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Above The Law?

I’ve resisted saying anything about Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who is still refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay people. The legalization of gay marriage happened so quickly, it is no surprise that there are a few problems here and there.

It doesn’t matter if she isn’t much of a poster child for religious piety, that’s not the point. The point is, nobody is above the law. Nobody is forcing her to issue marriage licenses for gay people. If she, an elected official, cannot follow the law and perform her job, she should resign. But Davis has taken it one step further and won’t even let other employees in her office issue marriage licenses. She is not only violating her oath of office, she is forcing her beliefs on other people and making them violate the law. Not to mention her forcing her beliefs on gay people. I’m glad she is going to jail.

But that’s not why I’m writing this post. What really pisses me off is that people who are running for the presidency are praising what she is doing, supporting her, and encouraging others to join her. Mike Huckabee called her up and thanked her for standing up to “judicial tyranny”. “I salute her today, and I stand with her. I thank God for Kim Davis, and I hope more Americans will stand with her.”

Rand Paul also praised her, saying “I think people who do stand up and are making a stand to say that they believe in something is an important part of the American way.” And Bobby Jindal says “I don’t think anyone should have to choose between following their conscience and religious beliefs and giving up their job and facing financial sanctions.” Nut case Ted Cruz said “Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny.” He also called on “every lover of liberty to stand with Kim Davis.”

These people are hypocrites and are not qualified to be president. Yes, people making a stand for something they believe in is a part of the American way, but those people are prepared to go to jail for their beliefs, and have. However, these candidates don’t think Davis should have to face any consequences. They think she should be above the law.

This is not about religious freedom. As the lawyer for one of the couples denied a marriage license put it, “religious liberty is not a sword with which government, through its employees, may impose particular religious beliefs on others.” The point is that religious freedom doesn’t give you the right to impose your beliefs on others against their will, and deny them equal protection under the law. That is not religious freedom, that is religious intolerance.

Imagine for a moment if Kim Davis was not a Christian, but a Muslim or a faithful member of many other religions, and was refusing to do her job because it violated her religious beliefs. These same presidential candidates would be calling for Davis’ head.

Religious freedom does not mean you are above the law. If your religion prohibits marriages between a believer and a non-believer (as many branches of Islam do), you can’t refuse to issue marriage licenses to such a couple. If interest on loans is against your religion (as it is in Islam) that doesn’t excuse you from paying it. If your religion practices animal sacrifice, that doesn’t mean you can violate laws against animal cruelty. If your religion uses illegal drugs in its ceremonies, you will still be arrested. It doesn’t matter how “sincerely held” your beliefs are. Not one bit.



  1. Michael wrote:

    These are the same types of people that cheer on Roy Moore for putting a Ten Commandments monument on the courthouse lawn. They are also the same people who support the Oathkeepers [Oathbreakers?] who suddenly became concerned about government overreach once Obama took office and declared that they will not obey orders they deem inconsistent with the Constitution. (They were shockingly silent during those years of extraordinary rendition, waterboarding, etc.) They don’t care about the rule of law, regardless of the lip-service they pay to it. They care about forcing everyone to adhere to their values and morals.

    As for the reference to illegal drug use in religious ceremonies, well, it depends. The church of cannabis? Sure, there’s no way that’s going to fly. But one of the big reasons we’re dealing with all this religious liberty overreach right now is because of that exact issue. The RFRA was passed to protect the use of peyote in Native American tribes. (Wow, the law actually used “Indian” in its phrasing!) Maybe we should chalk a lot of this up to being another side effect of the drug war?

    Friday, September 4, 2015 at 8:19 am | Permalink
  2. ThatGuy wrote:

    Or imagine if we were talking about an illegal immigrant who broken the law to come to this country in order to support their starving family or escape violence. Oh wait, all of them are rapists and murderers. No sympathy necessary. Follow the law or be barcoded/imprisoned/shot on sight.

