You may wonder why I am devoting a fourth article to Kim Davis in as many days.
Well, it would appear you can’t keep god’s servant down, or at least out of the media. After talking to ABC News, Ms Davis popped up on Fox News on Wednesday in a carefully stage-managed media appearance.
I feel it is important to address the many misconceptions surrounding this controversy, her downright ignorant arguments, and to highlight the intellectual fallacy of many of the positions she has taken. Unfortunately, she has been given a global platform from which she can say a lot of questionable things to a large audience, and her comments should not simply pass without closer examination.
First, I would like to discuss Megyn Kelly’s ridiculous question at near the beginning of the interview about whether the gay couple in question were ‘looking for a confrontation.’
The gays ‘looking for a confrontation’?
Dear Ms Kelly and Ms Davis, the gay couple in question wasn’t ‘looking for a confrontation.’ It was not ‘all about’ creating a ‘media swarm.’ The gay couple in question didn’t create this story – Ms Davis did by refusing to perform her duties as required by law. The gay couple in question was looking to a federal public servant to perform her duties, and issue a marriage license in accordance with their constitutional right. Full stop.
I have very limited empathy for Ms Davis’ position, and her attempts to obtain an exemption from performing the duties required of her office. She is a federal public servant and she should perform the duties required of her. If she can’t perform those duties, she should step aside. Sorry Ms Davis, you can’t say you are good at a job you are refusing to perform.
Religious liberty is a wonderful concept – it was designed so religious people would stop hurting, killing and persecuting each other, but in the 21st century it must end where human dignity begins.
A ‘simple accommodation’?
‘If I resign I lose my voice,’ said Ms Davis shedding light on why she’s digging in – she is holding on to her position because it gives her a platform to push her own religious agenda, and speak out against marriage equality. And of course she is ‘entitled’ to her views. But as a federal public servant, she’s not entitled to enforce those views on others in the course of performing her duties.
The ability to exclude, to discriminate, to deny people their constitutional right in these circumstance is not a ‘simple accommodation’ Ms Davis – it is an affront to the most basic principles of our secular democracies, the rule of law and the separation of church and state, and human decency and dignity.
Part 1 of Megyn Kelly’s interview with Kim Davis on Fox News:
‘Biblical marriage’ and the ‘word of god’?
Ms Davis, while refusing to issue marriage licenses because same-sex marriage is now legal in the US, disingenuously continues to insist this is not ‘a gay or lesbian issue’ and that it is ‘about upholding the word of god and how god defined marriage from the very beginning of time.’ She continues to insist this is a ‘heaven or hell issue’ for her.
Ms Davis appears to genuinely believe ‘god created earth, he spoke everything into existence,’ and ‘god’s word states that a marriage is between one man and one woman, that you know, and … and … and, thats what rules my faith.’
This view of course presupposes at least two things:
- first, we would have to accept the biblical version of the creation of the universe, earth and humanity; and
- second, we would have to be able to establish that the only definition of marriage in the bible is that of marriage between one man and one woman.
The first proposition I cannot accept given our current scientific understanding of the universe, and the evolution of humanity.
The second proposition I know not to be true having the read the bible, and respected biblical scholars also acknowledged as much.
Ms Davis continues to insist her past divorces and adultery are irrelevant, because she has given her life to Christ, she has been redeemed by the ‘blood of Christ,’ and her sins have been forgiven and have been ‘thrown into a sea forgivefulness (sic).’
When Ms Davis was asked about ‘accommodating’ other people’s religious views, and their deeply held desires to exclude and discriminate in accordance with their respective beliefs, and the serious issues such an approach would create for society, she was unable to offer a coherent response.
And let’s make this clear Ms Davis, you didn’t go to jail for upholding your ‘religious beliefs.’ You went to jail because you refused to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States, and refused to obey the order of a court, in your capacity as an agent of the federal government, and refused to perform the lawful duties attached to your position.
