Kim Davis is Not a Martyr; She is a Worker

For many right-wing conservative Christians in the United States, Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis is a martyr for religious freedom. Her lawyer touts her as being the first person to be jailed “for her religious beliefs.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

Davis, a self-proclaimed Christian, has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in spite of the recent Supreme Court ruling that says she, and every other similar clerk in the nation, must issue them.

Despite what some in the Christian and Republican community might like to think, this is not an issue of religious freedom. Those rights are protected. The government cannot tell a citizen to practice or not practice any particular religion just as a religious group cannot impose its beliefs on the public.

What people, what workers must do, however, is perform their jobs.

Serving the public, even more so in a government entity as a public official, requires employees to keep their personal beliefs to themselves while performing their jobs. If they are not able to do that and perform their duties, they must either quit or be fired. This applies across the board to all workers.

 
Clerks And Recreation with Kim Davis

Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis refuses to issue same-sex marriage licenses. She's just lucky she doesn't have to answer to Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope.

Posted by Funny Or Die on Wednesday, September 2, 2015

 

When a boss gives an employee a task, for example, to file paperwork, and they refuse, that employee faces consequences in the form of firing or resignation. Workers can’t refuse assignments unless they confront an immediate hazard. They can’t refuse based on supposed beliefs or passions.

A better example may be this: if a Muslim working at a driver’s license center decides he won’t issue licenses to women because that would violate his religious beliefs,  that would be a clear breach of his role and a clear violation of the separation of church and state.  This employee would have to face consequences: quit, be fired, or issue driver's licenses to qualified women as required by law.

Davis is facing those consequences by being held in contempt of court and serving jail time until she performs her duty as a civil servant or resigns from her role. The role she took on when she accepted the county clerk position is to uphold the law and the U.S. Constitution, which, according to the highest court in the land, now means that same-sex couples must be allowed to wed. The Constitution allows her to practice her faith and personally disagree with this ruling, but it does not permit her to use her faith as a weapon or as an excuse to refuse to perform her job as a public servant or to defy a court order demanding that she perform her job.

Everyone has beliefs. Everyone has to learn how to navigate through the world and through the work force with those beliefs. Davis is not unique and is not a religious martyr. She is a worker who refused to do her job.

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