Friday, September 4, 2015

Kim Davis Spits On The First Amendment

No, establishing your religion in your government office is not protected. It's prohibited.

Kim Davis is now in defiance of a court order compelling her to do her job and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Christian right-wingers are falling behind her proclaiming her heroism and her stand for religious liberty.

Except she's standing against religious liberty.

She's not acting in a private capacity being asked to participate in a ceremony or practice she finds objectionable. Rather, she's acting on behalf of the government and refusing to grant a government license on the basis of her religious belief.

This is what's called "establishing religion", in that the government reflects a specific religious viewpoint and acts within the religion. It becomes the official religion of that government office.

What Conservatives are defending now is the opposite of religious freedom - theocracy.

Don't believe me? Try these other examples:

Note that the last one is actually being done by officials in DC. Not on religious grounds, but of the grounds that DC officials don't like guns.

Once you accept a position in the government, you accept that you have to apply the law fairly and without bias. If your religion or conscience places you in a position where your governmental duties offend your belief, your only option is to resign. You do not have a right to a government office.

But Davis feels that not only should she not resign, but people who fall outside her faith's conception of marriage should be denied government service.

Can Catholics' refuse to issue to issue marriage licenses to non-Catholics on the grounds that you can only be married within the Church? Or refuse to issue divorces on the grounds that the Church doesn't recognize them?

Can Muslims refuse to grant any license if their particular faith holds that dhimmis cannot possess them?

Can a pagan require an animal sacrifice to Gaia before issuing a permit?

Can a Mormon refuse to grant a food service license to a shop that primarily sells green and black tea?

Can a member of the Church Of The Broken God only issue permits to people who have some kind of technological device (pacemakers, artificial limbs) augmenting their life?

And if low-level elected officials can impose their religious views on the people they serve, can a governor declare the state government his own religion for the duration of his administration?

No. Prohibiting elected officials from imposing their faith is not only a basic principle of America, but it's also how we avoided the religious wars that plagued Europe for centuries. A government agent imposing their religious views on others should be run out of office, not celebrated as a hero.

That's a frightening precedent to be defending.
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  1. As far as your ""establishing religion" argument. The first amendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" Can you send me a link to the law the Federal Congress passed and the President signed?

    As for the other items in your argument. Are we a federal republic or a centralized federal government? We are meant to be the former however I think we are now the latter. I hope to return to a federal republic.

    There are many cases where early on in our republic the states had laws and practices that were in line with the majority of their citizens view on religion.

    The best example that is now taken out of context is President Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists. This was a case where the Danbury Baptist association of Connecticut complained about the infringement of their religious liberty by their state legislature and asked President Jefferson to intervene. President Jefferson rightfully stated that he cannot infringe because of a “wall of separation between Church & State” at the federal level [not state level].

    President Jefferson opposed state churches however he was committed to religious liberty and states rights.

    To me this is a state issue and the federal courts to include the Supreme Court should have never been involved. You seem to be on the slippery slope of federal involvement into a state issue.

    You gave hypotheticals that may become reality. I can also come up with hypotheticals where the federal government may get involved when they never should where this can be a precedence.

  2. The 14th Amendment put the requirements of the Bill of Rights on the states as well as the Federal Government.

    Not only that, but the Kentucky Constitution also includes religious freedom protections

    1. Also, you didn't address my counter to "establishing religion" and the actual history behind President Jefferson's "wall of separation" letter.

    2. I don't have to address the "wall of separation" argument because it's not relevant.

    3. Ok, what about "establishing religion"? I'll repeat, As far as your ""establishing religion" argument. The first amendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" Can you send me a link to the law the Federal Congress passed and the President signed?

    4. I still think "wall of separation" is relevant because a lot of the federal overreach with respect to local government and religion is not based on the proper context of President Jefferson's letter.

    5. The 14th amendment was written to correct past wrongs with blacks and slavery. Are you saying gay is the new black?

      I have nothing against gay people. I know a few and I am a better person because I know them. However, to me this is a federal overreach issue and not an emotional / divisive issue that is intended to place one group against another. It's an Alinsky argument. That seems so clear to me.

    6. Can you point me to the law that gives local Court Clerks the authority to deny marriage licenses?

      It doesn't matter *why* the Amendment was passed. What matters is the text of the amendment itself.

      Also, Justice Scalia humiliated a lawyer who tried that argument before SCOTUS.

    7. Is it the meaning of the text when it was originally written or interpretation of five unaccountable judges today?

      Judge Scalia also humiliated Justice Kennedy. Does that have bearing?

    8. I'm looking for the "law that gives local Court Clerks the authority to deny marriage licenses". It's probably the same one that allows sanctuary cities, selective enforcement of deportation, selective enforcement for cronies, selective definition of race crimes, etc.

      Why aren't those people in jail?

  3. You are becoming one of them. This was not the intent of the 14th amendment. No matter where you stand on the issue at hand, this is about the progressive overreach of the federal government. The left wants you to focus on the emotional aspects of the specific while missing the whole.

    Also, the Kentucky Constitution also defines that marriage is between a man and a woman.

    Next you are going to say all illegals born here have birthright citizenship.

    1. Kentucky constitution, “Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”

    2. 1) By the plain language of the 14th Amendment, anyone born in the US has citizenship. Period.

      2) Whether or not Obergfell is well-reasoned or justified, it is law. A court clerk does not have authority to ignore it, and Davis is not arguing it. Davis is arguing that her religious freedom allows her to impose her religious views on other people. That's it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting though. This is almost becoming a real blog. :)

    3. 1a. "plain language" - do the writings of the author of the first clause of the 14th amendment count when evaluating "plain language"?

