Kim Davis is the face of religious persecution in America

150903-kim-davis-mug-535p_2a10fb4a29fd25fb6bf13a4680f1087c.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000Kim Davis, the infamous Kentucky clerk who went to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court ended bans on same-sex marriage across the nation, has been called a martyr by some. Her faith-based “persecution” has been compared to that suffered by the Jews in Nazi Germany, and evidence, according to Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee of the “criminalization of Christianity in our country.”

Her supporters have it backwards, though. Kim Davis is the face of religious persecution in America, I agree, but she is the face of the persecutors, not the persecuted.

She went to jail not for practicing her faith, but for persistent efforts to shove that faith down the throats of those who don’t share it and deny basic constitutional rights to a minority population because her faith tells her they are undeserving.

Davis is not a martyr. She is not embodying the values of Jesus. She is not the second coming of Martin Luther King Jr. No, she is, if anything, merely the frumpier face of the firehose-wielding sheriffs who stood blocking King’s path to Birmingham. Though she is not resorting to violence, she is blocking the rights of others to live their lives in freedom and happiness, because she believes her faith is more important than their civil rights.

This woman should be scorned, not celebrated. She has used her public office to flout the law. She says she has acted under “God’s authority,” but her God does not have jurisdiction over who is issued a civil marriage license in the state of Kentucky. She was elected by the people of that state to serve the people of that state, and follow the laws of the state and the nation.

If she cannot do that, she should resign immediately, and quit persecuting those whose faith differs from hers.

Davis was jailed after being held in contempt of court for refusing to accept court decisions all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court that she was in the wrong. She was released yesterday because her office had begun issuing licenses in her absence. As long as she doesn’t interfere with that, she will remain free.

If she chooses to impose her religious beliefs on others and refuse to allow her public, secular office to do its job because it opposes those beliefs, then she will rightly end up back behind bars.

But she is not the victim, and she never was. Hers is the face of the persecutor.

So, it’s not the end of the world … ha ha

I’ve been having as much fun with the not-Rapture as anyone else – by the way, is Rapture on the pedestrian mall in Charlottesville having a blow-out party today? If not, shame on them. But I still wonder what’s going on with some of the poor, misguided people who bought into this nonsense. As I mentioned earlier, NPR had a compelling report about some folks who devoted everything to spreading the word about this non-event. The one that haunts me the most is the young couple with a 2-year-old and a baby on the way who gave up promising careers to head to Florida to pass out tracts. They budgeted it so they’d have just enough money to make it through today.

Now what?

I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the foolish/misguided parents. But those kids …

It’s not the end of the world … but I can see it from here

I heard the saddest story on NPR this weekend. I knew there was a group of folks who have convinced themselves the world is going to end on May 21. But I hadn’t really thought about how foolish some of them might be about it. One couple interviewed on NPR just broke my heart: They have a two-year-old daughter and another child on the way (due in June; I have no clue about the theological ramifications of that).  The wife is a 27-year-old who, before being infected with this insanity, was considering medical school.

Now, they’re living in a rented house in Orlando, passing out tracts and spending down their savings.

Joel says they’re spending the last of their savings. They don’t see a need for one more dollar.

“You know, you think about retirement and stuff like that,” he says. “What’s the point of having some money just sitting there?”

“We budgeted everything so that, on May 21, we won’t have anything left,” Adrienne adds.

All this based on the lunatic rantings of a single man (Harold Camping, above), who’s already been proven wrong once, first predicting the end of the world coming on Sept. 6, 1994. It turns out he had neglected some important clues in Jeremiah.

And Jesus wept.

I don’t know what these people are going to do when they wake up to the real world on May 22, but I hope someone will take good care of their children.

A profound conversion

Louis J. Marinelli, after becoming one of the driving forces behind the movement to fight gay marriage, has had a profound change of heart. His blog post announcing his newfound support for marriage equality is quite powerful and moving:

Whether it is an issue of disbelief, shame or embarrassment, the one thing that is for sure is that I have come to this point after several months of an internal conflict with myself. That conflict gradually tore away at me until recently when I was able to for the first time simply admit to myself that I do in fact support civil marriage equality.

While I have come to terms with this reality internally, speaking about it, even with the closest members of my family, has proven to be something difficult for me to do.

In short, if there is an issue of disbelief surrounding my newfound support for civil marriage equality, it is disbelief from those who surround me. If there is an issue of shame, it is a result of acknowledging the number of people I have targeted, hurt and oppressed. And if there is an issue of embarrassment, its roots lie in the face-to-face encounters I have had and expect to have with those with whom I once toiled over this very contentious issue.

In an interview with TPM, he said his time on an anti-gay marriage bus tour was the catalyst for his conversion: “I remember verbally asking myself, why am I here?” Marinelli said of his time on the bus tour.”Why am I doing this? And that’s what I said would be the tipping point, when I realized, okay, that’s not right. I’m not doing something that was right.”

Marinelli said the key for him was understanding the difference between civil marriage sanctioned by the state and holy matrimony sanctioned by the church. The Catholic Church and other religious organizations should be free, he said, to refuse to recognize anything other than marriage between one man and one woman. But civil marriage should be an equal institution. “The constitution calls for nothing less.”

Obama criticized for White House Easter Eggs

As I’ve mentioned before, conservatives have a habit of attacking President Obama over silly things, and generally things that former presidents – even conservative icons like President Reagan – did without anyone taking much note. They attacked Obama, for instance, for giving a televised speech to schoolchildren urging them to do well in school – even though several presidents did that in the past without anyone screaming about indoctrination.

Now, we get Laura Ingraham on Fox and Friends attacking Obama for using wooden Easter eggs for the White House Easter Egg Roll. Not just any wooden eggs, but certified sustainable hard wood. “I’m kind of old-fashioned. I’m from this little town in Connecticut. Why don’t they just do real eggs? Wouldn’t that be the most sustainable?” Ingraham asked before going on to attack the Obama’s further for daring to sign the Easter eggs. “But these eggs are signed, because when I think of Easter, I think signed eggs by Michelle and Barack Obama.”

As you can see from the picture to the left, George and Laura Bush started the tradition of signing the eggs (also wooden). Who was the first president to use wooden eggs? Conservative hero Ronald Reagan.

Look hard, but I doubt you’ll find any criticism – from conservatives or liberals – of either president for either practice.

The right used to accuse liberals of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Clearly, Obama Derangement Syndrome is far more severe.