UPDATE: According to NY Times reporter Laurie Goodstein, the Vatican has now confirmed that the meeting between Davis and the Pope took place. While I still think Davis is wrong in her stance, this has to be considered a major PR win for her and her team.
On the other hand, this may compromise positive feelings surrounding the Pope’s visit here. I don’t understand the secrecy. Her lawyer Mat Staver said she disguised her hair style on the way to the meeting. Why did the Vatican neither confirm nor deny the meeting initially? Why not let people know while he was here that he supported Davis? I suspect one answer might be that he would face questions about it during the rest of the trip. Makes him look less than Papal to me.
Back to Davis, I puzzled by what violates and doesn’t violate her conscience. She refuses to affix her name to a same-sex marriage license in her official capacity as clerk but she will in her personal life accept a blessing and rosaries from the Pope which would appear to violate her religion as well. The founder of Apostolic manifestations of Christianity such as hers S.H. Froehlich has very little good to say about the Pope.
Her position has been that she doesn’t want anyone to think she supports gay marriage. However, she seems less concerned that people will think she supports Catholicism.
I suspect some of her supporters will not care how consistent her actual beliefs are, but rather that she sincerely holds them. Other supporters might draw the line if she starts to balk at issuing marriage licenses to divorced Christians.
In an odd turn of events, the Vatican press office won’t confirm or deny that the Pope met with Kim Davis during his U.S. trip. According to a tweet from the NY Times Laurie Goodstein, verification is in limbo.
According to ABC News, the Vatican Press Office released this statement:
The Holy See is aware of the reports of Kim Davis meeting with the Holy Father. The Vatican does not confirm the meeting, nor does it deny the meeting. There will be no further information given.
Given the exaggerations which regularly come out of the Liberty Counsel camp (e.g., Peru, Mat Staver thinks David Barton is a credible historian), confirmation is necessary. In essence, the Vatican is tossing her under the bus at this moment.
Davis claims to have photos. If those surface, then the Vatican may need to say something or could just let them speak for themselves.
To me, if he did meet with Davis, he has undone a lot of the bridge building image he has cultivated. Davis is a divisive figure right now and by aligning with her, he will appear to lack consistency and genuineness.
Yeah, that Pope.
Did the Pope really meet with Kim Davis? There is still doubt about it, but Davis’ lawyers claim it is true. It was reported by Inside the Vatican which has crashed. Update: The page on the Inside the Vatican website is back up.
The Vatican has not commented and the story now rests on what Robert Moynihan says Kim Davis told him.
Twitter reacts to the news:
David Gibson at RNS:
Brandon Ambrosino is skeptical:
More to come.
Kim Davis is back to work today and media, protesters and a lesbian couple have been there too.
According to the AP, a deputy clerk, Brian Mason has assumed duties of handing out the marriage licenses. A lesbian couple did pick one up this morning with the phrase “pursuant to federal court order” in the place where the clerk’s name should be. Davis and her attorneys aren’t sure they are valid.
I contacted the Kentucky County Clerks Association last week to learn the organization’s position on leaving off a clerk’s name. Contrary to some media reports, the KCCA has not taken a final position on the matter, according to Bill May, spokesman for the organization.
While Davis doesn’t intend to interfere with what Brian Mason decides to do, she will not allow her name to be placed on a license which may mean the licenses aren’t valid in KY.
According to the Texas Tribune, Ted Cruz showed up at the Kim Davis Freedom Rally and was shown the door by Mike Huckabee’s handlers. According to Patrick Svitek with the Tribune:
In the footage, Cruz exits the Carter County Detention Center, where Davis was being held, and heads toward the microphones where Huckabee was later broadcast alongside the clerk. However, Cruz quickly runs into a Huckabee staffer who points him in another direction, setting off a roughly 15-second back-and-forth followed by Cruz repeatedly trying to maneuver around the staffer. Cruz, appearing dumbfounded by the situation, ultimately follows the staffer offscreen.
A cynical person might take this as evidence that the Kim Davis controversy isn’t about same-sex marriage but capturing the religious right vote.
I don’t know for sure, but I heard that Cruz and Huckabee broke out into song and dance after the presser and sang this together.
According to CNN, Rowan County (KY) clerk has been released from prison with instruction from Judge David Bunning not interfere with deputies issuing same-sex marriage licenses.
The compromise appears to involve not requiring Davis’ to put her name on the license. Given the form of a KY marriage license, this should be possible. Note in the license below that the clerk’s name is typed in.
