Religious Freedom, Jailed Public Officials and Political Grandstanding …

Kim DavisIn Kentucky, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis is jailed for her refusal to issue gay marriage licenses, claiming per her lawyer that they are void and per the media, that her religious beliefs forbid. Meanwhile, a Muslim flight attendant was suspended for refusing to serve alcohol.

Supporters are holding rallies where Ms. Davis is jailed. Opponents are loudly denying that she is any sort of martyr. Pundits are for and against her actions. The media, needing continual ratings refreshment, drool over her. What are we to think of it all?

Well, we have no idea what you should think. This is what we think:

  1. Way back when the Pope was supporting Inquisitions, it made him popular; today, it would do the opposite and Popes don’t do that anymore. Moslems do, Popes don’t. And the popularity of Moslems doing that sort of thing is pretty limited. Religions aren’t easily imposed on folks by force these days.
  2.  American government functionaries swear an oath of office to enforce the laws, not just the laws they prefer. Therefor, failing to do so violates that oath, regardless of the reason. Granted, President Obama doesn’t appear to be enforcing the immigration laws but two wrongs don’t make a right.

For these reasons, we cannot hang with Ms. Davis. She took the job and swore the oath; she is obligated to execute the law.  But if she does, she is in violation f her religious beliefs, right? Is she required to risk Hell for the Law?

Hell, no. The long standing remedy for this conflict is simple: If she cannot execute the job she swore to perform, she should resign. That in itself is a protest and protects her conscience as well as the citizens she swore to serve.

Ms. Davis may point to the sin she would be accepting by issuing the licenses along with the sin she would accept by allowing others to issue them. The second is a fallacy; any sin of those others is theirs not hers if she believes in free will. If she does not, the entire point is moot.

So to us, Ms. Davis is no martyr, she is simply posturing politically to no good result. Her objection is personal, she has no right to impose it upon others. So her remedy must be personal as well: Resignation.

For the record, we see marriage as a historical development imposed by human biology: the fact that human children require decades of rearing by at least two people. That responsibility is in justice, imposed upon those who procreated said kids. Church and government have traditionally agreed and reinforced the bond to deduce the numbers of those who procreate the kids and skip out on the resulting responsibility. Hence, the only point of marriage is unavailable and unnecessary for homosexuals in the first place.

Bu that’s our belief, we live in a lawful society that appears to have decided otherwise. If so, its functionaries must act otherwise. We retain the right to vote them out of office if we disagree. Meantime, their duty is to perform as they were elected to do. And if they cannot, to resign.

That’s how we see things. Up to the point at least, that functionaries’ conduct justifies a new revolution, as specified in the Declaration of Independence. We don’t see that we are there yet.

Sorry, Ms. Davis. We think that your beliefs are right, but you conduct is not. But we are willing to respect your right to be wrong … so long as you accept your responsibility for the result.

About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much) Couple of degrees in government, a few medals in figure skating; just reading and suspicion for economics ...
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