August 12, 2020

Saturday Ramblings: September 5, 2015

1954 Nash Rambler Custom Country Club two-door hardtop

1954 Nash Rambler Custom Country Club two-door hardtop

Welcome iMonks! Ready to ramble?

The truth is out. Daniel is no longer doing Saturday Ramblings (at least for the time being) because he was offered a pastoral opportunity at a new cutting edge church.

Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2015-08-27 20:48:16Z | |

• • •

This next bit of astronomical creativity is from The Christian Post. Of course it is.

A historical researcher has observed that the planets Saturn, Uranus, Jupiter, Earth and Venus aligned in an orrery model to form what can be seen as a man on a crucifix on the day associated by some with Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, namely April 3, 33 A.D.

“More than a few studies have pinpointed that date based on the Bible, calendars, astronomical conditions, even geology,” researcher and University of Wisconsin-Madison history major Miguel Antonio Fiol said in a statement.

An illustration released to the public shows the positioning of the planets on the date close to 2,000 years ago, noting that Saturn’s rings at the top of the figure could be seen as representing a “halo” or the crown of thrones placed on Jesus’ head. Uranus and Jupiter form the stretched hands, while Earth and Venus form the feet.

“Even at first glance I knew it looked like the crucifixion,” Fiol added. “But it took time to uncover all the incredible parallels.”

The researcher says that the planetary alignment began in mid-March and lasted through mid-April of 33 A.D. The same alignment occurs once every 333 years, and has been observed six times between the year 0 and 2000 A.D.

Fiol admitted that not everyone will see a crucifix in the planetary alignment, which is open to different interpretations.

“People will see what they want to see though I think coincidence is a hard argument,” the researcher said.

“It’s like spotting Jesus on a Reuben or any kind of sandwich, either you see it or you don’t.”

Researcher Claims Discovery of 'Jesus in the Stars' (PRNewsFoto/Miguel Antonio Fiol)

Researcher Claims Discovery of ‘Jesus in the Stars’ (PRNewsFoto/Miguel Antonio Fiol)

• • •

imrs.phpKim Davis has been all over the news this week for taking a stand against same-sex marriage. The problem? She is the county clerk in Rowan County, KY, responsible for issuing marriage licenses, and these are now legal for same-sex couples to obtain.

Hers is the highest profile case since the Supreme Court issued its ruling about same-sex marriage in June. Davis went to the federal courts, arguing that being forced to issue same-sex marriage licenses as part of her duties as clerk would violate her religious liberties. The courts disagreed, and the Supreme Court refused to grant a stay she requested that would have allowed her to avoid granting the licenses. So, she’s simply refused to grant any marriage licenses, and she released a statement saying why:

I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage. To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican from South Carolina, perhaps an unlikely voice against Davis’s stand, went on a radio show and disputed the Kentucky clerk’s position:

“The rule of law is the rule of law,” Graham, a South Carolina conservative Republican, said on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show. “We are a rule of law nation.”

“I appreciate her conviction, I support traditional marriage, but she’s accepted a job in which she has to apply the law to everyone,” Graham added about Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who has defied the Supreme Court and continues to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. “(She) should comply with the law or resign.”

A judge agreed with Graham this week, found Davis guilty of contempt, and put her in jail.

Some have suggested that the fact that Kim Davis has been married four times and became pregnant while unmarried makes her a hypocrite for taking such a stand about marriage. However, others have pointed out that Davis only became a Christian four years ago and that her sexual and marital problems occurred before that.

• • •

1441237460520Will he eat bugs? Drink his own urine? Hug Ted Cruz? What will he be forced to do to survive?

President Obama will Run Wild with Bear Grylis on his adventure show in the Alaska wilderness later this year, discussing the effects of climate change and becoming the first U.S. president to receive a crash course in survival techniques.

Actually, the President has done pretty well surviving the wilderness of Washington, D.C.

The person who could really use Bear’s survival training right now is a certain city gal named Hillary.

• • •

We lost Wes Craven this past week. A lot of horror fans left tributes like this one around the web:


Did you know that Craven, creator of Freddy Krueger, went to evangelical Wheaton College, west of Chicago, from 1957-1963? Fascinating.

In a 1997 Chicago Tribune interview, Craven reflected on his years at Wheaton. He chose the college for one reason only: “My sister’s fiance went there. I was the first member of my family to attend college, and, frankly, the idea of applying to more than one school  never occurred to us. Our worry was that Wheaton College might be too liberal. I seem to recall some discussion of that subject in the family.”

At Wheaton, the future horror icon edited the literary magazine known as Kodon, and in 1962, he later recalled, “there were two stories, one about an unwed mother, the other about an interracial couple, that were not well received. After the second issue, (the administration) announced I had been derelict in my duty as editor and that Kodon would cease publication for the year. Our response was Brave Sons, a literary magazine produced off campus that went on for several issues, if I recall.”

The Tribune interview went on to quote Robert Warburton, a retired Wheaton College professor of English literature, who said: “I was sympathetic to Craven and his friends because they were asking nothing more than the presence and dynamics of Christians in the modern arts. They wanted to know, ‘Where are Christians in the arts? What is our role in film, theater, music and dance?'”

Craven also remembered something very fondly about his time at Wheaton. As a college senior, he suffered from a debilitating neurological disease that left him partially paralyzed and unable to attend classes. “The illness set back my graduation by nearly a year,” Craven said, “but the support I received from students and faculty members through that period was so moving to me. People I didn’t know came to visit, to pray for my recovery. To me, their thoughts and prayers represented the best side of Christianity. I’ll never forget that side of Wheaton College. Never.”

• • •

Meanwhile, in the land down under, Matty told Hatty about a thing she saw.

This poor sheep needed a haircut so bad, its life was in danger. Some hikers in Australia spotted the seriously unshaven merino sheep wandering on its own on the outskirts of Canberra, Australia. They sent for the animal welfare officials, who dispatched an urgent call for a volunteer to shear the woolly beast and save its life.

Thank goodness, four time Australian Shearing Championship winner Ian Elkins was listening and offered his services. Woolly Bully for him.


• • •

dr-oliver-sacksThe world also said goodbye to renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks this week. Sacks was famous for writing about intriguing cases of people with strange neurological disorders. In an article in NY Magazine, Melissa Dahl details seven of his most curious cases. I’ll list them here — go to the article and read more about them.

  1. The brain-damaged Hare Krishna who believed he had reached enlightenment.
  2. The conductor who lost all his memories — but could still remember both music and his wife.
  3. The family man who snubbed his wife and child — but loved strangers — after brain surgery.
  4. The psychiatric patients who appeared to wake from the dead.
  5. The man who developed “hypersexuality” after brain surgery.
  6. The woman who was haunted by dragons.
  7. The man who mistook his wife for a hat.

