I got steaming mad all over again tonight watching a National Geographic special on sexual freedom and government. They gave a little air time to County Clerk Kim Davis and her one woman protest against the Supreme Court. She was the lady who refused to issue a gay marriage license to two men because she didn’t want to be condemned to damnation and hellfire. She went to jail for it.
As ludicrous as her cause sounds to a city slicker, out there in the bible belt a lot of people agreed with her. One woman went so far as to say “She’s our Rosa Parks. She’s refusing to obey a law that is unconscionable.” I was plucked! I hadn’t seen that little sound byte before. It didn’t sit right with me not just because I am gay and damn proud of it, but because there seemed to be a logical fallacy embedded in there that I couldn’t name. I needed a little time to stew over it.
I went to the kitchen, washed and recycled my pudding cup, gave my dog Patsy a treat, and then it struck me. Rosa Parks was a citizen standing up (or sitting down, actually) in a fight against an extremely oppressive set of laws that were directed towards her from her government. County Clerk Kim Davis is a government official, trusted to carry out the law of the land. She is the bus driver, not the passenger. The laws the Supreme Court passes are part of her job, not part of her private life and certainly not directed towards her.
If she wants to rally against gay marriage in the center of town and spew hate on the steps of the courthouse on her vacation days, I feel she has the right to do so. In fact, I would actually fight for her to have that right, because denying it to her would be laying dangerous grounds to deny it to anyone else with something different to say.
Religious freedom is extremely important, including the freedom to be intolerant and nasty to people whom you feel are judged in the eyes of God as being lesser than you. I hate that, but it really keeps things in balance. It allows others to believe in a more loving God, and it also allows atheists to believe in something entirely different.
I have spent a great deal of time with conservative Christians in the South. I think a lot of them figured out who and what I was, but they didn’t judge me to my face. That is, in fact, the Christian thing to do. As far as they were concerned, if I could sit next to them in the pew and sing, I was welcome in their church. And I did an awful lot of singing. I am certain that some folks judged me behind my back. But they didn’t ask me to leave. They showed respect and restraint.
I don’t believe that County Clerk Kim Davis showed proper Christian restraint in her dealings with the two men that wanted to get married. She should have judged them and condemned them to hell silently while handing out the marriage license. In her scratch-and-win theology, I think that would keep her from going to h-e-double hockey sticks.
When you’re driving the bus, you don’t get to sit illegally in the ‘whites only’ seats. You’re in the driver’s seat. Ms. Davis is in the driver’s seat at the courthouse (assuming she still has her job.) So she cannot be Rosa Parks in this civil rights issue. Ever.
Religious Addendum (atheists, feel free to skip this appendix) In the bible, Jesus didn’t have anything to say about gay people, that was St. Paul, who never actually met Jesus because he was busy persecuting Christ’s followers prior to his conversion. According to Matthew, Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” So you see, Love is the clincher. (I was going to say trump card, but it’s too close to election time). So maybe some of the holy folks in Ms Davis’ church will sit her down and explain this concept to her, so she can stop panicking about stepping on a crack and breaking Jesus’ back. If she adds to the quality and amount of love in this world, she’s on the road to heaven. If she hates her neighbor, she’s already in hell. It’s truly that simple.