“FREE KIM DAVIS: Kentucky County Clerk Jailed by a Gaystapo Judge for Refusing to Sanction and Sign Gay Marriage Licenses” is the headline of George Lujack’s hilarious spoof on the website CowgerNation about the crank right’s latest poster bigot, Kim Davis, and the issues surrounding her weekend in the hoosegow for refusing to abide by the law and do her job.
That “gaystapo” descriptor of the federal judge who found Davis to be in contempt of court and ordered her into the slammer just cracks me up!
“Judge Bunning is the same homosexual advocate judge who in 2003 and in 2006 ordered Boyd County education officials to implement programs that mandated school staff and students to undergo diversity education classes, i.e. a gay propaganda curriculum,” Lujack adds, lampooning paranoid wingnuts. He really nails the spirit of blind hatred that animates the objections to Davis having been reprimanded: “Many of the students objected to being forced to watch a gay propaganda film that denounced Christian views that opposed homosexuality as wrong while promoting homosexuality as a healthy, stable, and viable lifestyle that cannot be changed or challenged.”
This guy should have his own show on Comedy Central.
What’s that you say? It isn’t a parody? Oh.
In fact, all the outraged screeds I read online about Davis and the case for reuniting Church and State turned out not to be the satires I’d been hoping to find. Dang!
(And there’s been precious little note that Judge David Bunning is the son of former professional baseball player and Kentucky US Senator Jim Bunning, who had his own impressive bona fides as a member of the crank right.)
New York Times reporter Alan Blinder described Davis, who was freed from jail on September 8, as “a hero to Christian conservatives who oppose same-sex unions, and a caricature of rural backwardness to people who support it [sic].” I object to Blinder’s reading of what it is that Davis symbolizes for the LGBT community and our friends. Sure, Davis’ hee-haw Appalachian –– what is the word? Ah yes –– lifestyle has served as a springboard for much humor on the left, my favorite being a photo of the homely Davis with the caption, “When you’re so anti-gay that no one will do your hair.” But it’s scarcely the multiply married hillbilly hypocrite’s “backwardness” that defines what she represents to the thinking world.
Blinder blundered, but only in a minor way. The comparisons between Davis and Rosa Parks and Davis and Jews in Nazi Germany that gay-hating commentators have been floating are insulting beyond all measure.
Take this, for instance, from the Christian Post’s Wallace Henley: “On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks had three choices. First, she could have complied with the city code, and moved to the rear of the bus. Second, she could have gotten off the bus and refused to re-board, as she did in 1943. On that occasion, the same driver demanded that, after paying her fare at the front, she exit, and walk outside to the rear entrance. Third, in 1955, Rosa Parks could have refused to budge because of her convictions. That is what she did. Kim Davis had the same three choices. She could have complied with the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, which had been affirmed by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, and issued the licenses to homosexual couples. Or, Davis could have gotten ‘off the bus’ by resigning her county clerk position. Third, she could have followed the example of Rosa Parks, and refuse to budge. Which is what Davis did.”
Henley’s analogy is inane. Rosa Parks was not an elected public official; Davis is a county clerk whose job is to abide by the laws her office exists to service. Rosa Parks didn’t choose to be black; Davis chose to run for office and agreed to take the job after she was elected. Rosa Parks’ refusal to move from her seat was a personal choice involving no one but herself; as a county clerk, Davis necessarily involves the public in every aspect of her job –– all of the public, not just those of whom she personally approves. There is nothing remotely similar about Rosa Parks and Kim Davis.
The Daily Kos reports that “Davis’ lawyer Mat Staver, founder of the right-wing legal group Liberty Counsel, compared Davis to a Jew living in Nazi Germany.” This claim of similarity is, if anything, even more repulsive. The Jews in Germany, and Austria, and the Netherlands and Belgium, and Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and the rest of Eastern Europe were not slaughtered by the millions because of their religious beliefs. They were slaughtered because of their racial identity as perceived by the Worst Person Who Ever Lived. (You can keep your Stalin; you can have your Attila the Hun or your Nero. Vlad the Impaler? Nah –– he’s just got a cool name. It’s Hitler by a mile.)
Despite the many hysterical claims to the contrary –– hysterical in the sense of being wildly out of control, not that of being terribly funny –– Davis is not being persecuted because she is a Christian. In fact, she is not being persecuted at all. There is no war against Christianity, nor is there a war against individual Christians. Too many Christian denominations fully accept gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and trans folk for the first part to ring true, and far too many individual Christians who see the hate being spewed and vocally reject it keep the second part from being even remotely plausible.
Ironically, on the day her cell door clanked open and Davis walked out a free extremist, the New York Times ran a story about a Muslim flight attendant who refused to serve passengers alcohol because serving alcohol was against her religion. Let’s see Davis’ defenders make common cause with her. Hey, if public officials can pick and choose which laws they care to uphold and which they choose to break in the name of religion, let’s also pick and choose which religions may be granted those exceptions and which ones we want to bomb the fuck to –– you should pardon the expression –– kingdom come.
A semi-viral Facebook post posed this question: Would the cranks take the position they’re trumpeting about Kim Davis if a Quaker county clerk refused to issue gun licenses on the grounds that non-violence is a central tenet of her faith? Take a wild guess.
Davis getting sprung from the clink was a full-blown media circus, gratifyingly, indescribably hilarious, from the rewarding spectacle of Ted Cruz being physically blocked by a staffer for Southern Baptist pastor Mike Huckabee so that the Texas senator couldn’t hog the spotlight at the former Arkansas governor’s expense, to the triumphalist rally set to the tune of the theme song from “Rocky III,” Survivor’s bombastic “Eye of the Tiger.” When the Huckster and Davis stood onstage and raised their arms in what they comically misunderstood as Davis’ vindication, one could almost forget for a moment that she’d been freed by the same judge who’d sent her up the river in the first place on the condition that she stop breaking the law. Continuing the farce the following day, Survivor’s frontman, Frankie Sullivan, blasted Davis and her handlers for using the song without permission. Come on, Frankie! Davis got permission from a higher authority. Don’t you know she’s above mortal laws?
Follow @EdSikov on Twitter.