I hope you like orange, Ms. Davis

Despite numerous orders to do so, Kim Davis refuses to issue marriage licenses to gay couples (read: to do her job). As a result, she’s been found to be in contempt of court and jailed.

The thing about having a legal job is that oftentimes you’re required to take an oath of office. The point is that you have to affirm that you’re willing to uphold the laws of the United States and the city and state you live in. This doesn’t always make things easy – people who are opposed to the death penalty participate as judges, attorneys, and jurors. I have seen firsthand how difficult it can be

However, people do their jobs. Kim Davis had to take an oath when she assumed her office about one year ago. Her oath was:

Members of the General Assembly and all officers, before they enter upon the execution of the duties of their respective offices, and all members of the bar, before they enter upon the practice of their profession, shall take the following oath or affirmation: I do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and be faithful and true to the Commonwealth of Kentucky so long as I continue a citizen thereof, and that I will faithfully execute, to the best of my ability, the office of …. according to law; and I do further solemnly swear (or affirm) that since the adoption of the present Constitution, I, being a citizen of this State, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this State nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge, nor aided or assisted any person thus offending, so help me God.

The supreme law of the United States is the United States Constitution. If there’s a conflict between a state law and the Constitution, the Constitution wins. People get pissy about the judiciary creating laws, but this is how people are protected. Without the judiciary it may still be illegal for a black person to marry a white person and schools may still not be integrated.

People are making fun of Kim Davis for the way she dresses, her hair, and the fact that she’s been married four times, in seeming opposition to her Christian values. She’s a rather recent convert to Christianity and offers that as her explanation for her past transgressions. I don’t think you need Christianity to use good sense about who you marry, but what do I know?

I’m also not sure how it is that Davis issuing licenses to same-sex couples has anything to do with her religious beliefs. This has nothing do with her personally. It is through her role as the Clerk that she would be issuing licenses. We all get that she doesn’t want to do that. She has made that abundantly clear. She isn’t marrying a woman. So what of it?

What she is doing is imposing her judgment and view of Christianity on others. There is obviously a lot of discussion about whether Christianity prohibits same-sex marriages, with a number of churches in favor of them. When last I peeked into Christianity, it is not the place of any individual to impose their judgment on others and no one lives a sin-free life.

There are a lot of jobs that Davis could be doing right now. She took the post from her mom who held the position for 37 years so I can see why she may be reluctant to step down. Issuing marriage licenses is but one of many things a Clerk does, but it’s something that impacts a lot of people on a regular basis. If she can’t execute the duties of her job, she should step down and let someone who can uphold the oath of office take over.

In the meantime, good luck with that orange jumpsuit.

A “Christian” said something nonsensical and it made me ragey

I’m on something called The Listserve. It’s an email lottery. You sign up and every day you get a message (sometimes two) from one of 23,000+ people. It’s interesting – sometimes the messages are throwaways, some are interesting, and only a few have made me wonder what the hell is wrong with people.

I got one of those the other day.

It was by a self-proclaimed Christian for whom the timing could not be better since the Supreme Court just issued its ruling on marriage equality. The message didn’t really start off well:

The issue I would like to broach is divisive.  However, with the recent U.S. Supreme Court hearing on same-sex marriage, this issue needs to be rationally and civilly discussed.  In explaining my beliefs, I don’t want anyone to feel personally attacked. Sadly, some Christians and pseudo-Christians have shown hate and intolerance for the gay community. Forgive them. This hypocrisy is 180° polar to what being a Christ follower is all about!

I begin with a sincere moral belief:

As a Christian, I am morally opposed to the practice of homosexuality.

(Emphasis mine.)

Well, that’s not going to get people’s hairs up right away now is it? He then lists several things we can believe of him if we want to, including that is “ignorant, close[d]-minded, bigoted, homophobic, a hater” and left a blank for us to fill in what we wanted. “Asshat” may have been what I chose to fill in.

“As a Christian” bothered me right from the get-go. He seems to think that he’s a TRUE Christian and thus can speak for all TRUE Christians. Given that I know plenty of Christians who don’t agree with the rest of his sentence, I’m not sure I believe him.

I also take issue with his phraseology – “the practice of homosexuality.” So, gay people are okay as long as they don’t act in accordance with who they truly are? As long as they deny what they are biologically driven to? How the fuck does that work? Is this a variant of the “hate the sin, not the sinner?”

