William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

No Christians In Public Life? Kentucky Clerk Jailed For Refusing To Issue Gmarriage Licenses.

A Kentucky courtroom

A Kentucky courtroom

So this Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, an elected official (Democrat) and therefore unfireable, has refused under court order to issue gmarriage licenses. The judge was asked by lawyers representing two persons suffering same-sex attraction to fine Davis and not jail her, but the judge reasoned Christians would come to Davis’s monetary aide and so tossed her into the hoosegow to punish her and force her to violate her religious beliefs.

Davis is a sinner and corrupted, as we all are. She has been civilly divorced and she has since undergone gmarriages herself—don’t forget gmarriage means government-defined marriage, and not real or actual marriage, which is, by universal definition, one-man, one-woman to death do them part. (Even those in gmarriages can be forgiven.)

The argument of hypocrisy carries no force here. This is the argument that, since Davis has sinned before, she ought to sin again, which is absurd. Another non-starter is that because Davis took an oath to uphold the laws of her state, she ought to follow all new laws that arise. Yet “I was just following orders” is a despicable defense. Illegal and immoral orders or laws ought not to be followed.

Is issuing gmarriage licenses a sin? I think it is. It is participating in an evil; it is to be complicit in the act, albeit in small way. Davis thinks it’s a sin. She said:

To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision. For me it is a decision of obedience. I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God’s Word. It is a matter of religious liberty, which is protected under the First Amendment, the Kentucky Constitution, and in the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Davis went on to ask for, in effect, conscientious objector status; that others and not she should handle gmarriage licenses.

Those are the preliminaries. Let us not argue the law, because that subject is murky and beside the point: we are asking if Davis can violate the law while maintaining her position.

The Tolerance Brigade cheered Davis’s incarceration, proving once again that the Tolerant enjoy the pain of their enemies. Jailing clerks for refusing government-sanctioned sin is not going to last, however, even if the Tolerant demand it, because Davis did not violate any criminal law, and she couldn’t be fired like most people in her position could be. She was held in contempt, which is very different. Anyway, the class of unfireable folks like Davis is small.

The more interesting argument is the wide-spread and persistent call for Davis, and others like Davis, to resign. Those making that cry are equivalently saying, “We don’t want faithful Christians in government.” The Tolerant believe that if the government says “Jump!” the only possible response is “How high?” To the Tolerant, it is government which defines right and wrong, and if (traditional) Christianity disagrees, they say the Christian should concede to the “higher” power, which is government. The Tolerant have no tolerance for Christian exemptions. The Tolerant believe everybody should think alike.

Remember that Christian Colorado baker who refused baking a cake for a gmarriage? A judge forced him and his employees into a reeducation camp. The judge called it “sensitivity training”. The judge told the man he had no choice but to violate his conscience if he wanted to stay in business. The call from the Tolerant in that case was the same as with Davis: the Tolerant said the man should get out of business. He should resign.

The same is happening elsewhere in the world to Christian hospitalist doctors who refused to kill the lives inside women. The Tolerant say that if these doctors can’t follow orders, then they should resign.

What’s next? If a Christian public school teacher doesn’t want to teach the “benefits” of anal sex, she should resign. If a Christian state college professor doesn’t want to add a lecture on “diversity” in his course on particle physics, he should resign. If a Christian judge doesn’t want to perform a civil gmarriage, he should resign. If the Christian nurse doesn’t want to inject the “patient” with the euthanizing drug, she should resign. If the Christian day care doesn’t want to accommodate a boy who is pretending to be a girl, they should resign their business.

As the Blonde Bombshell suggested to me, our culture is saying to Christians, If you like your religion, you can keep your religion.

80 Comments

  1. “This is the argument that, since Davis has sinned before, she ought to sin again, which is absurd.” Very good observation! I will keep that in reference for when people argue she’s divorced so what’s the big deal.

    Yes, the ultimate goal is to remove all those with a conscious from any businesses or public positions. One cannot impart incredible evil with anyone standing up and fighting back. All those in charge must by definition lack a moral conscious. Otherwise, you have to kill those people first and the sheep get nervous when they see their penmates killed. So you punish those who might object out and then start the slaughter on remaining complacent sheep. It’s a time-tested method used by dictators everywhere who didn’t want a huge uprising. After this comes loss of electricity, cars, food and anything else that might make life better. No one will object then. Stay tuned. It’s coming sooner that you think.

  2. The cry against Kim Davis brings to mind the story about the woman at the well: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+4

  3. Wouldn’t this fall under the category of “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s?” You make the salient point in that what she is issuing is a gmarriage license. That being the case, gmarriage being quite apart from a religious institution or in any way bestowing moral sanction in the mind of the religious, shouldn’t her conscience be irrelevant?

    ~EBuzz

  4. Extraordinarily poor argument for a smart guy like you Dr. Briggs. And you must know that it is and so I think that you must be grasping at straws to craft some argument, any argument.

    The government (of whom, in general, I’m no fan) is elected and there is a structure in place such that, in some fuzzy way, it reflects the opinions and desires of the majority whether I like and agree or don’t. Davis should have resigned to satisfy her conscience. She needed to neither “just follow orders” nor become a martyr to her cause.

    Her case is far different from the bakers. They owned the business, people could patronize or not. That was a travesty. Davis is being paid by “the public” and is obligated to do her job or leave it if she can’t.

    As to her conscience, I’ll engage in the same sorts of silly exaggeration as you sometimes do. I hope you will agree that others hold religious beliefs that are different from yours just as sincerely as you hold yours. And “but I’m right and they’re wrong” is hardly an appropriate answer. Their religious beliefs might entail female genital mutilation, arranged marriages at birth, “honor killings,” killing of infidels, etc. Now posit a police officer who won’t arrest such people or a district attorney who will not prosecute those who engage in such behaviors because he or she sincerely holds the same religious beliefs and thus believes that the perpetrators of the mutilation, marriage contract, killings committed no crime. By your rationale, that’s fine, correct?

  5. Ye Olde Statistician

    September 4, 2015 at 10:45 am

    The State took control of marriage only in the mid-1800s, starting in Middle Europe. It has taken them about a century to break it.

    They took control of education at about the same time.

    Today, most Late Moderns find it inconceivable that people once got married without government approval. Indeed, without government involvement of any sort, except for settling inheritance and liability issues. Those you can find already in the Code of Khamurapi.

  6. Briggs,

    You really missed the mark on this one. And as Rob said, you know you missed, hence your need to grasp at straws.

    As a Christian, she gave her oath to uphold Kentucky laws. If she can no longer keep that oath, she needs to resign. That is the only Christian response.

    The answer to all your questions in the penultimate paragraph is, “Yes!”

    Where I once thought you adhered to negative rights, I now believe you also hold to positive rights. The clerk has a “right to be let alone,” which she can exercise by resigning. Yet, you claim she has a right to a job, which is a claim over others. That, my friend, is a positive right.

