The spittle flecked hysteria of the Christofascists and parasites of the professional Christian crowd is off the charts in the wake of the much deserved jailing of Kim Davis, the Rowan County Clerk, Kentucky clerk of court who views herself to be above the law of the land because of her bizarre and warped religious beliefs. From faux historian David Barton, to Fox News provocateur Todd Starnes, to con-artist pastors, the shrieks that there is a war against Christians and that America is now like Nazi Germany have reached a crescendo - as have the money begs from the usual suspects. Mike Huckabee has joined the money beg crowd with donations going directly to his presidential campaign site. The common thread throughout the bluster and theatrics is that these people want a fundamentalist Christian theocracy and their insanity would be almost humorous if they were not so potentially dangerous. As I have questioned before, when will there hate speech lead to violence or deaths of those they deem enemies of their theocratic agenda. A column in the Huffington Post by an Episcopal priest looks at the danger these people pose to constitutional government and the rule of law. Here are excerpts:
As one commenter on my Facebook page put it "This is the appropriate response. Don't condemn her for hypocrisy, don't make fun of her clothes; just jail her for contempt of court until she either does her job or quits her job. That's how the state should have handled George Wallace and Ross Barnett fifty years ago, and that's how they should handle their anti-gay counterparts now."
Exactly. But do not for a moment think that this is the end of the story. Ms Davis has auditioned for and has now won the role of Poster Child for the "Religious Liberty" movement. It is a movement that includes the scores of RFRAs (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) pending in state legislatures around the country designed to do nothing to protect actual religious liberty and everything to turn a fundamental protection of the First Amendment into a weapon of mass discrimination.
Kim Davis is arguably the canary in the coal mine called Theocracy -- "a form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler." Her case is a test case for those who confuse their theology with our democracy and would replace liberty and justice for all with "liberty and justice for those who believe what I believe." And make no mistake about it: the threat is very real.
Whether it's denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples or denial of reproductive health care to women, the trend of conflating individual religious beliefs with public policy decisions is a slippery and dangerous slope to the erosion of genuine religious liberty -- which is both the freedom of religion and the freedom from religion.
Because here's the deal: Religious persecution is when you're prevented from exercising your beliefs, not when you're prevented from imposing your beliefs.
Because the Founding Fathers knew what they were doing when they wrote the First Amendment -- and what they were doing was making us a nation founded on the bedrock value of religious liberty that provides both freedom of and freedom from religion -- not only protecting each and every one of us to believe what we choose but also protecting us from discrimination based on the beliefs of others.
And my religious liberty as a Christian is only as protected as the religious liberty of every other person of every other faith -- and yes, that includes the liberty of those who choose "none of the above." And all of our liberty is threatened when the religion of any American citizen is misused to discriminate against the equal protection of any other American citizen.
Kim Davis may indeed be a victim -- but she is most certainly not the victim of religious persecution. She is the victim of theocrats in patriots' clothing exploiting her as a canary in the coal mine called Theocracy as they continue to see just how far they can go in turning this nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal into "a form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler."
As I have argued for years now, militant fundamentalist Christians are a clear and present danger to the nation. As they become increasingly marginalized and more citizens flee their ugly version of Christianity, the likelihood for violence will increase.