So, I’ve been avoiding politics a lot lately when it comes to blogging. I should probably continue to do so, but the stupidity I’m seeing in some of this Davis garbage is annoying as hell. So, in reference to all the damned conservative memes I’ve seen on social media since I got home from vacation and started looking at Facebook and Twitter for more than just a few minutes two or three times in the day…
Kim Davis is not Civil Rights figure Rosa Parks. Kim Davis is the bus driver who refused to drive the bus when Rosa Parks refused to move seats.
Kim Davis is not Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King. Kim Davis is racist politician George Wallace who in defiance of desegregation laws led others to physically stand in the doorway of a school to prevent black students from entering.
At best, Kim Davis is the 2015 version of the bigoted, racist clerks who still refused to give mixed race couple marriage licenses in the wake of Loving v. Virginia. At worse, Kim Davis is a hypocritical bigot using religion as an excuse to be a bigot while helping to give both anyone truly religious and religion itself a bad name.
She’s not a hero. She’s not a martyr. She’s not someone doing the work of God or following His word. She is not standing the line on behalf of true American values. If anything, she’s what many of our ancestors wanted to get away from; a ruler who declared himself the head of church and state and thus corrupted both. In modern terms, with very little hyperbole needed, she’s the face of those who would be (to use a name for it that they might actually understand the meaning of) America’s Christian version of Sharia Law. Indeed, her biggest public supporter, Mike Huckabee, is on record as saying that the Constitution is subordinate to the Bible and should be amended to fall in line with the Bible’s words. Except that’s not who we are, and that’s not who we have ever been as this country.
The problem here is not, as the false narrative that has been created on the Right goes, one of a religious person having to betray their faith. The problem here is that she wishes to use her position of authority to inflict her religious beliefs onto others. She has been using her position in the local government to deny others their legal rights, as is now the law of the land, because she has declared that her personal religious belief supersedes the law of the land and other people’s legal rights and privileges. Both she and her supporters, in truth in the name of nothing more than the basest bigotry, have declared over and over again that their views, their personal interpretations of religious belief should trump and override actual law in such a way that they should be allowed to force others to be subordinate to their religious beliefs.
Fortunately, this is, right now at least, only at best a half-assed attempt at implementing a form of Christian Sharia law in America. For one thing, Huckabee has far less than a snowball’s chance in hell of ever seeing the inside of the White House as anything other than a visitor. For another thing, and make no mistake about it, this is almost purely about bigotry and hypocrisy being disguised as religion. Hilariously, many of her most vocal social media and talking head supporters are apparently lacking in sufficient self-awareness to realize that they themselves are the ones making this most clearly evident.
Not long ago Allen West embarrassed himself (one of many, many times) on his website by posting about his then recent visit to Walmart. He wrote about having to move to a different checkout line when the man running the register informed him that he couldn’t ring up his alcohol. West pontificated about he looked at the man’s nameplate and noted that he spied the “Muslim” sounding name with some interest. The reality of the situation, as revealed by those who actually cared about truth and facts, was that the “man” was a boy who was underage and thus not allowed by state law to ring up the alcohol no matter what his religion may or may not have been.
But before this revelation was discovered (and ignored by many of West’s fans) the denizens of social media shared his posts or shared articles editorializing on the event. The theme of the vast majority of the rants that accompanied the shared articles and West’s original post all had the same thing in common. They were outraged (Outraged!) with the idea that someone would claim that their religion meant that they didn’t have to do their job. Sure, again, it was all based on pure bigotry since it was targeted at Muslims, but they at least pretended for a minute that it was about the idea that people should do the jobs they applied for and were hired to do despite claims of religious exemptions.
I actually agree with that part of it no matter who it is or what their beliefs. If you apply for a job or run for election and get hired or elected, you should do the job you said you would do. At the very least if you cannot do the job yourself you should let others in your workplace do it without threats of undermining or reversing the work the others do as she is now doing in her workplace.