    So, in this matter, how do you differ from the left?

    Would you be as supportive when others exercised this so-called right, such as a clerk that would not marry those previously divorced? What about what was once a “religious” view held — in error — by Christian brothers and sisters: that the races should not intermarry?

    Would you defend that “right” as well?

    If you held a system of ethics with regard to the clerk, would would have to say, “Yes.” If you cannot say “yes,” your ethics is situational, similar to the left.

    What if a phlebotomist of the Jehovah Witness faith said he would not transfuse blood? Would you rush to his defense?

    If you cannot say, “Yes,” you truly are grasping for straws.

    Notes:

    1. When it is the Obama administration claiming the right to trump law based on its collective worldview (religion?), you do not rise in defense.
    2. Read Scalia’s response to being a Catholic judge who does not believe in the death penalty when hearing death penalty cases.
    3. The cases dealing with bakers and photographers are completely different, and I believe you know that as well.

  7. Oops.

    I missed your last question, ” If the Christian day care doesn’t want to accommodate a boy who is pretending to be a girl, they should resign their business.”

    This, similar to bakers and photographers, is correctly answered by, “No.”

    Those are applications of positive rights in reverse, which I believe you recognize.

  8. Briggs,

    “…force her to violate her religious beliefs.”

    We’re is it written in the Bible that marriage is a sin?

    The usual Christian religious belief is that the annal sexual act between two man or even a man and a woman is illegal, not the way of life.

    What happens to the religious belief of the gay couple?

    She has a secular job yet wish to impose her beliefs unto other.

    Should a state representative be allowed to refuse to issue a gun license for her/his religious belief?

    Murder is the worst sin and handgun only use is to murder. So in this case the refusal would truly be a religious belief.

  9. “Davis went on to ask for, in effect, conscientious objector status; that others and not she should handle gmarriage licenses.”
    Compare this situation to Muslims who refuse to carry a seeing eye dog in their cab, or refuse to checkout alcohol or pork when employed by a shop. Or Quakers as pacifists in the time of war.

    Upside down here in little inconsequential Australia I’m really glad our politicians didn’t insist on including intangible rights in our constitution; things such as rules about free speech and the state’s relationship with religion.

  10. It blows my mind how someone with such strong moral convictions can still call themselves a Democrat

  11. She did the right thing. She shouldn’t resign.

    BUT: They have to throw her in jail. The sad truth is that we live in countries (me in Canada) with evil laws and the proper place for good people is jail.

    It’d be nice though if Obama were also in jail for flouting the law–and all those mayors of so called Sanctuary Cities

  12. “The answer to all your questions in the penultimate paragraph is, ‘Yes!'”

    That was the answer taken by the state in the Scopes trial, that the state has the right to impose an ideology (surely if they have the right to impose an ideology you agree with, they also have the right to impose one you disagree with).

    Should an actor be required to accept roles that present ideas with which that actor disagrees? Why should the artist have a freedom which is denied to the artisan? You claim that any physician should be required to deliver all kinds of medical services, should a restaurant be allowed to refuse to serve certain kinds of food? Would you outlaw vegan restaurants?

    And how about customers? Should a customer be allowed to refuse to conduct business where they disagree with the business practices of the owners? Since you are denying that conscience should be allowed as a basis for such interactions, then why should it be allowed on either side?

    Should a customer be compelled to eat meat if the restaurant wanted to serve it, just as you would compel any restaurant to serve it if that is what the customer ordered?

    Surely requiring a chef to slaughter an animal is less of an imposition than requiring a physician to slaughter a baby.

    Suppose the inability to perform the service did not arise because of conscience, but because of a physical difficulty, such as an allergy. Suppose a vegan Muslim happens to have a pork allergy, should they be required to handle pork products if they work in a restaurant? Should the refusal be allowed only if it is a matter of conscience? Only if it is a matter of religiously-inspired conscience?

  13. Rob Ryan: These bullies could have gotten a marriage license in another county. What they did was target this clerk to force her to do their bidding. Interesting that people think bullies on the progressive side are a-okay, but hold their breath and turn blue if the other side tries anything against them. Hypocrisy at it’s finest.

    We actually don’t have to posit such “exaggerations” as you list–we actually see them occurring, the largest of which is Obama refusing to abide by the supreme court ruling that his amnesty oversteps his powers as president. Why isn’t he in contempt of court. He did the same with Obamacare and numerous other things. He follows whatever laws he likes and ignores the rest. If the highest official in the land can just disregard the law–an elected official–why can’t everyone? Law obviously has no meaning in today’s government so why should it in society? It’s hypocritical.

    Jim: I believe she chose civil disobedience over resignation for a reason. It used to be that civil disobedience was good–witness the hippies and the sixties. Now, it’s no longer acceptable, oh, except when the left does it and they have no punishment.

    Again, the bakers and photographers are not different. This was NOT the only place these two could get a marriage license, but it was the place they could torment a Christian who dared to call their behaviour wrong. Personally, I wish she had told them she would not give them the license and she never approve of their behaviour. They wanted approval and she should have been very clear they never were going to get it from her. Bullying is wrong no matter who is doing it or for whatever reason. (I’d put in a reference to a clerk in Texas I believe who would not issue heterosexual licenses, but search engines on the net are so poor I can’t find it again.)

    What is the difference between forced resignation and business closure other than legal terminology? The idea is the bullies force someone out of business for daring to disagree with them.

    NOTE: There was always praise for reporters who went to jail for contempt of court protecting their sources. Again, it’s only nobel if it’s the Left. Why? Where does it say that only the Left are the arbitrators of right and wrong? Please explain how the Left is omniscient.

  14. Shack Tom —

    I would be best for you to understand negative v. positive rights before conflating the two in multiple examples.

    Once you understand the differences, you will be able to answer your own questions.

    BTW: I nowhere deny any right to conscience. Straighten out your understanding of negative rights, especially with regard to property, and you will see where your arguments are flawed.

  15. Shack: Businesses should be allowed to do whatever they want and refuse service to anyone. That was case in the past–only when the bullies from the Left decided we have to be tolerant did that change. Now, tolerant means beating up and bullying anyone who disagrees with the Left. I don’t see that as tolerant, but I suppose there are those who cannot think well enough to see it for what it is.

    Your other questions seem nonsensical. No one is forcing anyone to eat meat, or anything else here. Customers do not make demands of businesses–the business serves customers. If the business does not want to serve certain customers. then it should not have to. It is silly to try and turn this around. Both the customer and business should be free to do as they wish. If a restaurant declares anyone eating there must eat meat, vegans should stay away. If a restaurant does not want to serve cavier, it should not be required to do so. Your examples lead to rediculous conclusions.

  16. Sheri,

    The baker and clerk are worlds apart. Do you really believe you that your right to exercise your conscience trumps the rights of others (in this instance, I am assuming arguendo that the state has a right to property)?