Part 2 of Megyn Kelly’s interview with Kim Davis on Fox News:
In a later part of the interview she really turns on the sanctimony when talking about her Deputy Clerks. She refers to her deputies being called into court by Judge Bunning ‘to force and coerce them to follow his order’. She says she then told them ‘my conscience is mine, and yours is yours, you have to make a decision, I love you all and I will not lead you like sheep to the slaughter.’
First, Judge Bunning wasn’t doing anything more than requiring the Rowan County Clerk’s office to observe the Constitution and the laws of the United States. Requiring federal employees to uphold the laws and Constitution of the country is hardly a ‘sheep to the slaughter’ situation.
Second, the Deputy Clerks appear to have indicated very clearly they had no issue with issuing marriage licenses as required by the law. In fact one of them later formally complained to Judge Bunning about alleged interference by Ms Davis, an issue which is yet to be determined by the court and may see Ms Davis returning to prison.
She went on to make it clear she would also deny marriage licenses to her own gay children, but apparently she would still love them. Phew …
You are certainly making a difference Ms Davis, but sadly it’s a difference for the worse.
Part 3 of Megyn Kelly’s interview with Kim Davis on Fox News:
The law and Ms Davis continue to collide
In the meantime, on Wednesday Judge Bunning denied Ms Davis’ latest attempt to stay the order requiring her office to issue marriage licenses to all eligible couples, saying her request ‘would not only create piecemeal litigation, it would be inconsistent with basic principles of justice and fairness.’
Judge Bunning is yet to rule on another request by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, asking for an order that marriage licenses be issued by Ms Davis’ office in the usual format, and for the reissue of those licenses which were given in an altered format, insisted upon by Ms Davis.
Even thought she is yet to succeed on any one of her legal applications, on Thursday Ms Davis filed yet another ill-conceived petition in court in which she blames Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear for her imprisonment, because on the day the Supreme Court of the United States recognised same-sex marriage a constitutional right, the Governor sent a letter to Kentucky’s clerks directing them to uphold the laws of the United States, and grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Ms Davis and her gays?
The Daily Beast managed to track down at least one of Ms Davis’ gay friends she referred to in her ABC News interview, Dallas Black, and this is what he had to say about the matter:
I really don’t know who Kim is at the moment. I really want to believe that the kind, sweet person who was there when my mom passed away is still there. I was friends with Kim in the past, but I don’t know this woman I’ve been seeing.
I somewhat feel like she is taking this to an extreme, because she didn’t become a Christian until four years ago.
Kim Davis has become the face of Morehead, and that’s not the face we want to portray.
Ms Davis becomes a Republican
It was also reported on Friday that Ms Davis, a self-confessed life long Democrat, switched to become a Republican:
My husband and I had talked about it for quite a while and we came to the conclusion that the Democratic Party left us a long time ago, so why were we hanging on?
Fox News accidentally destroys Ms Davis’ religious ‘accommodation’ argument
Ms Davis’ arguments very much turn on Christian belief, and the ‘word of god,’ taking precedence over the Constitution, and secular laws.
In another segment that aired on Fox News the same day as the interview with Ms Davis, following a comment by presidential hopeful Ben Carson that a Muslim should never be allowed to become president of the US, Fox News’ Sean Hannity sent a reporter to a New York Islamic cultural centre to ask Muslims whether they believe Sharia law supersedes the US Constitution.
After the segment, in which some Muslims responded by saying they believed Sharia law is above the US Constitution, Fox News contributor David Webb ironically went on to say ‘I have this problem with anyone, anywhere who believes in any religious belief supersedes the US Constitution. We are a nation where the Constitution guarantees your religious freedom and where your religion does not trump it.’
Perhaps David Webb and Sean Hannity should have a long hard chat with Ms Davis, and explore why she feels her religious beliefs can supersede the US Constitution, and what the practical implications of her brand of Christianity would look like unfettered by the Constitution, the rule of law, and the separation of church and state.
I suggest it would very much look like a Christian version of Iran, or Saudi Arabia.
As we condemn and fight religious extremism overseas, we certainly can’t afford it to rise up in our own backyard, no matter which religion.