    There’s also the insane insistence by folks on Davis’ side that marriage in a church and marriage before the law are the same thing. By all means, believe your respective invisible man in the sky doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, but if your job is to recognize the legal framework of marriage, get on with it or get out of that job. It’s actually kind of ironic that Davis thinks her marriage licenses confer any sort of religious importance at all, almost elevating her clerk post to the height of a priest. But, then again I don’t think we’re dealing with the sharpest bulbs in the crayon box.

    Friday, September 4, 2015 at 8:27 am | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    “sharpest bulbs in the crayon box” LOL!

    Michael, the peyote example was done correctly — they got the law changed. And I will point out that as far as I know, they weren’t trying to force their religious beliefs on other people. Kim Davis has the right to disapprove of gay marriage and to shun gay people. She just doesn’t have the right to deny them their rights in her capacity as an elected official. The purpose of the bill of rights is to protect citizens from the government.

    Friday, September 4, 2015 at 8:32 am | Permalink
  4. Hassan wrote:

    No one should be above law, be it Kim Davis refusing to issue marriage licenses, Obama killing Americans without trials, Bush putting people to jail without trial, police killing blacks, banks defrauding, illegal immigrants doing parades without fear of being deported, NSA listening to calls without warrant.

    Kim Davis either should stay in jail, or issue licenses, or resign and open a bakery and refuse to sell it to gay weddings. Hey wait, she cant do the last one as well, so she is indeed persecuted.

    Friday, September 4, 2015 at 8:33 am | Permalink
  5. ThatGuy wrote:

    Those poor, poor, oppressed bigoted bakers.

    First they came for my public Christmas displays, and I said nothing…

    Friday, September 4, 2015 at 8:45 am | Permalink
  6. Mountain Man wrote:

    Actually, she’s getting exactly what she wanted – to be made into a martyr. Extremist religious groups are in ecstasy over the way this has been handled. Her boss either conspired to facilitate this outcome or was just plain stupid. If she was in other ways a good employee, she should have been transferred to another position in which her religious beliefs did not cause problems. If she was a bad employee in other respects, she should simply have been fired and fired for those reasons.

    Friday, September 4, 2015 at 11:00 am | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    As an elected government official, Davis does not have a boss who can simply fire her. She would have to be impeached.

    Friday, September 4, 2015 at 11:02 am | Permalink
  8. Hassan wrote:

    Only laws that are broken by right wingers are supposed to be sanctified and are worth putting someone in jail.

    If all laws were equal, we will see Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeild/Obama/bankers in jail and illegal immigrants were deported

    Friday, September 4, 2015 at 11:03 am | Permalink
  9. Iron Knee wrote:

    Hassan, you seem to be extremely concerned about bakers and illegal immigrants. That’s your right, and I don’t totally disagree with you.

    But I’m not sure what point you are trying to make that has much to do with this story. Are you implying that Davis shouldn’t be held accountable because bakers have had (in your opinion) their rights violated, or because we haven’t deported all illegal immigrants (I’d also like to know how we would pay for it, including the huge hit to our economy)?

    Friday, September 4, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink
  10. Hassan wrote:

    Iron Knee, please read my comments carefully. I am concerned about any law being not followed. I am implying Kim Davis should be held accountable and jailed for not following law, and so should many other people (list of people or categories above) be in jail. I said “bankers”, not bakers. So for liberals (or conservatives you mentioned), they have selective category of laws that they respect and want country to follow.

    For illegal immigrants, imagine Kim Davis would not have been jailed, then a chaos will ensue, and there will be numerous people in country not following law. And problem will be more difficult to solve then. So it is good that it is solved early on. For illegal immigration, problem was not solved when it should have been, and now it is too big to fail theory for them. Illegal immigration will never be solved, unless the immigration laws of lands are not enforced. You want generous immigration laws, specially for american continental people, I have no objection to that, but you cannot ignore laws to the point where politicians are pandering to defend them to get votes. That is how much situation is messed up.

    Friday, September 4, 2015 at 11:40 am | Permalink
  11. John wrote:

    I believe Hassan is referring to the Colorado bakery that refused service to David Mullins and Charlie Craig. The case went to the Colorado Court of Appeals, and the court ruled in favor of Mullins and Craig and against the bakery for having violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act.