    Can you exercise your right to conscience on my property? If your answer is, “Yes,” then you apply the same logic as the left, which you condemn.

    Provide answers to the questions I posed to Briggs.

    As I wrote to Shack Tom, please take some time to learn the concepts of negative and positive rights. That will really help you in understanding your conflation of the two.

    note: I have a couple of article that may assist: https://mises.org/library/if-i-must-sell-you-must-buy and https://mises.org/library/logical-progression-public-accomodation.

  17. Of course women shouldn’t be allowed to conduct a wedding ceremony. That’s a privilege that God has given to men. /sarc

  18. Jim: I have no idea what you are talking about so I find it impossible to answer your questions. Reading your links did not make anything clearer.

    Hans: I’m okay with that. Only men can perform wedding ceremonies. Let’s do it.

  19. Sheri,

    “Jim: I have no idea what you are talking about so I find it impossible to answer your questions. Reading your links did not make anything clearer.”

    Not to be blunt, but that is where your arguments fail.

    “What is the difference between forced resignation and business closure other than legal terminology? The idea is the bullies force someone out of business for daring to disagree with them.”

    In my area, Mexican restaurants used to reign. Now they are giving way to Indian establishments. People are, in essence, boycotting Mexican ones — albeit in a tacit manner. But the effect is the same, nonetheless.

    When fellow Christians seek boycotts of companies that give to causes these folks abhor, are you condemning the Christians. Or do you only dislike certain bullies?

    Look, you have no “right” to a job. You have no right of speech (or conscience) on my property. Put those two together and you will see that the clerk is in the wrong.

  20. ….please take some time to learn the concepts of negative and positive rights. That will really help you in understanding your conflation of the two.

    That’s a spot on reply, as most people shun the logic of negative and positive rights in favor of the easy blanket of hypocrisy. Conflation with business practice or employing “Obama!” simply further dilute their argument.

  21. The clerk seems to believe the delusion that the gmarriage license is certification of an actual marriage. Briggs seems to believe the same in this case (although he would deny it) by calling it “participation in an evil.” The license is merely a governmental fiction like the many fictions we participate in every day (speed limits, anyone?).

    Refusing to sign the document isn’t a violation of law; it’s a violation of a contract with an employer. In court the rules that regulate that should be followed and the judge shouldn’t be trying to manipulate a defendant. In practice, the employer should try to accommodate personal preferences where they can be reasonably met.

  22. Sheri, even if I stipulate your protestations regarding the targeting of Davis, Obama’s overreach, etc. they are classic red herrings and I don’t even (necessarily) disagree. I addressed Dr. Briggs’ argument only and it was a poor one for the reasons I (and others) stated.

  23. Jim: I would say that my not understanding you would certainly means my arguments will fail in your eyes.

    I have no problem with Christians boycotting businesses nor anyone else boycotting businesses. If a Christian decides to sue a bakery because the baker would not make a cake saying something the baker found offensive, then yes, I would call that bullying. I’m an equal opportunity bully disliker.

    Failing to patronize is not the same as boycotting. Boycotting targets a business practice the individual does not like. Failing to patronize means the business may be a poorly run business, that other businesses are better, etc.

    Okay, I agree I have no right to a job. I have no right of speech (or conscience) on your property. The clerk was elected and the property is public. Your argument would then limit speech to private policy and equates elected with hired. Problematic.

    Gary: You make an excellent point. Muslims have been given prayer breaks and special rooms, which is an obvious religion based privilege.

    Consider this all ye who believe this is not bullying and hypocritical:
    “Walmart was one of several major American retailers who announced last week that they would stop selling Confederate flag merchandise, after nine black parishioners were shot and killed at a church in Charleston, S.C” Confederate flags are just as legal as gay marriage. Yet Walmart can refuse to sell said flags, cakes or other images.

    Rob Ryan: You listed the arguments. Are you saying you were typing to fill space and I should have known that?
    “She needed to neither “just follow orders” nor become a martyr to her cause.” She could have just resigned, yes. However, if that is true, then Jim Crow laws should still be ineffect and Rosa should have stayed at the back of the bus. Rosa could ride the bus. It wasn’t a big deal. She needn’t have become a martyr to her cause, right?

  24. Rosa Parks was engaging in civil disobedience to obtain civil rights as a citizen. Kim Davis refused to do her job (and likewise prevented her clerks), to deny civil rights to citizens.

  25. Sheri, why doesn’t that surprise me?

  26. Briggs,

    No Christians In Public Life?

    Your hyperbole is showing …

    Yet “I was just following orders” is a despicable defense.

    … and I see that you were only just getting started. You don’t serious believe that homosexuality is a sin on par with genocide … do you? Perhaps it comes down to how you feel about what’s written in Leviticus and Numbers. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis probably applies here as well.

    Illegal and immoral orders or laws ought not to be followed.

    Here we agree. I would only note that history tells us that rights activists who use civil disobedience as a way of calling attention to and gaining sympathy for their cause typically suffer at least the legal consequences of breaking it. Let’s just keep in mind that this is what Ms. Davis has signed up for by the dictates of her stated conscious and evidently her own will. I admire her for it even though I 100% disagree with her position.

    Sheri,

    These bullies could have gotten a marriage license in another county.

    Kim Davis could have gotten another job.

    What they did was target this clerk to force her to do their bidding.

    I see, so obtaining a marriage license in their home county was only a secondary concern.

    They wanted approval and she should have been very clear they never were going to get it from her.

    Not being a mind-reader, available evidence suggests they simply wanted to get married.

    This was NOT the only place these two could get a marriage license, but it was the place they could torment a Christian who dared to call their behaviour wrong.

    She did a bit more than just express her disapproval … she refused them something they were legally entitled to obtain from her office — not only from her, but her entire office — and which her office is legally obligated to give them.

    See again: she could have gotten another job.

    Bullying is wrong no matter who is doing it or for whatever reason.

    Here’s a definition of bullying: “Use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.”

    I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to extend that definition to, “… or to force him or her to NOT do what one wants.”

    I’d put in a reference to a clerk in Texas I believe who would not issue heterosexual licenses, but search engines on the net are so poor I can’t find it again.

    You need not look any further than Kim Davis herself.

  27. CI: No, Rosa Parks was doing what was evil and wrong in the eyes of law. She was to stay on the back of the bus. The law is the law. If one does not like the law, they try to change it, possibly through civil disobedience. Kim Davis has the right to believe whatever she chooses in religion, except that you would deny the right to actually put this into practice. So Kim Davis is being denied her rights and she is standing up those rights. The only argument here is that the Left/Progressives are always right, everyone else is wrong and everyone else will pay for trying to change any of the perfect laws passed by them. That is the only argument being made here.

  28. Ye Olde Statistician

    September 4, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Hans: women shouldn’t be allowed to conduct a wedding ceremony. That’s a privilege that God has given to men.

