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Religious Right Attorneys Create Another Faux Christian Martyr



Like ambulance chasing-attorneys, Liberty Counsel is in the business of lurking and looking for the next high-profile conservative Christian offering a potentially money-raising “persecution” story. Kim Davis certainly fit the bill.

Thrice divorced county clerk Kim Davis instructed her office staff to refuse the issuance of marriage licenses to anyone in Rowan County once the Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples have a civil right to marry — despite having taken an oath swearing to do her job “without favor, affection or partiality, so help me God.” And soon, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver (photo, center, at microphone) became Davis’ attorney. Staver appears to have advised his client to break the law and continue to not issue federally mandated licenses to same-sex couples.

Constantly jockeying for position and prominence with the similarly missioned Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Liberty Counsel is technically a non-profit organization providing pro bono legal representation for “religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family.” Liberty and ADF seek out opportunities to represent conservative Christians in potentially high-profile religious liberties cases. This accomplishes two necessary tasks: keeping their organizations in the news, and for Liberty Counsel, it ensures yearly donations and grants exceeding $4 million will continue to flow in.

Both organizations are guilty of promoting markedly flawed accounts of “persecuted” Christians who are most often simply people who discriminate and break the law using their beliefs to validate the wrongdoing. The entire charade garners the attention, sympathy, and financial support of conservative segments of the population who rarely dig into the details and seem so easily manipulated by a narrative in alignment with their fears.

Staver’s counsel to Davis has simply been bad advice; there was no way her religious beliefs about the exclusivity of marriage as between a man and a woman would absolve her of the duties of her elected office. But, even bad advice successfully keeps religious liberties in news and subsequently, the cash coming in.

Under Staver’s counsel, Davis refused to obey a U.S. District Court injunction to resume her legal duties. Liberty Counsel then issued a statement: “Kim Davis did not sign up as a clerk to issue same-sex marriage licenses. At a minimum, her religious convictions should be accommodated.” One can always count on Staver to throw up a legal-sounding smoke screen.

The law does require that employers, in this case the State of Kentucky, reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, unless, that is, doing so would cause significant burden on the business (or state office). By not issuing marriage licenses, a regular duty of a county clerk, Davis’ refusal is more than a significant burden.

The federal court ruling was not enough to stop or satisfy Liberty Counsel from pressing the issue further. Staver filed an appeal to the 6th Circuit Court on Friday asking for “asylum for her (Davis’) conscience.” The Supreme Court waited until late Monday to deny her request.

Yesterday morning Davis continued to deny the issuance of marriage licenses “under God’s authority.”

It should be noted that Davis’ Christians beliefs are not universal Christian beliefs. There are many Christian denominations which have long sought the right to marry same-sex couples. A growing number of Christians with otherwise traditional tenets, me included, do not agree with Davis’ restrictive view of Christian marriage. 

Staver’s advice to Davis has been ridiculous and obviously unjustifiable legally all along. Liberty Counsel did however create another public “martyr” who they can only dream will be carried off in shackles, photographers snapping away, for her faith.

Ca-ching, ca-ching, ca-ching.

In the end though, it is county clerk Kim Davis who will suffer the longer term consequences of her misguided actions. 

No worries. It’s all good in the bigger picture for Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel, and ADF. They continue to lurk and look for the next high-profile conservative Christians offering a potentially money-raising “persecution” story.

These lawyers will do as they always do — create faux Christian martyrs out of those who break the law, tell partial truths about the drama, couch their endemic discrimination against the LGBT community in biblical terms, all while asking for donations to fight the encroaching “gay agenda.”


Photo: “Mat Staver joins Catholic and Evangelical leaders who pledge obedience to God when the State directly conflicts with higher law.”
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