But of course the whole kerfuffle has resulted in the Christian Persecution Party roaring back with a vengeance. This movement was started a few years ago by evangelicals who think that (1) not getting your way is the same as being oppressed, (2) it's persecution if you're not allowed to visit your own beliefs on every other citizen in the United States, and (3) the 74% of Americans who self-identify as Christians represent an embattled minority.
Think I'm exaggerating? Let's start with online loudmouth Joshua Feuerstein, who had the following to say:
I told you a long time ago, ladies and gentlemen, that the LGBT community has one agenda and that is to come after Christians. That has been the agenda all along. They want to put the clamp on Christianity in America, and you either back them and support them or you’re going to jail…
… I challenge you to get there, to Rowan County, and let’s make sure that Kim is let out of jail. It’s not fair that a Christian is persecuted and thrown in jail simply for not endorsing gay marriage.Sorry, Josh, but that's a lie. Kim Davis isn't in jail because she is a Christian. She's in jail because she is an elected official who refused to follow a federal law even after being ordered to do so by the court.
Then we had the ever-baffling Mike Huckabee weighing in:
Kim Davis in federal custody removes all doubts about the criminalization of Christianity in this country. We must defend Religious Liberty!... Look, you would have hated Lincoln, because he disregarded the Dred Scott 1857 decision that said black people aren’t fully human. [Lincoln] disregarded [Dred Scott] because he knew it was not operative, that it was not logical.Wait a moment. You are... you are seriously saying that Kim Davis is like Lincoln because she's denying rights to a group of American citizens? And then defending that comparison by showing how Lincoln did the exact opposite?
And finally, no BizarroFest would be complete without a contribution from Ted Cruz:
Those who are persecuting Kim Davis believe that Christians should not serve in public office. [...] Or, if Christians do serve in public office, they must disregard their religious faith–or be sent to jail.
Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny. Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith. This is wrong. This is not America.
I stand with Kim Davis. Unequivocally. I stand with every American that the Obama Administration is trying to force to chose [sic] between honoring his or her faith or complying with a lawless court opinion.No, Ted, we think Kim Davis belongs in jail because she refused to do her fucking job.
But you know, the whole thing smacks of hypocrisy anyway. What do you think these same braying wingnuts would say in the following situations?
- A Muslim food store checkout clerk who refused to ring up a customer because he was purchasing pork.
- A Quaker who worked for the sheriff's office and refused to issue an adult a handgun license.
- A vegan who worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and refused to issue a hunter a deer hunting permit.
- A Christian Scientist clerk in a pharmacy who refused to sell customers any drugs at all.
Think they'd support any of those?
Jean-Léon Gérôme, The Martyrs' Last Prayer (1883) [image courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons]
The Religious Right positively relishes the opportunity to cast themselves as this century's Christians being eaten by lions in the Colosseum, when exactly the opposite is true; they are the ones attempting to use their position to force their belief system on everyone else. So instead of deriding Kim Davis as a shirker who is getting paid for a job she refuses to do, or a scofflaw who sticks up her middle finger at the law of the land, she's given shouts of acclamation for being a staunch True Believer in the face of dreadful persecution.
So it's time to say it to their faces: throwing a tantrum because you'd like to force everyone to dance to your music, and no one's cooperating, is what toddlers do.