    The marriage is ministered by the copulating couple, most directly in the “marriage act.” Thus, both a woman and a man conduct the ceremony. Only for the past hundred and fifty years or so has the government insisted on sticking its nose in to “give prior permission” to marry by the State.

  29. So Kim Davis is being denied her rights and she is standing up those rights.

    And you’re wrong. The job of Clerk of Rowan County [secular government] is in no possible way a tenet or edict of her religion. She has every right to practice her faith as she sees fit. What she does not have, is the right to use our secular government as a avenue to not only promote her belief system, but to use it as a cudgel against those she chooses.

    Your argument is further diluted by an insistence on false analogies, projections and the crutch of irrelevant ideological injects.

  30. Brandon Gates: Your reference to Sodom and Gomorrah. Read once where a guy said that if God isn’t striking dead sinners in today’s climate, He owes Sodom and Gomorrah and apology. Perhaps He does.

    The two men could have gotten a certificate elsewhere.

    Yes, a marriage license in their own county was a secondary concern.

    Being an observer of human behaviour, they wanted to punish this person for what she believed and humiliate her.

    See again: They could have gotten a license elsewhere.

    Your definition definitely makes the gays bullies because they chose to push for what they wanted and humiliate someone to get there. They kept going until they got her jailed. Kim Davis did not stop these two from getting what they wanted (with you claim was simply to get married—she did not stop that in any way. Of course, if you actually meant they were determined to force people to approve of their marriage so they threw a hissy fit when they couldn’t get immediate approval, then yes, she did keep them from getting that). She did not tell them they could not go elsewhere, she did not take them prisoner, etc. She just would not give them what they wanted from her Definitely the gays were the bullies here.

    No, Brandon, Heterosexual licenses. Not the same thing, unless male and female are now exactly alike in biology too.

    CI: The Constitution, the highest law of the land, says “Religion and Expression. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” That would mean Kim Davis had the right to refuse to something that forced her to violate her religious beliefs. Her right to the free exercise thereof was clearly violated.

  31. “Kim Davis refused to do her job (and likewise prevented her clerks), to deny civil rights to citizens.”

    I agree that Rowan County has an obligation to either issue the licenses or else to stop requiring such licenses. The courts have found a civil right for homosexuals to marry, and this should be respected by county officials. If this individual won’t do the job, then the county should find someone who will, but should not compel this person to do it.

    To me, this person is likely being jailed because our judicial system has the oddball notion that it claims to only decide cases, but actually decides law. In order for it to decide law, it has to have a case. The concept of punishing an official for exercising discretion in carrying out laws is a matter of some interest, and this may be an opening salvo in resolving that general question.

    But this raises another question, which is why the state discriminates between married and unmarried individuals. Why should the state discriminate against those who lose their loved ones or who simply prefer to remain unmarried?

  32. Sheri, you’re pretending that any government official has the right to refuse any portion of their job…and yet keep their job and benefits….simply because they feel like it?

    It’s interesting to hear how you support officials using their office to bully the citizens they swear an oath to serve. I expect more from my government than you apparently do.

  33. “…gmarriage means government-defined marriage, and not real or actual marriage,…”

    THAT’s EXACTLY CORRECT; govt-marriage, which encompasses gay marriage, is not a “real” marriage as there is no sacrament attached. Instead, it is the state conferring certain rights on two individuals.

    Those rights include things like the right to property at the partner’s death, employer health insurance to “partners,” to file joint tax returns & claim certain dependent deductions, and on & on & on.

    If the govt avoided the label “marriage” and used some terms such as “contracted partnership rights” the effect would be the same — and it wouldn’t be “marriage” … and few people would probably care.

    So much angst over a label.

    AND NEVER FORGET — STATE-SANCTIONED MARRIAGE IS ENTIRELY ABOUT A CONTRACT and the RIGHTS ASSOCIATED WITH THAT, NOT SACRAMENT. The marriage sacrament is independent of the state. In modern times most countries have combined these two facets, though, commonly, a religious marriage certificate confers proof of sacramental marriage and a separate state-issued marriage certificate is needed to gain the legal rights.

    Consider the Catholic Church position — a couple gets married in Las Vegas, and by the State, they are married everywhere. This non-sacramental marriage does not count by the Church and those same people are unmarried until they engage the sacrament.

    Note what happens in divorces — the state-granted rights are revoked, but if you’re, for example, a Catholic, the religious institution considers you still married, at least until they separately annul the marriage (sometimes the religious institution refuses this). If the annulment is refused, or while delayed, the Church will not re-marry the person.

    Thus, in reality, legal/state-sanctioned marriage over state-manufactured rights and religious/sacramental marriage are two different things routinely administered differently with different outcomes.

    If a person can be divorced/unmarried by the state, but still married by the Church…is it really so hard to grasp that a couple can be married by the state and unmarried by the Church? That’s the gay marriage issue. If its really an issue.

    With gay marriage…all of a sudden biased interest groups are acting like state & religious marriage are & have always been one-and-the-same. That just ain’t so and it never was.

    Consider the image a bit below half-way down this webpage: http://umich.edu/~classics/news/newsletter/winter2004/weddings.html
    There’s a man holding a scroll document — a marriage contract — holding his bride’s hand before a witness (a typical representation from ancient Rome, some 2000+ year ago, not the “mid-1800s”!!!). The contract nature of the marriage included a dowry, a pagan custom we maintain in diluted form to this day, even in so-called “Christian” weddings.

    As Milton Friedman so elegantly noted, FREEDOM INCLUDES THE RIGHT TO SIN. Withing limits, what economists refer to as externalities.

    Here, we’re seeing people, this blog’s author for example, routinely railing against government encroachments on individual freedom…then turning around & advocating very particular religiously-based restrictions on society while simultaneously endorsing the existing Constitution, which guarantees one’s exercise of religious freedom.

    That is hypocrisy. One cannot claim Constitutional freedom on the one and and also advocate imposing their particular brand of “Christianity” on all society — a variant of “Christianity” that denies gay marriage…as opposed to variants of “Christianity” that accept gay marriage–and there are such variants of [so-called] “Christianity.” One cannot have U.S. Constitutional “freedom” AND impose a particular set of religious values on society at the same time — that’s a contradiction.

    Part of the price of freedom is accepting the things freedom brings. The problem is that too many people refuse to pay that price.

    Of course, the other problem, the real problem, is that “Christianity” has become fragmented into so many diverse & mutually-exclusive doctrines that, arguably, most versions of “Christianity” are wrong. Especially in the U.S. Only a very tiny number of folks are willing to address that; most like to pretend otherwise, that things are just hunky dory homogeneous….

  34. Yes, a marriage license in their own county was a secondary concern.

    Sheri, please prove your assertion. If you believe it to be true, you should have no problem backing it up.

  35. “As Milton Friedman so elegantly noted, FREEDOM INCLUDES THE RIGHT TO SIN. Withing limits, what economists refer to as externalities.”

