“The Right to Swing Your Fist” and Kim Davis

Certain American aphorisims date back a very long time, and one the choicest goes back to somewhere in the nineteenth century, to paraphrase: “Your right to swing your fist ends at the other person’s nose.” Attribution is unclear, but the the thought applies quite specifically to the unseemly spectacle now unfolding in Kentucky over the right of same-sex couples to obtain a marriage license. This circus (for it has been staged) brings discredit on Ms. Davis and several candidates for the presidency. Yes, she has a right to her religious beliefs. She may speak them, but she may not act on them in her official capacity. This involves not only her oath to uphold the law (and therefore legal rulings) but also the Constitutional prohibition against her imposing her religion on the rest of us (who do practice a Christian faith that does not uphold her tenets). She has in effect violated not only a court ruling but also the First Amendment prohibition against establishing a religion.

Underlying this whole affair is simple bigotry (which one can find aplenty in The Bible). Most states and the Federal government do not include “sexual orientation” as an element of human character exempt from discrimination. Until our laws change to prevent such discrimination, LGBT citizens will suffer. We can only hope that  “the mind of the bigot is like the pupil of the eye: the more light you shine on it, the more it will contract.” We need to proceed on this basis until the task begun by the Supreme Court this summer is finished.

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