• • •

Back in April, in front of the Holy Door in the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis issued a Papal Bull proclaiming that this next Church Year will be a “Holy Year of Mercy.” He will go back to the site on December 8 to open the Door once more to commence the year. You can read the entire text of his September 1 letter about this emphasis HERE, but one paragraph in particular caught the notice of many:

The Holy Door at St. Peter's Basilica

The Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica

One of the serious problems of our time is clearly the changed relationship with respect to life. A widespread and insensitive mentality has led to the loss of the proper personal and social sensitivity to welcome new life. The tragedy of abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness, as if not realizing the extreme harm that such an act entails. Many others, on the other hand, although experiencing this moment as a defeat, believe that they have no other option. I think in particular of all the women who have resorted to abortion. I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision. What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope. The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father. For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it. May priests fulfil this great task by expressing words of genuine welcome combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed, besides indicating a path of authentic conversion by which to obtain the true and generous forgiveness of the Father who renews all with his presence.

• • •

maxresdefaultDon’t forget to save the date! 

The fourth “blood moon” is due to occur on September 28.

Husband and wife evangelist couple Anita and Ignacio Fuentes have been using this fact to proclaim the impending end of the world fervently. In addition to the sign of the blood moon, in a YouTube video they cite a long list of global events foreshadowing doom including, the rise of the ISIS and ebola deaths, global nuclear tensions and financial crashes, Chinese hack attacks on the US, multiple animal deaths, the Jade Helm military operation in the USA, the emergence of the occult game Charlie Charlie and the CERN hadron collider being turned back on.

But — as the TV adds say — that’s not all! There’s more!

The Fuentes’ also point to “several Walmart stores closing in the US over plumbing issues for six months,” [excuse me, huh?] two drones penetrating the grounds of the White House, a meteor shower, bankers and natural health practitioners dropping dead mysteriously, and two cows being born with the number seven on their faces.

And, of course, the list would not be complete without the decision of the US Supreme Court to recognise same sex marriages.

The video ends with this auspicious message: “We are living in the final seconds.”

Oh sorry, there’s one more thing: an appeal for donations.

Hey, the end of the world can get expensive. You’ve no idea.

Oh, I forgot, this too: they’re expecting a baby in late January.

• • •

After the sheep story, I just had to end with a song. What could be better than this performance from 50 years ago by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs?


  1. Michael Bell says

    Sept. 28th eh? Huh, and my son’s 21st birthday to boot! Well here is another mysterious connection for you, 21 years and 9 months ago (nudge nudge wink wink say no more say no more), thousands upon thousands of these strange meteorological phenomena appeared in the fields around Regina, Saskatchewan where we were living at the time. Not quite star over the stable, but it was December 25th, 1993 and interesting none the less…

  2. “People will see what they want to see…”

    Fundamentalism: religiously subjective; politically objective. I don’t get it.

  3. Just like evangelicals have to slap a bible verse on a painting, they have to slap a cross on the solar system. It strangles the wonder out every ounce of life.

    • An atheist can look at the solar system and see the wonder and amazement of it all; an evangelical sees a cross. That gives neither the solar system nor the cross their due.

    • That Other Jean says

      Astronomy: UR Doing It Rong.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Just like evangelicals have to slap a bible verse on a painting, they have to slap a cross on the solar system.

      Saw something along those lines just today — the latest in a long string of Christianese Knockoff T-shirts. Remember the Captain America T-shirt with the pattern of Cap’s shield? Well this one had a cross in the middle instead of the white star.

    • To commence with beating the dead horse, the orrery model is the two-dimensional, not-to-scale model used in elementary school classrooms to teach students the order of planets in the solar system and their relative motion around the sun. So, in this very limited representation of the solar system, if the planetary orbits are rotated enough, one can see the shape of the cross in a specific coordinate of that model (not in axis with the sun)? If this actually occurred, once the actual distances and planes of the orbits are taken into consideration, no image of a cross could possibly be traced. If this alignment did occur on or near April 3rd, 33 AD, does that occurrence validate the date, the resurrection, or what?

      I hear this all the time with subjects like numerology or shapes and positions of Hebrew letters in the text alluding to a hidden prophetic meaning. Any argument on the outer fringes of plausibility has to be accepted, because it somehow support a teaching or a bible story.

  4. RE: Bluegrass Baptist Church sign. One of these things is not like the other.

  5. WOOLY BULLY…watch out, it’ll GETCHA!!

  6. As an elected official, Davis should obey the law and perform her duty, or resign. If every government official, elected or not, followed her example, there would be anarchy. She can make her protest by resigning.

    • And the state can make it’s case by impeaching her.

      But throwing her in jail? – theater at its highest.

      • That Other Jean says

        She can’t be impeached until the Kentucky legislature meets again in January. That, and fact that the judge was more than annoyed by her refusal to obey a court order, landed her in jail for contempt. At least a jail sentence gets her out of the way so that the rest of her office (minus her son , who isn’t in jail but agrees with her) can do her job and get marriage licenses issued again.

        • Was her son elected along with her? Are county clerk offices family run businesses in Kentucky?

          • Seems to be in Rowan County. However only the County Clerk is elected; she can then hire deputies and other staff to help her in her duties from a set budget (which depends on the population of the county as does her own salary). Kim Davis was an employee of her mother, the previous County Clerk, for 27 years before her mother stepped down and Kim Davis was elected. Her 21 year old son is now one of her deputies.

            By the way I’m not sure whether the deputies are safe from her just firing them even if she is in jail; county clerks in Kentucky seem to have a great deal of leeway in organizing their own offices (for instance they can hire close relatives). What she can’t do while in jail is be present to order them not to issue licenses. Of the 6 deputies, 5 agreed to issue marriage licenses (though unofficially only one seems to be handling them [it is not as though they get many applications]).

          • That Other Jean says

            Rowan County Clerk certainly is a family-run business. Kim Davis inherited the job from her mother. Kim was a Deputy Clerk for 27 years–the job her son now holds. I suppose his mother could fire him, since she threatened to fire the other clerks if they issued marriage licenses to gay people, but I don’t know who else has the authority to do so.

          • Does anybody in Kentucky know how to spell the word nepotism?

          • It’s common in small towns, such as mine, for a family member to succeed another in office. There’s a level of trust among the public, and the successor may be popular and known to be capable (as well as being the only candidate running). The previous Town Clerk where I live (population fewer than 200) held the post for about 20 years, following her mother who held it for at least 30. And, although the job is separate from the elected position of Tax Collector, the two usually go together.

            Kim Davis may have been doing her job well until this incident. The judge (and Lindsay Graham!) are correct in saying that her oath is to the Constitution however, not only to God or her conscience. If she disagrees with the law, and can’t follow it, she should resign.

            She may be invoking Acts chapter 4, where Peter and John said “We must obey God rather than men,” but she’s overlooking Romans 13, our call to obey the governmental authorities.

            Her freedom of religion is not in question here. She’s still free to it, and will not be punished for it. It’s for abandonment of her oath of office and for contempt of court that she’s being punished.

