Today my Facebook timeline was naturally bombarded with posts on Kim Davis' arrest and other related obscenities, such as her recent remarks during an interview with Newslo, "all-women prisons are filled with clans of dangerous lesbians who engage in disgusting lesbian sex all day long because they have nothing else better to do...I would rather die than let them try to change me into one of them, I would rather take my own life*", (Stevan, 2015). I also noticed the number of memes posted by fellow LGBT members - and other annoyed individuals - that portrayed the close comparison of her face to that of Dick Cheney's, memes about how her hair was an example of not having any gay men in her life, and other samples of dry humor. Even though I admit to startling my cat from blasting a couple of laughs myself, (as some of them were quite witty), I also cringed a little each time I read a new post. Why?
Credibility. Each time anyone posts a negative meme or post about the "boring hair of Kim Davis", or how she's in for a surprise when she meets her cellmates, those of us who her actions have hurt start to lose our credibility when we advocate against discriminatory and judgmental actions like those of Kim Davis. One could even suggest that we are no better than Davis with passing judgement or making hateful comments.
Do not get me wrong: this applies to my own self, and I completely value the depth of frustration and oppression that people like Davis invoke. Sure, she has been exposed with her intertwining of multiple divorces and marriages and their respective breach of her faith's protocol, and her husband is now demanding that Kentucky's governor "do his job". Yes, it is easy to poke holes in her opinion of what it is to be Christlike. However, there is also a time and a place to vent those warranted reactions.
If we are to advocate for equal and fair treatment, whether it's in regards to ethnicity, sex or sexual orientation, it means that we are standing up to people who belittle those they find inferior through means of hypocrisy and convenient, selective beliefs. For us to make progress, we must rise above the negativity through actions of humility, respect and strength; showing others what it truly means to love and share human compassion. If we are to hold a valid and successful argument, we must establish and build our credibility, and this is done by remaining humble and respectful even in the rush of victory; by showing the same compassion that we long to be given to us.
So let's not provide any more fuel for such bandwagons. Instead, let's value the recognition of validity given by the Constitution and the courts, and point the spotlight at extreme right-wing agendas, as well as their secret weapon that fuels their attack on other topics besides civil rights: religion.
As an upcoming behavioral scientist, it's been interesting watching the tactics used by the minority that have helped, (with emphasis on helped), hand them the keys to the majority. With the Kim Davis topic, the number one response that we immediately saw was "the liberal attack on religious freedom", or Huckabee's "...this removes all doubt of the criminalization of Christianity..." While most of us roll our eyes at the utter foolishness of such accusations, the right-wing evangelicals are doing a good job with using such statements to make progress. Not only have they mastered the powerful tool of provoking some of the most powerful human emotions, such as anger, fear, and resentment, but they have added a deeper level of fear that comes with having one's faith - the source of many people's beliefs, morals and values - placed in jeopardy. Add all of that together and you have a nuclear reactor that will power any political agenda.
Let's not continue to bash Kim Davis. We might want to unleash such a barrage of retaliatory sarcasm that the world has never seen the likes of before, but we must maintain our credibility as advocates for compassion, fairness, love, and anti-judgement. Rising above the negativity that we are forced to endure with heads held high, (not in arrogance or ego), will be worth every ounce of anger and every drop of sorrow. Instead, let's combat the claims that liberals (and the Christians therein) are attacking religious freedom by clarifying that the Davis topic is not about religious freedom, nor is it about being forced to go against your religious objections. It's about the responsibility of any elected official, the expectation of knowing what the duties of your job will be before you willingly run for that public office, and about respecting the individual journeys of faith of those that identify with other religions than that of Christianity. If an Atheist officer of the court refused to marry a Christian couple because s/he didn't believe in the Christian religion, the same consequence would be given to that officer of the court. In fact, we would probably see the largest funded GoFundMe account ever created.
I digress. Remember: we have work to do. Unlike Kentucky, SB2 is an active law here in North Carolina until the courts rule it down as unconstitutional, along with the rest of such legislation. As a point of personal growth, the Davis topic has certainly been another example of why no one should exploit the emotions and faith of another, and what not to be as an elected official as I run for the state legislature seat here in District 15.
Please feel free to comment, I'm always open to learning new things. Have a safe Labor Day weekend all!
*Being a mental health professional who works with truly suicidal children and adults, I personally resent her remark about how she will take her own life before she is forced to "turn lesbian". Anyone who makes such comments as a show, with no sincere risk of suicidality, quickly loses my respect. If she is sincere, then I truly hope she is currently on 1:1 suicidal watch and receiving appropriate acute psychiatric treatment.
Stevan, A. (2015, September 4). Kentucky Clerk Refuses To Be In An All-Women Jail: It's Full Of Dangerous Lesbians". Retrieved September 5, 2015, from http://religionlo.com/kentucky-clerk-refuses-to-be-in-an-all-women-jail-its-full-of-dangerous-lesbians/