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The Agent of Injustice

In Opinion, Opinion/Personal, Personal, Random on September 2, 2015 at 4:22 pm

Kim Davis.

There’s no way you haven’t heard her name or seen her face at least once for her refusal to issue marriage licenses in a Kentucky County, despite being ordered by the federal court multiple times and now possibly facing fines and jail time.  To some she’s a martyr, standing up for her religious beliefs.  To some she’s a nuisance, furthering stereotypes of the region and keeping her tax payer funded job position despite refusing to perform her job duties.

First of all, let me start by saying that this country was built for people to have the freedom to have their own beliefs and to fight for those beliefs.  I applaud those that are brave enough to stand out from the crowd and stand firm on their beliefs.  My issue with her is not that she is standing up for her religion.  My issue is that, should her personal beliefs conflict with her job and changing her personal beliefs is not an option for her, then she should find a new job.  My issue is that her personal beliefs being allowed to affect her job performance is hindering the freedom of others.

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People are throwing around lots of information about her personal life now: her number of marriages and divorces, her screwy timeline of pregnancy between husbands, etc.  People are quick to retort that her personal life has nothing to do with the current issue.  But it does; how could it not?  She’s refusing to give the ability to others that she’s participated in multiple times.  She’s been married, pregnant by someone who was not her husband, divorced, married again, divorced again, and so on.  Yet a homosexual couple that is in love is what is ruining the sanctity of marriage, according to her?

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People are up in arms over legalizing sin.  But think about it, there are a whole lot of activities listed as sins throughout the Bible that have never been illegal and people are freely able to choose to participate in those activities or not.  That is the real foundation here, is that people have to choice to participate.  Gay marriage is a sin, homosexuals will go to hell?  Okay, if that’s your belief then don’t practice that lifestyle, and you’ll be golden.  Some people use this to back their bigotry, saying the way of a Christian is to help others see the right path, but how does belittling someone and stomping on their freedoms and rights help them “see the right path?”

Now I’ve got this picture floating around my Facebook of a couple taking a photo with Kim Davis holding a poster board on which they’ve scrawled: “If law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, but he is obligated to do so. – Thomas Jefferson”  My first thought was how can Christians consider this law unjust toward them?  My understanding of being unjust is not allowing a person the right to life, liberty, and happiness.  Unjust is when a person or group of people is purposefully and intentionally squashed, demeaned, made to feel less than the next average person.  As long as people aren’t being forced into homosexual marriages, I just don’t understand why they have their panties in such a twist over it…

So I started doing some digging, mainly because I wanted to see the context of this quote, as I had a strong suspicion that it did not originate in the same context it is being used here.  First, I checked out Jefferson’s Wikipedia page, which was an interesting read for my purposes.  Allow me to share some important points I found under the Religion section:

“Jefferson’s religious and spiritual beliefs were a combination of various religious and theological precepts. Around 1764, Jefferson had lost faith in “orthodox” Christianity after he had tested the New Testament for the consistency of its teachings, and found it to be severely lacking. Jefferson later wrote that he found two strains within the Bible, one that was as “diamonds” of the “purest moral teaching”,[321] and one that was as a “dunghill” of “priestcraft and roguery”.[322]

Jefferson was firmly anticlerical saying that in “every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty … they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer for their purposes.”[325]

Jefferson advanced the idea of Separation of Church and State, believing that the government should not have an official religion while at the same time it should not prohibit any particular religious expression.

In 1777, Jefferson drafted Virginia’s An Act of Establishing Religious Freedom. Submitted in 1779, the Act was finally ratified in 1786 by the Virginia legislature. The Act forbade that men be forcibly compelled to attend or donate money to religious establishments, and that men “shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.”[336] Jefferson initially supported restrictions banning clergy from holding public office, however, later in life he changed this view believing the clergy had the same rights as others to hold public office.[337]  “

Interesting…

But that still doesn’t tell me where the quote originated.  I stumbled across a yahoo answers post asking my same question.  The first response led to Jefferson’s Wikiquote page, quoting the source of this quote as Libertarian Quotes, which is no longer an active website.  The second response stated that Jefferson is often misquoted, leading historians to make corrections.  This response was backed by Monitcello.org:

“This quotation has not been found in Thomas Jefferson’s papers.  It has been suggested that it is a paraphrase of Jefferson’s statement in the Declaration of Independence, “…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…,” although such a paraphrase would seem to be taking some radical liberties with the original version.  The quotation bears a much closer resemblance to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s comment in his famous letter from Birmingham Jail: “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”1

I also came across The Federalist Papers Project, whose testimonial reads “The Federalist Papers admins do a wonderful job of going through our founding documents (and sometimes others) to find pertinent, timely and always thought-provoking pieces.”  This page claims the quote in question is one of the top ten fake Thomas Jefferson quotes.  This led me to Snopes, well known for debunking rumors and false information.  They did have some Jefferson quotes proven to be true or false, but they did not include this specific quote.

I don’t feel that I found the definitive answers I was looking for regarding this quote, but I do feel quite certain that it still does not fit this situation in the way these people are using it.  Unjust laws would hinder the freedom of the people.  Just laws provide equal opportunity.  Kim Davis is not hindered in her freedom to believe how she wants to believe.  She is also quite capable of resigning from the position she was sworn into and is funded by tax payer money that was never guaranteed to always only support the same beliefs she holds within herself and to never waiver from those specific beliefs.

Henry David Thoreau said, “If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.”

Kim Davis, you go out there into the world and be the best Christian you can be.  Pray before meals, attend church every Sunday, read the Bible every night, whatever makes you happy in your personal life.  But for the government, the law has finally caught up.  YOU, Kim, are the agent of injustice to others here.

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