Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Using Religion As An Excuse Must Stop ~by Legal Pub

Using religion as a weapon is a bad idea because it allows one to rationalize any bad behavior or means to justify an end.  Muslim extremists can justify murder or any other crime in the name of Allah.  Likewise Christians can rationalize any action in the name of their savior.  But rationalization does not excuse violence or harming others.  When someone shoots up an abortion clinic, it is wrong.  When someone sets off a bomb at a race, it's wrong.  Quit hiding behind religion to rationalize hurting others.

Why the rant?  Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in Kentucky is using religion to propagate her own agenda and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is trying to capitalize on the opportunity.  Everyone has a right to an opinion.  Everyone has a right to protest.  However, no one has a right to willingly violate a court order.  If you don't like the judge's ruling, appeal.  Seek an injunction pending the appellate court ruling. Better yet, quit your job!
All the jail side rallies in the world don't change the fact that Kim Davis willingly committed contempt of court because she refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Disobeying a federal court judge who is enforcing the United States Supreme Court's decision is not heroic.  It is not something to be admired. It is plain and simply refusing to attempt to change the law using proper channels.

If Kim Davis can disobey the law in the name of her beliefs, so can anyone else.  Timothy McVey believed bombing the Oklahoma government building was justified.  Did his belief excuse murder? Abortion clinic volunteers have been attacked and even shot, does belief in God justify the means? There are reasons why there is a separation of church and state in our constitution.  So often I hear right wing conservatives advocate for prayer in school and Christian values.  This is all fine, until the majority advocate a religion other than fundamental Christian beliefs.  As soon as the schools begin pledging allegiance to Allah, these same folks will be leading the charge to eliminate such coercion from the public schools.

Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, has conservative views.  While he has a right to be against gay marriage, he has no right to condone willfully violating a court order.  This is not a matter of religious freedom.  Davis could have avoided jail by simply quitting her job, requesting reasonable accommodations such as allowing deputy clerks to sign the marriage licenses or pursuing legal action.  Asking Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear to accommodate Davis' "religious conviction," and not force her to grant licenses to gay couples after being arrested for disobeying a court order appears a bit disingenuous.  

Photo courtesy of AP.
If the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, allows Davis to remove her name and title from official marriage certificates the problem is solved. That is what her lawyers are now requesting; however, there is no apparent reason the request could not have been made prior to being held in contempt of court.
The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June of 2015. Davis refused to follow the Supreme Court's ruling. Federal Judge Bunning ordered Davis to issue the licenses but Davis chose to disobey the order.  Since that time, deputy clerks (except her son Nathan) have issued licenses to gay couples. Kim has options.  One is to follow the law.  Another is to seek a different line of work, perhaps one where she does not have to follow the law.

Update 9-8-15:   U.S. District Judge David Bunning lifted the contempt order but directed Davis not to interfere with the granting of licenses by her deputies.


Anonymous said...

While I am not a proponent of gay marriage, the law must be followed until it is changed.

Anonymous said...

She had options, she just chose the wrong one and that is why she is in jail.

Anonymous said...

Quite frankly this is the reason why there should be a true separation of Church and State. If the State did not sanction marriage, then the Supreme Court would not have to be involved. You could leave marriage to churches. Those that allowed Gay marriage would have commitment ceremonies and those that did not favor such unions would not. For those not religious, there could be lay people who specialize in commitment ceremonies.

Under such a system there would be no need for laws that established automatic property rights. If folks wanted to own property together they would enter into contracts and title property jointly.

Nevertheless there are always going to be people that believe that they are right simply because they think they are right. It won't make them right; however, they are unlikely to see another's viewpoint.

Anonymous said...

The law is something to be feared and followed.

Legal Pub said...

U.S. District Judge David Bunning lifted the contempt order but directed Davis not to interfere with the granting of licenses by her deputies.

Anonymous said...

She seems like a publicity hound!