      “Mr. HOWARD. … This amendment which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons." Notice, does not include foreigners, aliens.

      1b. What about other federal statues that are at odds with your interpretation? Under current immigration law—found at 8 U.S.C. § 1401(a)—a baby born on American soil to a (1) foreign ambassador, (2) head of state, or (3) foreign military prisoner is not an American citizen.

    4. I agree more and more with Mark LEVIN that we are in a post-Constitutional period. We are living under judicial tyranny. Five lifetime tenured unelected judges believe they can "make law" based on their personal beliefs. A penalty is a tax even though the legislator and executive said it isn't. A subsidy is available even though the law specifically states it is not and there is verbal evidence that it was purposely not a subsidy. Judicial Tyranny.

      LEVIN predicts and I agree that you will see more civil disobedience. I recognize that I'm probably too much of a coward to stand for my beliefs if it came to jail or losing my assets. However I strongly support those that do.

      She is an expected representative. Perhaps she believes she is carrying out the will of those who elected her & the Kentucky Constitution, not imposing her religious views. I believe the solution lies within Kentucky, impeachment, special election, or wait until the next election.

      In any case, It's a sad day in America when an American citizen / elected official is in jail because they wanted to follow their Christian beliefs and said it is not Christian to leave them at the door from 8 to 5.

    5. 1b is covered by "Subject to the jurisdiction thereof" The categories exempted are not, in fact, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States Constitution.

      She's expressly said that she's ordered her office to refuse to issues licenses because of her religious. Once you say "This office follows my religious requirements", you have established your religion as the State Religion for that government office.

      She's not in jail because she wanted to follow her religious belief. She's in jail because she insists on forcing it on everyone ELSE.

    6. I get "subject to the jurisdiction thereof". How about the original authors statement when he introduced the first clause, "This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens,...". Is he insinuating that a child to an illegal alien is not "subject to the jurisdiction"? I think HIS intent is very clear.

    7. She IN in jail because she fells compelled to follow her religious belief and the gay activist group wants to force people to agree with them and make an example of anyone who does not. I've heard but didn't research that the gay couple could have went to another courthouse and received the license. It sure sounds like they will only accept ONE / THEIR solution.

      May she rot in jail and God have mercy on us.

  4. You could make an argument that "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" excludes illegal migrants. But that's not the current state of the law.

    Davis will be released from jail on one of two conditions:

    1) She allows her office to issue the permits she is required to issue, or
    2) She resigns her office

    She doesn't have to renounce her faith or change her beliefs. She has to stop using her government office to impose her views on other people.

  5. She has said she will do neither.

    Said another way, check your religious beliefs at the door. Perhaps they will give her a locker or cubby :)

    1. Said correctly, "If you can't do the job because of your beliefs, don't take it."

    2. I find it sad in America that someone in Maryland is telling someone in Kentucky how to do their job.

    3. I find it sad that government officials need to be told "Obey the law."

    4. America was built upon doing what is right. From the American Revolution to Rosa Parks to Martin Luther King.

      Another court once made the following principle, "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him."

      Now is the time to fight for our federal republic through civil disobedience. Some say it is already too late.

      Is there such a thing as an unjust law and should people blindly obey unjust laws?

    5. America was also built on religious liberty, which Davis is fighting against, not for.

    6. The more I research our founding the more I realize religious liberty meant something different than the way it is being taught now. Now it is more like religious intolerance in the public square. I call it intolerance in the name of tolerance.

    7. We aren't talking about that here. If this was parallel, it would be a government official telling a religious event that it had to be shut down because it offended the official's religion.

  6. And there is the rub. I don't expect the current Supreme Court or executive to put a lot of faith in the authors intent based on his own words in testimony.

  7. We will never see it the same or agree.

    To me it is about our republic and state rights. Kentucky has the ability and right to set the rules even if it has to do with religion. Look at our founding, there were strong religious beliefs and traditions built within the state Governments. Go back to the basis of the Danbury Baptist request and President Jefferson's response. It is relevant to this topic.

    Go ahead and support federal overreach specifically when you emotionally or personally support it. There will be a day when the table turns and you wish the fed wasn't so strong.

    1. So you would be comfortable with a state banning all but one religion, denying them basic rights and privileges?

    2. I'll play your hypothetical game, yes if the majority of the people, their representatives, the governor, and their constitution doesn't forbid it. In reality,

      Would I vote for it? No.

      I'm not worried because it will never happen.

      FYI, the Maryland Constitution in 1776 stated, "XXXV. That no other test or qualification ought to be required, on admission to any office of trust or profit, than such oath of support and fidelity to this State, and such oath of office, as shall be directed by this Convention or the Legislature of this State, and a declaration of a belief in the Christian religion."

      I'm glad it was reformed however it means to me that the federal government was not the final arbitrator on religion within a state. It's up to the people.

    3. The whole point of a Constitution is to limit what a government can do, including oppressing minority faiths.

      You are comfortable with it because you are confident that you would be in the majority. It wouldn't gore YOUR ox.

    4. I am confident because I trust that the majority will agree with me and NOT create a single religion because 1) the state constitution forbids it and 2) the electorate will not tolerate. Just like they changed Maryland's constitution.

      We agree that the Constitution is to limit what a government can do. The U.S. Constitution states that what's not enumerated belongs to the states and the people. We seemed to have lost this and the negation is being defended by conservatives. Feds can do what they want, get this, because the fed says so.

  8. Here is a article that captures my thoughts. Specifically, "Are Bible-believing Christians, who seek to live consistently with their faith, now ineligible for public service under the new secular orthodoxy?"

    1. The answer for some faiths has *always* been yes.