            And Mike Huckabee and Franklin Graham should know better than to beat the drum for her cause.

        • Richard Hershberger says

          Furthermore, saying that the proper vehicle to enforce the federal law is for the state to impeach her is really just an indirect way of advocating nullification. The federal court was enforcing the law through the means available to it.

          • Marcus Johnson says

            Yeah, but no. Nullification refers to state action that ignores federal law which the state believes to be unconstitutional. So, what Davis did, as a state agent, was an act of nullification because she ignored federal law. Placing someone in contempt and (hopefully) preparing impeachment hearings is about enforcing federal law, which is the exact opposite of nullification.

      • Kentucky is a conservative state, where the majority do not favor the new federal policy requiring all the states to recognize same-sex marriage. Even if impeachment proceedings were started, it’s questionable that they would result in Davis being removed from office.

        Davis is disobeying federal law, and was preventing its implementation in her particular office. The federal judge’s first objective was to make sure that federal law was implemented in that office as quickly as possible, and in this he has succeeded, since Davis’ sub-clerks in her absence may sign (and, I believe, already have signed) the licenses that she wouldn’t. If she was released from jail, and returned to work, she would continue to have authority over her sub-clerks until being removed from office; as a result, federal law would be impeded, and the rights that come with federal law would be denied. the entire time she remained in that office.

        The judge is using the legal means at hand to make sure that federal law is implemented, and that American citizen’s rights are upheld, in that particular office; it’s Davis who is opting for theatrics.

        • Well, I live here, and I disagree a bit. For starters, the majority – significant majority – support gay marriage. As you might imagine, it has been on the local talk shows non stop (hey, not much happens in KY), and I have been surprised how many Christians are calling in to lament Davis’s rebellion and lack of love. In fact, Louisville has been actively marketing itself as the destination gay marriage for midwesterners.

          On the other hand, I completely agree that the judge is not only not engaged in theatrics, but he seems to have done a superb job of making sure the law of the land stands while minimizing the damage on all sides. And the jail option was a necessary stroke of genius, since any kind of fine (1) wouldn’t result in marriage licenses being issued and (2) would be paid off by some Super PAC anyway.

          • I’m delighted to be corrected in this matter regarding the majority position on gay marriage.

            Also, remember that a federal judge cannot order a political impeachment process to be started.

          • Patrick Kyle says

            “Well, I live here, and I disagree a bit. For starters, the majority – significant majority – support gay marriage.”

            Proof please.

      • Marcus Johnson says

        The protestors outside of the courthouse (on both sides) are engaged in theater. The judge who put her in jail is following the law. If she went back to work, she would continue to “prevent” her sub-clerks (code for “threaten to fire or physically obstruct them”) from following the law. Placing Davis in jail allows those employees the freedom to continue to serve as government agents without fear of reprisal from a bully.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        But throwing her in jail? – theater at its highest.

        No, it’s PERSECUTION(TM)!!!!!!!

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > But throwing her in jail? – theater at its highest.

        That is what happens when you are found in Contempt Of Court. No theater, it is standard practice.

        Respect the rule of law, and no problem.

        • Patrick Kyle says

          What, like DOMA? Didn’t see any jail for officials refusing to uphold that law, did we?

          Funny how you are all ‘Law and Order’ when you agree with the laws.

          Here is a hot tip: Stow it.

    • Robert,
      You said that Davis, as an elected official should obey the law and perform her duty, or resign. For the most part I agree with you, but certainly it wouldn’t be too hard to think of exceptions to this. But what really gets me is the hypocrisy of many who are criticizing Davis for not doing her duty when they were silent about the many other officials, elected or appointed, who took an oath to uphold the law, and then very publicly did not do it, and suffered no consequences. As one example, our own former attorney general refused to uphold DOMA, even though it was the law of the land.

      • Davis could have avoided the theater by allowing her associate clerks, or whatever they are called, to issue the marriage licenses instead of her. She would not. An impeachment would take a long time,I would guess. She should resign. I don’t think there was any choice in this matter except to jail her for contempt. I’m sure she’s got someone else pulling her strings (& paying her legal bills). Imagine this if some Christian woman & a Muslim man go to get a marriage license, the clerk is Muslim, and refuses the license because he does not believe in mixed religion marriage. The outcry would be much different, no?

        I understand she supposedly became a Christian just a few years ago, but I can’t escape the irony of someone with her checkered marital past standing firm for the sanctity of marriage. You can’t make this stuff up.

        • I guess then you also can’t escape the irony of someone like Saul of Tarsus writing letters to churches telling them ” If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” I don’t want to get in the habit of holding people’s past before coming to Christ against them.

          • Marcus Johnson says

            I can get into that habit, on one condition: that we’re talking about people who refuse to extend to other people the same grace they were shown when they first “found” Christ (which I’m not sure Davis has done yet; given her obstinence, I think she found Christians, but hasn’t found Christ). The Bible has a few poignant stories about folks whose past was held against them after being shown grace. I’m also reminded of the story of Naaman, whom Elisha sent back to his assigned post, knowing that he would have to perform against conscience when assisting his master in idol worship. Elisha’s response to Naaman’s concern: “Go in peace.”

            So Davis doesn’t get a break with me.

          • when I look at Kim Davis’ past, I see someone who, over a period of time, couldn’t get it together with integrity, which in my eyes means she is a vulnerable person, capable of being manipulated by other folk’s agendas . . .

            I don’t see her as operating intelligently, no; likely she is emotionally tied to her opinions and feels she did the right thing . . .

            but jail? the only present solution? wouldn’t an ankle-bracelet and home incarceration be as effective?


          • Christiane,
            House arrest seems like a good way to deal with this. Is house arrest ever used in cases of contempt of court?

          • Patrick Kyle says

            Marcus, where do you get off not only judging a young Christian for refusing to participate in what she believes is sin, but asserting that she is not really a Christian? What were you saying about being forgiven yet refusing to forgive?

            Oh, I’m sorry, she has the nerve to stand stand in the way of a societal Carte Blanche and rubber stamp on what for millenia was labeled an abomination. That’s a total disqualification from Jesus’ forgiveness.

            Damn, you guys are every bit as bad as the fundamentalist bigots you claim to hate..

          • Where has anyone said that they “hate” anyone else? That is your interpretation, Patrick, not something said in these comments (except by you, in making false claims about others’ comments).

            I think you come here mainly to vent on us, these days. Were you a bit more polite in stating your views, i think you could have some good convos here. But I’m not convinced that is what you’re looking for.

          • Marcus Johnson says

            First, I didn’t necessarily say she is not a Christian; I said she doesn’t know Christ. I know plenty of people who oppose marriage equality and have been able to do so with grace and deference to the rights of others. Davis is not one of those people, and if she refuses to show some of the grace she received toward the other clerks in her office, then yes, I believe that is a total disqualification from Jesus’ forgiveness. I’m remembering the parable of the unforgiven servant; a newfound faith is not free license to bully other folks who are trying to do their job.

