READER'S EDITORIAL: SHOULD AN ELECTED OFFICIAL'S RELIGION TRUMP THE CONSTITUTION?

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this

 

by Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof (1st Amendment, US Constitution)

September 8, 2015 (San Diego)-- A Kentucky county clerk, Kim Davis has become a symbol of religious opposition to same-sex marriage after she was jailed Thursday for defying a federal court order to issue licenses to gay couples, the Union-Tribune reported.

The judge’s decision to jail Davis, a 49-year-old Democrat who was elected last year, immediately intensified the attention focused on her, a longtime government worker and one of three of Kentucky’s 120 county clerks who contend that their religious beliefs keep them from recognizing same-sex marriages.   Hours after her imprisonment, several Republican presidential candidates declared their support for Davis. Today, after a judge freed her since her clerks had begun issuing the marriage licenses, she was cheered by Christian conservatives. (The judge ordered Davis not to interfere with issuance of the licenses, though she has not yet said if she will comply.)

On September 12, 1960, John F. Kennedy, the Democratic candidate for the Presidency, addressed the Greater Houston Ministerial Association (Available at:). I believe this speech encapsulates the meaning of the 1st Amendment, one of the foundations of our Democracy. What follows is extended highlights from Kennedy’s speech:

It is apparently necessary for me to state once again — not what kind of church I believe in, for that should be important only to me — but what kind of America I believe in.

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.

I believe in an America . . . where no public official either requests or accept instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace of the public acts of its officials.

It was Virginia’s harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that led to Jefferson’s statute of religious freedom. Today, I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you — until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped apart.

I believe in a President whose views on religion are his own private affair.

I want a Chief Executive whose public acts are responsible to all and obligated to none . . . and who fulfillment of his Presidential office is not limited or conditioned by any religious oath, ritual, or obligation.

I do not speak for my church on public matters; and the church does not speak for me. Whatever issue may come before me as President, if I should be elected, on birth control, divorce . . . I will make my decision in accordance with these views — in accordance with these views — in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be in the national interest,

But if the time should ever come . . . when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do likewise. [my emphasis]

There was a time when laws in this country prohibited marriage between the races. Nowadays, couples who do not subscribe to a particular religion can be married by a Justice of the Peace. Religions are free to determine who they will or will not marry, e.g. Orthodox Jewish rabbis won’t perform a marriage between a Jew and non-Jew, Catholic priests won’t perform a marriage between a Catholic and non-Catholic except if certain conditions are agreed upon. This is how it should be, within a religious body. In Israel, marriages are controlled by the respective religious authorities so inter-religious marriages are impossible. This is the United States, not Israel.

I respect Ms. Davis’s beliefs; but she is not acting within her church, she is not acting as an individual, she is an elected official who took an oath of office. There can be NO doubt that her decision is a religious one as she has made this absolutely clear. As such, she has two choices: 1. delegate the issuing of marriage licenses to her clerks; or 2. as John F. Kennedy stated in his speech:  “But if the time should ever come . . . when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do likewise.”

The Republican presidential candidates using this issue to play to their conservative Christian constituency are displaying their contempt for our Constitution and our rule of law. And these conservative Christians should study the history of the 1st Amendment and religious persecution in the US and heed Kennedy’s words: “It was Virginia’s harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that led to Jefferson’s statute of religious freedom. Today, I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you — until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped apart.”

Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH is a retired epidemiologist and native San Diegan. His family has been in San Diego since 1936. Dr. Harrison has been actively engaged in supporting the adoption of a single-payer-non-profit health care system, Medicare for All (see Physicians for a National Health Programs website at: http://www.pnhp.org ) and is currently writing articles in support of vaccinations for Every Child By Two, an organization founded in 1991 by Rosalyn Carter (former President Jimmy Carters wife) and Betty Bumpers (wife of former Governor of Arkansas) to promote vaccinations in children. You can find Dr. Harrisons articles at: http://www.ecbt.org/index.php/facts_and_issues/article/expert_commentary .

