#NotAChristian: Thoughts on Kim Davis

I am consumed by the story of Kim Davis – the Kentucky clerk who recently went to jail over her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. There is so much hyperbole being thrown around by the Religious Right that one would think we were watching a Shakespearean play with a cast of village idiots and GOP presidential contenders.

How people can claim they are being discriminated against by the government on one hand while counting their tax-free tithes in the other is beyond me. Haven’t the governments of the world almost always stooped to the demands of the religious?

What I do expect is for someone to do the job they were hired to do. Kim Davis is an employee of the people of her county. They elected her and pay her wages. She knew gay marriage was a possibility when she ran (she spoke of it to a friend and said she was against it), yet she ran anyway. To claim her religious beliefs as a reason for not doing her job is insulting to the people she works for.

Regardless of the sound bytes from Mike Huckabee (sneer) and Ted Cruz (evil side-eye), this case isn’t about religious freedom at all. It is about government and the law of the land. The Supreme Court didn’t create a new law (as Huckabee states), nor did they molest the Constitution. They simply said denying same-sex couples equal rights was unconstitutional. Because it is.

The federal judge wasn’t discriminating against Christians by throwing Davis in jail for violating the law. She ignored his order, so she paid the consequences. Anyone, religious or not, would have been in that jail cell.

Yesterday’s display outside the jail was one of the most cringe-worthy moments I have ever seen on television or in real life (and I grew up in a Pentecostal church). The raised hands, the tears, the signs comparing SCOTUS to ISIS, all strangely contrasted by a rock song blaring in the background. Sickening and downright maniacal. One has to wonder if anyone truly believes this is about religious freedom, when it is so clear it is about fame and pandering to the Religious Right.

I also find it ironic that Davis is getting so much support from Christians when she is in her fourth marriage. People are more than happy to point out the few verses in the Bible that supposedly condemn homosexuality, yet they ignore the fact that Jesus spoke over and over about the sins of divorce and remarriage. It is a shame that the “Christians” we see on television during these shenanigans are always so far from being Christ-like. And I don’t mind admitting I find them downright terrifying.

At this point, I simply wish it would all blow over and go away. I hope Kim Davis returns to work and allows her deputies to continue issuing licenses or resigns from her position. What I expect to see is her continuing to defy the law and going back to jail.

Because that means the news cameras and Republican candidates will continue to hang around.

Gay or straight: Thank you for being a friend

Honey and I have very few gay friends. This weekend, if all goes as planned, we will travel to watch two of them get married. We were at their commitment ceremony a few years ago, but since they have moved to a state that recently recognized gay marriage, they will make it official this Saturday.

I am not sure why we don’t have more gay friends. We don’t typically visit places where gay men congregate, and the few gay people we have met at church usually offer nothing more than a courteous hello.

Although it is unfair to paint everyone with the same brush, most of us gay men are downright nasty to each other when we first cross paths. It isn’t unusual to get a judgmental sneer or some side-eye. Whatever the reasons, I suspect it has to do with male aggression and competitiveness. Much like a lion defending his pride because of reproductive rights, we don’t want any interested parties sniffing around. Relationships are hard, but because gay relationships have even more challenges to face, it stands to reason that we don’t want to invite trouble.

Although it would be nice to have a few more gay friends who personally understand all the issues that gay people face on a day-to-day basis, genuine friendship from anyone is the ultimate goal. And, frankly, I have wonderful straight friends who are supportive, accepting, and understanding without being judgmental.

True friends are priceless, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Commitment

Yesterday, in the presence of a lawyer and three witnesses, Honey and I signed our lives over to one another. Literally.

Not only did we sign Last Will & Testaments leaving all of our property to one another in the event of our death, we also signed documents granting each other financial and medical power of attorney. Lastly, we completed Living Wills which detail our wishes about end-of-life medical decisions – ultimately leaving final decisions about treatment to one another. So, at least from a legal standpoint, we placed our lives and our property in each others hands.

All of the paperwork and signatures even made it seem like we finally achieved some legal recognition of our relationship. I figure this is about as close to married as a couple can get without actually receiving a marriage certificate and having a ceremony.

The amazing part is that after almost eight years together, it feels like our relationship just achieved a new level of commitment. I hope this is just the first step of many on our journey toward full legal recognition of our union.

Institution

Poet Walt Whitman, who is widely thought to have been homosexual, wrote this poem in the 1800’s. Could it be more appropriate for our current struggle for marriage equality?

I Hear It Was Charged Against Me
by Walt Whitman

I hear it was charged against me that I sought to destroy institutions,
But really I am neither for nor against institutions,
(What indeed have I in common with them? or what with the destruction of them?)
Only I will establish in the Mannahatta and in every city of these States inland and seaboard,
And in the fields and woods, and above every keel little or large that dents the water,
Without edifices or rules or trustees or any argument,
The institution of the dear love of comrades.