            And I never claimed to hate anyone; however, I have no problems being openly critical about folks who believe their faith gives them the right to be a bully.

      • Whatever abuses of the law, or negligence in enforcing the law, has occurred in the past cannot justify the abuse or negligence of the law in the present.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          +1 Such reasoning is merely a form of “mom, he touched me first”.

          Laws fail to be enforced all the time; and passive unenforcement is much less likely to be prosecuted that aggressive behavior. This lady chose the later, a poor political tactic on here part.

          And there is prosecutororial discretion, which is used tens of thousands of times every day. Discretion is a long established tradition and used universally.

        • Robert,
          I agree with most of what you have said, but that doesn’t change my main point, and that is the hypocrisy of those who welcomed the lawlessness of those who refused to uphold DOMA or who granted same sex marriage licenses against the law, and now cheer the jailing of a woman because she broke the law by not issuing marriage licenses. It looks a lot more like upholding the preferences of those who are in power rather than upholding the rule of law. And whether it is passive disobedience or aggressive, it is still disobedience. And if we hold that those who cannot abide by the law need to resign, there should have been calls for their resignation as well.

          • I’m certainly not cheering the imprisonment of this woman, nor all the instances of negligence of law enforcement that have occurred in the past (I can’t say that I’m aware of all of them). But what the judge has done is not a misapplication of law in this instance; in fact, it was his duty to take the legal action necessary to implement federal law in that clerk’s office: this he has done.

          • Jon,

            I tend to agree with you, as far as the issue of welcoming and cheering on lawlessness goes. We cheer for law-breakers as long as we disapprove of the law they are breaking (like DOMA); we despise and scorn lawbreakers who are breaking a law we consider unjust (like SSM). That’s a rather unlovely side of human nature, I guess.

            I think the judge probably had to uphold federal law in the case of Ms. Davis, but on some message boards (not necessarily this one), the piling on of disdain and loathing for her is overwhelming and unChristian. As one who has broken (what I considered) an unjust law for conscience’ sake, I think she was probably doing what she truly felt was right. She doesn’t seem to me to be a very highly educated or media-savvy person, Now all the attention has kind of locked her in, and she is feeling she can’t change her mind. Of course, she ought to resign, and probably will. But I can’t really slam her for following her conscience.

          • “…breaking a law we consider *just,” (like SSM).

          • I agree, H. Lee: I think it’s wrong, and inhumane, to heap opprobrium on Davis for apparently following her conscience, however misinformed I believe her conscience is. I do, however, believe her obstinacy in refusing to resign is just plain wrong, and that she forced the judge’s hand. She has no right to continue to hold this office if she refuses to obey the law and perform all her duties, and the only reason she mentions for refusing to resign (she says she loves the job, and is good at it [she forgot to mention that it’s a family-inherited business]) is self-serving rather than conscience-driven.

      • Re: hypocrisy – I also wonder if all the people who condem Davis with the rule of law argument were consistent with that argument when SSM was prohibited by law. Such as when SF granted the same marriage licenses in violation of state law a decade ago.
        Rule of law can be SO inconvenient when it negatively affects one’s cause. (In many things, not just the current SSM issue)

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          The Cause is always SO Righteous it justifies anything — ANYTHING — in its Holy Name.

        • I didn’t catch Jon’s post above. He said it better.

        • Marcus Johnson says

          “All the people” presumes a lot. I wouldn’t presume to make statements about what every single person who aligned themselves with the marriage equality movement would have thought about acts of civil disobedience. That would be ridiculous, and it’s really not worth arguing. I can, however, tell you what I think:

          First, I firmly believe that civil disobedience should be a means of last resort; otherwise, it is pure self-promotion. Civil disobedience has its consequences, and anyone who breaks the law should expect to pay those consequences. So, when San Francisco granted marriage licenses, I fully expected that there would be consequences, and there were, and I wasn’t shocked and outraged, because that’s what happens when you go against Rome. Same as when a pastor gets defrocked for officiating a same-sex marriage, or a Russian activist gets jailed in Moscow for speaking out against Putin’s treatment of the LGBT community. Rule of law is not inconvenient in these cases; in fact, it can be the only way to draw attention–and, hopefully, support–to a cause.

          Speaking on behalf of myself, if someone asked me to participate in an act of civil disobedience, I usually decline if there are better alternatives (and, for the causes I support, there usually are). I also decline if it means hurting someone else, or physically obstructing random people so you can say your piece (i.e., blocking traffic on a highway, to me, seems like an unnecessary dick move). Of course, first and foremost, that person has to be right. If they’re not, then I don’t support their cause, or their act of civil disobedience.

          That’s why I don’t support Davis; she hits on all the reasons why I wouldn’t support her act of civil disobedience. I think her beliefs were wrong. I think her actions were unnecessary, and I think her tactic of bullying her juniors who wanted to follow the law was unacceptable. That’s my policy, and it has remained consistent through the marriage equality movement and the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, to the dismay of other folks who complain that I’m deferring to respectability politics.

          So, long story short, I have been consistent, and I don’t have any gripes about supporting one person’s act of civil disobedience over another.

          • Marcus,
            I was unaware that San Francisco suffered any consequences. What were they?

          • You are right re: all the people. I did not intend to tie it to all SSM supporters – mostly to the carnival of folks getting their condemnation fix. “Many” would be better wording. In the SF example I was trying to imagine Newsome in a court predicament similar to Davis and just not seeing how that could ever (politically, socially) happen.

            I do agree that Davis should resign if she can’t perform the duties she (likely) swore an oath to perform. I am also worried that, long term, if religious liberty becomes a trump card to object to every thing one disagrees with, the public in general will value religious liberty less and it’s legal protection will decrease.

          • She did swear an oath to uphold the Constitution.

          • Marcus Johnson says

            Jon: The California Supreme Court voided all of the marriage licenses issued five months later. Other city officials who attempted to do the same thing around the same time dropped their initiative after SF’s actions were deemed unconstitutional. Not all consequences of civil disobedience have to include jail time.

          • Marcus,
            No they don’t have to include jail time, but it’s not really a consequence to say, “Hey that illegitimate thing you did, it’s still illegitimate.”

          • Marcus Johnson says

            I disagree. However, Gavin Newsome never forced county clerks to sign marriage licenses against their will and in violation of constitutional law, so that might be why the consequence of having his stunt invalidated seems rather minor in comparison to Davis.

    • As I understand it, not only would she not sign, she would not allow her deputy clerks to sign the marriage licenses. If she didn’t want to, I get it. But that there were other means available for he deputy clerks to do the thing she refused, and she would not allow that either. So in that sense, she absolutely was trying to impose her religious beliefs on to others. The judge had no choice but to throw her in jail.

      • Good point, Suzanne.