The opinions in this editorial reflect the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit an editorial for consideration, contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Religious

Religious conviction is the confidence in the truth of the legendary, heavenly, or otherworldly parts of a religion. Religious conviction is particular from religious practice or religious practices with certain devotees not rehearsing religion and a few specialists not trusting religion. Jake Owen Jacket

@Hano

I find it fascinating how you continue referring to me as “doc” and “PhD.” Yes, I include my degrees with my name. Medical doctors do the same, even when not addressing medical issues. And religious ministers include their titles even when not acting or speaking in their capacity as ministers. I am proud of my achievements. You seem to harbor some general animosity/envy towards people who have achieved higher educations. Did you fail to complete your studies? Your personal attacks simply detract even more from your incoherent rants.

You wrote: “Doctor, may I recommend you return to matters of Public Health (such as the TRUE analysis of CDC data on homosexual HIV infection rates...the "great liberal hidden" of our times...http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/msm/index.html) and leave matters of public policy to those who actually live out in the public, vice a doctoral chat room.”

As for your information, my BA is in Political Science, including courses in American Government and Constitutional Law. I then obtained an MA in social psychology, a PhD in educational psychology, and then a three year NIH post-doctoral fellowship for training in public health and epidemiology. Though a native San Diegan, I have lived in five other countries. In addition, I am fluently bilingual and can manage two other languages with help of a dictionary. So, not only have I been out in the real world; but, unless you have also lived in other countries, I have experienced a far wider world. And everything I have written in this OpEd and comments has nothing to do with my doctorate or post-doctoral experiences. I could have written exactly the same thing as an undergraduate. And, though my profession was public health/epidemiology, I have always devoted considerable free time to reading on other topics and, until a few years ago, from time to time participated in politics.

Are you saying that anyone with a higher education should not express their opinions? Who determines who should express their opinions? You? Your arrogance in thinking you somehow have cornered the market on experience and wisdom is incredible. Especially, as I will show below, your comments display an incredible lack of comprehension of what you read in other peoples’ comments and an incredible lack of coherent thought.

Before directly addressing your two comments, there was an article in San Diego Union-Tribune that made it quite clear that my opinion about the Kim Davis case is also held by many devout Christians and Conservatives, “Ky. Clerk Case Divides Religious Liberty Advocates: Some Conservatives Believe Kim Davis Hurts the Movement”, Sept 14, 2015 Available at:

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/sep/14/tp-ky-clerk-case-di...

See also another article from NationofChange “Why Kim Davis Isn’t Quite the Martyr She Intended to Be, Sept 14, 2015. Available at: http://www.nationofchange.org/2015/09/14/why-kim-davis-isnt-quite-the-ma...

And a recent poll found: “Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed say it is more important to treat everyone equally than to accommodate someone’s religious beliefs when the two principles conflict. That view held sway across a broad range of Americans, including majorities of self-identified Democrats, Republicans, liberals and conservatives. . . While nearly half — 49 percent — of conservatives say Davis should not be compelled to violate her religious beliefs, 45 percent say she should be required to perform her duties.” (The Washington Post, “Poll: Ky. Clerk Should Issue Licenses to Same-Sex Couples: 63 Percent Believe Following Law Outweighs Religious Objections”, Sept 16, 2015. Available at: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/sep/16/tp-poll-ky-clerk-sh...

However, the following is not for you; but for any rational person who may be monitoring these comments (Given your previous comments, you will ignore what I write and harp on my twisted PhD mind and continue to attack me for things I didn’t say or drag in things not logically connected to what I wrote).

You wrote: in reference to the 1st Amendment: “It makes no mention of ‘separation of church and state’, but rather addresses two issues; the prohibition of a state religion and THE FREEDOM TO EXERCISE one's own religion. . . but in your twisted PhD logic somehow then arrive at the conclusion that a County Clerk must issue marriage licenses to homosexual couple.”

