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‘Kim Davis for Rosa Parks Award’: Iowa Republican ups the ante linking anti-gay clerk to civil rights hero

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Kim Davis mug shot

Conservatives have been on a campaign to draw a brazenly flawed line between an anti-gay Kentucky county clerk and civil rights heroes like Rosa Parks. But Iowa Rep. Steve King (R) took things to the next level by suggesting Saturday that Davis should receive a “Rosa Parks Award.”

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Davis, the elected Rowan County clerk, was sent to jail in contempt of court on Thursday after openly defying multiple court orders to obey the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in all U.S. states. Davis has maintained doing so is against her Christian beliefs.

This has prompted her attorneys and supporters to come up with some wildly fanciful comparisons.

“Kim joins a long list of people who were imprisoned for their conscience,” her Liberty Council attorney Mat 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 also said Davis is being persecuted the same way Jewish people were under Nazi Germany, while others have compared her to the “tank man,” an unnamed man who faced down Chinese military tanks during the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising.

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*A Twitter parody account meant to look like it was run by Davis’ husband Joe posted a “a letter from a Carter County jail,” possibly mimicking Martin Luther King’s legendary and tide-turning Letter from Birmingham Jail.

“I have no doubt your opinion of me has been swayed by the liberal media gotchyas,” the letter reads. “I am here because there is a war on Christians in America. This country was founded on the beliefs of Christianity. This is a fact.”

Rosa Parks “had it easy,” according to the letter.

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“The whole world is watching me,” the letter reads. “Under this microscope, I am now not only an example for my family but for the millions of Christians in America facing persecution and the loss of their fundamental right of Religious FREEDOM!!!”

Rep. King is apparently not a fan of honoring Supreme Court rulings he doesn’t agree with. The 1963 Abington Township School District v. Schempp King’s tweet refereed to didn’t ban prayer from schoools, according to the First Amendment Center. It enforced the Establishment Clause by making it illegal for public schools to force students to participate in prayer or promote religion. Students are free to express religion or pray on campus as long as it doesn’t interfere with lessons.

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It’s unclear which “award” King believes Davis should receive, but some pointed out that Davis’ actions are more similar to the bus driver that had Rosa Parks arrested for refusing to give her seat up to a white passenger.

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One “Rosa Parks Award” given out by a conservative group has Orwellian overtones. The group, Citizens for Community Values, which is the Ohio affiliate of anti-gay organizations Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, has given the award to people who fought against civil rights ordinances that would protect LGBT people from discrimination. It also gave the award to a “voter integrity” activist who supported a cutback in Ohio’s weekend voting hours, a move intended to suppress the African-American vote, Right Wing Watch reports.

*Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect that the Twitter account with the handle @kimdavis917 was a parody and was not run by Kim Davis or her husband.

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