      • A minor clarification. It’s my understanding that even if she didn’t issue it personally, and sign it herself, the certificate still states that it is issued under the authority of the county clerk, which she is. It’s something to do with the way KY has the office set up through its constitution. I believe her point then is, that if the deputy clerks issue the license, it’s still being done under her authority, to which she objects. I can’t point to the source, but I’ve gathered this from some radio news reports, and as such, I reserve the right to be wrong. She should have held a press conference at the beginning, stated her reasons, and resigned, imo.

    • petrushka1611 says

      Oh my goodness, learn the difference between chaos and anarchy, Robert F.

      Don’t insult us anarchists.

      • Anarchy is the condition of a society, entity, group of people or a single person which does not recognize authority. The entire Wikipedia article for Anarchy is here:

        Merrian-Webster also supports my use of the word.

      • Anarchism is a political philosophy; anarchy is the condition of lawlessness. I’ve known quite a few anarchists in my time; I’ve never found their philosophy compelling or tenable.

        • It’s an exaggeration to say I’ve known quite a few anarchists in my time; actually, I’ve known a few. But one was a very dear friend of mine. We were close as Gilgamesh and Enkidu. The last I heard from him was a couple decades ago; he was living as a squatter in a condemned building in Seattle, with a few other political/social radicals. After that he went off the grid, as they say, and I haven’t heard from him since. I never really got to say good-bye to my dear friend. I still miss him much.

  7. That unfortunate sheep had the wool pulled over its eyes.

  8. “Scripturallly Est.”? Scripturally Estimated? Does that mean they practice exegetical humility? Well, good on you, David! 😉

    • DANIEL. I meant DANIEL.

    • Scripturally Established: As die-hard Landmark Baptists, they believed that the only legitimate way to establish a church was “on the authority” of a duly constituted “mother church.” This is a necessary conclusion of their form of Landmarkism which states that there is an unbroken line of succession from the baptism of John and the establishment of the first church by Jesus Christ until the present day.

      And “unscripturally” established church would be if a group of believers got together and decided to form a church with no “authority” from a mother church. Thus, such an assembly would be no True Church and any person baptized in their congregation would have an “unscriptural” or invalid baptism and would need to be rebaptized if they wanted to join a Scripturally Established church.

      I’m not kidding.

      As you might guess, this leads to arguments from time to time and churches will declare one another illegitimate. If you want to read a Fundy point out the absurdity of this position, see:

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        This is a necessary conclusion of their form of Landmarkism which states that there is an unbroken line of succession from the baptism of John and the establishment of the first church by Jesus Christ until the present day.

        Apostolic Succession, traced through Splinter Group after Splinter Group.
        “NO POPERY!!!!!!”

    • See my reply upthread to Dr. Fundystan.

  9. So what is up with Mercury and Mars? “Yeah, sorry, I slept in, and Mars said something about the coalition of planetary atheists is meeting that day?”

  10. Marcus Johnson says

    Setting aside the misspellings and the weird abbreviations (does “SCRIPTURALLY EST” mean that they operate on Eastern Standard Time, as per Biblical guidance?), that sign is still such a ridiculous concept. You can barely see the church’s address, and it’s impossible to digest their 12-point creed when you’re driving past the sign. I wonder how many car crashes this church is willing to be responsible for. Seriously, it’s the 21st century; save it for your website.

  11. Good for you, Daniel! Maybe after you fix those misspellings, you could trim that hedge up a bit. This church obviously needs you.

  12. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with finding God in the beauty and wonder of the universe; I think there is definitely something wrong with a conception of God that includes believing he uses, or needs to use, his creation the way fast food franchises use billboards.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      “””definitely something wrong with a conception of God that includes believing he uses, or needs to use, his creation the way fast food franchises use billboards.”””

      Thank you. My feelings exactly.

      And as for the beauty of the universe… when viewed as **false** color photographs taken, often including UV [which we cannot we], by a multi-million dollar machine. I don’t know how that counts as display-of-glory; it is the worst marketing campaign ever.

      And those photos may look like pretty colors – by what they are is unimaginable heat, desperately empty frigid cold, raging torrents of radiation which would liquify any living thing, and untraversibly vast distances.

      I can only look at the Universe, at astronomical or quantum scales, and think “If this has a Creator, he is as different a kind of thing as I am as ice is to fire, he feels utterly unknowable when looking at creation. His is a mind utterly foreign.”

      This meme is utter-fail IMNSHO.

      • Yes, the “beauty” of the universe is at best ambivalent, and most appreciated by affluent people who can retreat to relatively secure shelters and enclaves when they get tired of all that “beauty”, or when it gets threatening.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          Yes, this.

        • Nature is a perfect example of beauty and terror all combined in such a way as to be very difficult to tell one from another. And what’s the first thing you hear when there is a vision narrative in the Bible?

          Don’t be afraid!

          I have heard it said that one sure sign of an authentic religious experience is that it contains a component of terror. Apparently the Almighty doesn’t do happy happy. Go ask Job.

          • Good point. There is overlap between the nature of God and the nature of his creation. But no one has ever reported hearing nature exclaim “Fear not!” to them.

  13. My husband went to Blue Grass Christian School! Yes, in Lexington. Ohhhh man. They didn’t attend the church, and he said he never saw it. But, he thought it would fit with his remembrance of the school.

  14. I’ll believe the alignment of the planets when someone explains to me how the blood moon fits into the whole seller alignment.

  15. Blue Sky mode ON.

    Suppose for a moment that Miguel Antonio Fiol is correct and the sign of the cross was in the sky on April 3, 33 A.D.

    Could anyone on earth have seen it? No. The telescope was not invented until 1608 and the planet Uranus was not discovered until 1785.

    So if it was a “sign” it could not have been meant for humankind. For whom, then? Angels? Demons? Little green Martians?

    Señor Fiol also wrote that “the planetary alignment began in mid-March and lasted through mid-April of 33 A.D. The same alignment occurs once every 333 years, and has been observed six times between the year 0 and 2000 A.D.”

    This brings up the question: Observed by whom? Passive voice is so handy for avoiding pesky details sometimes.

    This particular researcher needs to do more research. Perhaps he should apply for a grant from University of Wisconsin-Madison..

    Blue Sky mode OFF.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says


    • This story of the planetary alignment was quite interesting to me, tho perhaps not as interesting as your reaction to it, Been There. It seems to me fairly provable whether or not this particular planetary alignment was present on the date in question. It either was there or it wasn’t, and if it was, there should be pretty much 100% agreement amongst astronomers. I’m guessing there is a computer program that would display it for anyone putting in that date. And the date in my studies seems to be the most logical and rational time for the crucifixion according to the data we have to work with.

      It makes little difference to me whether this particular alignment occurred then or not. I would like to think it did, but if it didn’t I’m not going to become an atheist or slash my wrists or go postal. It doesn’t affect events then or now other than being a possible fascinating bit of synchronicity. That you seem to think it couldn’t have taken place because humans at the time were unable to observe it is indeed interesting, almost as interesting as the fact that you seem to be so bent out of shape over this observation. I didn’t see where anyone but you was calling this a sign, but if you are asking who it could have been a sign for, I’ll raise my hand if no one else will. I like patterns.