But I did not say she “must issue marriage licenses to homosexual couple.” I said she can resign or, at least, allow her clerks to decide for themselves, which is what the Court said. She imposed her religious beliefs on everyone in her office. Don’t you understand the difference? So, she is free to exercise her own religion; but not to impose it on others, including the other employees. In fact, I have said this several times. So, I agree with the quote you give from Levy’s book. It is you who seem to believe she has the right to impose her beliefs on others. You quote from Levy’s book; but don’t seem to really believe in it. Then you attack me when I agree with Levy’s interpretation of the 1st Amendment. Wow, is your thinking confused!

The world isn’t black and white, Abraham Lincoln and later various Supreme Court Justices have said: “The Constitution is Not a Suicide Pact.” The 1st Amendment says “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” Yet, we have laws against inciting a riot, against yelling fire in a theater when no fire exists, against libel and defamation of character, and against people blocking traffic or invading someone’s property to demonstrate. I hope, and would like to believe, that most rational people would agree with these laws, so the “Make No Law” phrase is not an absolute.

"Freedom of religion means freedom to hold an opinion or belief, but not to take action in violation of social duties or subversive to good order," In Reynolds v. United States (1878), the Supreme Court found that while laws cannot interfere with religious belief and opinions, laws can be made to regulate some religious practices (e.g., human sacrifices, and the Hindu practice of suttee). The Court stated that to rule otherwise, "would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect permit every citizen to become a law unto himself. Government would exist only in name under such circumstances." In Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940), the Court held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applied the Free Exercise Clause to the states. While the right to have religious beliefs is absolute, the freedom to act on such beliefs is not absolute. Just extreme examples to illustrate that the 1st Amendment is not an absolute.

You wrote: “Or, just as inane, the assertion that a child of an illegal born on U.S. soil is a U.S. citizen. . . BTW, illegals are not "...subject to the jurisdiction..." of the U.S., ergo the fourteenth doesn't apply to them”

The 14th Amendment says: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

What does the “birthright citizenship” debate have to do with the 1st Amendment’s “freedom of religion” or the 2nd Amendments “right to bear arms?” Please stay on subject. However, I did a Google search of “jurisdiction” and it means subject to the Courts, to the law, to judges, take your pick. If you are right, then the man who shot Kathyrn Steinle is not “subject to the jurisdiction” of our Courts and, thus, cannot be tried. However, the 14th doesn’t say “subject to the jurisdiction” alone, the last sentence says “any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” And “jurisdiction” in either phrase means subject to the Court, etc. In any case, from my Google search, “subject to” and “within” jurisdiction mean basically the same thing. Or, as another example of your illogic: “If children of illegal immigrants are not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, can they be tried in an American court? Can they even be deported? What immigration judge has the right to hear their case? It's a Catch-22: if they're in the country legally, they can stay, yet if they're in the country illegally, the court has no jurisdiction over them.” (The Economist. “Birthright Citizenship: Subject to the Jurisdiction”, Nov 19, 2010. Available at: http://www.economist.com/node/21013171/print )

The Courts, for over 150 years, have interpreted the 14th Amendment to mean that infants born in the United States are automatically American citizens, no mention of who the parents may be. However, I did find discussions of the debate in the House prior to passage of the 14th Amendment regarding citizenship by birth and one can find both those advocating the broad interpretation and those advocating your more narrow interpretation. The Court has ruled in favor of the former. So, I’ll admit the issue isn’t cut and dried. I’m sure you will continue to attack me whatever I say; but I am actually ambivalent about the birthright citizenship. I can see some positives; but, perhaps, more negatives. Except for Canada, we are the only country in the world that allows this. If it were a subject of major interest to me, I would devote considerable time and effort into looking into it; but it isn’t. So, for the time being, I am ambivalent. I’m sure this is a state you can’t recognize since you are absolutely certain you are right, that you have god-like knowledge, though you can’t seem to even get it right when reading something, that is, “within its jurisdiction,” not just “subject to”. Well, I am a mere mortal and there are many things that I am ambivalent about, though I may lean to one side or another. However, your absolute certainty is not grounded in history and legal precedent and your claim that illegals are “not ‘subject to the jurisdiction’” missed the actual language that said equal protection of the law for anyone WITHIN. I would hope that most rational people would key in on the word “jurisdiction” and interpret it to mean what I found in Black’s Law Dictionary and a Google search.

