If you thought the far right’s accusations of anti-Christian persecution were deranged in the wake of the Rowan County marriage license debacle…well, they are. Yet thanks to Fox News’ Todd Starnes, they’ve really gone off the rails. Starnes, you see, believes that punishing a public official for refusing to do her job and ignoring a direct court order is tantamount to white racists siccing German Shepherds on black people. In an article published on the Fox News website — because it’s not really a news outlet as much as a propaganda machine for racists and religious zealots — Starnes wrote that Judge Bunning “wanted to intimidate Christians” and did so by “doing with the gavel what Bull Connor tried to do with dogs and fire hoses.”
Yes, according to Todd Starnes and his never ending persecution complex, homophobic Christians are in the same position as African-American men, women, and children during the Jim Crow era. He went on to compare Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to the late Alabama Governor George Wallace:
Christian leaders, among them Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, urged Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to call a special session of the legislature to enact emergency protections for religious liberty.
“Religious liberty in America is in grave danger,” Perkins warned. “This will, in effect, establish a reverse religious test barring those who hold biblical views of marriage from positions of public service. Such a religious test by proclamation or practice is wrong.”
But Gov. Beshear refused to do so – blocking the door to the statehouse much like Alabama Gov. George Wallace blocked the door to the schoolhouse in defiance of racial integration.
Starnes also raises the sophomoric question of what law Davis actually broke — without understanding that it is current Kentucky law as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges:
Critics of Mrs. Davis, on both the right and the left, argue that public officials cannot pick and choose which laws to uphold.
But what law – what specific law – did Mrs. Davis violate? Where is the law that mandates Mrs. Davis issue a marriage license?
That’s a question Republican presidential candidate former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee raised to his supporters in a recent letter.
“That simple question is giving many in Congress a civics lesson that they never got in grade school,” Huckabee wrote.
“The Supreme Court cannot and did not make a law,” he continued. “They only made a ruling on a law. Congress makes the laws. Because Congress has made no law allowing for same-sex marriage, Kim does not have the Constitutional authority to issue a marriage license to homosexual couples.”
Mike Huckabee should have paid better attention in school. The Supreme Court certainly cannot “make” laws. They can, however, interpret laws. They can strike down laws, both state and federal, as unconstitutional as was the case with statewide same-sex marriage bans. This is a grade school lesson, and it stems from one of the most famous Supreme Court cases in U.S. history: Marbury v. Madison (1803).
Starnes isn’t yet finished, however. He still predicts a war on “people of faith,” and believes that Mike Huckabee is like one of “those great preachers of the Civil Rights era” for urging Christians “of all colors and all faiths” to band together against another minority. He also ludicrously compared a bigot like Kim Davis to Martin Luther King, Jr.:
Judge Bunning’s act of judicial tyranny troubles me because it sets a standard for what could become an all-out assault on people of faith.
. . .
[Mike Huckabee], himself a Baptist preacher, issued a clarion call to the nation – much like those great preachers of the Civil Rights era. He urged Christians of all colors and all faiths to join him in Kentucky on Tuesday to send a message to our government – that we will not be silenced – no matter the cost.
But history has taught us that sometimes words are not enough. Sometimes to right a wrong, we must take action. We must be willing to consider the cost. We must be willing to stand up to judicial tyranny.
Is it possible that a new generation of preachers and politicians could find their voice on Tuesday?
Perhaps one day, students of history will read not only letters from a Birmingham jail, but letters from a Kentucky jail.
But no matter what happens we must hold firm to a central truth that one day Kim Davis will overcome. And one day we shall overcome.
Congrats, Mr. Starnes, on an article that is not only logically incomprehensible but as racially tone deaf as a Taylor Swift music video.