Kim Davis, Religious Liberty & Civil Rights

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Kim Davis: A Martyr for Tyranny and Intolerance

Friends of Padre Steve’s World

I am just a putting up a quick and hopefully provocative note to end this workweek before I go with Judy to spend some time with friends over a few cold beers. I waded in to the Kim Davis-Gay Marriage controversy knowing that anything that I said would be controversial. Especially when I dared to directly confront the issue and throw the bullshit flag on her, her lawyers, and the political hacks that support her.

She is not a new Rosa Parks, for Rosa only wanted a seat on the bus, not to kick people off of the bus. She is not a new Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for he only sought to ensure that blacks had unimpeded civil rights and voting rights. In that she is much more like George Wallace, or Governor Ross Barnett who defied a Federal order to allow James Meredith, a black man to attend Ole Miss in 1962. Governor Barnett’s stand led to violence and attacks on Federal Marshals and his supporters wanted nothing less than to reignite the Civil War. If you want to read a great book about that incident read Walter Lord’s classic The Past that Would Not Die. 

Likewise Davis is not like a Jewish victim of the Third Reich, for Hitler’s argument against the Jews was over his view that the Jews were a race; thus even Jews who had converted to Christianity were still considered Jews by Hitler. In fact she was not fired for her race, but for failing to obey a law that she disagreed with, or to fail to serve someone she despised. That is something that the Jews of Germany never got to do. As a historian who spent the majority of his undergraduate and graduate work studying Weimar and the Third Reich, I know a bit more about this than Davis’s hack lawyer Mat Staver, who raised this specter yesterday.

There are all kinds of things that Mrs. Davis is not; and civil rights martyr is not one of them. She is much more like the county clerks of the Jim Crow era who denied civil rights to blacks than she is Rosa Parks, or for that matter, any other real champion of civil rights. She is a champion of her right to discriminate based on her religious beliefs; she is a martyr for the cause of religious tyranny and oppression. For two months she has refused to carry out the law. She has refused to honor people’s civil rights, or even to allow her employees to do that. That is the issue. If a Moslem clerk refused a Christian a marriage license would she or her supporters back them? Of course not; that would be Christian persecution, but when Christians do it to Gays, that is freedom of religion.

I have begun reading a fascinating book by the late Richard Hofstadter, a remarkable historian who studied American politics. The book I am reading is The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays that he wrote not long after Barry Goldwater’s abortive presidential campaign. In the book Hofstadter wrote concerning that movement words which are incredibly accurate when looking at today’s so-called religious-conservatives, or more correctly called the Christian Right. Goldwater, who Hofstadter critiqued fairly harshly said a number of things that those who claim to be conservatives should pay attention to or doom them and their cause to irrelevance. Sadly Hofstadter died well before Goldwater had his epiphany regarding the Regarding the Christian Right he said:

“There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ and ‘D.’ Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of ‘conservatism.’ ” Barry Goldwater 
(1909-1998) US Senator (R-Arizona) Source: Congressional Record, September 16, 1981

Goldwater later explained his understanding of religious tolerance and compromise that was the core of American civil religion versus the intense sectarianism embodied by the Christian Right:

“Being a conservative in America traditionally has meant that one holds a deep, abiding respect for the Constitution.  We conservatives believe sincerely in the integrity of the Constitution.  We treasure the freedoms that document protects… “By maintaining the separation of church and state,” he explained, “the United States has avoided the intolerance which has so divided the rest of the world with religious wars… Can any of us refute the wisdom of Madison and the other framers?  Can anyone look at the carnage in Iran, the bloodshed in Northern Ireland, or the bombs bursting in Lebanon and yet question the dangers of injecting religious issues into the affairs of state?” 

He also said something that is coming true today: “Well, I’ve spent quite a number of years carrying the flag of the ‘Old Conservatism.’  And I can say with conviction that the religious issues of these groups have little or nothing to do with conservative or liberal politics.  The uncompromising position of these groups is a divisive element that could tear apart the very spirit of our representative system, if they gain sufficient strength.” 

Hofstadter wrote about the dualism and lack of ability to compromise embodied by such people:

“As a member of the avant-garde who is capable of perceiving the conspiracy before it is fully obvious to an as yet unaroused public, the paranoid is a militant leader. He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated–if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began, and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes.”

Davis and her supporters fit this to a tee. Compromise is hateful to them and victory must be total or it is not satisfying. Compromise and partial success reinforces the powerlessness they feel. That is why today, in the wake of the ruling of a judge appointed by George W. Bush, they are apoplectic because they know that they will soon be yesterday’s news.

