Religious Liberty Doesn’t Mean What Kim Davis and Ted Cruz Think It Means

Kentucky Clerk Kim DavisVia Talking Points Memo, Ted Cruz: “I Stand With Kim Davis.” Davis, of course, is the woman now sitting in jail for refusing to do her job of issuing any marriage licenses because she is offended by the idea of same sex marriage. Cruz and Mike Huckabee are coming down in the same place on this one. Davis is supposedly a Christian martyr. Cruz said, “Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny.” It’s pretty boilerplate stuff coming from a “Constitutional” conservative. They love to throw around the word “tyranny” because it was in the Declaration of Independence. But the way they use it makes it meaningless. It’s just a word they use whenever the government does anything they don’t agree with.

Cruz made an analogy between Davis and San Francisco Major Ed Lee (for the sanctuary city) and President Obama (for immigration law enforcement). These are false analogies, but I don’t feel like going into them right now. The main thing is that this is being made out like a religious freedom issue. And of course that’s the way they are going to play this. But as German Lopez noted, the government actually offered to accommodate her by letting her pass the job on to a willing subordinate. But she refused.

I heard her husband on NPR earlier talking about how “the gays” want their rights recognized, but they don’t want to recognize the rights of Christians. Well, here we have it. Davis didn’t need to be involved with this. But she won’t be satisfied unless she is actually able to stop same sex couples from exercising their secular rights to marriage. It’s all about bigotry. And this could not be more clear. When last I wrote about this, I noted how strange it was that Christians like Davis didn’t just say, “Sure the government can ‘marry’ whomever they want, but God doesn’t accept those marriages!” But Davis isn’t standing up for God’s word; she’s standing up for her cultural privilege.

I’m not a legal scholar, but I do know a bit about drug law. For a very long time, drug users of various kinds of been making the argument that the use of this or that banned substance is part of their religious practice. And the courts have always said the same thing, “Nice try!” Similarly, people could say, “My religion forbids me from allowing African Americans to eat at my diner.” Or they could say, “My religion forbids me from paying income taxes.” It doesn’t matter; your religion could say anything at all. And that is why the courts have decided that you still have to follow the law.

Kim Davis is doing a great service to same sex marriage. In a different article, German Lopez wrote, Republican Candidates to Kentucky Clerk: Follow the Law and Marry Same-Sex Couples. Admittedly, the three candidates he highlights are on the less-crazy side of the crazy party. But still: Davis isn’t fooling anyone. She’s just making a big deal out of her religion and most people see it for what it is: narcissism. Most people I’ve talked to find it exhausting. Their response is, “Oh, just do your job!” It doesn’t matter whether they are for or against same sex marriage, they understand that the issue has been settled and Kim Davis is just an annoyance.

Meanwhile, if God exists, he, she, or it approves of this:

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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