    “Masterpiece (the bakery) remains free to continue espousing its religious beliefs, including its opposition to same-sex marriage. However, if it wishes to operate as a public accommodation and conduct business within the State of Colorado, CADA prohibits it from picking and choosing customers based on their sexual orientation,” Judge Daniel Taubman wrote.

    So, no… if you want to operate a public business in Colorado, you may not use your religious beliefs as an excuse to violate Colorado law.

    Meanwhile, it is NOT a requirement in this country that anyone with darkish skin who happens to speak Spanish to have their documentation checked, any more than it is white people who speak German or Oriental-looking people who speak Chinese or Japanese. We don’t check papers in this country for no reason.

    I am also, seriously, not aware of any right or left, Democrat or Republican exemption that does allow people to violate the law.

    Friday, September 4, 2015 at 2:42 pm | Permalink
  12. ebdoug wrote:

    I thought we had a separation of government and Religion.
    Huckabee has long long ago espoused pushing this Nation into only being Christian.
    This as I send a Funeral donation to a Dr’s family who was born and raised in Iraq (that oldest civilized Nation) until he was 18. Got Medical training in Turkey. Came back to Mosul in 1958 and doctored there for ten years. Came to this country. We welcomed Muslims in 1968. They were my tennis opponents and partners. He became a beloved orthopedist in our area.
    And had to watch his native country be destroyed by a Born again Christian and his side kick Cheney.

    Friday, September 4, 2015 at 3:43 pm | Permalink
  13. Iron Knee wrote:

    Wow, Donald Trump has no sympathy for Kim Davis, saying that she “violated the law of the land”. He explained that she should not have prevented others in her office from issuing marriage licenses. “I would say the simple answer is ‘let her [deputies] do it’. From what I understand, she wasn’t letting her deputies do it either.” “You have to go with it… you have to go with it. The [Supreme Court] decision has been made, and that is the law of the land.”

    This is in stark contrast to most of the other Republicans running for president.

    Friday, September 4, 2015 at 10:28 pm | Permalink
  14. Hassan wrote:

    John, yes that is law, and we have to obey it as it stands, but we can always fight to change it.

    For paper, you are right, but I am assuming you are saying that in America there is no way you can enforce immigration laws?

    Saturday, September 5, 2015 at 6:35 am | Permalink
  15. Hassan wrote:

    Iron Knee, even Lindsey Graham has said same thing few days ago. Rest are just idiots. (actually all of them are at different level)

    Saturday, September 5, 2015 at 6:37 am | Permalink
  16. Don in Waco wrote:

    I want to know if Kim’s being paid while in jail. Annual leave? Admin leave?

    Saturday, September 5, 2015 at 7:11 am | Permalink
  17. John wrote:

    Hassan… The reality is that, it is neither economically feasible nor practical to enforce immigration laws as written. Immigration laws, in my opinion, violate the lofty language of our declaration of independence and are frankly un-American.

    My ancestors came here from Germany and Poland at a time when there were basically no restrictions, and one side of the family homesteaded land which had literally been taken as the spoils of war against the people who lived there first. Now that we have ours, though, and we are strong enough to do so, we pass laws which prevent other people from doing exactly the same thing our ancestors did… not because it’s the right thing to do or because there is any moral imperative involved, but because we can.

    Should the laws be enforced? Perhaps. That, or changed. BUT, if Congress (or anyone) is going to complain that the law is not being enforced, then those same people should first allocate adequate funding to enforce the laws.

    Having the objective of shrinking government to the extent it can be drowned in a bathtub while at the same time complaining that government does not perform its duties is silly.

    Regardless of whether I agree with it, the United States government absolutely does not currently have enough money allocated to enforcement of immigration law to carry out said enforcement.

    There is also this, from a center-right think tank, that I think may have been referred to before at politicalirony:

    Tuesday, September 8, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink
  18. John wrote:

    There was this little thing going on in a country in Southeast Asia called Vietnam a few years back, where a lot of young people claimed that killing other human beings violated their religious beliefs… and I do NOT remember the Conservatives du jour at the time supporting their point of view in any way, shape or form.

    Tuesday, September 8, 2015 at 2:39 pm | Permalink