4 Sep '15     home | previous

The US Constitution, Religion and Kim Davis

Senator Rand Paul said it was "absurd to put someone in jail for exercising their religious liberties." Senator Cruz of Texas called on "every lover of liberty to stand with Kim Davis." Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee tweeted about the "criminalization of humanity." Here are conservatives running for president whose do not understand the US Constitution regarding religious liberties. The Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis, has defied a court order concerning marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Davis, an Apostolic Christian, could quit her job rather than violate her conscience. She is now in jail. People who don't understand the US Constitution regarding religion are demonstrating in support of Davis. One sign reads: "My piece of this nation is still under God."

We have people who believe the US Constitution was written by God. But there is nothing in the US Constitution that will allow Davis to win a suit against the government if her case were to make it to the Supreme Court. In the United States, law trumps specific religious convictions. An extreme example: if you still believe that human sacrifice can induce God to make rain and you perform such an act you can be charged with murder. Less extreme: if you are married to two women, whatever your religious faith you can be charged with bigamy. If you decide to break the law while protesting abortion and you are punished by local authorities you will not find recourse through the courts, including the Supreme Court.

Another Republican running for president, the conservative senator Lindsey Graham, a lawyer, knows the law well enough to disagree with Paul, Cruz and Huckabee. Graham has said that Davis must "comply with the law or resign... I absolutely do believe people have a First Amendment right, a constitutional right. I don't think the court can take that away."

Two other Republicans running for president side more with Davis rather than tough it out on the side of law. Bobby Jindal has said, "I don't think anyone should have to choose between following their conscience and religious belief and giving up their job and facing financial sanctions." Florida Senator Marco Rubio is for not quite obeying the law. He has called or "a balance between government's responsibility to abide by the laws of our republic and allowing people to stand by their religious convictions."

A presidential candidate doing better in the polls than the five supporting Davis is Carly Fiorina. She joins Graham in urging Davis to follow the law or resign.

 

Copyright © 2016 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.