Conservatives are launching some wild — and frequently dishonest — claims to compare jailed county clerk Kim Davis to some of history’s most respected human rights advocates.
The Kentucky county clerk’s attorneys, who compared Davis to Jews living in Nazi Germany, claimed Friday the elected official was a “victim” of governmental tyranny.
“Not long ago 75 percent of Kentuckians passed the state’s marriage amendment,” said Mat Staver, founder of the Liberty Counsel group representing the defiant clerk. “Today a Christian is imprisoned for believing what the voters affirmed: marriage is between a man and a woman. Five people on the Supreme Court imposed their will on 320 million Americans and unleashed a torrent of assaults against people of faith. Kim Davis is the first victim of this tragedy.”
Staver claimed the Rowan County clerk was jailed for her “Judeo-Christian beliefs” — when in fact U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning ordered Davis held because she ignored multiple court orders and refused an offer to avoid jail by agreeing to follow state directives and federal court rulings.
Davis was offered another chance to keep her taxpayer-funded job and avoid jail when Bunning asked her to authorize her deputy clerks — five out of six of whom agreed — to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and she again refused.
“Kim joins a long list of people who were imprisoned for their conscience,” Staver said. “People who today we admire, like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jan Huss, John Bunyan, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and more. Each had their own cause, but they all share the same resolve not to violate their conscience.”
Staver has been eager to find someone willing to serve his group’s ends as an anti-LGBT Rosa Parks, even before the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) indulged in some ridiculous hyperbole to twist and bend history.
“Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny,” said Cruz, a Republican presidential candidate. “Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith. This is wrong. This is not America.”
Unfortunately, many American Christians have been jailed for disobeying laws that they believe conflict with their faith — although none of those other activists were elected officials who claimed a religious right to unlawfully discriminate against the people they serve.
In fact, most of those religious activists — King, for example, or the Quakers and other abolitionists — willfully broke laws and accepted the consequences because they believed court rulings and other laws violated their Bible-based morality.
Davis and her attorneys, of course, argue that the county clerk should be granted an exception to the law and be permitted to enforce her religious beliefs on others.
She has accepted the sanction after the judge held her in contempt of court, but Davis and the Liberty Counsel argue that she should not face consequences for violating the law.
Staver continued distorting logic Friday through a narrowly conservative Christian view by arguing that Davis would lead herself and others “into sin” if she were to follow the law and issue “counterfeit gay marriage” licenses.
“That is the least compassionate, most hateful thing that she could do, to issue same-sex marriage licenses to people who are about to entire into a counterfeit and false institution that is rooted in mortal sin, in the sin of homosexual immorality,” Staver argued on the “Faith and Freedom” radio program.