Kim Davis and the Syrian Refugees


 (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Well, the pope has been and gone, so this is a good moment for another post about religion. We’ve had religion come at us from all angles lately: ISIS and the Taliban and Muslim fundamentalism in general in the Middle East, Christian fundamentalists here in America screaming bloody murder about the fact that same sex marriage is now the law of the land, and now the pope, who … oh, who actually wasn’t hysterical, didn’t focus on exclusion and telling people they’re going to hell if they’re not Catholic, and who doesn’t deny climate change.

When the whole country was in an uproar over Kim Davis, many online were in turn angry about that, claiming that the Syrian refugees are a bigger problem. I beg to differ. I don’t think they’re separate problems at heart. They both stem from religious fundamentalism. ISIS takes the Koran literally when they claim that all non-Muslims should be killed and Kim Davis takes the Bible literally when she claims that, as a Christian, she can’t marry same-sex couples. Both Kim Davis and ISIS are looking to ancient books–the Bible written mostly in the Bronze Age and the Koran in the early Middle Ages–for their moral justification of exclusion, hatred and violence.

I think that the difference between Christian Fundamentalists here in the United States and ISIS and the Taliban in the Muslim world is that there is a Muslim world, but no Christian world. Most countries in the Middle East are theocracies, with laws based on the Koran.  And theocracies are per definition extreme, because all the leaders have to do is say that God wills it so, and hey presto, it’s the law. Reason or the rights of all play no role in theocracies.

Although western Europe started off being a collection of theocracies, most have long since changed to constitutional governments, with equal rights, freedom of religion for its citizens and freedom from any religion imposed by the government.The views of religious folks are considered no less, but also no more than those of others. What becomes law is decided by elections and by governments that are based firmly in their constitutions.  Because of this, Christianity in the west has had to become more moderate overall. Because of this, western societies overall have not stagnated in Medieval morality. Because of this, Europeans are no longer fleeing from the Catholics or the Protestants or both.

I wonder how different a “modern” Fundamentalist Christian theocracy would be from many Muslim theocracies. Sure, right now the most extreme they get is screaming that God hates America at funerals for gay soldiers and killing the odd abortion doctor. But what if these folks ran the show? How soon would public hysteria turn from screaming anti-gay slurs at rallies to large-scale physical violence like the spontaneous stonings in Pakistan that make international news?

And that’s why it’s important to stand up to the Kim Davises of America. We have to adhere strictly to the constitution, in which civilians have the right to their religion, but the government cannot impose any one religion on its citizens. Kim Davis is a county clerk and as such she acted as the government. She has absolutely no right to single-handedly overrule the Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage nation-wide. As a citizen, she is free to exclude gays from her life, so if that’s what she wants, she should step down and become a regular citizen. (Also, as she refuses to do the job she is paid to do but apparently has no problem accepting the salary that the tax payers give her for that job, she is in effect stealing from everyone in her county, but I suppose that’s okay within her reasoning. She believes in a higher authority and somehow that sets her above the law.)

My point is that the only reason we don’t have millions of people fleeing from one or the other extremist group in this country, the only reason Christians of all types as well as Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, humanists, etc. are living in reasonable peace here is the constitution, the fact that this is a democracy in which the laws are determined by the people, not by a supernatural being whose will is interpreted for all by whoever has the biggest mouth or the biggest guns.

Both the events in Syria and people like Kim Davis show us that we can never take our freedoms and our relative peace for granted.

In my next post I will write more about the Pope’s visit to America, among other things.

7 responses to “Kim Davis and the Syrian Refugees

  1. Kim Davis should not accept the money the State pays her, because there are many gay people among it’s citizens who pay her salary. So she should go to a place where she can do her thing for free and not bother any other people with her misconstrued thinking.

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  2. Kim Davis should not accept the money the State pays her, because there are many gay people among it’s citizens who pay her salary. So she should go to a place where she can do her thing for free and not bother any other people with her misconstrued thinking.

    Like

  3. I am getting a boat load of blogs in my email but yours is one of the few I actually always read. We don’t always agree with each other but it’s a free country and I always enjoy your replies.

    Another excellent blog! You hit the nail right on the head! The only reason there is no Christian World (anymore) is because of country’s Constitutions and the subsequent separation of State and Religion.

    You can’t or shouldn’t “rule” a country on a book -whether it is the Bible or the Qu’ran- that has been written eons ago and put together by men. Of course I can’t speak for the Qu’ran since I am not a Muslim but the Bible is always interpreted in so many different ways and I do believe that it is the same with the Qu’ran. One thing that stands out to me in the Qu’ran (read it out of curiosity) is that it says that “man cannot sit on Allah’s chair”. In other words, they have too that it isn’t up to people to judge, a part in both books that religious zealots like to overlook.

    To me it is rather cult-like to say “God/Allah wills it” and the sheep will follow and do your bidding. How do these people know that since none of the Deities talk to men personally, even though these people will claim that it came straight from God or Allah?

    This is becoming a crazier world by the day….

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    • Why, thank you! Yes, I wonder about these “prophets”, too. How can you tell which ones are real (assuming you believe that to be possible in the first place) and which ones are charlatans? They’ll all say God spoke to them or that they were filled with the spirit or similar lines.
      As for the Koran, like the Bible it contradicts itself left, right and center. In part, I think, because Mohammed wrote or dictated it over the course of decades, in which he became more powerful and more militant. Also, the traditions are often guidelines he made up as he went along, to fit whatever was convenient to him at a certain time and in a certain situation. So, like the Bible, you can find quotes in there that will fit pretty much any convenience.

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  4. Pingback: Good and Evil | Resident Alien -- Being Dutch in America

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