I am not sure what else can be said that has not already been said countless times about the recalcitrant bigot. And, yes, she is a bigot. And, yes, anyone who is homophobic even on the basis of their religious convictions is a bigot. Many Christians routinely plead that, alas, they wouldn’t have anything against the LGBT community but for the fact that their holy book ties their hands and instructs them to see LGBT people as lesser. Therefore, they should not be called bigots; they are simply following the convictions they are bound to follow by their religion. There are several problems with this.
First, it is almost always Christianity a la carte: the many antiquated mandates of the Bible are rarely followed while this one imperative— hate the gays— is promoted inexplicably to currency. Yet, there are many Biblical imperatives nobody follows.
Second, it is very obviously the use of the Bible to justify the hate that exists in the first place, not the other way around. The hate comes first. Nobody begins with a neutral feeling about LGBTs, pursues Biblical scholarship, and then comes away with the informed opinion that LGBTs must be stigmatized. No. People stigmatize the LGBTs first, and then look to their holy book for justification.
Third, religion is a choice. If you choose a bigoted religion, you’re a bigot because you chose that religion. In America, you are free. The First Amendment of the Constitution gives you the right to choose your religion. I realize many people are born into their religions, but past a certain age, like, say, 18, you no longer have the excuse that you must do the bidding of your parents and carry water for their religion. You could choose a religion that is expressly anti-bigotry, even, like Unitarian Universalism. Or you could choose to abandon religion altogether. But always recognize that it is indeed a choice, and you are bound by the baggage that comes with that choice. Choosing a bigoted religion makes you a bigot, and people are entitled to call you out as a bigot. As Cenk Uygur would say, “sad day for you.”
Kim Davis needs to do her job or resign. She is not entitled to that job. If her religion forbids her from carrying out the duties of the job, then she needs a new job. It is really that simple. What is disturbing is the degree to which fawning presidential candidates like Mike Huckabee are bending over backwards to rally to her cause, because they are pandering to their base. This is disturbing on two fronts:
First, like we see with Donald Trump openly expressing racist views about Latinos (falsely saying they have a higher probability of being rapists and murderers), Huckabee is tapping into ugly mass prejudice to support his electoral bid. I said previously that Trump’s stoking of racist passions was reminiscent to me of the beginnings of Nazi Germany, at the risk of crossing Godwin’s Law. If it is proto-fascist to stoke mass racist flames to get elected, is it any less proto-fascist to stoke mass homophobic flames to get elected?
Second, like we see with Donald Trump openly saying he will defy the 14th Amendment’s birthright citizenship guarantee, Mike Huckabee says we should simply defy the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection clause, defy the Supreme Court, and stop issuing marriage licenses to gays.
You can’t do that! For any president to defy the Supreme Court openly would create a Constitutional crisis. It would bring down the very fabric of our establishment. If this precedent were to take place, then a president would be within his or her rights to observe the Constitution a la carte, picking and choosing the parts that he or she likes and then jettisoning the rest. Then we no longer have rule of law. Then we are no longer “a nation of laws not men.” A presidential candidate running on a platform of openly defying the Supreme Court is incredibly dangerous. A presidential candidate running on a platform of open hate for a specific hated people is also incredibly dangerous.
But the takeaway I have is just how incredibly sad I am for my gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters. Things have gotten better, to be sure, but it is certainly demoralizing to see how far we have to go in order to make progress such that love and celebration of difference are not just the law of the land in all fifty states, but the culture of the land in all fifty states. I love politics, but I am very weary of the culture wars. Conservatives in this country maintain their hatred of blacks, LGBTs, Latinos and Latinas, immigrants of just about any background, religious minorities, workers, the poor, teachers, academics, etc., etc., etc., and they never seem to come around. Their hatreds were the same in the 1940s, the same in the 1960s, the same in the 1980s, the same in the 2000s, and the same today, and it’s just really, really old.
Sometimes it just seems like our only hope is that they will die off and we will replace them with a more inclusive, loving generation of people. That may be harsh, but it is the Kim Davises of the world that make it harsh because they are so harsh in their resolute discrimination against persecuted minorities of all kinds. And then I’m the one feeling terribly about myself for feeling this way.
Thanks, Kim. You’re a champ.