I haven’t been able to do a lot of writing here on the blog lately. It’s been a combination of having a very full schedule and not sleeping well. I am working on trying to fix the part about not sleeping well. The full schedule will start easing off a bit after October 10th. I will probably post more about that in the near future.
In the meantime, I wanted to say something about two stories in the news that are related to the title of my post. One is in regards to civil rights, the other is in regards to one of New England’s favorite athletes.
First, the story about that county clerk in Kentucky who seems to have this idea in her head that she is some sort of Christian martyr because she refuses to acknowledge that the Supreme Court has granted equal civil rights to a long-abused and marginalized group in our society. She was sued, and then ordered to grant marriage licenses to qualified couples (also known as doing her job) by a judge. She appealed that judges’ order, and it eventually went all the way up to the Supreme Court, who refused to hear her case. So she lost, but refuses to acknowledge that she lost, and thus refuses to grant marriage licenses to gay couples. So she was found in contempt of court and thrown in jail. Five of her six deputy clerks (the sixth is her son) have agreed to issue marriage licenses.
It seems to me that this is the last hurrah, the last-ditch stand (so to speak) of the section of American society that refuses to acknowledge that the LGBT community deserves equal treatment under the law. Of course, I think there is also a moral and religious argument to be made here. Wanting to keep oppressing that long-oppressed group does not quite seem to be in the spirit of Jesus’ message, in my mind, much less in the spirit of law and order. But that is not stopping people from making Davis out to be some sort of civil rights martyr.
I disagree wholeheartedly. She is not a civil rights icon. She is the opposite of that. She is not Rosa Parks. She is more like Bull Connor – a public official who thinks they can use their power to keep oppressing a minority group – damn what the law says, damn what the Federal government says, damn the consequences, and damn how it looks to the rest of the world.
Sure, she is not using fire hoses or dogs, but that does not make what she is doing any less wrong. If she honestly thinks that doing her job and issuing marriage licenses violates her religious beliefs somehow, she should probably either rethink her religious beliefs or rethink her career. I am guessing the latter is more likely, but probably still not going to happen. As one astute observer has commented:
As a county clerk in small-town Kentucky, Davis’ power is negligible. But her privilege — specifically, the privilege of being able to marry (again and again and again and again) — isn’t. Gay marriage, which is representative of the full acceptance of gay and lesbian people into the mainstream, severely challenges the version of Christianity she’s embraced. Her (highly selective) Biblical literalism can’t allow it; and if that crumbles, her vision of herself as “saved,” as one of God’s elect, goes down with it.
And speaking of privilege, that brings me to the second of the two judges, namely one Richard Berman, who ruled on Tom Brady’s suspension by the NFL, namely Commissioner Roger Goodell. This case is not about civil rights, but rather how about the commissioner of the National Football League, one very seriously overpaid guy with an incredibly flawed sense of judgment, might need to have his priorities set straight by some grown-ups.
Guy punches his future wife so hard he knocks her unconscious? Two game suspension. Not until a much more shocking video of that event made its way into the public view did a slightly more appropriate punishment happen. Another guy kinda sorta underinflates some footballs by about 1 1/2 pounds under circumstances that, at least to me, are still a bit murky? Well, good heavens, that is worthy of a four game suspension. Clearly, at least to the NFL, football underinflation is a worse crime than domestic abuse. That is the message that Mr. Goodell is sending to the universe loud and clear.
And even after Goodell did everything he could to get a court decision in the NFL’s favor, he still lost the case, got seriously trashed by the judge, and will probably lose any appeal. Unlike most of New England, I don’t see this as an exoneration of Tom Brady. It’s more like having a case tossed because of misbehavior by the prosecutor: tainted evidence or something. That’s not an exoneration. Sure, some Tom Brady fans will scream and foam at the mouth a bit, but I am right. The irony of all this is that any chance of finding out the truth about the whole Deflategate mess is now probably long gone. Oh well. Thanks Roger! Heck of a job!