ones. Separation of church and state.

    Liked by 8 people

  9. What is interesting to me….. As a Christian I am questioning her validity…..she only refused same sex marriage. She did not refuse atheist, pagan, agnostic, Muslim, Jewish…ect. As long as they were of the opposite sex. It seems to me that she sought out the limelight on a topic she knew would reach the local media….going worldwide was the bonus….and so I question her intent as a Christian….and as a Christian…it seems a little odd that she refused to do the very thing the bible tells her to do her best at….her job…

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Well written. And, for me, rather thought provoking. Having studied theology and polysci, this makes me view this whole situation as a way to gain sympathy from the American public at about the same time that Congress is seriously considering de-funding Planned Parenthood.

    The First Amendment protects all “federally-acknowledged” religions. Not just Christianity. So, she is steadfast in her defense that someone should be able to do the same discriminatory things to her in the future, correct?

    Liked by 2 people

  11. At the end of the day Kim Davis is just another opportunist. Most people would rather beat around a bush, sugar coat or over philosophy than get to the point or keep it real.

    Christianity, religion, God, or high standards have nothing to do with this woman’s actions. She took an oathe to uphold the Constitution or law of the land, while performing her job responsibilities in exchange for a salary. If she had no intention of doing so she should not
    have taken the job. If later on her job duties changed and she felt she could no longer carryout such duties, she should have resigned. Notice I’m not jumping on the “religious beliefs or righrs being violated wagon” because the second she decided to cherry pick scripture, to support her cause and right to discriminate against gays, made it clear her actions have nothing to do with Christianity or religion. If so she would take the speck out of her own eye before attempting to remove another’s!

    If it’s true she’s been married 4 times, had an affair with a married man and got pregnant, and later judged gay people, she’s a hypocrite! She and the Mr. are trying to make a buck. If she wasn’t White we wouldn’t even be talking about what she’s doing at work since she got released from jail because she would’ve been removed from that job, somehow or someway, weeks ago!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. True that Christianity isn’t just a religion, but it’s also is a lifestyle, the word Christian simply means Christ like.
    If the world were acting as Christ like individuals, things like this would not surfers in our world today. We won’t not be putting a child of Gods job and lifestyle on the line. We say that we are a land that is founded on the faith of the most high, and that in God we trust, but failed to live our lives based on His principles this is the problem that we are facing, in this crisis and just about everyone that we are facing, in the present day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joshua Gibson

      I have been a christian for 20 years and what she is doing is not christ like, because she is imposing her will, and making the decisions for these people and interfering with the way they choose to live their lives, the one thing christ has never done is interfere in peoples lives, when he was on this planet he merely spreaded his message, he let the people decide what they believed was right and what was wrong, he did not make people’s choices for them, he did not impose his will upon others, she is not living christ like, she is doing the complete opposite.

      Also the moment same sex marriage was made legal in the U.S, she should have known something like this would have come up eventually, she should have quit then. knowing this situation was likely to occur.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. As a American Muslim, I go to restaurants fly airlines hang out with friends , attend parties at bars while not drinking. By being near these things doesn’t make less of a Muslim. I have adopted this culture and still adhere to my religious values as best as I can. Church and state are separate here and for a good reason. When I provide therapy my religious views do not influence me. I check them at the door and if I feel like they are I examine them and see why they are and if becomes a conflict of interest for me, I refer my client out so I won’t be subjective. This has not happened to me at all. If Kim Davis is not happy with her job she should find one that aligns with her personal views. It is not fair to the residents of that area that they should be forced to accept her view. Religion is suppose to be one of tolerance and peace. We are all humans and bleed the same color.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Really nice post. I agree entirely with what you wrote especially with the part concerning this exasperating argument on religious freedom. Davies has the freedom to quit her job and if she feels like it would go against her beliefs to allow gay marriage. She then has the freedom to protest along with others who agree. Instead she created an inconvenience in which the result would limit the freedom of others. I’m not a Christian, but to me it seems like she was doing it out of vengeance: she believed part of her freedom was being taken away and thus she used her job to take part of the very same thing away from others in turn. To me that doesn’t conform at all with Jesus and the new testament’s message.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am not Christian either and the last sentence of your post interests me. You mentioned the “New Testament” message. Shouldn’t people of this faith believe in both Testaments? Old and New? A lot of Christians I have met like to believe in either Testament, not both. That has struck me as odd. The Quran is believed by Muslims, and the entire Quran, not parts of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It depends what parts we are talking about, I also agree both testaments both have good similarities. The best explanation I’ve ever heard is that the old testament is the foundation but the new testament builds on some of the principals said before. The reason I picked the second one, and yes I probably should have clarified this in the comment so that’s on me, is that Christianity is essentially a reformed version of Judaism and this testament shows that whether as the old testament focusses on Jewish and Hebrew history. I kind of thought it necessary to use therefor use the new testament that is what distinguishes Christianity the most (at least that’s my take on it, I do blog about religion and love checking it out).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I love blogging about religion. A lot of different issues that connect society and religion itself provides for a lot of content. Follow me for more interesting thoughts on religion. There are a lot of people that only confide in the New Testament, and completely ignore the Old Testament values, although it is all one book.

