Sep
09

Tyranny, tyranny, I tell you

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Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis left the detention center yesterday after serving five days in jail for contempt of court. Davis had refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of a federal court order. Republican presidential candidate, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was waiting for her:

The case has become a lightning rod for religious freedom advocates who oppose same-sex marriage. For Republican presidential candidates, it has presented an opportunity to court evangelical voters and break away from the crowded field.

“She has ignited something across this country,” Huckabee told reporters Tuesday. “People are tired of the tyranny of judicial action that takes people’s freedoms away, takes their basic fundamental constitutional rights and puts them in jeopardy, and the tyranny of a legislative court that believes it can make up law and somehow find a way to enforce it.”

Hyperbole much, Huck? He praised Davis for surrendeing her freedom for her beliefs. I would have thought surrendering one’s freedom without gunfire (or at least ritual gun display) was heresy on the right. Who knew?

U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered Davis’ release based on her clerks’ compliance with the order. “After remanding Defendant Davis to the custody of the U.S. Marshal, five of her six deputy clerks stated under oath that they would comply with the Court’s Order and issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.” He further ordered Davis not to interfere with the issuing of the licenses. Meaning, she could be back in jail any day.

Two points. In one video clip, Huckabee mentions “the Christ that came into her life four years ago.” Given her rhetoric and that it’s eastern Kentucky, she probably has all the percolating zeal of the newly “born again” driving her. (Davis is reportedly an Apostolic Pentacostal.) The last time we passed through eastern Kentucky, it was late at night. We were fascinated to hear on the radio one of those screaming, hyperventilating preachers sermonizing himself into emotional collapse. Wow. They are still out there. Snake handlers, too.

Second, a sense of religious persecution goes hand-in-hand with white privilege and cultural resentment among many conservatives, especially so in the South. Davis being a registered Democrat makes little difference. Notice the crosses and Christian flags in the crowd outside the detention center. If you are not one of them, you are one of THEM. This is their country. A Christian country. A particular style of Christian country. A white, particular style of Christian country. They are God’s chosen. They are supposed to be in charge. They (and God, sure) are supposed to decide what the law is. It doesn’t matter what the law actually says, or means. What matters is what they believe the law should be. Or else it doesn’t apply to them. Or else, tyranny.

As I wrote a while back:

During a recount here in November 2012, I was at the local Board of Elections when a T-party member flashed a handwritten sign at a young woman from Warren Wilson College: “You are a law breaker.” A redistricting error by the GOP-controlled legislature — a precinct line drawn down the middle of the campus — allowed a handful of students’ votes to decide control of the county commission in Buncombe County, North Carolina. Democrats held the majority by 17 votes.

The law-optionals were lecturing us on law breaking. They must have argued for an hour that college students should not be allowed to vote except at their parents’ home address. Citing the 1979 Supreme Court ruling didn’t matter to them. Quoting chapter and verse from the state statute didn’t matter. What mattered was what they thought the law should be. And if the law as written did not support their stance (à la Kim Davis), if it did not say what they thought it should say? Tyranny.

(Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)

Categories : National, News, Religion

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