      Something else that interests me without making any difference in day to day life is that if Jesus was crucified in the year 33, which seems most likely, he would have been something close to 40 years old according to the most reasonable guestimates. It would be interesting to me to take a poll of Christians asking how old people think Jesus was when he died in body. I’m guessing the big majority would say 33 but I could be wrong.

    • Math Mode On

      Given n points (planets), there are n x (n-1) / 2 possible lines you can draw between them.

      In this case, with n = 7 planets (Mercury through Uranus), there are 6 x 7 /2 = 21 possible lines.

      To create a diagram, you can chose to either include or exclude each of these 21 lines — two choices for each line. Thus, in total, there are 2^21 = 2,097,152 different diagrams a person could draw.

      One of these 2 Megs of possible diagrams might possibly be one that looks looks like a crucifix, especially if you go ahead and doctor your diagram to include a non-existent point in the interests of bipedialism.

      Math Mode Off

      • A mildly interesting story becomes more and more fascinating as people jump in to prove with mathematical certainty you can’t take five points and make a stick figure out of them. I expect next someone will point out that if in fact the feet of Jesus were fastened to the cross with one nail, as usually pictured in our representations, than Earth and Venus should be congruent, or whatever the technical word might be, which seems unlikely at first glance given their separate orbits, but if it had actually occurred most likely none of us would be here to argue the point. Next I suppose someone is going to claim that Snoopy isn’t a real dog.

      • That Math Mode On/Off thing is kinda…..creepy.

      • No math mode for me, just a question, but what happens to the likelihood when you consider there may be a similar number (or infinite number) of points from which to view the planets As stick figures? A ‘crucifix stick figure’ is bound to be possible in that case, or any religious figure for that matter. I think it’s a cool diagram, but since earth is one of the points, I don’t think any astronomer could have seen it, at any time, unless he was in space somewhere.

  16. Davis is not a Christian martyr; Christian faith does not require her to hold public office. In this sense, I don’t think it’s correct to call people like Bonhoeffer or Martin Luther King Christian martyrs, either, though I view them as heroes in the cause of humane values: they were not persecuted and killed by the authorities for professing faith in Jesus Christ, however much it may be said that the actions for which they were persecuted followed from their faith.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      The ignored arguement, still, in all this is the one of moral entaglement.

      Is here signing a license an **endorsement**? No.

      I my notarizing a loan and endorsement of the lender or lendee’s purpose? No.

      Is my selling flowers to a womanizer an endorsement of his predation? No.

      Is my working on a company’s website an endorsement of that company or its services or its CEO? No.

      Is when I mow my neighbor’s lawn an endorsement of her as a mother of her children? No.

      Is my baking and selling a cake that says “Happy Retirement” endorsement of someone’s retiring? No

      Is my attending a friend’s wedding agreeing that him marrying that harpy is a good idea? No

      Davis’ claims are completely incorrect. People who view this as a religious liberties issue using a completely specious argument.

      There is no moral entanglement, and nobody is asking her to ‘support’ anything, she is simply being told to do her [in this case legally obligatory] job.

      • No, but it could be seen as a participation. To use an extreme illustration, imagine you were a sign maker, and someone came to you in the 1950’s and wanted you to make several signs saying, “No blacks allowed.” Would you just say, “Hey, I’m just a sign maker, what he does with them is not my business.” Now maybe you wouldn’t see yourself as somehow participating in his racism, but another person might.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > No, but it could be seen as a participation

          Is “participation” endorsement? Why does it matter in this case? When participation in all manner of potentially morally dubious practices does not even merit a shrug?

          > imagine you were a sign maker, and someone came to you in the 1950’s and wanted\
          > you to make several signs saying, “No blacks allowed.”

          If you were a commercial sign maker you would have no choice – and the customer could have sued me, and I would loose. Clearly many a sign maker did not refuse in making the signs.

          I work in IT. I’ve ‘participated’ in many circumstances I thought were morally questionable. But then I believe dishonestly – including by omission or just careful ‘sample selection’ – is morally wrong. And so has **every other person** who has been employed. We do this all the time, every day; we are all soaking in a fetid vat of sin. Our very lives, and certainly our western lifestyle, **depend** on that fetid vat.

          This is why we created the distinction between Participation and Endorsement. Because participation is unavoidable.

          Only with this particular issue we want to render participation and endorsement equivalent [because it has to do with sex?]. Not any of those other issues; not issues concerning commerce, economics, equity, or environmental issues – for those the distinction between Participation and Endorsement remain starkly [conveniently] clear.

          I call foul. Davis’ argument is wanting to stand on the moral cake and to eat it.

          • Participation is not necessarily unavoidable. If I was a photographer and a couple having an affair wanted me to take pictures of them as they were on a date I could decline on the merits of not wanting to take any part in their affair, even if my taking pictures was not an endorsement. Recently a hotel revoked the reservation of a white supremacist group. I haven’t heard if they have been taken to court, but if they are I hope they win, they should have that right. Their renting of space would not equal an endorsement, but they didn’t want their hotel to have any participation in that event. If my employer wanted to “legally” take advantage of an old couple, I would decline to participate, even if my participation would not be an endorsement of the action. If freedom is to mean anything there must be times when we can say, “No, I won’t do that.” I realize that there must be limits to this freedom (I can’t refuse to give necessary or life saving person to an individual just because I don’t like the group they are a part of), but if we must always participate then we are no longer free.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            > If I was a photographer and a couple having an affair wanted me to take pictures
            > of them as they were on a date I could decline on the merits of not wanting to take
            > any part in their affair,

            Once you hang out a shingle that says “photographer” you do loose this preference. You may still be able to ‘get away with it’, but not under the auspices of the law. Most people will just walk away and find another photographer.

            Of course there is the easier route of offering some other reason for declining the work.

            > Recently a hotel revoked the reservation of a white supremacist group. I haven’t
            > heard if they have been taken to court, but if they are I hope they win, they should have that right

            They have no such right, especially if they are a public corporation. They would likely loose that case.

            Their best bet would be to claim it would injur their brand, and brand identity is recognized as having commercial value, so they would have some standing in. And individual, or even a small business, would likely have a much harder time of it.

            And I do NOT what a corporation to have any such right – today white supremacists, who tomorrow? The opposite argument will be used by the same people if tomorrow it is your group.

            If you are a church you are a church. If you hang out a shingle to provide a commercial service then you provide it to who comes to pay. If those terms are unacceptable you should avoid the marketplace.

          • Adam I think you are in fact wrong about the legality of being able to refuse to provide a service. There are certain protections in regards to race, religion, gender, etc.., but you can decline to do certain activities, such as the example I provided. What exactly would be the case of the couple having an affair?