But they didn’t mean it when they said it then. Many of them prove that now by being the same people defending Davis and her actions and proclaiming any attempt to make her do her job or to get her to step aside and let others do the job in her place without veiled threats by her of reversing and undermining their work an attack on religious liberty and freedom. Suddenly, now, because the target of their bigotry is on the receiving end of someone claiming religious beliefs in order to not do their job, they’ve loudly switched sides on the matter. Because, in the end, it’s not about religious freedom, it’s not about religious liberty, and it’s not about doing what is either right or just. It is for them based on nothing more than hating groups of people and using their supposed religious beliefs as a cover and an excuse to inflict their hate and ignorance on others.
But therein lays a problem. The Davis spectacle is just that; it’s spectacle. She’s not the only clerk in the US to refuse to hand out marriage licenses while hiding bigotry behind “religious freedom.” She’s merely the clerk that the media chose to make a huge story out of. By becoming the center of a media spectacle in an election season, she’s drawn the eye of failing GOP Presidential hopefuls like Cruz and Huckabee as they want to use her momentary celebrity/notoriety to try to put the wind in their presidential sails that they are incapable of providing based on their own characters and merits. To do that, half-assed or not, they’re helping to elevate her cause in the eyes of the bigoted, the hateful, and the stupid, and they’re helping to turn a half-assed spectacle into a movement.
It unfortunately only needs a little help. There are already large numbers of voters on the Right who have for some time now insisted daily that Christianity is under fierce attack in this country and that Christian prayer and Bibles should be mandated in any number of political and social institutions. As the two groups overlap more greatly than they already are, you run the risk of the pandering politicians running to them to help plump up a voter base. Suddenly, half-assed or not, an attempt to stir up some election season notoriety runs the risk of getting a foothold; even if only a small one. That’s the risk you run when you pander to the bigoted and the stupid. Tell them that they’re fighting for their freedom, their very existence even, and they’re too stupid to know when you’re just using them, taking advantage of their stupidity and hate, and they don’t know that they’re supposed to stop when you finally get bored with them and move on to bigger and better things.
But here we are with future failed presidential contenders and the conservative media fanning the flames of their hate and stupidity, telling them it’s actually religious liberty they’re fighting for, and helping them to delude themselves even further into believing that they’re standing up for the good fight as good Americans. But when you’re holding up Kim Davis as a hero and holding up the cause of allowing people to declare that US law and the things that govern our societal interactions and functionality no longer apply to them because they claim “religious liberty” from such things, you can’t honestly call yourself a good American any more. You also can’t, despite the constant drumbeat at other times from many of those supporting her, claim a love of the Constitution. Actually, when you’re hiding your hate and bigotry behind a false cloak of religion, you can’t really claim a “love” of much anything good.
But you can certainly claim to be what you are. You are the faces of those who would happily institute a wannabe Christian version of Sharia law in America. You are the people who, in the pursuit of your own hate, ignorance, and bigotry, would happily strip real freedoms from our country so long as you could impose your own personal version of your “religious freedoms” on everyone else; whether they want it imposed upon them or not.
But understand this- You’re not doing it. Understand that the people in this country who actually value freedom, whether that be religious freedom or freedom in general, and who value actual, true religious belief aren’t going to let you turn America into your own personal theocratic paradise. Preventing you from forcing your narrow view of religion on the rest of us isn’t attacking you, attacking Christianity, or attacking religious liberty. If anything, it’s simply defending Christianity, religious liberty, and liberty in general from your attempts to drag it through the mud in your bigoted quest to use them like bludgeons against those whom you hate.
Understand something else here. Understand a basic truth of reality and history. Again, you are not heroes. You are not martyrs. You are not the attacked, put upon victims here. You are not great and towering figures in a new, modern civil rights movement who can be likened to historical figures like MLK or Parks. You are the opposite side of all of those coins. At best you’re George Wallace. At worst you’re on the path to be the new Cotton Mather. You cannot and will not be allowed to march us all backwards through history and into an America that betrays so much of what she is supposed to stand for.