    Certainly freedom must include the right to sin, at least to sin as defined by the political authority. There is no question of the political authority forbidding that which it holds to be beneficial, so the question of freedom is entirely a matter of the right to do that which the state would prefer to forbid.

    However, I had never considered the relationship between sin and economic externality. How does that work? I assume you are referring to a relationship only between sin and negative externalities (where the external parties accrue a cost rather than a benefit).

    I think of an economic externality only in terms of a cost or benefit of a transaction that accrues to parties other than those who negotiated the transaction. On the other hand, I think of sin as that which denies the divine. I am intrigued by the idea that these things may be connected, but I don’t quite get it.

  36. CI: No, I am saying that the government cannot interfere with the free exercise of religion. Not the same thing. (Having worked in government, I can tell you people often refuse do their jobs and no one cares. This particular case can make headlines—sitting at your desk, playing solitaire on the computer all day and collecting a check doesn’t. Yet that’s NOT doing your job. There are hundreds of examples of people not doing their jobs and no one jails them, fires them or any such thing. They often get promoted. So what you are describing is status quo in some places.)

    I expect my government to leave me alone and stop treating me like a child.

  37. No, I am saying that the government cannot interfere with the free exercise of religion.

    The government isn’t interfering in her religion. The role as Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky contains no tenets of her [or any] religion. She is as free as she desires to practice her faith as she chooses to. She does not [once again] have a right to that job if she refuse to perform the duties thereof.

    What’s more, she could have delegated the issuance of same sex marriage licenses to any of her 6 deputy clerks. That she forbade them to do so, speaks to her bullying.

  38. EBuzz,

    Wouldn’t this fall under the category of “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s?”

    I think so, but with a key difference: the Hebrews were under a military occupation enforced by Caesar’s troops.

    That being the case, gmarriage being quite apart from a religious institution or in any way bestowing moral sanction in the mind of the religious, shouldn’t her conscience be irrelevant?

    Around the time Prop. 22 hit the ballot in California (which marks the beginning of my interest in this issue) I recall a few people on both sides of the debate saying that getting the gummint out of the marriage business entirely, possibly by way of changing the legal term to “civil union” across the board for same- or different-sex unions, would be a good compromise solution. I agreed. Needless to say, that didn’t satisfy most activists on both sides. The word marriage has cachet in and of itself. It imparts societal legitimacy, a big part of which is moral legitimacy, in a way that civil union does not.

    Had the civil union paradigm been adopted, you can bet that most couples entering into them would still consider themselves married, and still represent themselves that way in social situations. I think it’s better that the word marriage was kept on the books, especially since now everyone can have their union legally recognized as such.

    From the standpoint of the law, Ms. Davis’ conscience is irrelevant. One human to another, it does. As a society, we’re not terribly good at recognizing that distinction. This is where I think Briggs does make a good point about conscientious objectors. Going that route, the only way I could see to resolve this mess would be to let Ms. Davis keep her job so far as she allows others in her office to grant marriage licenses to whomever is eligible.

    I am just now reading one of your responses to Sheri where you disagree.

  39. Sheri,

    “…I am saying that the government cannot interfere with the free exercise of religion. ”

    In this case Davis is the representative of the government and she is the one refusing the religious liberties of the couple.

    She was elected under the pretence that she would do a job that she refuse to do. This is why she got in jail.

    The only countries on earth where the “law of God ” supersedes the written law is in the Muslim world.

  40. CI: “One of the clerks cried when she told Bunning that she would be willing to issue marriage licenses. The clerk said she didn’t agree with it, but she would follow the order. Davis’ son, Nathan, refused, but Bunning said he would not be fined or jailed since the other deputies agreed to issue the licenses.”
    Looks to me like not all the deputies felt Davis was the bully.

    From the Washington Post: “Chinese authorities have ordered Muslim shopkeepers and restaurant owners in a village in its troubled Xinjiang region to sell alcohol and cigarettes, and promote them in “eye-catching displays,” in an attempt to undermine Islam’s hold on local residents, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported. Establishments that failed to comply were threatened with closure and their owners with prosecution.”
    We are now copying one of the most oppressive governments on the planet and doing so with pride. Long live the communist party and their wonderful human rights behaviours that we are now emulating.

  41. Sheri,

    “Okay, I agree I have no right to a job. I have no right of speech (or conscience) on your property. The clerk was elected and the property is public. Your argument would then limit speech to private policy and equates elected with hired. Problematic.”

    A total non sequitur.

    The clerk qua citizen has a right to express her views in the public square. But the clerk qua clerk has no right to refuse to perform her duties.

    I believe you understand this as an ideal. You just do not feel it is appropriate in this situation, so you invent some specious defense of your feelings, which is the very same tactic used by the left.

    Again, you have not answered the questions I posed to Briggs.

  42. Sheri,

    Read once where a guy said that if God isn’t striking dead sinners in today’s climate, He owes Sodom and Gomorrah and apology. Perhaps He does.

    I had not heard that one before, I am chuckling. On a more serious note, recall that God would have spared the two cities if Abraham could have found but 10 righteous living there. He could not … all he found were Lot and his family, who were allowed to evacuate prior to the local apocalypse.

    I brought up Leviticus because chapter 20 prescribes death to men who lie with other men. And Numbers because, if it doesn’t encourage genocide on the basis of religious belief, it surely doesn’t condemn it. Try chapter 31.

    The two men could have gotten a certificate elsewhere.

    It’s apparently not registering with you that they AND a heterosexual couple filed suit against Davis because she wasn’t giving out licenses to ANYONE.

    Yes, a marriage license in their own county was a secondary concern.

    Once you’ve made up your mind that you know someone else’s, I know better than attempt to persuade you otherwise.

    Being an observer of human behaviour, they wanted to punish this person for what she believed and humiliate her.

    Ok, two can play this game: she wants to shame and punish people who don’t believe as she does by denying them what is rightfully theirs to obtain by law.

    Your definition definitely makes the gays bullies because they chose to push for what they wanted and humiliate someone to get there.

    According to you, Kim Davis is within her rights to not only tell people she thinks their lifestyle is sinful, but that she’s entirely within moral bounds to keep them from it being legally recognized. Speaking of Caesar, I see your argument as nothing more than the other side of the very same coin. Try flipping it over once and taking a good look at it. To wit …

    No, Brandon, Heterosexual licenses. Not the same thing, unless male and female are now exactly alike in biology too.

    Yes, we’d probably all have a lot less angst if everyone in our society agreed on these kind of definitions.

  43. Sheri, are you actually forced to compare the US to China, because we have finally extended civil liberties to gay Americans….after a history of institutionalized denial based on the belief system that Davis uses as her defense?

    Surely you must realize that this tactic does nothing for your argument? I think it’s fine to support Davis on a religiously ideological basis, if you so choose to……but where she is denying civil liberty, she is pursuing special privilege.