I will write more about this soon, and probably re-write some older articles on the subject to reinforce my point. For those who think I am anti-Christian or want to crush religious liberty, instead I want to preserve it for all, not just a few.

So tonight I wish you peace, love, and good craft beer,

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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39 Comments

Filed under christian life, civil rights, LGBT issues, News and current events, Political Commentary

39 responses to “Kim Davis, Religious Liberty & Civil Rights

  1. Mike Solomons

    Hi Steve,

    In reading your article here, I surely hope that one day individuals who do not believe strongly in biblical doctrine will tolerate those who do and not try to impose their beliefs on others – or isn’t that the point? Religion – no matter whose it is – has been used and abused by many throughout the centuries to control, manipulate, cajole, enslave, etc. or free, assist, encourage, and care for others. I believe the Lord would approve of the latter more positively than the former more negative.

    Ignoring it or trying to legislate religion will not ‘make it’ go away. It’s in America’s fabric, with or without some stitches or patchwork of perfectness.

    With that being said, I believe that one day we shall see pluralistic marriages with two, three, four and more husbands with one wife and visa-versa; the “die has been cast”. Who says we can’t? The Constitution? Nope – the Bible. But then again, who is listening?

    • padresteve

      No problem anything you said Mike. I am totally with Jefferson, Madison, Adams and the other founders on this. The problem is the the supposedly “Christian Right” is not.

      • Mike Solomons

        Thank you Steve, but isn’t legislating “sin” going against another’s religious beliefs? What say you on polygamy, bigamy, and the like? Do you believe it will be passed one day?

      • padresteve

        No not at all, it may be “Biblical” but even the Mormons are against it.

      • Mike Solomons

        And I will side with what I believe is the Truth, whether legislated or not by man, it doesn’t matter – it’s Author is the Finisher of my salvation which I will gladly share and follow closely with anyone, repeating the Apostle’s examples and doctrine as Paul wrote it to Timothy and Titus; for them to watch their faith and to follow sound doctrine and continue his example.

        I will live in His world but not allow it to change my love for the Truth and obedience to His Word. Peace.

      • padresteve

        But who decides or interprets what God says Mike? Even conservative Christians don’t agree what the Bible says.

    • johnranta

      Mike, first off, the Bible fully supports polygamy. How many wives did Solomon have, or King David? But the bigger issue here is what holds sway, when there is a conflict between a religious belief, and the rule of law? The Founders were clear, the Constitution is the final arbiter. Which is something most Christians understand and accept, when the religious belief is Sharia law. But many Christians can’t accept the supremacy of the Constitution when there’s a conflict with their own religious beliefs and the rule of law. Kim Davis’ religious beliefs are not being made illegal. They are being rendered secondary to her carrying out her duties as a public official. Which is exactly how the Founders intended it to be.

      • padresteve

        Thank you John!

      • Mike Solomons

        Oh, and one more thing, multiple wives/husbands are not authorized in the New Testament…and too many were a drain on a person in the Old Testament…”the two became one flesh”.

      • Mike Solomons

        And Johnranta, that’s when she needs to decide to “render unto Caesar…” or leave the job and unfortunately for many, society is not tolerant but christians must be…

  2. johnranta

    Mike, tolerance? Ms. Davis is the intolerant one, demonstrating her bigotry toward gay people. Christians have long been favored, unfairly, in our society. So much so, that when some balance is restored, Christians cry “intolerance”. We Americans are finally, long past due, treating Christians like they are nothing special. Just another religion, no different from, no more important than, Muslims, or Jews, or atheists. Which is as it should be, in a Constitutional America. Christians are acting like spoiled children, unable to accept their loss of privilege. Christianity is just one of many faiths…

    • MSolomons

      John, first of all, your “namesake” was explicit in the 1st Chapter of John. It’s speaks of Jesus even before the world was…after all, He (Jesus) created it and all that is in it. That’s what it says, and if Sodom and Gomorrah are any indication, He was not pleased with their activities. (check it-He wasn’t pleased with my namesakes’ many wives and concubines either – they pulled him away from worshipping God)

      Secondly, the Bible is the Word of God. A belief I have held for all my life even though I haven’t always followed it – but see, therein is the rub – no one is perfect.

      Thirdly, the Bible is not inconsistent – humans are. A testament, or will, is not unless the testator dies. Therefore, the Old “will” was replaced by the New “will” on the cross. Everything has a price – mine is to spread the Word to the believer and nonbeliever. I make no apologies that it doesn’t “fit” the law of the land, but it was never meant to…as I said and He said, “render unto Caesar”, the cost otherwise would be too high.