      • I see your point, but what about this: Is my making and selling surveillance technology to a tyrannical regime an endorsement of their policy of oppression toward their own people? Or is my making and selling of billboards discouraging illegal immigrants from entering Hungary, billboards to be placed outside Hungary in other nations along the routes used by immigrants, endorsement of Hungary’s immigration policy (yes, an American ad agency is contracted to do precisely this right now for the Hungarian government)?

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > Is my making and selling surveillance technology to a tyrannical regime an
          > endorsement of their policy of oppression toward their own people?

          Many a corporation would answer No, and many people – and our government – would agree with them. Most of their employees have no real choice – according to Davis – but to agree with them; however, if asked, many of them would not agree. And I am only interested in the individuals, as they are the only truly moral agents.

          > Or is my making and selling of billboards discouraging illegal immigrants from entering
          > Hungary, billboards to be placed outside Hungary in other nations along the routes used by
          > immigrants, endorsement of Hungary’s immigration policy

          Did *YOU* pay for the billboards to be made? Then Yes, clearly you are. Is the guy who is paid to paint the billboards endorsing your political agenda? NO, he is being paid to paint billboards.

          > an American ad agency

          And their refutation, if they felt included to make one would be (a) as a commercial enterprise we cannot discriminate, if we open our doors to the marketplace we serve who comes to us via the marketplace (b) if we did not make the billboards someone else would. If we make them we use that revenue to pay our workers.

          Reason (a) is 100% legitimate.

          Reason (b) we may be uncomfortable with… but we all live with this Logic every day. I prefer to just be honest and accept it. Denying its legitimacy is hypocrisy in a myriad of little ways; and the less privileged and/or wealthy someone is the more they are coerced into accepting B-type Logic of more and more extreme forms the less powerful they are.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          Participation without Endorsement may be the most fundamental of all Democratic principles.

          For example – It is pointless to speak of the US Government, or even the Department of Defense or the Department of Urban Housing and Developmen. as Good or Evil. All the above contain honest industrious well intentioned souls; I’ve met them, this is true [which is not to say honest well-intentioned people cannot be disastrously *wrong*]. And all the above contain delusional egotistic paranoid money grubbing jerks. As well as every type of thing in between.

          And we all [as taxpayers] pay for them – which is a form of participation – are we issuing a universal endorsement?

          I have a friend who is an accomplished engineer and worked for a large firm which was a contractor for the DoD. Eventually the naked immorality of the projects she worked on became too much for her, she couldn’t sleep at night, and went to work everyday with the sense that she was a mass-murderer. So she quit. And lost the salary concomitant with being accomplished. Morally noble, sure. But she spent a year living in a camper roving about between parks and campgrounds until she found another job, one related to less wholesale evil. An easy choice? No. Easier because she was single, and had no children? yes. Would she have made it in other circumstances? maybe yes, maybe no.

          Did she Endorse the creation of inhuman things while employed at that job? No. Although she clearly participated. Does she Endorse them now? No. Although she is still forced to participate [by paying taxes].

          We recognize a healthy distance between Endorsement and Participation because we have to; and I am very skeptical when people want to throw that distance away for only *particular* subjects.

          • “Participation without Endorsement may be the most fundamental of all Democratic principles.”

            Yes, speaking broadly, this is the belief that prevents me from marching on the capital or staging a military coup just because you won the last election, and I happen to think you are evil.

            Democracy collapses the day that the majority of people begin to make the contrary assumption, and act on it.

            In that situation, to retain any kind of order, when you get into power you will know to expect your coup, and then you will either loose or kill some people. Next cycle, maybe you get smarter and kill your enemies in advance. This is politics in very many places.

            I am a Fed, and – speaking broadly – I do not regard myself as having the luxury of performing my job and thinking of myself as a private citizen at the same time. If you submit a request to my office, as a member of the American public, I am not responding to you as “Danielle,” although my name will be on the letter you receive; in a sense, I am acting as the government, and I will be responding to your request as the law dictates. Anything further is favoritism, and anything less is discrimination. I am acting as an arm of your government, which in theory serves you. My private convictions have no standing.

            I took the job I took because my private convictions do line up with the responsibilities of my office, which is releasing historical documents of the Federal government to the public, to the greatest extent possible under the circumstances and according to the FOIA. If the job had been in contradiction to my private convictions, I would not have taken it, and no one would have held a gun to my head and demanded that I do so. Both my husband and I have, in fact, withdrawn applications or decided against applying to jobs where we suspected a possible conflict.

            The day I start responding to requests according to whether or not I like you, you have every right to sue the U.S. Government.

          • That Other Jean says

            Isn’t this discussion getting a little far afield? Kim Davis isn’t being asked either to endorse (in the sense of approve of, not merely to sign) or to participate in same sex marriages. Her job is simply to certify that two people are legally entitled to marry, and to sign the paperwork which says that they are licensed to do so. She is in jail for refusing a judge’s order to issue marriage licenses to those persons entitled to them, and for refusing to allow her staff to do so. No one is seeking her approval, or her participation in their marriage.

          • TOJ,
            I think that’s a very good point.

        • Again, I understand your reasoning, Adam, and acknowledge that we all participate without endorsing at some level in our daily occupations and lives. At the same time, I find myself unable to acknowledge that in selling Zyklon B gas to the Nazis for the express purpose of exterminating Jews and others, and in designing gas chambers that were more efficient at killing large numbers of people, IG Farben, and its employees “in the know” were not also endorsing the genocidal program of the Nazis.

  17. Martin Luther King was not killed by “the authorities” — he was killed by James Earl Ray, a lone gunman.

    • Right; that’s what I said: he was not killed by the legal, governing authorities, though he was for a long time persecuted by them. Bonhoeffer, however, was of course executed by governing authorities.

    • Headless Unicorm Guy says

      Martin Luther King was not killed by “the authorities” — he was killed by James Earl Ray, a lone gunman.

      Not if you’re into Conspiracy Theories…

  18. Daniel: Please tell your cutting-edge church to cut the grass, or we’ll never find it.

  19. Sigh. I guess Mike wrote this up before the news came out about Doug Wilson. Probably better anyway; I prefer my Ramblings light.

  20. Randy Thompson says

    Kim Davis, like anyone else, can practice civil disobedience and do the jail time that goes with it, whether wrong-headed or not. I respect civil disobedience, although I have very serious questions about whether this should have been the hill to die on. In terms of the Gospel, what does her stand communicate to gay people? Giving up your livelihood on a point of conscience seems to me to be a more Gospel-oriented way of taking a stand, as it entails laying down one’s life. .

    Also, what strikes me as odd is that, apparently, you could go to her office and get a license to marry the man or woman with whom you carried on an adulterous affair that broke up your previous marriage.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Well, that wasn’t HOMOSEXUAL(TM).

      Funny thing about HOMOSEXUALITY(TM). Just the mention of the word makes people act stupid AND crazy.

