Sunday, September 6, 2015

Kim Davis is acting out of bigotry, not religious conviction

Public officials must serve everyone, regardless of their own beliefs -- a short rant on Kim Davis

A sizable number of people are rallying to defend Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky who refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. After being told by a federal judge that she had to begin issuing licenses fairly, Davis still refused to do so, resulting in her being held in contempt of court and imprisoned last week until she agrees to comply.

County Clerk Kim Davis
Some consider Davis’s “imprisonment” to be a form of religious oppression, that her civil liberties are being threatened because issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples goes against her religious beliefs. But that’s faulty logic -- the same argument could be used by police officers to refuse defending a Muslim mosque, or firefighters refusing to rescue a Jewish family from their home if it were on fire.

Such actions, were they to be taken, would be considered absurd, as these public officials are meant to serve everyone, not just certain members of society that match their beliefs. If an officer or a firefighter behaved in such a manner, they would be removed from their posts without question.

That’s what’s going on with the situation surrounding Kim Davis -- as a public official, she refused to serve people on the basis of her own religious beliefs. She can’t do that -- same-sex couples lawfully gained the right to marriage, and so she has to serve them just as she would any other couple. When she refused to do so, she put her beliefs ahead of her position as a public official.

She’s free to do that, of course, but she must live with the consequences of her decision as well. She can either resign her position, or she can continue to sit in jail in contempt of court. As a public official, however, she can’t pick-and-choose who to serve -- she must apply the law equally to everyone.


Were I to be given the opportunity to ask Davis a question myself, I would ask whether this instance was the first in which she refused a marriage license on the basis of her religion. Has she issued out licenses to people of other faiths? Of other Christian sects? Of people with no faith at all?

I have to assume that she has. If she has, then she’s acting hypocritical. And her actions are derived more from outright bigotry than her religious convictions.

1 comment:

  1. Religious conviction, for the most part, IS bigotry. Or perhaps, more accurately, gut-level tribalism justified by undocumented imagined communications from the sky-pilot...