He then goes on to talk about how we all judge – that we judge even when we say “he should be tolerant” and “she shouldn’t judge.”

Then we get these gem paragraphs:

Tolerance  also means not forcing others to participate in and affirm our own beliefs. “Don’t like gay marriage? Don’t get gay married.” Point well taken. ” Do like gay marriage?” Don’t force someone against their personal beliefs to directly take part in supporting it. Hate speech, lawsuits or fines for someone not willing to participate as  a wedding photographer or cater a gay wedding against a morally held belief is not tolerance. Should a gay print-shop owner be forced to print material teaching against the gay lifestyle?

This is distinctly different from someone being denied service at a restaurant, etc. Gay people are welcome in my life, but I should not be forced to act in violation of deeply held moral beliefs, nor should you be.

I think he’s a bit confused. First, tolerance doesn’t mean what he thinks it does:

tolerance: (noun) a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, beliefs, practices, racial or ethnic origins, etc., differ fromone’s own; freedom from bigotry.

Tolerance would not be telling bigoted bakers that they don’t need to make a cake for a marriage of two people of the same sex. It would be those bakers making the cake without offering their opinions about what two people who are unrelated to them are doing.

Second, I still don’t understand how making a cake for a same-sex wedding makes anyone do anything in violation of their deeply held beliefs. When last I checked, if you ask someone to make you a cake for your wedding, they don’t have to have sex with you to get that cake made. If they’re taking pictures at the wedding they aren’t performing the fucking ceremony. Those two things might be making someone act in violation of their deeply held moral beliefs. (For the time being I’m going to go ahead and ignore what I think is the general hypocrisy that many Christians engage in on a somewhat ongoing basis regarding Jesus and judgment and how they pick and chose which parts of the Bible they’re going to hold deeply.)

Third, the problem is that it IS the same as people being denied service at a restaurant. Going into a bakery to get a cake made for what should be one of the most beautiful and memorable days of your life and getting told by a disgusted employee/owner that they will not make the cake is degrading, humiliating, and depressing. In both situations, people are made to feel less than because of something about themselves that they cannot change (and shouldn’t have to).

As I’ve mentioned before, these delightful Christians never stop to think about how it would feel if the tables were turned. They don’t want to provide services to gay people, but they don’t think about the number of times someone who is gay has provided services to them. Gay photographers don’t walk around talking about how they won’t work a church wedding and gay bakers don’t refuse to make a cake for a Christian couple.

Part of the problem is that bigoted Christians can often keep the fact that they’re hateful people to themselves. It’s a bit hard to get a wedding cake made without identifying who the couple is.

Which brings me to another of my favorite points – if the couple knew they were going to be treated like shit at the establishment, they probably wouldn’t go in there in the first place! Most of us don’t knowingly walk into a situation where we know we’re going to be shit on. We would simply take their business elsewhere. The problem comes when we go into places expecting everything to be fine, and then walk out feeling lesser.

He closes his email with these beautiful nuggets:

LET’S JUDGE WHAT IS TRUTH, NOT EACH OTHER

Don’t judge ME or my RIGHT to what I believe.  I have the same tolerance for you. Please DO JUDGE  my BELIEFS.  

(Emphasis mine.)

I don’t even know where to begin with this shit because I have no idea what the fuck he means.

How do you judge the TRUTH? The only way this makes sense is if he believes he knows the TRUTH and the rest of us who don’t agree with him have it wrong, so we’re judging his TRUTH.

I also don’t know how you judge someone’s RIGHT to what he believes.

I can’t figure out how to separate the belief from the person. If we truly believe something, our actions should be in line with those beliefs. Especially if we’re talking about these deeply held moral beliefs. My deep beliefs are who I am. I believe in equality for everyone. I can’t separate that from who I am. I’m also really PROUD of that so I wouldn’t want it to be separate from who I am.

I also love how he has the same tolerance for me. By which he tolerates me thinking what I think because  he knows I’m going to hell for being a non-believer. Again, NOT tolerance.

What it looks like to is that he’s trying to (I NEED TO INTERJECT THAT AN ELTON JOHN SONG JUST CAME ON) say that we shouldn’t judge him for being a bigot.

We’re hearing that a lot these days – so-called Christians running rampant with their judgment, but somehow when other Christians or non-Christians turn around and are like, WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU, judgment is somehow off-limits. So, they can dish it but they can’t take it? Is that what this is?