  3. johnranta

    Mike, like many Christians, you dance between the Old Testament and the new, as befits your argument. You claimed that the Bible, not the Constitution, was the last defense against polygamy. And at the same time, you argue that gay marriage is wrong, according to the Bible. But you need to split hairs, with your Bible. If you want to oppose gay marriage, you need to cozy up to the Old Testament. Jesus said nothing about homosexuality, and those of us who are familiar with the New Testament understand that Jesus was probably supportive of homosexuals. If you want to oppose polygamy, then you need to reject the Old Testament, and embrace the New Testament. Your Bible is such a mess, when it comes to consistent philosophy. Pick and choose, as you like, but acknowledge the errancy. God’s “word” is so fuzzy, and inconsistent.

  4. Padre,

    The more I learn about Mrs. Davis, the more I feel sorry for her. All I see is a lady whose idealism has been abused by people who have a political agenda.

    As far as the conversation between Mike and John, I would like to ask them to factor the simple command of Matthew 22:36-40 into their thought processes.

    • MSolomons

      robakers, I do and understand where the rhetoric comes from, and also understand this…Paul (filled with the Holy Spirit) listed those who would not enter into God’s Kingdom. Loving someone without helping them see the error of their ways (according to God’s Word) goes against even Jesus’ sayings to the multitudes – purity was a must in His eyes as was repentance and forgiveness. When He forgave the woman who was about to be stoned to death, he told her she was forgiven and to “sin no more”.

      No one is above the law (man’s laws as ordained by God), but the Law of Liberty is without sin – or the permission to sin. People will forget the list of those who Paul and Peter wrote down to suit their own needs, wants and desires (remembering all along that they wrote what was told them of the Holy Spirit – if you ‘believe’ it).

      Love is of God and is unquestionable – our definitions are fallible. (1 John 4:7-8)

      • Wow, glad you didn’t quote 1 Cor 13:1-3. Nothing says love like telling a person who is down on their luck that they are going to Hell. Jesus didn’t spread his message like that, he ate with the people who lived in sin. He didn’t criticize, he loved. He didn’t talk, he listened. He made them feel good about who they are. He encouraged the sinner and motivated them to believe that that were worthy of his love. He didn’t use the scriptures as a hammer to beat them into submission and he didn’t call them vipers.

        He saved those comments for the Pharisees, men who knew what was right but refused to do the right thing because they were blinded by politics, money and the love of power. Matt 22:13-14.

        I apologize to the Padre for hijacking his site for this discussion. MSolomons, if you want to continue this in a private forum please contact me through my site. I wish you well and I thank you for the opportunity to discuss this. Peace, Hope and Love.

    • padresteve

      Rob,

      She is a hopeless dupe, and I pity her. That being said she was stupid enough to go to jail on the advice of Mat Staver and Liberty Counsel.

      That being said, she had a choice. Obey the law and fulfill the duties of her office, resign, or do what she did. She has chosen to continue to fight this with her husband and supposedly Christian lawyers continuing to make wild, incendiary comments to anyone In the media willing to listen.

      I don’t see her as an idealist. I see her as an opportunist who gambled, broke the law, defied the courts, the Governor of Kentucky and the Supreme Court, and had her bet called by a judge who refused to play her and her lawyers game. Her lawyers were stunned, they were telling the media in the days before the hearing that she would only get a fine.

      That is what now suffices for Christian witness in this country. If I or someone like me throws the bullshit flag we are condemned by Christians for not being forgiving.

      Conservative Christians in this country have opted for a double standard and I am tired of it.

      Maybe Mrs Davis will come to her senses. I hope that she does, for her sake. The sad thing is that her Christian lawyers will use this case to raise money and throw her away, her life, career and reputation ruined. But that is what goes for Christian witness in this country and why so many Christian young people are walking away from the church and shaking the dust off their sandals.

      Barna and his surveys are dead on the money, what we saw in Rowan County will only cause more to leave the church and never come back.

      Peace my friend

      Steve+

      • Padre,

        Your last sentence is the one that hurts the most because it is so true. I cry when I think of how many people will never allow themselves to hear the good news but of the actions in Kentucky.

        Sleep well sir.

  5. MSolomons

    I see the ‘Book of Opinions’ is alive and well. My opinion? Follow God’s Word – read it, don’t just give an opinion – find the word or phrase you are questioning and read it in context…for “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”, Romans 10:17.

    robakers: “He didn’t criticize, he loved..” He did both many times throughout the scriptures – “white-washed…vipers” – one example and “Greater love hath no one…..” (Jesus)

    I also like this one for Kim Davis even though I don’t believe everything she believes…Luke 18:1-8.

