aNewDomain — I explain to my students at the start of the term that I’m British, and American by choice. Simplifies matters later if I break out in a British accent or utter a joke nobody comprehends. This term, someone asked: Do you like America?
Do I? Well, sometimes.
I love America, but I don’t always like her.
You know, the whole world is racist. I’ve been there. You guys have it down to a fine art, though, always just this side of total genocide. Your nutbags are also the world’s finest, contributing to global problems like global warming through climate change denial. And your religious zealots … well, they’re awfully easy not to like.
Let’s just say we call it the land of the free, but freedom is for the few.
This is one of the most generous places in the world.
People give here, reach into their pockets and give. Not always in the most advisable way, sure, but out of goodness. The faithful, though, can be really, really selfish.
Kim Davis, a clerk in Kentucky, won’t issue any marriage licenses any more. You see, she doesn’t want to discriminate, and issuing same-sex marriage licenses would offend her sense of faith.
Issuing same-sex marriage licenses would violate Davis’ religious rights. But not doing so violates everyone else’s religious rights. At the moment she is losing: A contempt of court ruling seems imminent, and she has been ordered multiple times to comply with the law.
But she is an elected official and cannot be fired.
This is the tyranny the Tea Party is afraid of, but nobody is going to couch it in those terms.
Here we have a war on religion: the religion of everyone trying to get married in this backwater little county, as this one obstructionist clerk gums up the whole system.
Do I like it here?
Davis the selfish Kentucky clerk is a person thinking of only her own freedom. She can do as she pleases, and that’s exactly what she’s doing. Doubtless some people will applaud this brave stand against the government … except that she is the fucking government.
This is why we don’t mix up church and state. Doing so always and invariably leads to tyranny, to the few controlling the rights of the many.
In this county, the many don’t have the right to marry because a government official refuses to issue the licenses as she is legally required to do.
Hey lady, you also have the religious right to not work for the government.
Some Christians still applauding? Well, let’s turn it around for you. What if she were Muslim? Would you still be rooting for Davis the clerk’s rights to refuse to marry anyone, because some of the marriages just happen to offend her?
How about a Muslim clerk refuses to authorize permits for a pig ranch because it offends her faith to eat pork? And because she won’t eat pork, and because the Koran says not to do it, nobody gets to eat any pork, in the abstract sense. The farmer goes bust after wasting thousands of dollars in legal fees to get the clerk to do the job she was legally required to do.
The courts fine her and hold her in contempt but, citing morality, she remains in her job. She can’t be fired or replaced.
When this starts happening and the religious right start to band together across faiths to support this sort of thing, then I’ll buy it. We all know what the reaction would be though, don’t we? We’ve seen enough Mohammed-cartooning contests and mosque protests to know. Until that happens, this is all bullshit, sore-loser tactics from people who hate.
So today, no, I don’t like America as much as usual.
I love you, guys, and you need to figure this shit out, you know what I mean? But I don’t think you’re ready for a serious relationship right now.
And if you were, who’d issue the marriage license?
For aNewDomain, I’m Jason Dias.
Image one: Teei.org, All Rights Reserved; image two: BurlingtonCountyTimes.com, All Rights Reserved; image three/cover image: DailyKOS.com, All Rights Reserved; image four: VOANews.com, All Rights Reserved.