        Liked by 2 people

  15. As an atheist/agnostic person, I do not believe in religion. I believe in spirituality. In the Bible, Christ is referred to as “The Holy Spirit”, not the “Holy Religion”. If Kim kept her “religion” to herself and allowed her connection with God be private, then I believe God would simply ask that she pray for these people due to their sin regarding their sexuality. Interesting that I came across your article, I recently just posted an article on my blog about homosexuality and Christianity. Check it out if you’d like.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. After reading just your title and nothing more (I may later), I have to disagree with you.

    After I read an article a few weeks ago it wasn’t under Kim Davis jurisdiction to not present a marriage certificate–to her, she was stunk at the wrong place, wrong time. After the Supreme Court ruled same sex marriage, right wing activists stepped. According to the article amendment 10–clearly–states federal level government cannot, under any circumstances, delegates power on the constitution or States or upon the people. And… what did the Supreme Court do?

    I’m not a right wing supporter, either. I consider myself fairly liberal. The only thing that really separates me and every other left wing bigot is I look at both sides of the issue.

    Anyway, I didn’t mean to make this sound angry and rude and arrogant. I just have a really hard time when people use both side of a debate and mold it into their own personal media bias bullshit. Thanks for understanding.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. stufooy

      Ever heard of the Civil War? Brown versus Board of Education? States desiring to secede? The Bill of Rights had the first 9 Amendments about citizen rights, the 10th was about powers. Read the 10th, but first read Article VI stating the US Constitution is the ‘Supreme Law of the Land’ even if any state law contradicts, judges and politicians/lawmakers,,etc take an oath to uphold the Constitution, but there’s no, ‘unless there’s a states don’t like it.’ Article VI is also called the Supremacy Clause. Now what does the 10th say? “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by the States, are reserved to the States, ‘RESPECTIVELY’ , or to the people. The word respectively gives the order of who has the power, e.g., I hate Ted Cruz, and all Republicans, respectively, (Ted is more hated than all Republicans, in that order). The Feds have 3 branches of gov’t and the Court is saddled with interpreting of the meanings of the US Charter, and so, since some states say yes to same sex marriage, some say no, the Court must give the meaning of whether same sex violates any rights of citizens, and so, whatever is agreed about the morality of gay marriage, just as gays don’t have sex 24/7 as some assume it’s what a gay ‘relationship’ is, marriage also carries legal matters regarding spousal benefits, etc, And the asshole above who all but said, gays aren’t natural/complementary, has he seen, assuming he means the genitals have to fit naturally, penis into vagina, well, seems there are other openings for which that relationship fits. Humans can be very creative regarding sex, and there’s no GAWD that decides any of it, since humans created GAWD. As for old an new testament, it’s all malarkey. Jesus is modeled after Pagan Sun worshippers, and monotheists got hold of the thing and no longer was the Sun, a Son of humans/the earth, but of a sky daddy, also from the 12 Constellations(a 13th was added recently, to the chagrin of Astrologers/Charlatans), of the sky where the Sun resides, the invented 12 apostles/followers/disciples of Jeebus. Kim Davis is trying to be a martyr, or worse she assumes what she does is of the same high morals the same as what a conscientious objector who refuses to kill does. She is NO CO. but she is an a-hole, and 1 of the 4 horses asses of the Apocryphal-ists.

      Liked by 2 people

  17. She can pick and choose which sins are acceptable to overlook at work and be called at hero for it. Totally understandable. Stand in your truth Kim Davis ALL THE TIME, not just when convenient on comfortable. Hate and bias are sinful too not worthy of Martyrdom.

    Liked by 2 people

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  19. The Christian right and the political right have latched on to this religious liberty misnomer. I want to know where are the religious types of all stripes who should be speaking out on this issue. If we want to diminish the first amendment we are on the right road. If we allow this to happen, then shame on us.

    Like

  20. Wonderfully written. The problem with folks like Davis is that they equate freedom of religion with freedom to demand & do anything. Thank goodness in the end, she is no martyr but just a media puppet.

    Like

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