Jay Bookman

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

Kim Davis is no hero of religious liberty; she is a would-be religious tyrant

From Sen. Ted Cruz:

“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 choose between honoring his or her faith or complying with a lawless court opinion.”

That's one way to think about. Another is to point out that Kim Davis, the elected county clerk in Rowan County, Ky., has chosen to abuse the power granted to her as a government official, and is paying the price for doing so.  Cruz aside, she has every right to her own personal opinion about gay marriage; she has every right to live her own life according to her own faith and she runs no risk of arrest for doing so.

However, Davis has no right to use government as a means to unilaterally impose her own personal religious viewpoint on other people, in direct challenge to the system established in the Constitution.  She has no right to carve out Rowan County as a place that will live by HER rules, dictated by HER conscience.

That's the critical point: When a government official uses government authority to impose his or her own religious faith on others, that is not by any definition "religious freedom." That is the definition of religious tyranny.

That's why she is in jail, and that's why she belongs there.

Reader Comments ...

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.