Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and once connected to the KKK, is now touting Kim Davis as a twenty-first century hero. He believes that Davis’ refusal to do her job based on religious objections is the start of a new movement of angry Americans who want to take back their lost religious freedom. What Perkins and Davis don’t see is that this is an opportunity to work toward tolerance.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council must have fallen to his knees in gratitude when the Kim Davis clusterbomb exploded. Davis gave him a new platform with which he hopes to regain some relevance after being forced to deal with the Josh Duggar dilemma. Duggar, until recently, worked for the uber-right wing hatemongering Council. Where Duggar drug him down, Perkins hopes touting Kim Davis as a twenty-first century hero will lift him up.
Perkins issued the following press release:
“I can tell you that Kim Davis isn’t a martyr — she’s a hero. What the Left is almost certainly afraid of is what is coming to pass: courage is breeding courage. And months from now, we may all look back and realize that she was the example that sparked a blaze of resistance across this country. When other people might have cowered in fear, Kim took a stand. And today, she is surrounded by hundreds of Americans who stand with her. Do you really think William Bradford and the Pilgrims were just trying to move their church membership? Weren’t there churches a little closer that that would not have resulted in nearly half of them dying that first winter in Plymouth? They came for what Kim Davis is standing for. They came for the ability to live their lives according to their Christian faith. And now it’s time for the government of this country to step back and let us.”
Sorry, I should have warned you that the “Say what?” level on this one is an “11” on a 10-point scale.
I can’t help but be reminded of another time the Supreme Court “interfered” in the marriage business. That would be Loving v. Virginia, the case that legalized interracial marriage. That case was decided in 1967. Today, no one (well, no one with a conscience) looks at that landmark case and says, “What a horrible thing! How dare the government do this to the sacred institution of marriage!”
Then again, it’s a safe bet that Perkins might like to see Loving overturned. After all, this kind Christian man once purchased the KKK’s mailing list from then Grand Dragon David Duke for $82,500. One presumes he didn’t do it just so he could send Christmas cards.
Yet, here we are… again. Change has happened. Equality under the law (at least as regards marriage) has been given to those who lacked it. This scares some people. While others rejoice, some, like Perkins and his new pet, Davis, are afraid this change will sweep away their way of life.
So, they take stands to make points. What they neglect to see is that change is always happening. The Loving case was decided in my lifetime, admittedly at the very start of it. You want to know a secret?
Nothing happened to my family or me.
We didn’t lose our way of life because others were allowed to have their own. Perkins, Davis and the rest won’t lose a thing either. While we Americans celebrate freedom of (and from) religion, we all must realize what that actually means.
It does not mean that if my way of life differs from yours (or vice versa), you get to cause me harm, whether physical or legal. It does not give me the right to tell you what to believe, how to dress, how to behave or who to love. Nor does it give you that right over me.
What it means is, at its essence, “Live and Let Live.” It’s a pretty simple philosophy, really. I have a belief that is central to my life. It makes me happy. It fulfills me. I would like everyone to know such happiness and fulfillment.
I must remember though, that other people have beliefs that are central to their lives. Those beliefs make them happy and fulfill them, too. And those beliefs may not leave room for my beliefs in their hearts. What to do? Live and Let Live, that’s what I need to do.
Alternatively, I can try to legislate, intimidate and physically attack those of different beliefs in the hopes that my actions will somehow convince them that my beliefs are better. Doesn’t sound like it’ll work, does it? That’s because those “other” people will not simply stand by and allow themselves to be marginalized and brutalized.
Rather than using his platform for spreading hate and potentially churning up violence, Perkins could better serve his God by helping all of us learn to live together. Loving is the perfect example. Some thought it was the end of the world and here we are, 48 years later, still going strong.
We’ll still be here 48 years from now if we learn how to Live and Let Live.
I will give Perkins one thing: courage does breed courage. Ever since the Stonewall Riots in 1969, LGBTQ people have been working toward equality. That takes courage. I come from a long line of courageous people. Twenty years ago, I doubt I would have had the courage to write as I do now. Baby steps, they say. Perhaps one person will read my writing and find the courage to be themselves, to stand up for justice and to live. That would be deeply gratifying, indeed.
It’s no small task letting others live their lives when you think your way is the only “right” way. That takes courage, too, more so than does the oppression of others. Rather than holding up discriminatory behavior as a “hero” quality, Perkins should look to another of his heroes, Jesus Christ, who said:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” ~Matthew 22:30-31
Truly following this commandment, loving others as you love yourself, means that Perkins and Davis, et. al. shouldn’t interfere in the lives of others whose existence does them no harm. After all, that’s what Perkins and Davis want for themselves, isn’t it? Their own faith demands that they give it to everyone else, then.