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Government “Under God’s Authority”

In the news: Feagin County Sheriff Paul Cousins announced that under his orders, police officers will begin issuing tickets against all citizens who drive motor vehicles in his jurisdiction.  A member of the Amish religious community, Cousins explained that he felt driving a car would be sinful, and he would not allow sin to prevail on his watch. Cousins was asked under whose authority he denied people their legal rights. “Under God’s authority,” he replied.  “I refuse to perform my public duties unless they comply first with my private religion.”

Detroit mayor Mohammed Hussein has declared that City Hall will no longer admit women to conduct business unless they first don a burka. Hussein was asked under whose authority he denied people their legal access to government services. “Under Allah’s authority. Shariah is the ultimate law.” he replied.

In other news, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has defied the U.S. Supreme Court and refused to follow the legal standards of her job as a government employee, which requires her to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  Davis was asked under whose authority she denied people their legal rights. “Under God’s authority,” she replied.

24 thoughts on “Government “Under God’s Authority””

  1. Dave says:

    Jim, for someone who advocates a variety of forms of protest, sit-ins, popular resistance, walkouts, boycotts, occupation, civil disobedience, etc., and promoting and encouraging such with often wonderful good humour, in the post above are you actually saying that civil disobedience is a threat to the rule of law? Kim Davis is merely staging a protest and a rather successful one at that, if success can be measured by getting oneself in the news.

    She has made her point by employing your own tactics. Your post implies that she is wrong because she is putting on a demonstration. If you think her point of view is wrong, well, that’s one thing, but to say that she is wrong for her civil disobedience, that’s a door that swings both ways.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      You put words in my mouth there. She has the right to civil disobedience, but in her case she doesn’t follow step 2, which is acknowledging that she will face the consequences. She wants to violate the law and place her own personal law as the standard for everyone in her jurisdiction, using her authority to get pushy but not recognizing the limits of her authority. She won’t do her job, won’t follow the law, and wants an automatic Christian Shariah legal exemption. Civil disobedience means she goes to jail or is fined or is fired–not for having a religion, but for breaking the law,corruption of power, and not doing her job.

    2. J Clifford says:

      Dave, protests aren’t always right, just because they’re protests.

      Kim Davis is doing the moral equivalent of refusing to marry a couple because one is European-American and one is African-American. She is in the wrong.

      Also, Kim Davis isn’t in the position of an individual expressing her own opinion about the law. She is a paid government employee whose job it is to execute the law, not to wield power according to her individual whims. Kim Davis is failing to do her job. She ought to be fired.

      She is perpetrating a coup d’etat, attempting to overthrow a democratic government in order to establish a theocratic order. She ought to go to jail.

      1. Mark says:

        J Clifford,
        You perfectly summed up the situation when you said, “She is a paid government employee whose job it is to execute the law, not to wield power according to her individual whims. Kim Davis is failing to do her job. She ought to be fired.”

        I agree wholeheartedly.

        1. ella says:

          Mark, what she should have done and still should, is relinquish her position and allow someone with different morals perform her duties in such cases. She cannot be required to defile herself for the sake of what has been until very recently considered immoral and/or impractical under mans law and traditions in the United States and the rest of the world. It is best t simply say if that is the wish of the persons involved then let someone of like mind tend to them. Barring that possibility, she should resign and preserve her integrity.

          1. Jim Cook says:

            Nobody’s asking her to defile herself. What’s being asked of her is to either do her job or to quit her job so someone else can do it.

            What Kim Davis is doing is refusing to quit her job because she won’t do it, and also abusing her job position to violate people’s rights.

            You’re absolutely right about one thing, Ella: she’s being unprofessional and should quit.

      2. ella says:

        J. Clifford, that is not a good comparison. She objects because the Bible states that for two people of the same sex to engage in sexual behavior is an abomination. She stated she would marry two people of different races as long as they were man and woman.

        1. Jim says:

          Ella. The bible says that divorce is a sin. Does she ask people if they’re divorced?

          1. Jim says:

            Oh, by the way, the hypocrite (Kim Davis) is divorced three times and married for the fourth time. This time she found Jesus, so everyone else has to abide by her new salvation.