    As far as “judging” others, “righteous judgement” is different than opinion – and that’s the problem – too many opinions have ruined many ‘believing’ people – not Christianity.

    You see, I believe (there we go again-accordingly) that He never changes, even though some would like for His Word to change to fill their “itching ears”.

    Kim is definitely convicted in her heart to not sign those licenses, but so are others in their hearts, convicted of the wants and desires of this life contrary to the words of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    Mike :0)

    • padresteve

      Stop preaching Mile, this isn’t your site, you have rudely insulted me and others by your arrogant belief that you and you alone interpret scripture. This is your last approved post. No wonder people are fleeing Jesus. I have been tolerant and polite and patient but you have taken the opportunity to further attack, preach and insult. Go away, you are the weakest link, goodbye.

    • padresteve

      By the way, stay away. I never want to hear fro your arrogant self righteous, rude and ignorant ass again. Love is patient, kind but mine stops tolerating bullshit now. Go away. Unsubscribe, leave and start your own blog.

      • Mike

        As you wish…

      • padresteve

        Mike you did it, don’t play the self-righteous victim. You are the first person in 6 years I have had to do this to. I gave occasionally refused to post violent, profane or threatening comments, but never, until in thousands of comments have I told someone never to come back.

        You don’t listen, you have no remorse, and you don’t care because “you follow God” and “God’s Word” and I don’t at least according to you…

        You can wipe the dust of your sandals and tell people in your church how bad I am.

        You would have been welcome back had you shown a modicum of Christian decency, and actually acted like one rather than a Pharisee.

        I wish you all the best but really don’t want to hear from you again.

  6. blackcrow70

    I just wish to know how Mike was being an insulting individual. From the outside looking in, it seems as though nothing was said or done to insult, other than support a belief. Paul said himself when speaking to the church at Corinth that he was not sorry for offending them with his teachings, yet only sorry whenever they did not repent for more than a season. As a Christian, I believe and follow the commandments of the New Testament, as we are now under the new law as stated previously. Yes we are to love our neighbors, but in loving our neighbors we must also let them know when they are living in sin so that they can join us in Heaven and not be led down the path of sin and destruction. I try my best to love everyone, just as Jesus did and does. He had every reason to rain destruction upon the Jews who persecuted him on the day of his death, but out of love for the world he didn’t. He died to save us, so the least we can do is live to serve him and spread his word and the words that followed in the New Testament. To deny what the Bible has to say regarding sin is to deny God himself, because if we love God, we will follow what he has said for us to do.

    • padresteve

      Black Crow

      I appreciate your comments as well as your faith, Mike’s faith, and my faith in Jesus. But like mike you totally miss the point of the articles.

      I am not going to re-state what I have plainly state to Mike and others. Mike hijacked this site to preach and avoided dealing with the thrust of the articles which were about civil rights and Mrs Davis’s refusal to follow the law or obey the oaths that she took to execute the law without regard.

      Yes you can preach at your neighbors, you have that right and in fact I defend that right, but you do not have that right once someone asks you to desist. At that if you actually care, shut your mouth and pray for them.

      This is your warning. Deal with the articles and the subject of them. Take the time to read and understand the issues. If you cannot do that, I will block your posts as well.

      And by the way if you read Mike’s comments he was arrogant, condescending and ignored scriptures that actually supper what I wrote. When I asked him not to come back he played the aggrieved victim.

      All the best,

      Padre Steve+

    • padresteve

      Funny, you’re “not on the outside looking in,” you have the exact same IP address as Mike does, same town and everything. I find this fascinating, especially since your e-mail address is not found in any social medal or listed anywhere else. Trust me, I do know how to check these things. Just to let you know, it appears to me that you are the Mike Solomons in Guyton Georgia, retired Air National Guard Master Sergeant, member of Preach Darrin Morehouse’s church. Interestingly enough Preacher Darrin dropped by on the site today too. So please, stop the self-righteous prattle and lies. It’s not ethical, or Christian.

  7. I don’t think that the gay marriage controversy is about religion at all, but about which branch of government should decide who should be allowed to marry. People have never had a legal right to marry whomever they want. This is a new liberty the Supreme Court has just invented. If people are free to marry whomever they want, then why should Mormons and Muslims (and anyone else who so desires) not be free to practice polygamy legally? And should the multiple spouses not get Social Security, medical benefits, and hospital visitation rights? Why cannot siblings marry if they love each other and want to? And why can’t parents marry off their young children? Or are there still limits on who can marry legally? And who is deciding these limits and on what basis? Are these not issues for legislators, and not the Supreme Court? The Supreme Court is not authorized to make laws.