  44. I just heard that with Kim in jail, her office IS offering licenses for gmarriages

  45. Adrienne S,

    Apparently, not only is incarceration a deterrent, avoiding it is an incentive!

    I jest, of course. Even before she was found in contempt of court, some of her deputy clerks were on record stating that they were willing to issue marriage licenses to anyone.

  46. Ye Olde Statistician

    September 4, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    extended civil liberties to gay Americans

    Could they not vote previously? Own property?

    Marriage is not a civil liberty. It is a state of nature and a civil obligation.

  47. Sander van der Wal

    September 4, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    incarcerating Davis is ridiculous, but she could not keep marrying people either. the proper thing to do for her was to resign the moment gmarriage became the law of the land.

  48. Brandon: She was not issuing any marriage licenses because if she issued only to heterosexuals, that would be discrimination. Blame the law for that one.

    The fact that only a gay couple threw a hissy fit would seem to indicate she was indeed targeted and bullied Why no hetero hissy fit throwers? If she wasn’t doing her job, why no outcry from the straight community? They were affected, too.

    Yes, Brandon, rewriting the language confuses things.

    I don’t demand Muslims sell pork and alcohol, I don’t demand they not be allowed to have prayer breaks, I don’t require Jehovah Witnesses to have blood transfusions. Even if it affects their jobs. It’s called accommodation and tolerance, believe it or not.

    As for Kim Davis not authorizing clerks, they still are not authorized but they are issuing the licenses anyway. Could have done that all along, if they thought this was really important, kind of like Kim did. Seems the deputies really were not that interested in serving gay couples or they surely did not come to their rescue.

    CI: I compare the US to China because the comparison is valid. There is an attempt to silence Christians here just as China wants to silence Muslims.
    That “civil liberty” only exists because someone broke the law. Your claim is progressivism is always right and no one else is. You will not allow someone to try and change back to a law that in effect in the past but you will allow someone to try and change any law you don’t like. It’s all so hypocritical. Progressives get a law passed and it’s forever and ever and absolutely infallible. Yet they CHANGED a law. You are denying people the right to change laws once you have what you want.

    Again, the entire argument here is once progressives get a law passed, it is ETERNAL and no one can ever, ever change it. Luckily, those progressives failed when they fought the laws that gave blacks equal footing. These progressives change their ideas like most people change their socks. Obama was against gay marriage until it was politically advantageous to switch sides. This is not about caring or rights. It’s political dogma that can change tomorrow if the politicians decide homosexuals are in their way. Heck ,they could call for stoning them if it served their purpose. The fact that anyone falls for this is amazing. Yes, Virginia, that cute little wolf there won’t eat you, dear. Never, never, never.

  49. Sheri, you should really find a progressive to vent your obvious anger at the demise of special privileges. Your rant is generally irrelevant to the subject at hand.

  50. Sheri,

    She was not issuing any marriage licenses because if she issued only to heterosexuals, that would be discrimination. Blame the law for that one.

    Yeah, that’s it, the law made her break the law. Pull my other one.

    If she wasn’t doing her job, why no outcry from the straight community? They were affected, too.

    How much outcry do you need to satisfy? Two opposite-sex couples were co-plaintiffs with two same-sex couples in the lawsuit against her.

    Yes, Brandon, rewriting the language confuses things.

    The word I used was “angst”, not “confused”. I’m not at all confused.

    I don’t demand Muslims sell pork and alcohol, I don’t demand they not be allowed to have prayer breaks, I don’t require Jehovah Witnesses to have blood transfusions. Even if it affects their jobs. It’s called accommodation and tolerance, believe it or not.

    For however this is relevant, how do you feel about requiring JWs to allow their children to have life-saving blood transfusions?

    Would it be too much to ask to keep the focus on Ms. Davis’ (in)actions?

    As for Kim Davis not authorizing clerks, they still are not authorized but they are issuing the licenses anyway.

    I see little need to authorize something already required by law.

    Could have done that all along, if they thought this was really important, kind of like Kim did. Seems the deputies really were not that interested in serving gay couples or they surely did not come to their rescue.

    Where’s your evidence? Why do you think this is important?

  51. Ken,

    You say many things with which I agree …

    Part of the price of freedom is accepting the things freedom brings. The problem is that too many people refuse to pay that price.

    … but that nails it. Most appreciated.

  52. Do you all mean that no one who has Christian views should work for local or national government if those governments pass laws Christians cannot follow. Why is this is claimed not to be discrimination against Christians if they are prevented from doing these jobs because of their religion…..or is the American language different from English in other countries?

  53. And all of you thought that the Warmist are green, not Red… This is the smell of what’s coming; how the ”People’s Republic of United States” will look like, in the kingdom of Sodom and Gomorrah…! The last thing they are interested is in good climate… The phony global warming is their ”October Revolution”

    You guys are not taking it seriously, because you always had democracy – when you lose it, will take decades, to get it back. I was born and grown up east of the Iron Curtain – for me is easy to predict every Warmist next move…

    https://globalwarmingdenier.wordpress.com/venus-runaway-greenhouse-con/

  54. The analogy of the soldier appears apropos, but let us extend it. It would be reasonable to allow a soldier to keep on soldiering were his objection accidental to the essence of soldiering, such as a problem with this or that particular action. However, if between France and Germany were the soldier – after much thought and reflection having suffered the many trials of war – to become a pacifist or if in discovering he was German and found he could not kill his kinsman in good conscience, then what accommodation could be made for him? He certainly could not be allowed to continue soldiering for he finds objectionable something essential to soldiering or the purpose of this particular war, i.e. he could not act like a soldier. He could remain in the military and be transferred to a clerical position perhaps but this would precisely be to change the essence of his position. He would not be a soldier for he would not be soldiering.
    The case of Davis is similar. If her objection does not allow her to perform some duty of her office, what accommodation can be made? If this duty is essential to her office, then she cannot remain the Clerk nor can the position be altered in a way where it is essentially the same office (e.g. transferring the duty to another). It is but a matter of how she should be removed from office. Were she to realize that this duty is essential and she could not remain the Clerk but fail to act as the Clerk, then she should admit she cannot be the Clerk and resign, because there would be no way to accommodate her while remaining the Clerk. If she does not realize it and it is acknowledge generally to be an essential duty, then she should be removed by whatever means are expedient but without undue harm to her.
    However, given that this is a conscientious objection falling upon her in the middle of her term and one she admits to have never foreseen, she should not be punished for this objection, anymore than a soldier might be held for a temporary time until a hearing could be held to judge whether the objection was sincere and justifiable in refusing one’s duty.

  55. M E Wood

    Marxist religion doesn’t recognize any other religion!

  56. M.E. Wood,

    “Do you all mean that no one who has Christian views should work for local or national government if those governments pass laws Christians cannot follow. ”

    It doesn’t mean that at all. It means that if a Christian or anyone from any religious denomination works for the State, they represent the State and therefore cannot impose their beliefs unto others.

