By Ed Hoffman
This week, Jefferson County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis was released from jail by the same Federal District Court judge who had her arrested for not issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. The judge’s decision came down after he was satisfied her office was “fulfilling its obligation to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.”
Much of the attention on Davis this week has been on the spectacle that was created when presidential candidate Mike Huckabee held a rally outside the jail, complete with a sound system blasting “Eye of the Tiger.” Someone I was with that day turned to me and said, “Is this really necessary?” My answer is yes – because without a spectacle, nobody notices anything.
Sure, maybe Kim Davis’ supporters overplayed it a little bit. But maybe that’s what needed to happen in this country, because for the past several years – as the gay mafia has made its demands, the Supreme Court has engaged in judicial activism, and the public has cowered in sympathy – people haven’t thought about the unintended consequences of the legislation they were pushing for. The most damaging of those consequences is the stripping away of religious freedom.
Don’t feel like hearing the religious freedom argument again? If you remove the religious aspect of the story, then Davis was thrown into jail for merely slacking off on the job. Is there any other job you can think of that calls for imprisonment if the employee slacks off? If you keep the religious element, then Davis was jailed for practicing her faith. So either way, the entire scenario looks more like Nazi Germany or North Korea than the United States of America.
“But Davis is an elected official,” everyone is saying. “The people elected her to uphold the laws.” Yes, that’s right; just like Gavin Newsom was expected to uphold the laws when he was elected mayor of San Francisco. And yet, Newsom defied the law by issuing marriage licenses to 4,000 same-sex couples in 2004. It look an act of the California Supreme Court to put an end to the lawlessness, but the mayor was most certainly not thrown in jail (in fact, we elected him to be our Lieutenant Governor in 2011).
And of course, we have elected officials violating federal immigration laws all the time; San Francisco is just one of 31 American cities that openly welcomes illegal immigrants. The unintended consequences of that? The deaths of American citizens like Kate Steinle. And yet, we don’t throw any elected officials into jail for defying the federal immigration law designed to protect Americans. Plus, it is worth noting that Kim Davis was elected to her post before nine unelected appointees on the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage “the law of the land.”
But back to the religious freedom argument. What if Kim Davis was a Muslim? Surely she would not have been expected to sign marriage licenses for gay couples if she was a hijab-wearing, soft-spoken Muslim American who was uncomfortable performing this essential job function. Something tells me she would not have been thrown in jail, and there would certainly be no media coverage. If anything, the county might have quietly assigned a stand-in clerk to sign marriage licenses any time a gay couple walked in. No one outside Jefferson County would have ever heard Davis’ name if she practiced any religion other than Christianity.
By next week, Kim Davis will be out of the media spotlight. But because the government refuses to let Christians have the religious freedom the founding fathers intended for all Americans, another American like her will be subject to similar treatment soon enough. And the only way anyone will pay attention is if that person makes a spectacle.
Ed Hoffman is host of The Main Event on AM590, which airs Saturday 9:30 AM- 10:30 AM and Sunday 4:00 PM- 5:00 PM. Follow him on Twitter @EdHoffman, and like him on Facebook by searching The Main Event 590.