The Supreme Court rejected her religious objection case on Monday, but Kim Davis still refuses to sign marriage licenses in Rowan County, Kentucky. When history looks back on the civil rights movement of our time, it will be disgusted that the creator of Garfield clung to bigotry so. Hang on—the Combat! blog interns have informed me that Jim Davis is the creator of Garfield, and Kim Davis is the Apostolic Christian county clerk who has refused to sign marriage licenses since the Supreme Court affirmed gays’ right to marry. Now the interns suggest I use the delete key rather than transcribing these errors and corrections in real time, but I don’t let college kids tell me what to do. When history looks back on the civil rights movement of our time, it will remember this week as a turning point in the right of all Americans to do whatever by saying it’s their religion. Kim Davis is the Rosa Parks of hating gay people.
Rosa Parks turned black four years before the Montgomery bus boycott, right? The interns all left for some reason, and there’s no one around here to check facts. I ask because Davis—who said this about the duties of her office:
To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of a marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision.
—became a Christian “about four years ago.” She has been a member of the Solid Rock Apostolic Church for less time than it takes to get an engineering degree.1 If Davis professed no religion and cited her three divorces as grounds for her principled objection to letting other people marry, her case would not move past the Rowan County human resources department. But because the First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, and Davis now has got religion, she must get freedom, too.
That’s an unfair way to talk about it, since no one but Davis herself believes that argument. The Supreme Court dismissed it. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed it a few days earlier, pointing out:
It cannot be defensibly argued that the holder of the Rowan County clerk’s office, apart from who personally occupies that office, may decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution as interpreted by a dispositive holding of the United States Supreme Court.
The county clerk does county clerk stuff, in other words, and if Davis doesn’t want to sign marriage licenses, she doesn’t have to be clerk. The same constitution that guarantees her freedom of religion authorized the Supreme Court to overrule her, and she swore to uphold the Constitution. It’s an oath of office. If she doesn’t like it, she can quit.
That is one thing Davis has not done: resign. It’s strange she hasn’t mentioned it, since it’s the standard move when duties of office conflict with dictates of conscience. Interestingly enough, her mother was also Rowan County clerk. Kim Davis is not going anywhere.
She will take her case to the Supreme Court before she violates her Christian beliefs. She will defy the Supreme Court—she’ll go to jail before she violates her sincerely held religious beliefs. But she won’t quit her job. That’s how you know it’s discrimination and not Christianity. Discrimination requires a position of power.
It’s not that Davis’s religion forbids her from signing marriage licenses. It’s that her religion makes her hate gay people, and hating gay people makes her refuse to sign marriage licenses. Her soul would be safe at home. But her bigotry requires an office, and that’s why she is not doing what any sensible person—any humble person, any meek person, any person who cared more for her soul than for the offices of this world—would do before she sued: quit.
Davis won’t quit, because then how could she stop gay people from getting married? Anyone can see that’s what she’s about. Ask her in-law, 68 year-old Florene Whitt:
She’s standing strong against the gays. And I agree with her. The Bible says husband and wife. Not two women, and not two stupid men. This world has become so sick that it is ruining our young generation.
Agreed this world is sick. But I’m not sure it’s all new.