You wrote: “If I can be forced to go "next door" for a secular conceal carry license, why can't homosexuals go next door for a secular marriage license?”

The concealed carry license is a law, the denial of the marriage license was one individual’s decision based on her personal religious beliefs. There is a difference even if you don’t see it.

As for guns, my OpEd dealt with how easy it is for anyone to get guns in the US, e.g. children, mentally ill, criminals, and, yes, illegals. I did not discuss how the 2nd Amendment should be applied in general. This is just another example of you ignoring what someone writes and attacking straw men. I asked in my previous OpEd if you thought it was all right for children, criminals, the mentally ill, and illegals to get guns. You didn’t answer. Perhaps we should just sell guns over the counter to whoever has the cash, no background checks, no age requirements, etc. Is that really what you want? I am not interested in debating which laws regarding the 2nd Amendment are reasonable and which aren’t as that was not the point of my OpEd. However, laws do exist and you are free to criticize them, to lobby your State legislator, to change them. But, again I repeat what I wrote above, “the Constitution is not a Suicide Pact,” so even if the language is absolute, I would hope that no one in their right mind would assume this should be taken literally, except for, perhaps, you.

And you wrote: “What YOU don't seem to understand is that their liberalism was based on deep religious faith and those of today, yours included, are based upon secularism.”

As for the deep religious faith of the Founding Fathers, many of them were Deists, e.g. Franklin, Jefferson and Washington, that is believed in a Supreme Being who, for the most part, no longer intervened in human affairs. And I have read Common Sense as well as the complete works of Thomas Paine, including “The Rights of Man” and “The Age of Reason.” Paine, for your information, was an atheist. And, some, like John Adams, were religious in the conventional meaning of the word; but still supported the Bill of Rights. Whether they were religious or secular doesn’t change the question of whether the 1st Amendment protects an individual’s right to their beliefs or allows one person to impose their beliefs on another as Kim Davis did.

I guess if someone disagrees with you, you being the litmus test for what is religious faith vs secularism, then they must be secularist. Just as many Christian Churches, and Jewish Congregations accept gay marriages, and support the separation of Church and State, so do I. I guess in your warped mind, they aren’t really religious; but secular. How do you define secular -as anyone or institution that disagrees with you?

What does MLK, JFK, and Clinton’s affairs have to do with the 1st Amendment or 2nd Amendment?. I didn’t discuss them in my OpEd because my OpEd was on the 1st Amendment. Personally, I do not find their affairs morally acceptable (I think marital vows a cornerstone of a civilized society. I personally believe that trust is one of the foundations of a marriage and infidelity breaks that trust); but I see people as complex, not one-sided uni-dimensional caricatures, so that I can dislike, even condemn, some aspects of their character and still believe that other aspects are positive. Had MLK, JFK, or Clinton made marital fidelity a key part of their respective political platforms, then I would see them as hypocrites and if I were writing an OpEd on political hypocrisy, I would more than likely have included them. As for Kim Davis, I could care less if she chooses to marry over and over again and have illegitimate kids; but her claiming her actions are based on her faith, seems to me that indicates her faith involves convenient picking and choosing what suits her. And it seems she may have abused her elected office by manipulating into getting a salary double that paid any other public servant in her small community and practicing nepotism by hiring her son. And, once again, the Court said she could maintain her beliefs, keep her job, and not issue the marriage licenses; but that she had absolutely NO right to impose her beliefs on others in her office. You seem to think she did. So, you apparently don’t really believe the 1st Amendment protects an individual’s beliefs because you seem to support Kim Davis right to interfere with the beliefs of others in her office.