What’s really disturbing about this is that he clearly has no idea how he’s actually treating the gay people he “welcome[s]” in his life and that he’s as intolerant as the Christians he claims aren’t acting in accord with Jesus’ way. His idea of tolerance seems to be that he doesn’t throw rocks at gay people or set them on fire when he sees them. He seems to want people to hop back in the closet and just stay there as he sits in quiet judgment, knowing in his heart of hearts that everyone who doesn’t agree with him is going to hell. Whatever you are, own it. If you’re a bigot, admit that shit. Stop trying to make me help you feel less guilty about it.

Holy shit – I went on and on. This issue makes me hella ragey and I am beyond sick of the hypocritical bullshit that “Christians” are throwing around these days. If any of that type of Christian is reading this, know that Jesus is frowning on you and your intolerance right now.

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Put Your Money Where Your Hateful Mouth Is

No Love

Anti-marriage advocates (I shall call them anti-lovers) complain about how they’re being persecuted. Their religious freedoms are being invaded by the mere existence of the option for same-sex couples to get married. I have yet to figure out how that works.

The main argument appears to be that businesses and business owners are being fined when they discriminate against same sex couples who want their services. Let’s be real here, if the couples had known that they were dealing with bigots, they probably wouldn’t have approached them in the first place. I wouldn’t.

But really, nothing is happening to the anti-lovers. It’s not like the companies who support marriage equality are refusing to provide products or services to the anti-lovers. Perhaps if they did, they’d finally understand what they’re doing to other human beings.

If anti-lovers really wanted to put some oomph in their beliefs, they should start boycotting all the companies who support love and stood for marriage equality. It would mean some drastic changes to their lives though.

They pretty much wouldn’t be able to use a computer at all since Microsoft, Cisco, Intel, and Apple are pro-love. Cell phones would be out entirely unless you can find something not run on Android, iOS, or Windows. They wouldn’t be able to spew their hate-filled and discriminatory messages on Facebook or Twitter either. Not sure how they’re going to email either since Google is in the pro-love camp too. I guess they can all buy their own domains and send mail from there – bigot@ihatelove.com may still be available.

Sam’s Choice Cola would be what they had to drink, since both Pepsi and Coca-Cola stand for love. Say goodby to Oreos, Chips Ahoy, Nabisco products, and and delicious Nutter Butter cookies. General Mills is out too. And the java fix will have to come from somewhere other than Starbucks.

All those hateful business owners would have to start buying their office supplies from someone other than Staples and Office Depot. They’ll have to switch to a phone company other than Verizon or AT&T. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, American Express, TD Bank, Citigroup and WellsFargo wouldn’t want their business either. I guess companies besides Xerox make a copier.

Travel gets a lot harder when you can’t use Orbitz to book trips and when you can’t fly American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta or United Airlines. Also, I don’t know about you, but I like staying at Hilton and Marriott hotels.

Anti-lovers would have to get used to looking funky walking around because they wouldn’t be able to buy anything made by Johnson & Johnson or Proctor & Gamble. Estee Lauder wouldn’t want to make you pretty. Levi Strauss and American Apparel aren’t going to put clothes on their backs.

Convenience shopping would be gone too – eBay and Amazon are all about the rainbow. Hope you like Walmart, because Target’s bullseye isn’t just red. Electronic Arts video games would be banned too.

And let’s not forget a big one – The Walt Disney Company. Hope the anti-lovers’ kids don’t want to go to the happiest and most magical places on Earth or see any good animated movies. The kids are out of luck if they’re fans of The Muppets too. Ms. Piggy and Kermit don’t want anything to do with their hate either.

Yeah, the anti-lovers would pitch a fit if these companies started treating them like they treat the LGBT community. Somehow they’re allowed to discriminate under the First Amendment, but no one else is. Not that those of us on the other side probably would. We get that the First Amendment wasn’t meant to be used as a weapon of persecution.

*A more complete list of companies who stand for marriage equality can be found here.

The First Amendment

Lately in the US, between the fight for marriage equality and the responses to the murders of unarmed citizens by the police and the mass murders, there seems to be some confusion about what the First Amendment means.

The text:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

So, what does this actually mean? What’s the scope?

The First Amendment to the Constitution is part of The Bill of Rights. To protect themselves from the tyranny of prior rule, the new citizens of the United States wanted to protect themselves from being forced to practice any particular religion and to have the right to practice any religion they wanted, if they so chose. They wanted to be able to speak freely about their ideas without fear of punishment. They wanted to be able to gather together and share those ideas. They wanted access to their government to correct problems.

