On August 31, 2015, the United States Supreme Court "ruled against the Kentucky county clerk who has refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses."
Let's decipher what occurred:
The full U.S. Supreme Court denied the stay without comment. Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Kentucky clerk's request for "asylum for her conscience" that was filed by her lawyers with the Liberty counsel was denied! She is legally obligated to "fulfill her duties as an elected official despite her personal religious faith" (Christian conviction).
Marriage equality is the law of the land everywhere in the United States of America. You see, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that it was unconstitutional to deny marriage to gays and lesbians based upon their sexual orientation. In fact, doing so was deemed a denial of their human dignity and for no legally or constitutionally valid reason - merely as a result of other people's religious beliefs.
Surprisingly, on September 1, 2015, Davis disregarded the fact that her request had been denied by the United States Supreme Court, and once again refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples and vowed not to resign. According to Davis, her defiance is based on "God's authority."
What neither Davis nor her Christian lawyers at Liberty Counsel seem to comprehend is that the United States of America is a democratic republic, not a theocracy, like Iran. I guess that Davis and her supporters have anointed her "the Supreme Leader" of the United States of America, to exert "ideological and political control over a system dominated by clerics who shadow every major function of the state." I very seriously doubt that this was intended when she was recently elected as a clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, particularly since she was elected as a Democrat.
Moreover, as an elected official, her salary is paid for with tax revenue collected from people, regardless of their religious affiliation or beliefs. It should also be noted the individuals she is refusing to issue marriage licenses to have most certainly paid taxes that are being used in part to pay Davis' salary.
Twenty countries, including a number of extremely Catholic countries, have marriage equality. However, the self-anointed "Supreme Leader" of the United States of America has decided that this nation will operate in accordance with what she believes to be "God's word."
Keep in mind that "the Supreme Court plays a very important role in our constitutional system of government. First, as the highest court in the land, it is the court of last resort for those looking for justice. Second, due to its power of judicial review, it plays an essential role in ensuring that each branch of government recognizes the limits of its own power. Third, it protects civil rights and liberties by striking down laws that violate the Constitution. Finally, it sets appropriate limits on democratic government by ensuring that popular majorities cannot pass laws that harm and/or take undue advantage of unpopular minorities. In essence, it serves to ensure that the changing views of a majority do not undermine the fundamental values common to all Americans, i.e., freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and due process of law."
In other words, the highest court in our nation has determined that Davis' "freedom of religion" does not grant her the right to refuse to fulfill her duties as an elected official, for which she earns a salary of $80,000.00 per year.
The days of Christians or those of any other religion speaking on behalf of a God, who may or may not exist, and stating in no uncertain terms what God believes or how God feels are coming to an end.
Think and pray on that reality overnight!
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis committed a crime and she and her Christian conviction ended up in jail for contempt of court. She will have plenty of time to think and pray there because she won't have duties to fulfill as an elected official, especially since she won't be released until she agrees to comply with the court's order and issue the marriage licenses.
Unfortunately, she may have difficulty with her thought process, which has likely been corrupted since birth as a result of "mind control," something that has blurred the line between religious extremists / fundamentalists and members of cults.
"In a mind control cult any information from outside the cult is considered evil, especially if it is opposing the cult. Members are told not to read it or believe it. Only information supplied by the cult is true. One cult labels any information against it as 'persecution' or 'spiritual pornography', another cult calls it 'apostate literature' and will expel you from the group if you are caught with it. Cults train their members to instantly destroy any critical information given to them, and to not even entertain the thought that the information could be true."
It also bears mentioning that reading award-winning books that are assigned reading in college does not violate "Christian Values," just because they happen to include subjects that such people claim violate their Christian beliefs. Since when was reading about something the same as doing it, agreeing with it or approving of it? It does, however, stop people from learning and expanding their worldview.
By the same token, issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples because it is part of your job does not mean that you condone or otherwise personally approve of such marriages. Therefore, Davis' contention that she had no choice but "to stand by her religious views and defy the courts" is completely untrue and was found by the court to be "simply insufficient." As the Judge said, "It's not physically impossible for her to issue the licenses. She's choosing not to."
The Judge also stated, "Personal opinions, including my own, are not relevant to today. The idea of natural law superseding this court’s authority would be a dangerous precedent indeed.”
How is it even possible for a God who may or may not exist to have defined marriage? By the way, gravity is an example of “natural law,” not what people believe to be God’s definition of marriage, assuming God even exists. Furthermore, even if God does exist, that doesn’t mean that God defined marriage.
I'm afraid that Davis won't learn anything of any importance from reading scriptures from the Bible, especially the way in which she has been taught to interpret it so selectively. "Religious people who are critical of the LGBT community and the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage are 'hypocritical,' Georgia pastor E. Dewey Smith said in a videotaped sermon.”
"The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual's religious practices. It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely. It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government."
There are no constitutional protections for cults. Interestingly enough, religious extremism, fundamentalism and orthodoxy seem very similar to cults. It's about time that our government stop protecting cults.