      3. Dave says:

        “Protests aren’t always right, just because they’re protests.” Indeed. So why not just come on out and say it? Jail time for the bitch. Not because she protests, but because she’s wrong.

        1. Jim Cook says:

          How interesting that you introduce the word “bitch” to this conversation, Dave. I think you’re projecting. I have no desire to use that conservative approach to thinking about women.

          It’s not about whether she is substantively “wrong,” Dave. It’s not like she’s being hassled for saying the sky is green or for having an idea. It’s about what she does. What she does is to abusing her position of government power to attempt to force everyone under her jurisdiction to live according to her personal, private, religious — and breaking both the law and her own job description to do so.

          That’s what we call corruption. Kim Davis is corrupt.

  2. Dave says:

    Dang, Jim. Now I’ve gone and gotten myself italicized, when I really just wanted to point out what I perceive to be a subtle hypocrisy. Projection, perhaps. But I can’t imagine anyone here demanding jail time for someone who would practice civil disobedience for, say, refusing to marry an opposite-sex couple until same-sex couples had the same right. If that were the case I would think she’d be a hero here and you’d petition for her release from prison should it come to that.

    I rather admire anyone who, knowing it will cost them dearly, registers their protest with the public at large. She made her point and she will pay for it. When’s the last time any of us made our point at such cost?

    By the way, I learned the b-word from a radical leftist back in the sixties when I was quite young. Oh, the lost innocence — first mine and now yours.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Eyeroll. Thank you for using the word “perceive,” since this is really about your perception. Back in reality, I’m aware that the entire point of civil disobedience is to be punished. It’s an attention-grabbing technique, so of course I wouldn’t suggest that such a person remain untouched.

      Kim Davis’ lawyers are hoping that she’ll be jailed, at which point people will scream for years about how America jails people for their Christianity — when really, she would be jailed for corruption, abuse of power, discrimination and not doing her job.

      Liberal people do not use the word “bitch” to refer to women. If someone compares a woman to a dog, they are not liberal.

      1. Dave says:

        I thought you’d appreciate the perception thing. When talking politics I get it used on me quite a bit, but how does your “reality” differ from your perception?

        Anyhow, I’ve read your subsequent posts and I understand the tactic — say something often enough and people will believe it. Allow me to say my point one more time (no I’m not expecting to be believed) that Kim Davis is corrupt in your eyes only because you think she is wrong. It is either corruption that we are seeing or it is civil disobedience, an acceptable tactic for anyone who is faced with a matter of conscience. The post and comments are exhibiting, as I said, a subtle hypocrisy, but the double-standard with which you judged Kim Davis is not so subtle, it is glaring.

        One more thing about Davis’ demonstration. I saw on CBS an interview with Rand Paul about this and, according to him at least, Davis has no problem with notarizing the contract, just has a problem participating in the ceremony. This goes back to what I suggested long ago that government get out of the marriage business and stay in the notarizing business where it belongs. This problem would not exist, everyone’s conscience would be happy, and we could all get along.

        Bullying this woman will not make a better world.

        1. Jim Cook says:

          I love it. Using power to prevent people from getting married = being a victim, and pointing out the problem = being a bully.

          1. Dave says:

            Or: Using power to require religious people to participate in gay weddings = being a victim, and being confronted with her protest at being bullied = her breaking the law. Perhaps the law being broken here is the protection of the free exercise of her religion.

            In two and a half years of reading your posts I have found them quite reasonable on the whole, so why the sudden venture into unreasonableness, Jim? Where’s that spirit of occupy? A little-guy is in peril, where are the troops?

            Oh, I forgot. She’s not resisting for the right reasons. Activism is only acceptable if the bumper sticker is on the correct car.

          2. Jim Cook says:

            She’s not being asked to participate in any gay weddings. That’s absolutely inaccurate. She has a job of certifying marriages as legally valid.

            You’ve ignored my direct response to you before, so let me say it again: of course she has the right to protest. She also, if she breaks the law, should expect to be held accountable under the law. Both elements are necessary for civil disobedience.

