Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis has had more than her fifteen minutes of fame lately. The elected official admits she has no desire to be in the eye of a media storm, but has in fact brought this upon herself.
You are probably familiar with Davis’ refusal, based on her religious beliefs, to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, even though the law indicates she must. Her decision to place herself above the law recently landed her in jail for five days. While at first this seems a wee bit harsh, evidently Davis refused to guarantee that she would not interfere with the issuing of licenses to gay couples and was therefore not granted bail.
I always find it odd when persons in positions of authority use their office to impose their religion on others. By all means practice your faith at home and in church, but don’t let it influence your work.
Here in Quebec a former government attempted to pass into law a series of secularism laws, the Quebec Charter of Values, that would have forced all provincial employees to conduct their business in a neutral manner regarding religion. Had the bill passed into law, a clerk at the license office processing driver’s permits would not have been allowed to wear a hijab. It would have meant that a teacher in a public school would not have been allowed to wear a crucifix or Star of David pendant on a necklace if it was too big.
The population was split on this proposal; many feeling it went too far, but for most people the general concept of government services being provided ‘religion free’ was acceptable.
So to me, viewing the situation in Kentucky from up here in Montreal, to have an elected official openly defying the law and instead imposing her religious beliefs on those seeking a legal document is nothing short of astounding.