Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Why The Kim Davis Case Isn't About Religion

Kim Davis, the Clerk of Kentucky's Rowan County, was jailed last week for defying a court’s order to comply with the law by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. As she spent the holiday weekend behind bars, her supporters claimed Davis' incarceration was an example of religious persecution.


The First Amendment says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

That means the government can't dictate what church we go to (if we indeed go to a church), who/what we call God, how we pray, or what religious symbols we display on our property and person. The Amendment was never intended to give citizens carte blanche to pick and choose which laws we'll follow based on our religious beliefs.

No matter what religion Americans belong to, we can't:
  • smoke peyote,
  • marry more than one person at a time,
  • sacrifice children and/or virgins,
  • or avoid doing our job.
Think of it this way.  Mormons are opposed to drinking alcohol.  However, if a Mormon got a job waiting tables, they would still have to serve the drinks ordered by the patrons.  On a personal level, they wouldn't have condone drinking, or drink themselves.  They'd simply have to perform the duties they're payed to perform.

It's the same with Kim Davis.  No court in the land could order Davis to approve of gay marriage, or attend a gay wedding.  Yet, they can compel her to perform the duties she's legally payed to perform.

Kim Davis was released from jail today. The release order, issued by Judge Bunning, directs Davis not to, “interfere in any way, directly or indirectly, with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.”  Whether, or not, she stays out of jail is COMPLETELY up to her.

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