    Do you believe that a pacifist should be authorized to deny gun licences based on religious belief? Should he Keep his jobs?

  57. To all or any “religious” zealot

    Can you reconcile these to verses with your beliefs?

    Do you believe in the Bible or don’t you?

    “1 Peter 2:13-17

    Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”

    “Mark 12:13-17 ESV / 7

    And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.”

  58. Can anyone provide a verse from the Bible justifying Davis’s position?

  59. M E Wood,

    “Do you all mean that no one who has Christian views should work for local or national government if those governments pass laws Christians cannot follow. ”

    As a Christian myself, I would say, “Yes.”

    More to the point, I have argued that marriage should have remained in the Church. http://archive.lewrockwell.com/fedako/fedako10.html

    I have also argued that the goal should be the reduction of the state: the societal apparatus of coercion and compulsion — the entity with the gun that ends up creating, through its system of winners and losers, the very violence it claims it stops.

    Take marriage out of the realm of the state and we are peacefully arguing over which NFL team is the best.

    The issue I have with the clerk is she is violating a contract (her pledge) she freely accepted. And I take umbrage with those who are hypocritically defending her, even when they disagree with similar actions taken by others.

    But no one has a “right” to violate a contract. And I really believe we all know that to be true — even Briggs.

    The issue is the state — the gun — is now pointing at us.

    The solution is a reduction of the reach of the state, not another “my tribe beat your tribe” election, where we grab the gun and point it at someone else.

    Until that day, until the state is nothing more than the night watchman, so to speak, Christians should stay away from it.

  60. “The government isn’t interfering in her religion. The role as Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky contains no tenets of her [or any] religion.”

    This is a common argument, but wrong. Christianity, like many religions, involves ones entire life. It is not just tenets that one holds in private, or celebrates in a church. It is a way of life, a commanded way of life.

    Many of the secular warriors of today wish to confine religion to the place of worship, and ban it everywhere else. They use the above argument, but in doing so display either dishonesty or a serious lack of understanding of religion.

    The Constitution likewise does not restrict religion to the grounds of a religious institution, as the founders of the country, Christian and otherwise, knew that religion is a way of life, not just a ceremony.

  61. Sylvain,

    Can anyone provide a verse from the Bible justifying Davis’s position?

    Not really, but there is some other interesting stuff:

    Deuteronomy 13:6-10 (KJV)

    6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;
    7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;
    8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:
    9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.
    10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

    Some, not me to be sure, might argue that Davis has been too soft and needs to repent. Then there’s this from the NT:

    2 Corinthians 6 (KJV)

    14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
    15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
    16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
    17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

    The irony of v. 17 with respect to the “they can just go somewhere else and get a license” contingent is just killing me.

  62. I quite agree about contracts and so the lady should lose her job and that therefore no one who is of Christian belief should hold that job . How many other jobs should Christians not sign contracts for? I’m really interested why this is not discrimination?

    I have an archaeological interest in the old Jewish Tale of Sodom and Gomorrah as a story about an ancient city which has not been found yet I think . The people of this city state believed in taking any new man who came to their city and gang raping him in front of his house. All the citizens took part so I’m puzzled about the way homosexuals are defending this as a city which should not have been destroyed by a just God. I wonder if the gang rape was part of an abhorrent religious rite? It does seem evil to me and not something the Tolerant could bring themselves to commend ,but who knows?
    For the religious meaning, ask a Rabbi

  63. M E Woods,

    I’m really interested why this is not discrimination?

    The government saying, “Christians cannot hold this job because it requires them to do things against their beliefs” is discrimination.

    A Christian saying, “I’m quit this job because it requires me to do things against my beliefs” is not discrimination.

    But that’s not what this argument is about. What this argument is about is the government saying, “IF you’re going to do this job, you have to do this thing regardless of what your personal beliefs are”.

    Which is not discrimination.

  64. There are two absurdities here. The first, that it is impossible to fire a government employee for not doing their job. Then arresting a government employee for not doing their job properly. The U.S. is reaching new levels of the absurd. No doubt other countries are not far behind.

  65. Will Nitschke,

    But that is the essence of the state. A man ended up dead because he dared to sell untaxed “lousies.” Talk about absurd.

    John Moore,

    “This is a common argument, but wrong. Christianity, like many religions, involves ones entire life. It is not just tenets that one holds in private, or celebrates in a church. It is a way of life, a commanded way of life.”

    At one point, there was some statement that government is supposed to protect life, liberty, and a pursuit of whatever. And later something about union, justice, domestic tranquility, common defense, the general welfare, and the blessings of liberty.

    But never was there any utterance about some right to a government office or position — at least not until Andrew Jackson, anyway. Nor was there any mention of a right to rewrite your government work contract or official pledge in a manner that suits your desires.

    Where do you find such a right — other than overheard from those behind the counter at your local BMV?

  66. Brandon Gates,

    Sorry Brandon but I fail to see how these link apply to the current situation. While I provided 2 direct verses from the new testament urging Christian to obey the law.

    Meanwhile, you provided 2 verses from the old testament I.E before Christ. One from deuteronomy which is the Christian (Jewish) version of the Sharia. And Corinthian who was written at least in part by Paul to the Church in Corinth.

  67. M E Woods,

    “I’m really interested why this is not discrimination?”

    In this case, the gay couple are the ones that can claim discrimination. They are the ones that are denied services from the State, which in this case is represented by the person of mme Davis.

    While mme Davis is allowed her religious freedom to be Christian and working at an elected office that is in charge of granting marriage license. Her job is to grant marriage license as define by our secular law, not according to her religious beliefs. She has three choices: 1) do her job, 2) ask someone else working with her to serve these people (which she never tried to do), or 3) quit her job. No one is forcing her to keep a job that contervene with her religious beliefs.

    Answer this question: Should a pacifist quaker or menonite be able to refuse to give a handgun license if it goes against is religious belief?

  68. Sylvain, you have answered on your own questions, by your last sentence! You don’t issue gun licences to children => you don’t issue marriage licences to men without a woman. I lowed my landcruiser, was more reliable to me than the ex wife; but: nobody would have issued marriage permit, to marry my landcruiser.

    Divorce courts are cluttered with cases, you don’t want in those corridors, where children are… display of things that are not normal!!! Only solicitors would benefit, because homosexuals are very, very promiscuous = serial divorces

  69. “Real marriage.” What a crappy thought.

    And I suppose now, Briggs, you have suddenly discovered that Obama behaves well within the bounds of his job description, huh?

    JMJ

  70. I’m still puzzled by the American system of governance and separation of powers. You can’t ‘fire’ an elected official, however you can imprison them. Do they continue to carry on their duties from prison? Is that routine practice in the United States?

  71. Many of the secular warriors of today wish to confine religion to the place of worship, and ban it everywhere else. They use the above argument, but in doing so display either dishonesty or a serious lack of understanding of religion.