However, as I wrote in a previous comment, though irrelevant to my OpEd, both parties have had their adulterers and hypocrites. I realize in your world, you only choose to see the indiscretions of one party. Just for your edification, at the end of this comment is a list of politicians who have been caught in sexual indiscretions in just one decade. The list includes an equal number from each party. What is fascinating, since you brought up hypocrisy, is the politicians who attacked Clinton for his infidelities and were discovered to have done the same. By the way, I didn’t like Clinton as President. Among other things he passed NAFTA which led to over one million lost jobs in the United States and he, along with both parties, ended Glass-Steagal Act which led to the near destruction of our economy in 2008. However, had Greenspan heeded warnings from several of his key advisors, he probably could have prevented it and Greenspan was appointed head of the Fed by Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, and Bush Jr.. I could list a number of things that I disliked in Clinton’s presidency. So, your attacking Clinton doesn’t bother me at all. You just assume that I supported Clinton’s Presidency. I didn’t like his infidelities; but when he lied about it on public TV, “I did not have sex with that woman,” I lost ALL respect for him. You appear to live in a fantasy world where you imagine what other people think after labeling them and then you attack your imaginary foes.

As for slavery, the Republican Party of Lincoln was pro-labor and anti-slavery, and, yes, the Democratic Party was pro-slavery and pro wealthy plantation owners. However, starting with the New Deal, then Nixon’s Southern Strategy, the parties partly exchanged ideologies and supporters. The Democratic Party has become the pro-labor party, the party that supports Civil Rights and the Republican Party has become the party of the rich and has worked to block minorities from voting. So, the parties of today may retain the names of yesterday; but have done a partial reversal in politics. It is absurd to try to get me by claiming the Democratic Party was the pro-slavery party of 150 years ago. I did not live 150 years ago. I guess you could attack anyone living today in the South, the former Confederacy, by referring to slavery. In fact, the Republican Party today little resembles the Republican Party of 40 years ago. I remind you that Nixon passed the EPA, OSHA, etc. and a number of other measures that the current Republican Party is trying to reverse. And you don’t seem to understand that people can belong to a political party or any organization without supporting every aspect. The Republican Party has members who consider themselves Libertarians and others Conservative Christians. They certainly don’t agree on same sex marriages or drug policies. Does this escape you?

As for your statement: “I am the voice of reason against the tyranny of liberalism....and yes, you are tyrants (or try to be)....but those days are coming to an end.” Sounds to me like paranoid delusions of grandeur. Your illogic makes me wonder not only how you managed to pass any courses; but whether you should go back on your meds?

I really shouldn’t be wasting my time responding as it is obvious you are incapable of entering into a rational dialogue. Unfortunately, you represent one of the things that frightens me most. I have friends who are Republican, Libertarian, Green Party, Catholic, Jewish, Moslem, Atheist; but, though I may disagree with them, they can discuss their opinions in a rational manner. They are honest caring people. You can’t stay on subject and seem to suffer from paranoid delusions of grandeur, that you speak for many people, while I try to express my personal opinion and base it on a rational logical foundation. I speak for myself and myself alone, though I find it rewarding when I find articles such as those mentioned in the beginning of this comment where others seem to entertain opinions similar to mine.

One last example of your delusional fantasy imaginations, you keep assuming things not in evidence, e.g. that Hillary Clinton would be my choice for President, she’s not.