            She is not a “little-guy.” For the people in her jurisdiction, she is the representative of government power. She used that power to illegally prevent people who had the legal right to marry from marrying. That makes all the difference (see for my position when government power is not being used to deny).

          3. Dave says:

            I read the post and understand you, sort of. However, it is still activism, and I get nervous when so many call for jail time when a conscience is violated. Her job comes under the executive powers, but as such this can be classified as civil disobedience just as if she were someone on the street attempting to change what was happening at the courthouse using other means of resistance. She is still a citizen.

            Perhaps when she gets out of the pokey she should open a bakery.

    2. Mark says:

      The latest reports I’ve seen indicate that prosecutors would not be insisting on jail time for her, but fines instead for dereliction of duty. She’s getting paid for a job she refuses to conduct. She’s free to practice her religion as long as it doesn’t interfere with her job performance or impinge on the rights of others. Gays now have the right to be married. It’s the law of the land. If she can’t abide by the law she needs to be removed from her public position.

      1. Dave says:

        Mark, when I turned 18 the Viet Nam war was in full swing. Registering as a conscientious objector but not for religious reasons, my application was denied. It didn’t help to have a distant cousin as head of the local draft board — “Oh what his mom and dad must be going through.” “Dereliction of duty” was heard by me often, and I think I can recognize a conscientious objector when I see one.

        Back then Americans reserved for themselves the right to burn villages of desperately poor people; it was the “law of the land.”

        My point in each comment I have made here is that preserving her right to protest is more important than condemning her for what you “perceive” to be her wrongheadedness. When the day comes when the gov tells you to do something unconscionable, you won’t want the arguments you present here to be used against you. Law of the land my foot. The contest here is between two perceptions of rights that appear to impinge on one another; religious freedom vs marriage freedom.

        The fear on the left is that this will end up as a test case in which either side has something to lose, and your rhetoric displays that fear. I can’t allay that fear in any meaningful way, but I think you need to understand that gay marriage is here to stay and the Supreme Court says so. Nobody is going to walk back the law as it stands, for sure. What we ought to hope for is that an amicable solution will be found, i.e. somewhere in contract law, wherein the nation can make peace between two opposing ideas. It is not the gov’s responsibility to affirm gay life or Baptist life or Atheist life. Two individuals present their contract to City Hall, pay the tax, and voila, their legal status is entered on the books. Nobody gets hurt. But forcing people against their conscience to participate in the ceremony will only create unnecessary resentment and resistance.

        I may not agree with Kim Davis, and the validity of the point she makes will possibly be determined by the courts, but I agree that she has the right to register her objection in a non-violent way. She is a government employee, to be sure, but she is simply practicing her own version of ‘occupy.’

        1. Jim says:

          Hi Dave:

          >> She is a government employee, to be sure, but she is simply practicing her own version of ‘occupy.’

          As I see it, there are a few options…

          1. As a government employee, she has a responsibility to perform the law (issue certificates, not participate in a ceremony).
          2. As an elected official, there should be some process to remove/replace her if she fails to perform.
          3. Her religious views impede on the county and state to perform their functions (to issue marriage certificates).
          4. Why can’t she get another job that doesn’t require a religious stance (like filing papers (or could that be a problem if she has to file papers for something offensive (no rhetoric intended))).

          Agree that someone, somewhere will have to resolve that religious people won’t be in positions that cause the system to come to a halt.

          1. Dave says:

            Hi Jim: Last comment and I’ll let this go — you can have the last word. Your last comment calling for discrimination against people of faith (why can’t those ____________ get another job so they don’t gunk up the works, insert gays, blacks, women, religious people, etc). Please check that impulse as that’s how Gulags are made.

            I think the suggestion I have made, which I have also sent to all my reps, that gov get out of the marriage business and stick to filing our papers is a sound one. You are right in that they work for us, and not the other way around. If this gal had been given the task of signing off on contracts between two people who make a partnership (think of car titles, businesses and such) rather than the ludicrous “marriage licenses” that they “issue” there probably would have been no problem in the first place.

            What appalls me is that no one here has any solution except wide-eyed calls for punishing the woman.

          2. Jim Cook says:

            Oh, eyeroll.

  3. KD Support says:

    did you know they started selling t-shirts?

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