Let me put my “confession” out front before anything is said. I am a Christian. I was baptized long ago back in my hometown in Alabama inside a Baptist church associated with the National Baptist Convention. I grew up with Sunday School and Sunday service being a part of my weekly activities just as anyone else would attend regular school. I was a youth speaker for a time, along with my cousins, because our grandmother encouraged us to visit with other churches and volunteered our services if they needed a speaker.
I am also a government employee. I don’t hold an elective office, but when I go to work, I do work on behalf of the U.S. government. I know that my actions, while on the clock, are those of mine as well as my employer and that I cannot let my personal views cloud my judgement when it comes to enforcing the law. Now that I’ve got that out the way, let’s talk about Mrs. Davis in Rowan County, Kentucky.
Mrs. Davis is entitled to hold and exercise her religious beliefs as a private citizen without fear of government interference. She had those rights last week, last year, and she will have those rights next week. As an agent of the government, however, Mrs. Davis cannot couch her actions as said agent in her personal religious beliefs. The government is not a religious entity, and her job is not a religious job. There is a reason for separation of church and state, and her case is a perfect example of why we need to protect that separation.
As a private citizen, she has every right to announce that her religious faith tells her that homosexuality is a sin. She also has every right to speak out against homosexuality as it pertains to her religious belief system. If she chooses to not associate with members of the LGBT community as a private citizen, then that’s her prerogative. The moment that she clocks into work or lifts a pen as the County Clerk of Rowan County, she ceases to be a private citizen expressing her beliefs.
The government cannot discriminate against people based on numerous criteria. Most recently, sexual preferences have been added to that list. The Supreme Court has ruled there is a constitutional right for same-sex marriage, and until Congress or someone else passes any type of constitutionally sound legislation to change that ruling, it is the law of the land. The Constitution was not written with an all-inclusive list of rights that are protected by it, hence the 9th Amendment and its wording.
The people who are claiming that she’s being persecuted because she’s a Christian need to quit peddling that lie. There are millions upon millions of Christians in this country who are freely practicing their religion and not being arrested for doing so. Any Christian can walk down to their town square, city center, or anywhere else and kneel and pray. No officer is going to come and arrest them for exercising their religion. Those who spread this crap need to quit playing the victim card (as many of them say about other groups) and realize the potential harm they’re causing to our society.
If this were a case of Mohammed Salim refusing to serve females that entered his office without wearing a niqab, would the same religious freedom people stand behind him for his actions? I seriously doubt it. If it were a follower of Judaism not fulfilling the requirements of the job as a public sector worker because of their beliefs, would we see the same type of religious circus going on? I don’t see it.
At the root of it all, we operate under laws that we elected people to pass and enforce. We can’t arbitrarily change things just because we don’t agree with them because that’s not how it works. Nobody’s religious rights are being affected or squashed by these rulings. If you have a job that requires you to serve the public as an agent of the government, then you have to remember that you are the government when you’re on the clock. Your actions are not your personal actions. They are the actions of the government. If you cannot fulfill that job because of a personal conflict, then your best recourse is to seek employment elsewhere. The role of the government and the protections afforded us from the government are not going to change without significant effort to do so. No matter how much we cry about it.