Ariel Gordon discusses how you can be pro-gay rights and still question the ethics of Kim Davis’ civil disobedience.
It is seldom that I comment on pop-news, but there are stories that come along every now and then that really trigger the Socrates in me. This is the case for the Kim Davis situation.
Upon hearing the details of this case, my first instinct was to oppose Davis and her actions. Denying marriage to two consenting adults – of any mix-n-match of sexual identities – sounded like a horrendous, unethical, and illegal act. I wished Davis to be placed in jail, plain and simple, for having broken a law. For her name to be denounced and her professional title removed. The woman should be burned! Well, not to that extent. But, like most of the liberal-minded individuals surrounding me, I felt she was completely in the wrong.
And I still do. I think her belief in God, God’s laws, and God’s punishments had no place in her office, nor in her decision to (or to not) wed two homosexual individuals. However, do I think her a dirty weasel who was completely sick in the head to not only break the law, but also go against the principles and morals of her job? Simply put, no.
One of America’s favourite heroes, Martin Luther King Jr. himself once said:
“An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.”
Does this profound thought not apply to those with whom we disagree? Should men and women only stand up and break a law they consider unjust if the liberal majority agree with their point of view or disagree with the law? Where are all those activists and protesters who once firmly believed in civil disobedience… in following your own moral values rather than those of the state… putting yourself at risk of imprisonment and public shaming in the name of your personal beliefs?
Rosa Parks made the choice to go on the bus all those years ago, she then chose to break the law and sit in the front of the bus. Was she also just a hooligan breaking laws? If Miss Parks had not believed in equality, or she had not believed in it to the extent that she did, she never would have put her life and reputation at risk. However, she did, and to this day we praise her. Both because she stood up for the black people, but also because she civil disobedienced the heck out of that situation.
With the government taking more and more control over our lives, this is no time to turn against those who are willing to stand up against that with which they disagree. We should be praising Davis for her willingness to stick to her beliefs in the face of tremendous hatred, as well of the dangers of disagreeing with the popular opinion. What she refused to do did not end any lives, nor did it put anyone in harm’s way. The solution only required the engaged couple go to another county clerk.
Yes, Kim Davis belongs in jail. Breaking a law explicitly results in jail time. However, turning against her as she fights for her beliefs is not the next step. Raising awareness and tolerance for homosexuality and the need for equality is where our focus should go next. That includes equality for all to follow their religious beliefs. For all to make choices that they can morally standby. For all to stand up to “The Man” and show that civilians, even those with differing opinions, can stand together and create a community rather than a lynching mob.