Kim Davis should have been a Caterer

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When faced with a religious quandary, Davis could have quit her job.  We all have the option of quitting if our job conflicts with our conscious.

In case you missed the headlines, Kim Davis, a United States county clerk in Kentucky was jailed on the charge of “contempt” for refusing to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple. She claimed that issuing the license would conflict with her Christian religious beliefs.  Immediately, powerful Christian supporters began voicing their support for Davis. Mike Huckabee, US presidential candidate and former governor of Arkansas, is arguably the most influential of her supporters.

Huckabee tweeted the question, “Who’s next? Pastors? Photogs? Caterers? Florists?”, referencing the rights of citizens under the “God-given constitution”.

For starters, I’m not a theologian, but I don’t recall the chapter in the Bible where God gave the Constitution to the Americans.  I thought it was written “by the people, for the people”.

Secondly, Huckabee is a smart guy who has an exceptional understanding of US constitutional law, but he also has his own agenda.  He is playing to the wants of the majority Christian base.  As a presidential candidate, he needs these votes.

Kim Davis was a government official with a clear directive to issue marriage licenses to any couple who qualifies under the US constitution.  Davis had the right to deny the same-sex couple their marriage license, just as any any employee has the right to refuse any employer’s demands.  Likewise, employers have the right to fire any employee who refuses to perform their duties.

As a civil servant, employed by the tax payers to uphold all parts of the US constitution, Davis refused to perform one of the duties required by her employer.  A judge wisely sided with her employer, the tax-paying citizens, and ordered her to issue the marriage license.  She refused.  Refusing a court order is called “Contempt of Court”, and carries the penalty of jail time.

When faced with a religious quandary, Davis could have quit her job.  We all have the option of quitting if our job conflicts with our conscious.

As for Huckabee’s comment, “Who’s next? Pastors? Photogs? Caterers? Florists?”, Huckabee is ignoring the fact that civil servants like Davis are sworn in and “promise to uphold” the rights and freedoms of individuals as stated in the constitution.  I don’t think Florists and Caterers are required to take such an oath.  If Davis wanted to exercise her brand of “Religious Freedom”, then should have become a Caterer.

The loss of the letter

Thanks for the cat videos. Thank you for all the pictures of your protein smoothies and for letting me know that you worked out this morning. Thank you especially for inviting me to play Candy Crush Saga. And thank you, really, for your latest selfie — I almost forgot what you looked like.

Facebook, like the Internet itself, has a lot of promise. It has the potential to allow people to reconnect and share aspects of their lives with loved ones across great distances. It allows for a cultural exchange of ideas, art and information.

It provides a network through which millions of strangers can unite as one to accomplish what they cannot do alone.

Just like the Internet, however, Facebook is a cultural mirror. It shows us exactly who we are — what we like, what we desire and what we believe. For those willing to look beyond the trees to see the whole forest, Facebook is an unflatteringly accurate reflection of modern society — narcissistic, self-centric, superficial. There can be no other explanation for the volume and nature of the content we share. To look at Facebook is to see the world as the backdrop to somebody else’s selfie. Intelligent expression has been reduced to little more than an endless barrage of witty and sarcastic captions typed across photos of famous faces.

I recently came across a news story about a collection of letters that had been written by Albert Einstein to his friends and colleagues over the course of his career. I read some of them. Combined, they are the portrait of a man — fiercely intelligent, romantic, humorous, compassionate. In the age of Facebook, we have stopped writing letters, and in doing so, we have lost a gift of immeasurable value.

In this Facebook-ized society, we are having fewer and fewer meaningful conversations. As a result, we are not only depriving ourselves of the opportunity to interact on a deeper level with others, but we are also depriving future generations of something that our generation takes for granted — letters. Thanks to ink and paper, we presently enjoy a rich, historical record of insightful dialogue and the exchange of original ideas. It is highly doubtful that scholars in the next century will have the patience or inclination to sift through trillions of Facebook posts. And if they do, what will they find?

I have long believed that the greatest strength of the human species is our ability to communicate, to share complex and meaningful ideas so our accomplishments can be reproduced by others for the betterment of all.

By design, Facebook is the ideal tool for us to do just that — to express our creativity and share our intelligence. So, to that end, I’ll refrain from sharing a pictures of my breakfast and quotes from my cat.