Diary

Kim Davis Isn't The First To Rightfully Challenge Authority

Rowan County,KY Clerk Kim Davis
Rowan County,KY Clerk Kim Davis

Rowan county Clerk Kim Davis has been held in contempt of court and jailed by a federal Judge after she continued her refusal to grant same sex marriage licenses.

Davis insist that her religious beliefs prevent her from having any part in a gay marriage and has refused court orders to issue them.

Some Republican Presidential candidates like Carly Fiorinia have said that Davis should resign because she isn’t willing to issue the gay marriage license which have been forced on the nation thanks to the Supreme Courts June ruling on the matter.

Other candidates like Jeb Bush have said that since the Supreme Courts ruled gay marriage the law of the land Davis and others should follow it.  That sentiment of just accepting the SCOTUS ruling is shared by Ohio Gov. John Kasich and [mc_name name=’Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’G000359′ ].

Texas [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] has vocally come to Davis’ defense as has Mike Huckabee, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ]; all of whom have blasted the idea of jailing Ms. Davis for standing up for her first amendment right to religious liberty.

Davis’ critics especially those saying that she should simply follow the law of gay marriage created out of whole cloth by Justice Kennedy are clearly ignoring the rich history that exist of brave and courageous people standing up, often times on an island, to do what is justice and right in society and oppose unjust rules, decrees, and laws.

Kim Davis’ open defiance of the will of Justice Kennedy is reminiscent of that of Antigone of Thebes.  I first wrote about the lessons that more than 2000 year old Greek play by Sophocles  can teach shortly after the Supreme Courts gay marriage ruling.  Antigone was ordered by her King to not bury one of her brothers who had died in a civil war.  It was the laws of the Greek Gods, of Greek culture and custom, to bury all dead.

Antigone was faced with a choice obey the law of her King, or the law of her God(s).  Under penalty of death she chose to follow her conscience and disobeyed an edict from a temporary authority figure and ended up dying as a result.  It was Sophocles’ intention to leave the audience with a profound respect for Antigone and to embrace if not outright accept her position as being 100% correct.

As Abraham Lincoln campaigned across Illinois in the late 1850s as he ran for the Senate and then for the Presidency and in his days as President against an unjust authoritative decree from the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott decision that solidified the institution of slavery across the country and brought about the Civil War.  From his famous speech in Springfield to his debates with Douglas across the state to his first inaugural address Lincoln spoke out forcefully against the ruling which made Slavery nearly impossible to end short of war.  Lincoln was defying the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott ruling when he issued the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves in the Confederacy.

Lincoln could have followed the advice of Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham and others and just let the horrendous Scott decision stand because the Supreme Court has the final say but he didn’t.  For years “Honest” Abe spoke passionately from his heart about how incompatible slavery and the Dred Scott ruling were with the Declaration of Independence and the spirit and intent of the Constitution.  Lincoln’s courage to do what was right, granted we as a nation paid a heavy price for it, in defiance of the invented law of the Supreme Court changed the course of history and brought about freedom to the former slaves.

Following Lincoln’s assassination a rebuilding nation completely reversed the Dred Scott ruling and gave total freedom to all of the slaves, prohibited it thereafter, and insured the rights and freedoms of all Americans with the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments.  That wouldn’t have been  possible if Lincoln hadn’t been willing to defy authority.

Was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. supposed to have followed the laws of the Jim Crowe days complete with segregation, restrictions of protesting, and worse.  What of Rosa Parks?

No they stood up against the racism and injustice, often times codified as law, and they disobey, and they protested, and went to jail, but eventually won the day.

Sitting in the Birmingham, Alabama jail Dr. King famously wrote about civil disobedience, in part saying:

I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city’s white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation.

Then, last September, came the opportunity to talk with leaders of Birmingham’s economic community. In the course of the negotiations, certain promises were made by the merchants–for example, to remove the stores’ humiliating racial signs. On the basis of these promises, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to a moratorium on all demonstrations. As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. A few signs, briefly removed, returned; the others remained. As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community. Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of self purification. We began a series of workshops on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves: “Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?” “Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?”

Kim Davis you are in good company.

As best selling author, nationally syndicated talk show host, and constitutional attorney Mark Levin has been saying this week it is Justice Kennedy and the Supreme Courts gay marriage ruling that are lawless, not Ms. Davis.  I would add that this federal Judge is grossly out of line for so harshly punishing Ms. Davis with incarceration, for simply refusing to issue marriage license to same sex couples, licenses that apparently under Kentucky law can be obtain easily at the office of any other county clerk in the state.

Fight on Kim, as the saying goes you are on the side of the Angles.

cross posted from USofArn.com