Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

The self-persecution of Kim Davis ends ... temporarily

The good news is that Kim Davis, county clerk of Rowan County, Ky., has been freed by a federal judge. Her release badly undermines the publicity value of the jail-house meeting with Davis that presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee had arranged for later today. (Note Huckabee photobombing Davis in the screengrab above, taken after her release from the Carter County Detention Center).

The bad news is that by her own choice, Davis' freedom may prove to be temporary.

Under the terms of her release, Davis is forbidden to “interfere in any way, directly or indirectly, with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples." And as NBC reports, Davis may not be prepared to live by those rules when she reports back to work later this week:

"Nothing has been resolved," Davis' lawyer, Mat Staver, told NBC News soon after (Judge) Bunning ordered her released.

"She told the court Thursday that she can't allow licenses to go out under her name and her authority that authorize a marriage that collides with her conscience and religious conviction, and Kim is not changed on that position," Staver said.

Again, Davis has every right to believe what she wishes and to act upon those beliefs in her personal life. She simply does not have the right to use the power granted to her as an elected government official to impose those religious beliefs on other Americans.  That power is not HER power, to be used as SHE wishes.

It's also worth noting that the sense of self-justifying persecution runs extremely deep for Davis and her supporters. As Mat Staver, her lawyer and the former dean of the Liberty University law school, put it the other day:

“Does that mean that if you’re Christian, don’t apply here; if you’re a Jew, you gotta get — what happened in Nazi Germany, what happened there first, they removed the Jews from government public employment, then they stopped patronizing them in their private businesses, then they continued to stigmatize them, then they were the ‘problems,’ then they killed them.”

In further comments today, Staver argued that the marriage licenses that have been issued in the last few days by Rowan County are legally invalid or perhaps even criminal, because they do not include Davis' name as the authorizing government official as required by Kentucky law.

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About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.