    • padresteve

      Ivy

      Thanks for your unlearned comments. You sound like a frustrated second rate talk radio hack who spews words without understanding.

      Other that to say that your whole premise us wrong, the Supreme Court did not create a law, it interpreted the Constitution in relationship to conflicting lower court decisions. That ruling confirmed the right of gays to be legally married in every state based on the equal protections clause of the 14th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1965.

      You to are done here. Don’t waste your time responding.

      You are the weakest link, goodbye.

      Steve+

      • padresteve

        No she was acting out of hatred to gays. It is evident. She defied the very oath that she swore on the Bible ultimate uphold. You don’t listen. She lied by swearing on the Bible in the name of God to uphold the Constitution.

        Sadly I am tired of people like you and Mike not respecting me.

        You’re done. Wipe the dust off your boots and never come back come back.

      • padresteve

        Well Ivy welcome back.

        Especially since you appear to be one of the smartest men in the world, at least that what you advertise yourself as on your blog.

        But what mystifies me is how someone as smart as you missed so much of what was going on in these exchanges. But then you don’t know that mike was also hitting me under a different alias, nor the fact that Darrin is mike’s pastor. You see when people troll me I take the time to do some research. I have to as I have had credible death threats fromWhite Supremacists and neo-Nazis. Threats so detailed and credible that I had the report them to the FBI.

        Some people come and they use my comment section to push their agenda and not stay in topic. I tend to give them a polite warning first, I did that with mike and he ignored it. So I shut him down.

        So please, if you are going to jump in on something try to understand the rest of the story.

        As for my reply to your initial comment, I stand by it. It showed none of the nuance, depth or critical thinking ability that I would normally ascribe to a person with your education and background.

        So again, welcome back.

      • padresteve

        So, like that makes a difference when you’re wrong and make assumptions based on not seeing the whole picture? Are you some kind of sexist?

        Really, I don’t want to be rude, but what does your gender have to do with this?

      • You called me a man in your blog. I corrected this.That’s all.

      • padresteve

        Never mentioned you in the blog itself. Again I don’t want to be rude, but my own sexism interpreted your language and attitude as much more manly than you might intend. Just saying.

  8. Darrin

    Wow! Every time you are challenged, the first thing you do is hurl names and then ban people. That is ALWAYS indictive of the course of those who have no sound argument let alone a valid one. Good job padresteve. I bet if I were here to stroke your ego and tell you how brilliant you are (NOT). I would be your buddy.

    • padresteve

      Darrin

      I am going to approve this. You see one section in isolation and throw invective at me. You have no idea what I have been through and then you say I have no sound arguments because I ban people. No, that’s not the case at all. The people I have banned ignored the the article subject and instead decided to hijack the site to preach, and preach, and preach. Frankly Darrin I hit the wall because for years I have been dealing with this and finally realized that maybe a talk radio host who I used to listen to almost religiously, Neil Boortz was right about such people and that sometimes you have to ban them.

      I don’t like doing it, really. I have plenty of people who have over the years taken issue with my opinion on this site, and even sometimes corrected me. But they stuck to the subject and they treated me decently, and I listened to them. When I am wrong, I correct; if I am in error, I admit it. But the people who I banned I did because they were in attack mode, as you seem to be, ignoring the meat of the subject and instead yelling at me.

      But your comments Darrin just proves what I I have to deal with, so I am letting this one comment of your stand. Actually I came so close just to deleting it completely, but decided to give you a chance, and to allow other readers to see what I put up with.

      If you want to engage in a polite dialogue and stick to facts, you may continue to post. But I doubt you will. You look like what some people call “a drive by artist” or “troll.” I have no idea if that is the case, and I hope not, but the tenor of you comment makes me wonder.

      Engage me politely and you can disagree until your heart is content, but I won’t put up with abuse anymore, from anyone. Especially those who try to use their concept God and interpretation to trump any rational argument.

      I hope you have a good day and I wish you the best.

      Peace

      Padre Steve+

    • padresteve

      Oh, Darrin Morehouse, by the way. Did some searching on you, I do it with all the people who get in my face when they post. Seems that you are quite the self-described culture warrior yourself. Read some of your articles, interesting, now I know what you are about. Not hard to do with an IP lookup, an e-mail search and blog search. Technology is a wonderful thing. But still, if you want to engage you are welcome to. Have a great day.

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