Anyone familiar with the criminal justice system is aware that for many offenders, leniency is a signal to continue breaking the law. In America, when anyone affiliated with the conservative movement breaks the law they earn notoriety and hero worship from Republicans. If the criminals are evangelical fundamentalists like Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, they earn Christian medals, become an evangelical martyr, are praised to high heaven by Republican presidential candidates, and then get a secret meeting with the Pope.
Now, Kim Davis needs a very public meeting with a Judge and then a lengthy visit with a prison warden.
Here is the issue with Christian martyr, anti-gay advocate, and neo-Republican criminal Kim Davis. When the U.S. District Judge David Bunning took the high road and released the enemy of the U.S. Constitution from jail, he gave one condition for her release. Judge Bunning told Davis, quite bluntly, that she was “barred from interfering in any way, directly or indirectly, with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.”
After being hailed as a heroic onward Christian soldier after her release from jail, Davis went to the country clerk’s office and immediately began “interfering with the efforts of her deputy clerks issuing marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples” in several ways. Davis promptly confiscated all the licenses issued to gay couples in her absence and illegally altered them. All the while, seditious Oathkeepers gathered in and around Davis to protect her from being thrown back in jail for further contempt of court and violating the conditions of her release. No doubt that if Davis was a person of color, either the Oathkeepers would have regulated her with a 2nd Amendment remedy right on the spot or subdued her and carted her off to slam.
Davis’ method of “interference” was creating personally-altered marriage licenses that deleted any and all mention of the county, deleted her name as the county clerk, and deleted every reference to any deputy clerks. She also replaced all deputy clerks’ names with the name of a clerk she re-designated as a “notary public.” For the record, and this is important; in Kentucky only a “county clerk” is authorized to issue a license for a legal marriage. Just to permanently cement her religious imposition on the public record, she altered the marriage licenses to state that they were only issued “Pursuant to Federal Court Orders.” Seriously, Christian martyr and hero to the Pope notwithstanding; Kim Davis needs to be sent back to jail.
What one wonders is whether or not disciple Davis confessed to Pope Francis during their ‘secret meeting‘ that she had not only blatantly violated the Judge’s condition of her release, but that she blew off her own god’s commandments to obey the government authorities or face the wrath of god. One also wonders exactly what impact Davis’ secret meeting with the Pope had to do with his statement that conscientiously violating the law, other Americans’ constitutional rights, and altering official government documents was her basic right as a paid public servant who took an oath to support the Constitution.
His Holiness also said that not allowing a criminal to act according to “their conscience” was denying them their basic rights. What the Pope failed to condemn, even tacitly, is how Davis’ actions were denying other Americans their Constitutional civil and human rights, but the Pope plays by archaic Church rules and has little interest in America’s Constitution or gay people’s rights.
What is particularly evangelical-like of Davis, is that this was the third time she was given “special accommodations” for her phony and deeply-held religious conscience and instead of a semblance of appreciation, she flouts the law, a U.S. District Court Judge’s direct orders, and the U.S. Constitution. Kim Davis needs to be thrown right back in slam, indicted for altering official government documents, and thrown out of her cushy $80,000 a year job.
However, his High Holiness said that because Davis was violating the law, other Americans’ civil rights, and her own god’s biblical dictates according to her Christian conscience, any legal or punitive action against her is “denying her basic human rights.” In a fashion, the Pope’s mindset fits nicely with the evangelical Republicans’ interpretation of “religious freedom, religious persecution, and the phony “war on Christianity.” As another aside, it was little surprise that Davis joined the Republican Party where taxpayer-funded public servants, like congressional Republicans, draw a bloated salary and do not do their jobs; Davis is a Republican on that alone.
Davis boasted that the Pope told her to “stay strong” and “Thank you for your courage. It was really humbling to think he would want to meet or know me.” Perhaps in some bizarre barbaric society, like an evangelical theocracy, it is apropos to tell a religious criminal who singlehandedly torments other Americans by denying their civil rights “to stay strong,” and “Thank you for your courage.” But this is America; not an evangelical theocracy where the law of the land is whatever the religious extremists or a “progressive Pope” say it is.
It is important to remember that it was less than three days after consulting with, and consoling, Kim Davis the Pope was asked specifically for his assessment of “a public official who refuses to follow the law and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.” The Pope replied with a perfect Mike Huckabee and religious Republicans theological mindset; expecting Davis to abide by the Constitution, and a U.S. District Court Judge’s order, was “denying her rights;” and now as a newly crowned Neo-Christian martyr it is unlikely any judge will do their job and send Davis back to jail because very few people really want to piss off the Pope.
This latest incident is further proof that Kim Davis is not now, or ever was, exercising her “deeply held religious belief” that prohibited her “participation” in same-sex marriages. From the beginning of the religious revolt Davis was given accommodations for her religious hate by allowing deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses in her stead. That was unacceptable to Davis whose only “religious goal” was prohibiting same sex marriages in “her county.” Apparently, five days in jail did little more than embolden the newly crowned Christian martyr to thumb her nose at Judge Bunning’s condition of release because her first act was violating his condition and altering official documents; an act the Pope thanked her for and encourage her to “stay strong.” It just is not the kind of thing a person of power tells a criminal.
The Pope knew that a covert meeting with a religious criminal, and keeping it secret until he was out of country, was expedient to maintain the warm and fuzzy feeling even a few atheists held for the Pontiff. However, just because he talked about compassion for the poor, taking action to stop climate change and protect the environment, and condemned the unrestrained capitalism driving income inequality, it does not mean he is anything special; that is what his job entails as a Christian priest. For dog’s sake, a fairly well-known American, President Barack Obama, has spent over six years preaching the same issues to nothing but criticism from the same people supporting the Pope and Kim Davis.
It is curious, indeed, why Judge Bunning has not yet sent Republican hero Davis back to jail. Perhaps it is out of fear of inciting the unconstitutional and seditious Oathkeepers who threaten to arrest any legal attempts to hold Davis accountable to the law. Or maybe he is terrified of the well-armed onward Christian soldiers panting for any reason to go to war for their religion. Whatever the reason, by not enforcing the “conditions of release” that Davis certainly violated after being hailed as a hero, the Judge has perpetuated the belief among theocracy-minded evangelicals that laws, court orders, or the Constitution do not apply to them. Judge Bunning can take a major step in disabusing that belief by simply doing his job and throwing disciple Davis back in jail where criminals belong regardless of the Pope’s or all the Mike Huckabee types cries of persecution
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.