*This author recommends that before reading this piece, the reader go back and read a previous post on this site by the same author entitled, “Jim Crow Christians In A Rainbow Melting Pot.”
In the interest of brevity, this piece is being written for those already familiar with the facts and what is going on in regards to Rowan County KY Clerk Kim Davis not issuing marriage licenses at her office since the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that gay couples must be afforded the same access to the government service of marriage licensing as heterosexual couples. If you’re not familiar with this case, you probably won’t understand much in this blog.
I should probably start out by divulging a few facts about me and/or my history. I was born and raised in Kentucky, not far from where Kim Davis is a county clerk – it might have only taken a solitary ever-so small adjustment in the course of my life, and I could very easily have ended up a Rowan County resident. I was a licensed minister for 4 years in the United Pentecostal Church International (a small denomination with the same basic beliefs as Kim Davis’ church) – a ‘oneness’ (staunchly monotheistic to the point of rejecting the notion and terminology of trinitarianism) organization that believes the bible is the infallible word of god, one must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for salvation, being gay is an abomination to god, disobedient sinners will be tortured in a dark and fiery hell for all of eternity, and we are living in the final days before the prophesied apocalypse of John’s Revelation in which countless multitudes of people suffer grievously with rashes of plagues and death. There’s also more than a little dose of a ‘messiah complex’ inherent in this particular religious persuasion, and all other positive virtues someone might possess take a back seat to the virtue of blind ‘obedience.’ This should come as no surprise, as it is both the sincere and scholarly bible student’s conventional wisdom that their infallible holy book teaches blind obedience to a celestial dictator; and the concepts of love and morality are twisted into an incoherent mess, but cogent enough to manage to make the follower look pretty absurd taking a principled moral stand that is exactly the opposite of the actual moral position – and melodramatically play the persecuted victim if even questioned. The point is; given a few minor adjustments in my life, I could have just as likely ended up as Kim Davis’ pastor as anything (and it’s still entirely possible I’ve been in church with whoever is her pastor some years back (apostolic pentecostalism is still a fairly small demographic, even inside christian fundamentalism)). I was once a student at one of the Bible colleges affiliated with this religious cult, have attended it’s conferences and camps all over the United States, preached as an evangelist and youth pastor in more than a few UPC and other apostolic pulpits, have read a plethora of books by theological scholar and UPCI General Superintendent David K. Bernard and many other oneness pentecostal authors, studied the history of the pentecostal movement from Charles Parham’s ‘upper room’ in Kansas to William J. Seymour’s Azusa Street Revival and the more recent Ethiopian revival, and much much more. I was once a true believer who is now here to say that it’s all a bunch of ignorant bullshit that serves to warp reality to the point that blatant immorality is turned on its’ head to be held up as righteousness, holiness, and godliness. I have completely disavowed my former beliefs, and am not shy to admit that years of critical thinking and truth-seeking analysis has brought me to my current position of agnosticism, atheism, and even anti-theism as consistent with the more inherently skeptical nature I’ve found that I possess as an adult who has sought to develop intellectual maturity. The point is; I’ve already been where Kim Davis is – deeply immersed in the same culture, even in leadership positions – and I can only hope that someone like her can find her way out of the mind-fuck that is religious fundamentalism to a more reality-based and even scientific understanding of the world in which we live. The bible’s god is a petulant, misogynistic, genocidal, intolerant tyrant; which then shouldn’t surprise us when those ‘children of god’ who follow this hate-filled megalomaniac end up being the same. What does it say about a human being and their ego when their invisible friend (in other words, a creation of their own imagination (or mayebe even worse – the adoption of someone else’s delusions) of the type of companionship they wish to have) turns out to be a childish, irrational, and judgmental bully? I’ve even heard plenty of fundamentalist christians and clergy speak of the bible’s teaching that god’s protection on his ‘anointed’ means that god will hurt other people for not being nice to ‘god’s chosen’ and respectful of their unreasonable beliefs. All of this is simply to point out that there is a blatant paradox inherent to christian fundamentalism that ironically touts the bible’s message of ignorant intolerance and hateful judgments as absolute moral virtue that cannot be questioned (and under penalty of punishments, including eternal fiery torture). In other words, Kim Davis is not making a principled moral stand – she is endeavoring rather to (maybe somewhat unwittingly) mask an immoral and irrational judgment against her fellow humanity behind a facade of religious liberty and the right of sovereign conscience. And it should be pointed out that Kim Davis’ stand is only facade, because real religious liberty IS important and the right of an individual to follow their conscience IS absolute until it is taken too far and demonstrably infringes on the same rights of other human beings. This is why Kim Davis’ stand is not admirable or respectable, but more of a homophobic sacrament in a morally bankrupt superstitious tradition.