But, there are obviously some limits on what the government can do. The first word of the Amendment tells you who is being prohibited from acting: Congress. “Congress shall make no law…” Later, the 14th Amendment made this applicable to the States and their governments.

People cite the First Amendment as their right to say things that a lot of people consider hateful. Christians use it to justify their discrimination against gay people, since it’s in the Bible that homosexuality is wrong (I don’t really see it) and they’re entitled to their religious beliefs.

A guy in Seattle was walking around with a Swastika armband. A friend posted the article and some comments popped up in defense of the guy and his right to wear the armband and that no one should be able to say anything nasty to him about it.

The First Amendment has very little to do with what individuals say to each other. The First Amendment is about the government and how it interacts with citizens.

Nothing in the First Amendment says anything about the inherent rightness of people’s statements nor about immunity from response to those protected statements. Put simply, just because you have the right to say whatever you want doesn’t mean that what you’re saying is right. If what you say is hateful, do not expect people to respond kindly. The fact that you think your statements are backed by Jesus or Allah or whoever doesn’t change that.

So, go ahead. Say whatever you want. But be prepared for the response.

2

Jeb Bush Still Sucks (Shocking, I know)

nO jEB

Having lived in Florida while he was governor, I am no stranger to Jeb Bush. I’m actually quite surprised it’s taken him this long to make a move for the presidency. Though I can completely understand why he’s waited until the stink from his brother’s presidency has lifted. (Not that I think it actually has). No one wants to be associated with the guy who had some of the absolute lowest approval ratings in history. (He also had the highest. However, 9/11 gave him a big boost that almost any president would have gotten regardless of their policies.)

Jeb, I’m sure he’s fine with me calling him Jeb, in blatant preparation for 2016, is now running his mouth about marriage equality and the Supreme Court threatening people’s livelihoods if they aren’t allowed to use discrimination as a guide in their business practices.

“I don’t know about the law, but religious freedom is a serious issue, and it’s increasingly so, and I think people that act on their conscience shouldn’t be discriminated against, for sure,” Bush said. “There should be protections, and so, as it relates to marriage equality — and that may change, the Supreme Court may change that. That automatically then shifts the focus to people of conscience, and, I don’t know, have their faith make — they want to act on their faith, and may not be able to be employed for example.”

          Source

Jeb was responding to a question about whether he supported the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prohibits the government from “burdening” people’s exercise of their religious freedoms and which specifically states that “Laws neutral toward religion may burden religious exercise as surely as laws intended to interfere with religious exercise.” Further on it states, “Courts have consistently held that government has a fundamental, overriding interest in eradicating discrimination.”

In other words, laws that require marriage equality and do not allow people to discriminate based on sexual orientation infringe on people’s exercise of their religious freedoms and are thus discriminatory. Huh? I don’t really think that’s what the courts meant.

The law would allow clerks to not issue marriage licenses to gay couples. It would permit business owners to decline to sell or provide services to couples simply based on their sexual orientation. Basically, this is Georgia telling the federal courts (and possibly the U.S. Supreme Court) to go fuck themselves.

For Jeb to suggest that a Supreme Court ruling disallowing discrimination based on sexual orientation would stop people from being able to be employed is ludicrous. Someone who closes down their business because a gay customer may walk in is an idiot. Though I do appreciate his inflammatory rhetoric reminiscent of Hitler’s Germany. Should make it much easier to keep him from getting elected. (Fingers crossed.)

I also don’t understand how marriage equality impacts anyone’s religious freedoms since I can’t think of a single religion that requires its adherents to take action against someone simply because they’re gay. Since we’re talking about Georgia, we’ll assume for this conversation that the religion is Christianity. Nowhere in any Bible I’m familiar with does it state that if a Christian knows a person to be gay, they must shun them and shame them. Last I read and studied, it’s up to God to make those calls and it’s wrong for a Christian to judge another person. Jesus certainly didn’t shun those he saw as sinners.

The other thing the merchants and individuals who support Georgia’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act should consider is that while they’re free to believe whatever they want, so are the rest of us. I happen to think they’re a bunch of bigoted assholes who I would rather not support. If they’re so proud of their beliefs, they should put a big sign like this one

No Love

in their store windows, on their websites, and hell, even on their clothes so I know not to shop there, or, in this case, vote for them.

What size t-shirt do we think Jeb wears? Or maybe he’d prefer an embroidered polo?