  21. Best explain action of the Davis situation I’ve read. From a comment on an NPR story about it. A guy named Ken Townsdin.

    “So the saga continues. For those of you who are not very political or are not from our fair (usually) Commonwealth, Judge David Bunning imposed a sentence of incarceration for civil contempt on Kim Davis, the County Clerk of Rowan County for her failure to comply with an Order from his Court, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. The sentence is for a violation of an Order of the Court; not because Ms. Davis is Christian and not because Ms. Davis believes that same sex marriage is a sin.

    There are two (2) types of contempt: criminal and civil. Contempt is defined, in this case, as a willful and intentional violation of an Order of the Court. Criminal contempt means that you are in jail (or otherwise punished) for a sentence certain. Civil contempt means that the contemnor (Kim Davis) is in complete control of the duration of their punishment. Once you cease to defy an Order of the Court, the punishment stops.

    A couple of things to know:

    First, Judge Bunning was appointed by President Bush (43) and is the son of retired Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning. He is a conservative through and through. The Bunnings do not take their political beliefs lightly.

    Second, this is the only time that I can remember seeing a contemnor get through an entire appellate process before being required to comply with a Court Order. Usually, one is required to comply with an Order of the Court regardless of the appeal. If compliance is refused, then a contempt sentence is enforced, regardless of whether or not you are appealing the Order. Kim Davis got special treatment on this issue.

    Kim Davis is in jail because she willfully and intentionally violated an Order of the Court. She received all the due process allowed her (all the way to the US Supreme Court). She no longer has any cause (good or otherwise) to refuse compliance with a Court Order in a Nation of Laws.

    Third, Judge Bunning threw Ms. Davis a life preserver. After imposing a sentence for contempt, Judge Bunning took a break. When Court resumed, he interviewed the Deputy Clerks for Rowan County as to whether they would comply with his Order. Five (5) of the six (6) deputies affirmed that they would comply with his Order. He then recalled Ms. Davis and asked whether she could refrain from interfering with the deputies while they issued marriage licenses. If she would do that, then he was satisfied that she was not in contempt and could go home. Ms. Davis refused even that much. Ms. Davis’ guarantee of personal religious freedom does not extend her the right to impose those beliefs on others, particularly when she is acting as the government.

    Predictably, an outcry of judicial tyranny and religious persecution has arisen. This is not religious persecution. In the United States, we do not examine the sincerity or reasonableness of your religious beliefs in the public arena. You can believe any and everything in the name of your faith. However, the government may not deny you services based upon the religious belief of the government, its agents or employees. When that happens, then a clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment occurs, which is precisely what happened when Ms. Davis refused to issue marriage licenses under “God’s Authority”.

    As far as judicial tyranny goes, the outcry is completely unwarranted. Ms. Davis is subject to the jurisdiction (read authority) of the Court. She got access to justice in a way that few will ever experience. She was given special consideration at every step. This is not tyranny by any conceivable definition of the word, and to call it tyranny diminishes the claimant.

    For those who may be tempted to take the outcry seriously, let me ask you to consider whether you would tolerate a government that denied you access to services and status available to everyone else because of religious beliefs that you did not share. If we are to continue to be a nation of laws, then we must do so much better. We must stop giving attention and authority to those who seek to take us back to a time when the government cried “God Wills It” and the cry became law.”

  22. look, we gotta spring Daniel Jepsen out of that fundamentalist jail . . . what’s a good plan? 🙂

  23. Chaplain Mike — Great Ramblings! Of course, being very human, we all had to focus on the sex thing. But I thought it was all great, from the church sign to Sam the Sham.

    And since no one else has brought him up: The world lost a fine, fascinating, and humane writer this week when Oliver Sacks left us.

  24. I wonder what that sheep was thinking as the Aussie approached him with the shears. Maybe it was this:

  25. Before current events, I wonder if Kim Davis signed the marriage licenses of divorced people seeking to re-marry.

    • I was just thinking along those same lines. What if Kim Davis determined, for the sake of Rowan county’s righteousness and her own personal beliefs, that it was necessary to deny marriage licenses to divorced people, mixed race couples, Christians wanting to marry Jews or Hindus or Muslims or atheists or, God forbid, Episcopalians? She can uphold the oath she took, resign, or be thrown into the Furnace of Contempt. Perhaps God will deliver, like Daniel, her fresh as a daisy. Or not.

  26. Can somebody here please explain to me why Kim Davis is in jail? Last I heard, the penalty for refusing to do your job was getting fired. Help me out, I’m confused.

    • Marcus Johnson says

      You can’t fire a county clerk; they are elected officials. The only method available for removing a county clerk is through impeachment proceedings, which can take a while.

      And it’s a little more complex than “Davis is in jail because she refused to do her job.” Davis is actually in jail because she was placed in contempt after refusing to follow a direct order from the court. The judge offered her options by which she could allow other people in the office to issue marriage licenses and she not only rejected all of them, but seemed to indicate that she would obstruct the other clerks who would try to issue licenses. All of this is in defiance of an order by the Supreme Court, with which she is required to comply.

    • She’s an elected official. She can’t be fired, only impeached and removed from office, if the findings of an impeachment procedure were to reach the conclusion that this would be appropriate. That is a process that would have to be started by the legislature, which in Kentucky is not scheduled to convene again until next year, I believe.

      Since she is an elected official, the judge had a legal right to order her to do her duty under the law, or resign. When she refused to do either, he had a right to have her imprisoned for contempt, so that her sub-clerks could implement federal policy, and meet the requirements of federal law, in her absence.

      There is a question, however, whether her sub-clerks actually have legal authority to sign those marriage licenses without her go-ahead. The judge apparently acknowledged that this might be a problem when one of the sub-clerks, who was willing to sign the licenses in question, brought the subject to his attention. We shall see.

    • Thanks guys, I’m glad to have that figured out now.

      Anybody have any thoughts on the authority of the state vs. the fed angle of this spectacle?

      • I think the recent SCOTUS decision in the case regarding this matter was over whether the states have a right to define marriage in a way that is narrower than the federal definition (which includes same-sex marriage); they decided that the states do no have that right, and their decision struck down legislation in a number of states that was intended to limit marriage to opposite sex couples. In this subject, the law of the federal government is now the law of the states; there is no legal recourse.

        • In the future, states might find some way to craft legislation that protects the right of individual officials to opt out on the basis of conscience, but I think that would be difficult to write such legislation. Providing legal marriage licenses to same-sex couples in now a duty of every state government, and if part of your job description as an employee of any specific state, whether you are elected or not, is to authorize such licenses, it’s your duty to do so. If she wasn’t an elected official, she would be fired; her status as an elected official, and her unwillingness to resign, make this difficult for her and everyone else involved. Btw, the judge is a conservative W Bush appointee, which should highlight that his decision in this case does not necessarily reflect his personal beliefs on this subject.