Kim Davis has been dominating our news and social media. Videos of her denials of gay marriage in the county clerk’s office, her mugshots, and now her release have conquered our Twitter and Facebook feeds, newspaper headlines, and prime-time news coverage. Inevitably, I have seen the somewhat impotent posts of people tired of hearing about her, determined to make her story inconsequential, desperate to move on. Many such cries of dismissal have been made vocal among even my friends, as the following Facebook post illuminates:
Their name has been blacked out for obvious reasons, but it serves the reader to know that the poster is a young member of the LBGT community. It is only one example of many I have seen posted in the same vein. Posts I searched on Twitter revealed the same attitude:
This is a disturbing trend, in my opinion: part of an ever-increasing social apathy that justifies itself by pretending the best way to deal with problems is to ignore them, as though cutting off the attention of intelligent people will somehow suffocate the issue. They forget, however, that countless idiots who support people like Kim Davis will show up regardless of our concentrated effort to pretend they don’t exist. This frame of mind naturally doesn’t consider the wise words of Edmund Burke, concerning good people standing by and doing nothing.
For what it’s worth, I understand the impulse. Kim Davis is a vacuous cow, and the only kind of cameras that should be pointed at her belong in the hands of a National Geographic team documenting morons in their natural habitats. But reality simply doesn’t work this way: for whatever reason, news is news, and Davis has accrued a following that demands our attention and discussion. If you have not yet seen the vomitous oration she made at her release, please view this:
I, personally, can’t recall the release of a person who so flagrantly discriminates against a class of people whose rights have been legally immortalized by the Supreme Court being met with such fervid cheers. Those people who think that Kim Davis is yesterday’s news would do well to note that she is religious privilege personified, and that in this country, outright bigotry is absolutely fine if you say that god justifies it.
I’m not being flip on this point: deny service to any group of citizens you like today and claim a sectarian validation–your trial and punishment will be deferred to the point of comedy. Then it will be rewarded after the fact, as the video above so clearly demonstrates.
Even if Kim Davis were the first example, we should take serious account. When in recent history can you recall a Presidential candidate and sitting governor appear at the right side of a criminal in defense of their actions? The rally at Kim Davis’s release proves one thing: any number of despicable actions are deserving of mob defense in the United States so long as they are Christian. And why wouldn’t they be? Despite the outcry of myself and many of my colleagues showing irrevocable evidence that this country was built with secularism in mind, our Congress has reaffirmed “In God We Trust” as our national motto a handful of times since the 50s and emblazoned it on our legal tender; religious iconography still stands on public grounds under the glib determination that “religious likeness” is coincidental (see: the Jesus statue on Big Mountain, Montana); we’ve paid for Congressional Chaplains to sit in our highest public house since 1789–all of whom have been Christian; publicly elected School Boards insert textbooks claiming Moses and Solomon to be Founding Fathers of America into middle school curriculum–perhaps this is a Christian country after all? Rather, it would be, if elected public officials like Kim Davis had their way.
Change begins with our attitude toward people like Kim Davis. Our bonds as secular citizens and our effectiveness in our own futures are weakened when we take flippant stances to religiously incited discrimination in our offices of government. Davis has the relative gravitas of modern day John the Baptist, and in place of squirrel-furs and a diet of locusts, she’s garbed herself in the rhetoric of trite evangelism. “Our god is a living god,” is a phrase pulled from the throat of every delusional cultist that ever begged for recognition, and people who vote, people who legislate, stand by her and wipe their tears and cheer themselves hoarse on national live television. If you can ignore that and call yourself an engaged citizen, then one of us needs serious reconsideration.
This bovine waste of taxpayer money has gotten her limelight. And in so doing she has thrust into prominence the major issue with contemporary politics: the fact that we are in a society willing to give religion a free pass and, further, to martyr those who throw themselves into any cause they deem as righteous. Perhaps they would have less effect not if we paid less attention to them, but if we had managed to break down the hold religion has in this country and in society on a much broader scale, and shatter the imaginary foundation with which they make their heinous claims. A President is virtually unelectable if he refuses to say: “God Bless America” at the end of major speeches. It seems that a criminal is virtually unimpeachable if they do the same.