The following link is to a piece which makes the case that Kim Davis is not even doing the right thing according to the principles of her own religion. I don’t think it ultimately matters since there is no god to begin with, but this author does make some salient points: http://theboeskool.com/2015/09/01/four-reasons-from-a-christian-perspective-why-kim-davis-is-100-wrong/
I might also point out that I am a staunch libertarian of sorts who adamantly supported the libertarian-esque former (R) TX congressman Dr. Ron Paul for POTUS in 2008 & 2012, even being an active grassroots activist in networks such as Combat Veterans for Ron Paul. It’s been interesting to watch Ron’s son, (R) KY Senator Rand Paul, shit all over the principles of individual liberty for which his father became so famous. Rand Paul decided to endorse Mitt Romney for POTUS in 2012 in spite of the fact that his dad was still technically in the race for the Republican nomination – a political choice for which Rand lost my support forever. In spite of the fact that Ron Paul spoke so well to the problem of the military industrial complex and the global military empire which is bankrupting America and creating more terrorists and other violent enemies faster than they can be killed or otherwise neutralized, Rand Paul has cozied up to the war-hawks of militant christian zionist persuasion and even voted for Iranian sanctions which could draw American people and resources into another long pointless and costly war in the Middle East. While Rand Paul may be one of the best in congress (which isn’t really saying much) on curbing the insanity of the government’s ‘war on drugs,’ he seems to me to have chosen to be very careful not to offend the social conservatives of his party who are responsible for the government’s immoral prosecution of the drug war which criminalizes and otherwise destroys the lives of many non-violent Americans for victimless ‘crimes’ (which hits minorities and the poorest among us the hardest), and has a bad habit of selectively referring to himself as a ‘conservative’ or a ‘libertarian’ based on the crowd to which he’s speaking. And now Rand Paul’s recent comments when asked about the Kim Davis situation just goes to show why the Republican Party is so out of touch and seems hopelessly lost in ignorance and a proclivity towards fascism – of both the economic AND religious sort. Rand’s slimy well-politically-maneuvered deflective remarks not only miss the point and don’t actually speak to the real issue at hand, he manages also to try casting a positive light on Kim Davis’ ignorant and discriminatory behavior. I guess the reader can decide for yourself whether this speaks to Rand Paul being either stupid or evil; either way, it’s just one more example of why the Republican Party is hopelessly regressive and tyrannical: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/09/01/rand-paul-says-ky-clerks-gay-marriage-protest-is-part-of-the-american-way/
Not that it matters, but Kim Davis identifies as a Democrat. I should point out here that the Democratic Party is no better than this neo-fascist Republican Party that at least currently seems to be coalescing behind one of the most xenophobic nativist-nationalists to run for POTUS in my lifetime, Donald Trump. It seems both of America’s two major political parties are diving headlong into big government authoritarian dystopia, and freedom-loving people are being dragged along for the ride off the cliff.