To conclude, I find it difficult to believe you graduated college. You seem incapable of developing one coherent idea, you are all over the map. I wrote an OpEd on the 1st Amendment and you drag in abortions, the 2nd Amendment, the 14th Amendment, illegals, the Democratic Party of 150 years ago, etc. Have you ever tried to actually develop one idea/thought in a coherent manner? You attack me for things I didn’t say. You quote Levy; but seem to believe not just in an individual’s right to their religious beliefs; but their right to impose their beliefs on others. You didn’t carefully read the wording of the 14th Amendment or what “jurisdiction” means. My OpEd focused on the 1st Amendment; yet, you brought in sexual scandals, not having anything to do with the 1st Amendment. You seem to believe that sexual scandals belong to one party only. You seem to believe that the Bill of Rights creates absolutes which few rational persons would agree with. You seem to want children, mentally ill, criminals, and illegals to have easy access to guns. Besides not really knowing what my party affiliation is, you attack me for what the Democratic Party of 150 years ago stood for, ignoring that names can remain the same; yet, policies and values change and I am living today not 150 years ago. Since many Conservative Devout Christians disagree with Kim Davis, then, in your mind, they must be secular. You seem to have an inexplicable animosity to anyone with a higher education. You would deny them the same right you have to express their opinion, and you believe in your paranoid delusional fantasies that you speak for many other people rather than just expressing your opinions. Did I miss anything???

Unfortunately, too many people are as irrational and illogical as you are. Having known reasonable rational people from the spectrum of politics and religion, I both respect them and learn from them as I believe the world is complex and I, as a mere mortal, cannot possibly be aware of all the various aspects, so I welcome their input; but your rants don’t add anything. In fact, they detract from overall knowledge and wisdom. And, though I wouldn’t deny you the right to express your illogical opinions nor deny you the right to vote, it is frightening that you and others base your votes on such illogic and irrationality.

For better or worse, my basic belief is that most people are decent and rational and when given the chance, act accordingly, so, despite my better judgment, i give you one last chance to show you can participate in a civil rational exchange of ideas by asking a few simple questions:

Do you believe anybody, children, the mentally ill, criminals and illegals, should be able to purchase guns without any requirements, no age, no background checks, etc.? If not, then you agree with my OpEd and I don’t understand why you attacked me. If you believe the 2nd Amendment is ABSOLUTE, then simply say so, it is your right., though it goes against what I hope the vast majority of people understand that an absolute interpretation of any amendment would result in chaos/anarchy.
Do you believe that Kim Davis has the right to impose her religion on others? if not, then again we are in agreement and, again, I don’t understand why you attacked me. Or don’t you believe the 1st Amendment protects individuals from having others religious beliefs imposed on them? Then, again, I would hope that your beliefs go against the vast majority of Americans and Levy’s book.
Do you understand the difference between a religious sacrament and a civil institution? If so, please give a brief explanation.

If you can’t or won’t answer the above questions, don’t waste my time and anyone else’s monitoring this website with your irrational, personal attacks; you just make a fool of yourself.