As an aside, it is ironic that Liberty Counsel believes in denying liberty and equality to all. People with the freedom to marry or people free from discrimination (because they are in a majority group) do not lose that freedom as a result of others being granted the same level of freedom. Minority groups should not be denied theirhuman dignity by the majority, who somehow feel their human dignity is dependent upon taking away the dignity of others. It is not a zero-sum game, as they say. It seems to me that the attorneys at Liberty Counsel can't quite grasp this concept.
Divorce certainly doesn't violate Davis' Christian conviction because she has been divorced three times. Well, we apparently can't hold that against her because of her religious "get out of jail card." You see, she found Jesus, learned the errors of her ways and was "born again."
In addition, Davis' entire claim has been that she was "born again" and therefore her 3 divorces, children that she had outside of marriage, and other such things should not be held against her is absurd.
She only became "born again" four years ago. That being the case, how was her son raised with such views? After all, he is the only holdout among Davis' deputies refusing to issue marriage licenses. Thus, if Davis' son was raised with such beliefs, she clearly held them at the exact same time that it was not against her Christian conviction to divorce, have children outside of marriage and other such things. This hypocrisy as to which "sinful things" she could do without violating her Christian beliefs and which "sinful things" others couldn't do existed prior to her being "born again." Thus, the "get out of jail free" card doesn't work, not that it should otherwise. That "card" has always been nothing but a joke and always will be.
I don't know about you, but I loved that "Get Out of Jail Free Card" when I used to play Monopoly. Isn't it wonderful that anytime a Christian is "born again," they believe that they are absolved of all of their prior sins and have the right to humiliate or shame those who fall outside of their worldview, by denying them their civil rights, liberty and human dignity? It's amazing to me that although the existence of God cannot be proven, those who accept God's existence and God's beliefs on faith, also speak on God's behalf when they claim that God has forgiven them.
On a related note, Josh Duggar, is extremely outspoken about his sincerely held Christian beliefs and how such beliefs have led him to be "anti-gay." Meanwhile, he "molested four of his sisters and a babysitter" and admitted to having cheated on his wife, after it became public knowledge because of the accounts he had on Ashley Madison.
In addition, State Rep. Todd Courser and Rep. Cindy Gamrat, tea party activists, violated a number of the Ten Commandments, in having an extramarital affair, using taxpayer money "to maintain and cover up their relationship," and trying to have their taxpayer funded aids cover up for them, among other things.
At the same time, as "tea party activists," they were "socially conservative legislators" and "often invoked their Christian faith in pursuit of new legislation governing gun rights, abortion and marriage." They also claimed to do so in an effort "to advance liberty and freedom."
The following comment from Courser pretty much explains how he and his colleagues do things that make absolutely no sense: "In a controlled burn, you do a little bit of truth mixed in with a lot of lies."
On that note, Davis' attorney has the audacity to compare Davis "to Jews Living In Nazi Germany."
As a Jew, who also happens to be gay, I find such a comparison incredibly offensive, especially since I would have been persecuted in Nazi Germany for being Jewish and for being gay. I can't even imagine what they would have put me through before murdering me, since I am both Jewish and gay.
Kim Davis' attorney could not be more ignorant and disrespectful if he tried. The population of Nazi Germany was almost entirely Catholic and Christian. In other words, I'm afraid that Nazis were primarily Christian and Catholic. Apparently, Christians have a long history of intolerance.
It is the Christians who hold beliefs such as those held by Kim Davis who should be compared to Nazis. In fact, the Family Research Council, one of 42 organizations in the entire United States designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBT hate group, recently announced that Davis will be receiving its coveted "Cost of Discipleship Award". Considering what Hitler did to gays, if he were alive, he'd probably honor her as well. Tragically, of the 16 Republican Presidential candidates, only 6 are against Davis' stance. Those against Davis are Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Donald Trump, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Carly, Fiorina, and former Gov. George Pataki.
Although I'm not a practicing Jew, the Nazis would have prosecuted me nonetheless. However, people can become Christian. In fact, Christian missionaries have been converting people to Christianity (by force or otherwise) for thousands of years.
People choose to become Nazis and they choose to become Christian (unless it is forced on them or they are raised as Christian) and they choose to be "born again," the Christian "get out of jail free card."
However, people don't choose to be gay or Jewish. I also promise that the Nazis would have persecuted a Jew who had converted to Christianity because being Jewish is not about religious beliefs, as far as they are concerned.
Her attorney also has the nerve to compare Davis to Martin Luther King, Jr. To be perfectly clear, history does not tend to reflect kindly on those who were on the wrong side of it. Martin Luther King, Jr. was on the right side of history. This same will not be true of Davis.
My head would explode if I tried to make sense out of an argument "liberty and freedom" is advanced by denying it to minorities or at least to political minorities. However, as Danny Kinder, a 73-year-old retiree from Morehead, said of the courts, "They're taking rights away from Christians. They've overstepped their bounds."
However, when the attorneys that Davis hired are from "an anti-gay group designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center," what more can be expected? They have "steered her wrongly in terms of the law. They are more interested in creating a martyr for their fund appeals than in giving good legal advice--which calls into question whether they should lose their law licenses for malpractice."