    You’re wrong. Those who you refer to as ‘secular warriors’ don’t want the religious to maintain special privileges in using offices of government as a venue for their belief system….anymore than you would want government to dictate the function of your church. The argument of ‘pushing religion out of the public square’ is a stale meme. Many arguments being proffered today are nothing more than naked efforts to bestow special privileges. That you choose to follow a belief system that somehow encompasses every aspect and action of your life, does not grant you a privileged status above that of your fellow citizens.

  72. Will Nitschke,

    You can’t ‘fire’ an elected official, however you can imprison them.

    You can’t fire them because they weren’t hired in the first place. An elected official can be removed through an impeachment process or special vote.

    In this particular case, the clerk was jailed for contempt of court and not for breaking any laws. On the federal level, at least, the court doesn’t have the power to actually jail someone — it can only order it done. It can lead to an interesting conundrum if the branch with the actual power to jail ignores the jailing order.

  73. Last week, the major controversies on the gay-marriage front were about whether to treat bakers or photographers as government agents. This week the major controversy is whether to treat government agents as government agents.

  74. About the Sanctuary-City analogy: State or local officials are not required to enforce federal statutes.

    The gun-license analogy, on the other hand, actually makes sense.

  75. DAV,

    “In this particular case, the clerk was jailed for contempt of court and not for breaking any laws.”

    Surely that amounts to the same outcome? One definition of contempt of Court is refusal to obey the orders of the Court. The Court can in theory only declare contempt if it views you have broken a law.

  76. Here’s a website where one can sign a petition to free Kim Davis from jail:
    http://www.frc.org/alert/help-free-kim-davis-from-jail

    This may be more effective than comments supporting her.

  77. Here’s an article, with a reasoned comment by a conservative author, why Kim Davis’s situation is “The Wrong Fight for Christians to Wage”
    https://www.commentarymagazine.com/2015/09/06/the-wrong-fight-for-christians-to-wage/

  78. Sheri said…
    “Shack: Businesses should be allowed to do whatever they want and refuse service to anyone. That was case in the past–only when the bullies from the Left decided we have to be tolerant did that change.”

    I think anti-discrimination law should be modeled after anti-trust law.

    I disagree with you that nothing should be done about any discrimination, because it can rise to a level where it actually creates an oligopoly, and it is reasonable to regulate oligopolies differently, I do agree with you that the injustice of anti-discrimination law likely outweighs the injustice of discrimination in the case that the discrimination is not sufficiently widespread. Freedom, which necessarily includes a limited right to do wrong, is good in itself.

    We treat certain unjust practices differently with regard to oligopolies, where they become anti-competitive. The same unjust practices on a smaller scale aren’t particularly anti-competitive, they are just bad business. This is why reverse discrimination is not widely seen to be a problem worth solving. It is equally unjust, but not equally anti-competitive.

    “Your other questions seem nonsensical. No one is forcing anyone to eat meat, or anything else here.”

    I think you missed the point. People are certainly being forced to provide services they do not wish to provide. But a transaction has two sides. If a person can be forced to engage on one side of the contract then why not the other?

    The statement you referred to was in response to Jim Fedako’s affirmative response to Matt Briggs’s reductio ad absurdum. In particular, Fedako included an affirmative response to Briggs’s question of whether physicians should be required to administer a euthanizing drug (which I took to include an abortifacient).

    This was a matter of requiring private individuals to perform acts against their will. But although the left is gung-ho to do away with people, it has a soft spot for animals, so I recast the matter from medicine to food service, where the question was whether vegan staff members should be required by law to serve meat.

    I understand that there is a cultural priority that is assigned to the side of the transaction that spends money (e.g. “the customer is always right”, or the transactional golden rule “the one who has the gold makes the rule”), but I don’t understand why the parties to a transaction aren’t considered as equals, mutually contracting some kind of mutual exchange.

    So my goal was to extend Briggs’s reductio until Fedako would say “no”, and then try to discover what the criteria were for the shift. So I went from medicine to food service, then from supplier to consumer. I suspect that Fedako is also on board with forcing the consumer to buy unwanted health insurance, so the shift to consumer mandates doesn’t seem entirely out of the question.

    Instead Fedako seemed to insist on conflating positive vs negative rights as a way of sidestepping the questions. All of the example I used involved positive mandates, the mandate to inject the drug, the mandate to serve meat, the mandate to consume the meat. There were no negative rights involved in any of my examples, nor in the example of the Clerk of Courts. Further he claims to not be denying conscience, but in each of these examples, the right of conscience is being denied, as is the case with every positive mandate that has no conscientious objector exception.

    But I agree with him that the distinction between positive and negative rights seems to be a hallmark of the progressive vs conservative mindsets. Although both assert positive and negative rights, I think the conservative holds the right to say “no” more highly. Progressives are more likely to impose positive mandates.

    You seem to see a difference in kind between forcing a supplier to do something vs forcing a consumer to do something, but you want to treat them equally in the sense that you want no mandate on either. But why do you see a supplier mandate as different in kind from a consumer mandate, when a contract is a mutual exchange agreement?

  79. Latest bulletin: federal court has ordered that Kim Davis be released from jail.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/kentucky-clerk-kim-davis-ordered-released-from-jail/

    Any teapots handy?

  80. Additional thoughts following my last comment.

    A government must continue enforcing laws it has enacted under the presumption that they are just. A state cannot be perpetually paralyzed by the question of justice, but it must continually renew that question throughout its working. Consequently, sanctions against Davis may be just under the such a presumption.

    The presumption of justice may be challenged and questioned by such disobedience that Davis has committed. As such, it seems at least reasonable that she conscientiously object and the question of the reasonableness be raised, either with regard to her position or the law she is required to take part in.

    Were an impeachment to fail and/or Davis to be reelected, this would be a sign of the conflict between the will of the people and the will of state. Further reason to question the law or at least the nature of the position she is in.

    One cannot have an essential duty to commit a grave or intrinsic evil. Such a duty would be incoherent, because duty is ordered to the fulfillment of the common good. That she has a conscientious objection raises the question of the duty itself and whether it is a duty or not.

    That she should resign would imply that she believes this act to be both an essential duty and no duty at all for it demands an evil of her, namely the violation of her conscience in an act of intrinsic evil. However, if it is an essential duty, but a conscientious objection is warranted and some accommodation is possible then the nature of the office has changed (as with the soldier example). She may perform similar tasks, but it is a different office. That she should be removed follows from the presumption of a just duty that is the principle of a functioning government, which seems reasonable.

    That Christians will be driven from the public square is a foregone conclusion. The state and those using her have no interest in reason or its use. The majority had little concern for reason and more with a will to make a country as they saw fit. The five justices have shown the state has no concern for debate and consensus as they handed down an edict that ended a lively debate (though pointless and fruitless) which as Scalia noted they were winning.

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