Sunday, September 6, 2015

Demonization, lionization, Martyrdom, and County Clerk Kim Davis

I've been thinking a lot about this County Clerk, Kim Davis, and reading various points and counterpoints, and noodling over thoughts about the separation of church and state and how that plays out here, and how it would play out if the situation were just a little bit different, and what it is that bothers me about some of the criticism (and shaming) that I see directed at her, and some of the idolizing/lionizing that I also see directed at her. And the main thing that bugs me, I think, is that so much of it seems to be missing the point.

She's a government employee who can no longer perform the duties of her office. That being the case, the decent and honorable thing to do would be to step down. Whether I agree with her reasons or not doesn't matter. Whether or not she understands the religion she professes to be a part of doesn't matter. Whether or not she's a massive, flaming hypocrite doesn't matter. Whether she's just a generally horrible person (and I have no idea whether she is) doesn't matter. Her clothing, hairstyle, and body sure as hell don't matter. She is actively preventing a portion of her governmental job from being done, in defiance of a court order, and in light of that jail time seems perfectly appropriate. As far as I can see, that's really all that needs to be said about it.

It would be different if she were some sort of minister, and someone was trying to put legal pressure on her to perform weddings in her church that were not allowed by her beliefs. That would also be a violation of the separation of church and state, but in the other direction, and I would be entirely in support of her. But that is not the case; her duties as County Clerk are entirely secular, irreligious, non-sectarian, and non-denominational. Her job, or this portion of it, is to determine whether or not applicants meet the legal requirements to receive a governmental (hence, secular) marriage license; that's all.

And somewhere in the back of my mind is a vague thought about the odd Christian propensity for viewing itself as a persecuted minority religion, despite the fact that in most places that view has been out of date for something like sixteen hundred years.


  1. Concur, and well said. I too, avoid and regret that some are using her appearance and past marital and child bearing decisions in this debate. The facts of her refusal to perform her secular duties are so damning as to utterly negate the need to branch off into irrelevant and shallow lines of argument.

  2. I agree with everything you both said. This was a great post.

  3. That's it, man. You nailed the important thing.

  4. Yes, this came up at a family gathering yesterday. "The Christian persecution has begun." I just tried to change the subject. :|

  5. "Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you." -- 1 John 3:13

    The Bible tells Christians that they are going to be persecuted. In the absence of genuine persecution, loss of privilege will simply have to do.


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