As of this writing, Kim Davis is apparently sitting in jail by a judge’s order for contempt. While I too don’t like the idea of incarceration, especially for non-violent actions, I don’t know that there was any better option in this particular situation. Under no circumstances should Kim Davis be allowed to continue to collect her tax-payer funded paycheck while refusing to carry out the duties of her job in such a way as to deny the equal representation of government to a minority group whose constitutional rights have been affirmed by the SCOTUS. There are reportedly multitudes of religious idiots who have expressed their willingness to raise funds for Kim Davis and her legal fees, and that would only further enable Davis to abuse her office and violate the constitutional rights of the citizens who pay her salary. Unfortunately, it may be in the next election for Rowan County Kentucky Clerk before there is a remedy by which this bully can be removed from the public office she’s abusing to disenfranchise gay Americans. What the judge who has ordered Kim Davis locked up is doing is protecting the general public from a tyrant who is abusing her office to deprive others of their rights, not creating a martyr. If Kim Davis doesn’t believe she can carry out the duties of her job as defined by law, then she is under no obligation to continue in her position, and she is perfectly free to quit her employment as Rowan County Clerk. Her actions are not much different than a hypothetical police officer who wouldn’t protect gays from an assault, a fire-fighter who would refuse to save a gay individual’s home from burning down, or a paramedic who refused treatment to a gay patient. Kim Davis has no more right to deny equal access to this government service to gay folks than she would to deny it to divorced folks or interracial couples. If her religion taught kosher dietary standards, she would either have to make an exception for serving pork at a BBQ restaurant, serve shrimp at a seafood restaurant, or find other work where her religion doesn’t conflict with the duties for which she is financially compensated. There is absolutely no special accommodation for religious liberty that makes it okay to dehumanize others, and that is what Kim Davis and her morally inferior religion seeks to force on everyone else. And the idea that what she’s engaged in should be described as civil disobedience as opposed to what it really is – Jim Crow government policy – is a misguided and laughable notion at best (and a sick twisted application of what is otherwise a virtuous response to government tyranny – civil disobedience). A moral and more appropriate application of civil disobedience in this situation might rather be all the gay folks and their supporters in Rowan County KY staging a peaceful sit-in at the county clerk’s office until marriage licenses are openly and equally accessible to gay couples from that office as well. While I don’t wish to see Kim Davis in jail, maybe that’s exactly where she belongs until she either agrees to carry out the constitutional duties of her job, or she resigns.
One last thing I will mention here on this topic as I relate to it is that I ultimately don’t really have a dog in this fight, other than that I think there is an important principle of speaking out against injustice and violations of other people’s liberty as a precedent consistent with believing that you have to extend the same humanity and rights to others you wish to experience as well. As someone who regretfully engaged in this religious ignorance and bigotry until I got old enough and critically analyzed my beliefs enough to understand the damage I was doing to myself and others by having a relationship with an abusive god who doesn’t even exist, I write an essay like this with apologies to all my past religious ignorance and bigotry may have hurt in any way. I am human, you are human, and we should all be able to live and let live in liberty as free and sentient individuals of reason, conscience, and equal rights. Believe in your invisible friend if you wish, as you should be perfectly free to do so; but don’t mistaken your absolute right of sovereign conscience as license to violate the same rights retained by your fellow humanity and expect no opposition – if nobody else will call you on your bullshit and shout about your ignorant hateful injustice from the mountaintops, I fuckin’ will. Unfortunately, the warped biblical ‘morality’ of those like Kim Davis seems to make those like her def to logic, justice, freedom, or shared humanity.
A.G. “Brick” House is an Afghanistan war veteran and former licensed minister (UPCI), who has become an outspoken skeptic, peace advocate, and involved himself in many other issues which he believes affect the individual freedoms of the people whose constitutional rights he took an oath to defend. He currently resides in the heart of Tennessee with his companion dog ‘Liberty,’ where he is recovering from PTSD, enjoys the therapeutic hobbies of gardening, creative writing https://chaossection.com/, playing drums in the metal band Outlaw Serenade http://www.outlawserenade.com/, and other forms of artistic expression \m/