Right to be Ignorant

daviswallaceI’ve tried to refrain but seriously, this is ridiculous.  First of all, I’d like to see even half the media frenzy over the dead toddlers washing ashore in Europe that I see over Kentucky’s George-Wallace-wanna-be, Kim Davis.  But of course, the public isn’t as interested in coverage regarding a humanitarian crisis because they might have to take a few moments to educate themselves regarding what is going on over there and how it came to be.  If nothing else can be said about the American public, their dislike of having to think is certainly well proven.

Second, Kim Davis’ supporters truly baffle me.  Not because they support her exactly, but because of who they are. The very, very few people I see on my FB page posting their right-wing bullshit articles about how she’s a victim and should be supported in her ‘stance’ are the EXACT SAME PEOPLE who love the Hobby Lobby ruling and are always wailing about the perils of government overreach.

And they honestly don’t see how these positions in any way contradict themselves.

Jodi recently concluded that people have a right to be ignorant but frankly, I’m so done with that thinking.  No-one has a right to be ignorant. You have a right to disagree, you have a right to be indifferent, you even have the right to be a complete asshole, but you don’t have a right to be ignorant.

What you do have is an affirmative duty to educate yourself on the world around you, or alternatively, a duty to be quiet.

As one example, if you can’t tell someone the five pillars of Islam, which is as basic as it gets, then quit posting anti-Islamic messages on your social media. You’re completely ignorant of the Islamic faith and are instead, painting an entire religion with the colors of extremists.  Just stop.  If you educate yourself about the faith as a whole, including how it is practiced by both violent and nonviolent people, and are still opposed to the recognition and respectful treatment of an entire religion, well then your actions might not comport with the Christianty you profess, but at least you’re informed.

And don’t even get me started on the jackassery of thinking that if a person says #BlackLivesMatter, it’s synonymous with saying #CopsLivesDon’t.  Really?  Is that where we are now?


Anyway, Kim Davis.

Once the marriage equality battle started going south for Republicans, they needed a new battle cry to drive their people to the polls (for the sake of those who love to scream victim, let me acknowledge what should be obvious – Dems do the same prior to elections).  The conservative rally cry became ‘religious persecution.’  And then we get Kim Davis and her supporters.  Again, the people who love Hobby Lobby, the people who are perpetually whining about being victims of the courts and government persecuting their Christianity should be the first people to agree with the judge’s decision to hold her in contempt (and also really need to visit Iran or China).

The only thing that contempt order accomplished was to strengthen religious liberty in this country.  Yes, strengthen it.  The First Amendment of the Constitution states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ….”  This is the very law that guarantees each citizen’s free exercise of religion without government interference.  The very law that says I can practice any religion or no religion.  I can convert from Christianity to Judaism to Islam to Hinduism to no religion at all (and can even time it in a way that takes advantage of all the good holiday meals within each one) and the government cannot say or do anything about it.  It’s the very law that says the government cannot tell a church or clergy member they have to marry a same-sex couple.  The very law that says a church or clergy member can marry a same-sex couple if they so choose.

The First Amendment means you can attend a church, like the one Kim Davis attends I can only presume, where the preacher stands up on Sunday morning to proclaim Jodi and I will of course be going straight to hell.  Or you can attend one like we attend, where they don’t damn us to hell (but do make us sing 500 year old songs no-one has ever heard before and really, is that so different?).

The point is, the First Amendment prevents the government from being able to dictate how you practice your religion within your own life.  And it prevents  religion from dictating the laws of our nation.  You can’t have one without the other.  And yes, this even matters for the lower government official positions.  Otherwise, if you elect a Pentecostal to the right office, she might refuse to give a woman a driver’s license because she went in wearing pants, make-up and hair that ends above her waistline.  A driver’s license is only going to increase the odds that chick goes out in public in such attire. And don’t think a messy bun and culottes would fool them. They’re crafty.  They know.

It would be absurd to be unable to obtain a government issued license because you didn’t dress in accordance with the religious doctrine to which your particular county clerk subscribes, wouldn’t it?  Almost as absurd as culottes themselves.  (Maybe.)  In that situation, your ability to get a license would be totally and completely dependent upon the religion of your elected official.

And Kim Davis supporters seem to think that’s perfectly okay.  Fascinating.

Also, there are plenty of Christians in this country, including clergy, who do not think homosexuality is a sin.  (And who probably also know that gay weddings are damn fun and want to attend as many as possible).   A county clerk who refuses to issue a license to gay Christian couples are interfering with their religious practices, and those of their clergy. For those gay couples who do not subscribe to a religion, the official’s religious dogma is interfering with their life.  The government doesn’t get to to do that.  It’s sort of the whole point of the First Amendment!

However, if we’re going to start ignoring the First Amendment in this way, then let me tell you, I’m going to run for whatever office that most directly affects local services to the less fortunate.  And then I’m going to go bat-shit crazy on the first person who uses the word bootstrap in the same sentence as poor because I can assure you, that thinking and practice certainly violates my religious beliefs.

Religion cannot dictate our government and our laws, and government cannot dictate our religious practices. Kim Davis and any other elected official are free to subscribe to a religion that sees homosexuality as a sin.  She doesn’t have to invite us over for dinner or send us a wedding gift (though if she’s considering it, my favorite color is black, just fyi, and one should always include gift receipts).  But in her role as a government official, her religion cannot dictate her actions and interactions with the American public.

Kim Davis is, in reality, a threat to religious liberty.  Under her example, a government official can decide which laws apply to you and how they apply based on that individual official’s religious beliefs.  Finding her in contempt of court is not a violation of her religious beliefs, it’s a protection of your own.

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9 Responses to Right to be Ignorant

  1. Tribe Member says:

    Hear, hear!

  2. jamesp says:

    Your arguments are so inconsistent and illogical I don’t even know where to begin. Your ignorance of logic and history defies belief. How’s that?

  3. Rita Petitt says:

    Sir, I am also waiting with baited breath. I failed to see any ignorance in the article. Please enlighten us.

  4. Edward Mette says:

    I’m betting that Jamesp’s response will be as vacuous as his original comment. Takers?

  5. Bob K... says:

    Don’t believe anyone should be holding their breath awaiting Jamesp detailed response. Just another belching troll who has reached his maximum endeavor. Good article.

  6. May says:

    Here’s one gay Christian who is in favour of gay weddings, ideally in church. My partner is another.

    • Jen says:

      Hi, there! My partner and I totally agree, which I guess is obvious from my post. Of course, now that we’re in the middle of the actual planning, I’ve considered wistfully my mom’s advice about just eloping. 😉

      Thanks for reading!

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