Mr. Kinder and others holding similar beliefs must be referring to the right to marginalize others and strip them of their self-respect, human and civil rights, and dignity. I'm afraid that Christians don't have such rights under the law and I should point out that behaving in such a manner is not very Christian.
It should also be noted that Davis only took on her position in November 2014; therefore, she knew at the time that she ran for that office and took that job, that she might be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Thus, Davis essentially ran for that office and took that job, intending to impose her religious beliefs on others by not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, if the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality - which it did. I am afraid that "religious freedom" is not the freedom to force your beliefs on others and that is exactly what Davis has done and always intended to do.
Davis' religious belief that marriage should only be between a man and a woman is her belief. Very clearly, that is not the case, at least as far as civil marriages are concerned. In other words, her belief should not prevent her from issuing marriage licenses because how she believes God interprets such marriages is a separate issue. How in the world is it against her religious beliefs to issue marriage licenses to couples, even though she believes that God does not view such marriages as marriages? Regardless, if she can't wrap her arms around that distinction, then she should just resign from her position. Unfortunately, that isn't going to occur because this was a set-up from the beginning because she knew about this possible reality before running for this elected position and accepting it.
Bottom line - Religious Freedom doesn't come cheap because beliefs (no matter how sincerely held) don't trump human and civil rights and dignity. You see, denying LGBT rights denies the members of that community their dignity.
"Dignity is not the same as respect. Dignity is our inherent value and worth as human beings; everyone is born with it. Respect, on the other hand, is earned through one's actions."
I would therefore suggest that Conservatives stop trying to take away the dignity of those people who fall outside of their worldview. You earn no respect in attempting to strip others of their human dignity.
This reality was very clearly set forth in the Supreme Court's decision granting marriage equality.
The court said the following:
"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."
Similar language was included in the Supreme Court's decision striking down provisions in the Defense of Marriage Act. In that case, the court said the following:
"The class to which DOMA directs its restrictions and restraints are those persons who are joined in same-sex marriages made lawful by the State. DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty. It imposes a disability on the class by refusing to acknowledge a status the State finds to be dignified and proper. DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others. The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment. This opinion and its holding are confined to those lawful marriages."
This is a precursor to things to come for those who are pursuing their right to discriminate based upon their "sincerely held religious beliefs." Good luck on that one!
Meanwhile, after Davis denied his marriage license in defiance of the United States Supreme Court, David Ermold said, "I feel humiliated on such a national level that I can't comprehend it. I cannot comprehend it right now." Of course he feels humiliated - Davis was denying him his civil rights and liberty, as well as his human dignity. In fact, "one of the women who has unsuccessfully sought a marriage license in Rowan County, April Miller, told Judge Bunning that Ms. Davis's stand 'marginalizes us again.'"
Along those same lines, on August 17, 2015, "the Republican National Committee approved a resolution that in essence endorses discrimination against people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. The text of the resolution claims it aims to 'protect the rights of believers to equal treatment by the government of The United States of America,' according to the Patriot Post."
The Republicans just can't help themselves - they are determined to go down in flames. It is unconstitutional to deny people their civil and human rights and human dignity based upon beliefs.
In all fairness to Republicans, Davis is a Democrat, as is Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, who is running as the Democratic nominee for governor. Conway "has said he supports a new state law that would protect clerks who do not want to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples." In other words, those who believe that religious beliefs should trumpcivil and human rights and dignity are members of both major political parties in our Democratic Republic.
Of course, Iran operates that way, as does ISIS and they hold very different religious beliefs. Regardless, our religious extremists believe that their beliefs are right and those of others are wrong - because of their religious faith. Not surprisingly, the same is true of the religious extremists in Iran and ISIS. In fact, they all speak on God's behalf.
Be that as it may, the cognitive dissonance that has allowed people to justify discrimination against members of the LGBT community is the belief (despite all the evidence to the contrary) that being gay or lesbian is a choice. Their reasoning is that since they believe that being gay or lesbian is a choice, people should have the right to discriminate against those who make such a choice.
The thing that makes Marco Rubio even worse than the rest of the bunch is that he has acknowledged that people don't chose to be gay or lesbian and yet he is determined that people should have the right to discriminate against them based upon religious beliefs.
For someone to admit that being gay or lesbian is not a choice and to proudly admit that they are "anti-gay" is the same thing as saying that they are "anti-black." How well would that be received?
While we're on topic, let's discuss why it is so troublesome that many in the "black community" are so "anti-gay."
"Gaslighting is a huge problem in conversations about [sexual orientation and sexual identity], and we in the psychological community can model empathy and listening when we see [LGBT people] being responded to in ways that invalidate their experience."
The cognitive dissonance, gaslighting, and lack of empathy is very similar with regard to issues of race as it is with sexual orientation and sexual identity. SURPRISE!
That being said, it never ceases to amaze me when members one group that has had such experiences is unwilling or unable to treat other groups with more dignity and respect.
God Bless America! is all that need be said at this point.