List of federal political sex scandals in the United States

1990–1999
1 Donald "Buz" Lukens, Representative (R-OH), resigned before facing an investigation that he fondled a female Washington elevator operator. (1990)
2 Austin J. Murphy, Representative (D-PA), acknowledged fathering a child out of wedlock after a political opponent came forward with video of Murphy leaving the home of his mistress. (1990)
3 Charles S. Robb Senator (D-VA) while married to Lynda Bird Johnson, Robb acknowledged drinking champagne and having a nude massage with Miss Virginia Tai Collins denying an affair, though he admitted an "indiscreet friendship". Collins claimed it was an 18-month affair. Soon after, Collins appeared nude in Playboy. (1991)
4 Brock Adams, Senator (D-WA), was accused by eight women of committing various acts of sexual misconduct, ranging from sexual harassment to rape. Adams denied the accusations, there was no criminal prosecution, and he did not run for re-election.] (1992)
5 Robert Packwood, Senator (R-OR), resigned his office after 29 women came forward with claims of sexual harassment, abuse, and assaults. His denials of any wrongdoing were eventually contradicted by his own diaries boasting of his sexual conquests. (1995)
6 Ken Calvert, Representative (R-CA), was involved with a prostitute, but claimed that no money was involved, and he was not arrested. Calvert apologized: "My conduct that evening was inappropriate....it violated the values of the person I strive to be." (1993)
7 Helen Chenoweth-Hage, Representative (R-ID), called for the resignation of Bill Clinton, and then admitted in 1998 to having had a six-year affair with a married rancher before she entered government. Chenoweth said: "Fourteen years ago, when I was a private citizen and a single woman, I was involved in a relationship that I came to regret, that I'm not proud of....I only wish I could have learned the lessons sooner." (1998)
8 Bob Barr, Representative (R-GA), had an affair while married. Barr had been the first lawmaker in either chamber to call for Clinton's resignation due to the Lewinsky affair. Barr lost a primary challenge less than three years after the impeachment proceedings. (1999)
9 Dan Burton, Representative (R-IN): In 1995 speaking of the then-recent affairs of Republican Robert Packwood and the unfolding affair of Democrat Bill Clinton Burton stated "No one, regardless of what party they serve, no one, regardless of what branch of government they serve, should be allowed to get away with these alleged sexual improprieties...." In 1998 Vanity Fair printed an article detailing an affair which Burton himself had in 1983 which produced a child. Before publication Burton admitted to fathering a son with a former state employee.[
10 Robert Livingston, Representative (R-LA), called for the resignation of Bill Clinton and when his own extramarital affairs were leaked, his wife urged him to resign and urge Clinton to do likewise.(1998)
11 Newt Gingrich, Representative (R-GA) and leader of the Republican Revolution of 1994, resigned from the House after admitting in 1998 to having had an affair with his intern while he was married to his second wife, and at the same time he was leading the impeachment of Bill Clinton for perjury regarding an affair with his intern Monica Lewinsky. (1998)
12 Henry Hyde, Representative (R-IL): in 1998, Salon.com stated that from 1965 to 1969 (before Hyde won federal office), he conducted an extramarital sexual affair with a married woman who had three children from her marriage. Hyde, who was 41 years old and married when the affair occurred, admitted to the affair in 1998, describing the relationship as a "youthful indiscretion".The revelation of this affair took place as Hyde was spearheading the impeachment hearings of President Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
13 Bill Clinton, President (D): Revelations that White House intern Monica Lewinsky had oral sex with Clinton in the Oval Office leading him to famously declare on TV on January 26, 1998, "I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." The scandal led to impeachment by the House for perjury, for lying about the affair under oath. He was acquitted in the Senate with 55 senators voting Not Guilty to 45 senators voting Guilty (falling 22 votes short of the two-thirds necessary to convict). (1998)

Well, let's "go down that road"

Where was all this line of reasoning when you wrote your article about guns being too easy to get in the U.S.? On one hand you want to beat the drum of the First Amendment ("...prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion...") and, of course, the fourteenth ("...deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”), but in your twisted PhD logic somehow then arrive at the conclusion that a County Clerk must issue marriage licenses to homosexual couple. (I missed when you tied the second and fourteenth amendments, e.g. how we cannot be denied an American's right to bear arms because we have "equal protection under the law".) But I digress. Let us, "doctor", take a look at the first amendment. It was created, if you bought yourself a copy of the Origins of the Bill of Rights, in response to the primarily British historical experience with Catholicism/Church of England (created by that great liberal King George the 8th), and to lessor extend religious freedom issues throughout Europe. It makes no mention of "separation of church and state", but rather addresses two issues; the prohibition of a state religion and THE FREEDOM TO EXERCISE one's own religion. You attempt to mix apples and Fords in your analysis (a typical liberal tactic). Let me ask this. If this office in Kentucky refuses to issue "marriage licenses" to homosexuals, how does that deny their "equal protection under the law"? Anticipating your answer, then explain to me how I cannot get a conceal carry license in San Diego County (because I have to prove an undefined "good cause", but if I drive 100 miles north (to Orange County) I can get one easily, OR, if I drive 150 east (to Arizona), I don't even need one to conceal carry? Herein lies the true hypocrisy, deviousness, slime, etc. of liberals in general and liberal PhD's in specific. In what parallel universe does the fourteenth amendment apply to homosexuals wanting to marry but NOT the rest of the population who want to "bear arms"? If I can be forced to go "next door" for a secular conceal carry license, why can't homosexuals go next door for a secular marriage license? Even a person such as a liberal, mold-encrusted PhD must be able to comprehend the idiocy of such a line of reasoning. (Of course, you are of the same crowd that tells us a fetus can have a homosexual identity while at the same time it is not "human" and it is ok to abort it. Or, just as inane, the assertion that a child of an illegal born on U.S. soil is a U.S. citizen...BTW, illegals are not "...subject to the jurisdiction..." of the U.S., ergo the fourteenth doesn't apply to them.) I could go on and on, but I think it is clear that you are of the opinion that religion in and of itself is bad (that's the only difference I see in the example above, e.g. one is denied a CCW license for secular reasons or another a marriage license for a "religious" reason...forget that both are personal ethical lines), that homosexuality in and of itself is good (and should be catered to EVERYWHERE), that liberals should ALWAYS decide how the Bill of Rights are to interpreted (e.g. according to liberal views) and most of all, that one who disagrees (such as myself) must have some grave character flaw (or mental defect, etc.). Doctor, may I recommend you return to matters of Public Health (such as the TRUE analysis of CDC data on homosexual HIV infection rates...the "great liberal hidden" of our times...http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/msm/index.html) and leave matters of public policy to those who actually live out in the public, vice a doctoral chat room.