According to the CNN report (and Mat Staver on Wallbuilders Live earlier today), Davis plans to stop licenses if they have her name on them. As you can see above, this license does not have her name on it. KY law appears to require the clerk to certify the accuracy of the license so there may be another impasse.
I will add to these through the day and maybe into tomorrow. For now, between yard work and naps, I am researching some of the claims made by David Barton (see links below) and trying for myself to figure out what reasonable religious accommodations would look like in this situation.
While I don’t agree with Davis, I think these kind of cases are incredibly interesting. I believe that religious accommodations need to be considered (see Volokh’s article linked below) in her case.
David Barton has been in rare form over this matter. He has incorrectly said that God’s law trumps man’s law in a republic, that God’s law should be followed before the Constitution and that judges can’t compel arrests of people in contempt of court.
Thoughtful article by Eugene Volokh on religious accommodations
GOP presidential candidate John Kasich on Kim Davis
Why Kim Davis is no hero to religious liberty
Good summary of why KY law may prevent a religious accommodation
David Barton 1 – Barton’s assertion that a republic is about God’s law trumping man’s law.
David Barton 2 – Barton says courts can’t order a person to court. The U.S. Code says differently. See also this helpful summary.
David Barton 3 – Three reasons why Christians who think Davis should do her job are wrong.
Mike Huckabee’s Rally
Caution, alt-reality alert.
On Glenn Beck’s Facebook page, David Barton explains it all (the FB embed feature isn’t working consistently so I have embedded the video at the end of the post).
David Barton explains Kim Davis, the four kinds of law and why she should not be in Jail.Interesting perspective that I haven't heard.#kimdavis
Posted by Glenn Beck on Friday, September 4, 2015
Class, any thoughts?
(In case the Facebook embed doesn’t work, here it is)
This, of course, is a mess. Barton first wrongly says “the Founding Fathers” (as if they all thought alike) “made it real clear that the laws of God are higher than the laws of man.” If that was so, then why doesn’t the Constitution say that? The Constitution declares itself, not a particular interpretation of the Bible, to be the law of the land.
Then Barton implies that a republic is different from a democracy because God’s laws are higher than man’s laws; and then something about France. Barton is rare form here and couldn’t be more wrong.
What is truly worrisome is that so many people hear this and think it is a brilliant analysis.
If anything, Kim Davis sought to impose her religious views on same-sex couples who do not share them.
For more on this, see this post: On the Kim Davis Controversy: Should a Christian Judge Refuse to Grant a Divorce Decree?
On his blog, evangelical Judge Tim Fall addresses the situation of being required to grant divorce decrees.
Let’s choose a different situation. My understanding of the Bible says divorce is prohibited except when certain circumstances exist. Can I refuse to grant a divorce decree for a couple who meets the legal requirements for marital dissolution but who do not meet the biblical requirements?
He says he grants a divorce if the couple meets the legal requirements:
On a divorce case, I check the paperwork and if the people meet the legal requirements for a divorce I grant it. I look on the decree as a judicial declaration that these people are entitled to a divorce under the laws of my state. I take this seriously and sign only those papers that meet every requirement.
He also addresses his stance on marrying gay couples which you can read at his blog.
Fall cites Scripture demonstrating that God doesn’t favor divorce. Will Christians now begin refusing to do their jobs regarding the legal aspects of terminating a marriage?
As Fall points out in his article, there has been no call from Christian leaders to block divorces based on conscience. To me, this lack of consistency is an indicator that Davis is being used by her handlers and other Christian leaders to rouse the rabble and create the appearance of persecution.
UPDATE: A TN judge wants a place in the limelight; denies a straight couple a divorce and blames the same-sex marriage ruling for his stance.
David Bunning, the judge who sent KY clerk Kim Davis to federal custody is a Republican son of a Republican former Senator and according to his mother did not agree with the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage.
Bunning’s dad was popular baseball player and Senator Jim Bunning. He is known as a careful jurist and conservative person who jailed Davis because she would likely be able to pay her fines with supporters’ money.
Davis was jailed earlier today because she refuses to issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Religious right political figures have come to her defense, saying she is suffering for her faith. I think she is getting bad advice from her handlers. I don’t see how every county official’s religious beliefs can be accommodated in such matters. Presumably, if consistent, Davis does not believe in believers and unbelievers being married. Would her supporters advocate for her right to refuse a license to religiously mixed marriages?
According to local media coverage, Bunning raised his own religious beliefs in court:
Bunning said he’s Catholic and the Catholic church says you must have an annulment before you can get remarried. He asked: What would prevent a Catholic clerk from not issuing a marriage license to a divorced person?
We are not governed by sectarian interpretations of any Scripture.