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Now that Kentucky clerk Kim Davis served time in jail after being held in contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, right-wing Christians are in a “we told you so” frenzy. See, these folks have had a persecution fantasy since, well, forever, and have been screaming from the rooftops that once marriage equality became the law of the land, they’d all be rounded up and jailed. And so Kim Davis has become a celebrity symbol of anti-Christian oppression.
Granted, she’s not being oppressed for being a Christian. She’d been jailed for refusing to follow the law. She might not like the law, but that’s too bad. I’d like to point out that for years clerks who wanted to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples could not do so even though refusing these couples went against their personally held beliefs. Davis used to be able to discriminate against same-sex couples per her religious beliefs. Now she can’t. And she ended up in jail.
She didn’t have to be in jail, mind you. She had plenty of other options. But she’d refused all manner of compromises and workarounds that had been offered to her and so in jail she sat, collecting martyr points.
Most lawyers wouldn’t want to see their clients behind bars and would work to get them out. Unfortunately for Davis, she’s being represented by the right-wing Liberty Counsel and her lawyer, Mat Staver, seems to be very pleased that she was in jail as it helps to perpetuate his Christian persecution fantasy.
“Kim Davis’ case is exhibit A,” Staver said Sept. 2 during an interview on “Washington Watch.” “And she’s not the only one. We’ve got the baker, the florists, uh, many others, photographers and wedding chapels. We’re gonna have this happen to churches and pastors. This is just the beginning. The question is, are people gonna draw a line and say, ‘Enough is enough.’ This is not the kind of America that we want to live in.”
Okay, so he’s got the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker as exhibits B, C and D. But there is no truth behind the claim that pastors and churches are going to be forced to marry same-sex couples. Nothing has changed in this department, folks. Churches have always been able to refuse to marry people they don’t want to marry in accordance with their religious beliefs. The Supreme Court said that same-sex couples cannot be denied civil marriages, which is exactly what Kim Davis was doing. Had Davis been a pastor at her church, for example, she’d be within her rights not to marry gay couples. But she’s not a pastor. She’s a civil servant.
Staver, however, sees something much more sinister afoot. “You know, back in the 1930s, it began with the Jews,” he said, “where they were evicted from public employment, then boycotted in their private employment, then stigmatized and that led to the gas chambers. I mean, this is the new persecution of Christians here in this country.”
Uh, no. Nope. All the nopes. Comparing the state of America today, a country where Christians enjoy enormous privilege, to Nazi Germany is not only insulting, it betrays a persecution complex that has gone beyond the pathological.
If I was in jail, I’d want a lawyer that had a really firm grip on not only the law, but also reality. Unfortunately for Kim Davis, she’s not only on the wrong side of the law and the wrong side of history, but she’s stuck with a lawyer who is using her to advance his own delusional agenda. You could say she’s getting what she deserves, but it’s still gross.