Founding Fathers

I am quite aware of what the Founding Fathers were, having my undergraduate degree in Political Science and my post graduate work in related studies. What YOU don't seem to understand is that their liberalism was based on deep religious faith and those of today, yours included, are based upon secularism. Simply read something like Common Sense to understand how you and your ilk are the opposite of them. (Of course, if you want to compare yourself to those of the past, we could discuss how the slave owners of our history were, in the main, democrats...your party.) It is also very interesting how you and yours want to harp upon this woman's past. I don't seem to hear much about MLK's or JFK's or Bill Clinton's affairs from you guys. Why is that? I'll tell you why, it is because you and yours are full on hypocrites...as evidenced by your day to day actions vice your dissertations. I am not the one with personality problems. I am the voice of reason against the tyranny of liberalism....and yes, you are tyrants (or try to be)....but those days are coming to an end.

@Hano

@Hano

I read the Buchanan’s OpEd as you suggested.

According to Buchanan: “Kentucky never enacted a law authorizing same-sex marriage.” While true, Kentucky law only requires that applicants for marriage licenses be unmarried, residents of Kentucky, and at least 18 years of age. As a county clerk, Davis cannot add to these requirements another requirement— namely, that the applicants be of the opposite sex.

The Free Exercise Clause guarantees individuals the lawful ability to practice their religion free from government interference. It does not permit those in government to use their offices to deny the rights of those who reject their beliefs. As I wrote in my previous comment, the court said it was OK for Davis to refuse to issue licenses in accord with her beliefs; but she ordered everyone else in her office to follow her beliefs. I guess in your opinion the other clerks had NO right to their beliefs.

Buchanan states: “For behind her defiance are more authoritative sources than the five justices who gave us Obergefell: the Old and New Testaments, Natural Law, two millennia of Christian teaching and tradition. . . This is a creation of a Supreme Court that has usurped the legislative power to impose a secularist anti-Christian ideology on a nation.” If that isn’t a blatant attack on the 1st Amendment and clear statement of religion, I don’t know what is. Apparently, for Buchanan, the 1st Amendment should be repealed. I can see why you refer to Buchanan as, just as you, he doesn’t understand the difference between a religious sacrament and a civil institution.

I remind you that each State has different laws regarding age of marriage, divorce, child custody, alimony, community property, etc.; yet, religions such as Catholics and Orthodox Jews maintain consistency throughout the States. If a Catholic priest refuses to marry a divorced person, the State does not step in. This is the separation of Church and State. