Decisive and Insightful Remarks by Michael Cardaci, Guest Author
Concerning the Matter of Exercising Our Freedoms
Freedom is a precious commodity to all people. As American citizens, we each cherish such freedoms as freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms, and freedom of religion. When it seems that any of our freedoms are encroached upon, the natural tendency is to defend that freedom at all cost.
However, as in all matters of life, we must learn to use wisdom and discernment in handling and diffusing any situation. We need to know how to be resolute in our stand without becoming overbearing and contentious. Furthermore, we must recognize the limits and boundaries to which we can push while making our stand without risking the danger of taking any matter to the extreme, thus causing confrontation and being considered a public nuisance vs a person who is standing up for what he or she believes.
Since the Supreme Court ruling to legalize same-sex marriages in all 50 states, many good hearten people believe that showing support in any way to any persons involved in such relationships goes against the grain of their moral fibers, and being asked to do so even in the performance of their work duties and responsibilities, is a direct violation of their religious freedoms. Such is the case of Ms. Kim Davis, a clerk in Kentucky who was recently jailed because she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of her religious convictions.
What you are about to read are some reflective comments about Ms. Davis’ plight by my friend, and guest author, Michael Cardaci.
Ms. Kim Davis and Her Real Religious Freedom Agenda
It is clear that Ms. Davis is more prejudice in her position than concerned with her own and others religious freedoms. She IS NOT JUST claiming religious freedom for herself, but is imposing her beliefs on others whose own religious beliefs would allow them to do the duties she feels she cannot or will not do…. and I quote:
Kim Davis of Rowan County rejected a proposal that would have allowed her deputies to grant same-sex marriage licenses. Had she consented, a federal judge would have considered releasing her….
First of all, federal and state employees serve ALL OF THE PEOPLE. So, once the law changed, she should have worked with her employer to get a lateral or other internal transfer to a position where she could do all of her job duties OR for her release from work and found a new job (even being let go such that she could have had unemployment while she looked). However, this clearly indicates her wish is NOT centered on her personal beliefs, her personal conduct, or her personal religious freedoms. What her rant is really about is that she believes that her religious beliefs are the only ones that matter and she is willing to impose those beliefs on everyone else including her deputies who would have, and are providing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
I wonder if she would be okay with Mormon temple marriages. What if the law about polygamy were rescinded for Mormons or others? What about Indian (Eastern or American) marriages where the faith was poly theistic and gods and goddess with animal visages were involved? She IS NOT claiming her rights, but attempting to thwart the law – PERIOD!
Sadly, I say to my conservative friends who are seriously interested in working out a practical law for religious freedom – this is the reason it will NEVER WORK. Ms. Davis’ rights DO NOT extend nor should they be exercised, over others, but this will happen again and again even in the case of a neutral job, as without question federal and state employees serve everyone equally under the law.
Michael made some comments in a separate post on his Facebook page that bear mentioning at this juncture about a Muslim flight attendant that is claiming discrimination and incorporated some further comments about Ms. Kim Davis. He stated:
Issues Surrounding Religious Freedom Laws
In my humble opinion, I think this is a perfect example of the kinds of issues that will arise from these kinds of religious freedom laws. If we apply these standards across faiths, I think you will find more headaches than solutions. What happens when a more extreme position such as sacrificing of animals, incantations and spells, etc. is taken?
In regards to Kim Davis, as I have already stated in a earlier post, I think it is clear that if you work at a state and federal job, you serve the people – meaning all the people without question. If you do not like or cannot do all of your job functions, you need to take leave and find another job. If she was the pastor of her church, I believe she would have EVERY RIGHT to decide who she will marry in her church and who she will not, but not in the case of serving as a government employee.
What I find to be the clearest sign of her own prejudice (versus religious freedom) is that her deputies (subordinates) are more than happy, able, and willing to issue such licenses. So, how did a problem ever arise? If she was unable or unwilling to do her work responsibilities due to her faith, though her deputies were willing, my question is, “Why didn’t they just do that part of the job?” She might have taken care of more of the other licenses because she should still do equal work, and left the issuing of marriage licenses to same sex-couples for her deputies to take care of, which is exactly what they are now doing. (See: Clerk in Kentucky Chooses Jail Over Deal on Same-Sex Marriage).
Was she hindering others from doing their job? Because a person has certain religious convictions, they cannot force their beliefs upon others, or keep others from following their own religious convictions and doing what they believe to be right. Clearly her subordinates were willing to do their job, therefore, shouldn’t their rights be taken into consideration as well? “Does she have the right to choose for herself?” is one thing, but “Does she have the right to dictate that others follow her own beliefs when their own believes clearly allow them to do their job?” is another thing entirely.
In short, Kim Davis deserves to lose her job and have the book thrown at her legally for several reasons – failure to do her duty, and allowing her personal believes to impact the ability of her subordinates to do their job.
In addition, I believe Ms. Davis is using her religious freedoms to deter others from expressing their religious freedoms. Is it not true that several Christian denominations now allow same-sex-marriages? What about their religious freedoms?
Serious Questions to Ponder
Finally, I would ask a few questions:
- What happens when this trickles over to police officers, the military, doctors, and EMT? Do their religious beliefs dictate whom and how they will treat others and do their job duties? Really? Is this what you want?
- What happens if a person who refuses to serve alcoholic beverages has a job at a restaurant that serves alcohol (e.g., Fridays, Tuesdays, etc.)? What if the restaurant was trying to get a liquor license though did not have one when the person was hired, but is able to secures one a year or two later? Does the employee have the right to refuse to serve alcohol or should he or she find a new job (and/or be let go with access to unemployment)? Really? Is this what we mean or want?
- What if a person were a vegan as a part of his or her religious practices (e.g., Hare Krishna), should he or she get a job at a meat-packing plant? How about a job at McDonald’s? What if said vegan will only serve the salads? A practicing Hare Krishna might be willing to serve the chicken meals but nothing with beef. By the way, don’t they inject beef fat into their fries? Really? Where do your rights to work and claims of religious freedoms end?
- How about school prayer? Does that mean little Johnny Satan-worshipper gets to lead a prayer? Really? Remember religious freedoms must be applied equally across the board. Provided of course that his prayers do not involve breaking any laws, they would have to be allowed. Imagine I’m begging you, prayers such as this being offered in a classroom, “Oh mighty Satan, please allow me the power over these my classmates, and subjugation of my teachers and administrators, so that I might advance myself, obtaining advantage over them, and stand above them such that I might be the best student…”
Yes, yes, I know little Johnny example is a little over the top though there is a GREAT DEAL OF TRUTH in the idea that you really do open the gates as religious freedom will apply to ALL FAITHS not just Christian Conservatives. I still say, now that some denominations of the Christian faith do allow and will perform same-sex marriages, how do conservatives claim and impose their rights on others whose religious beliefs allow for same-sex-marriage? Hmm?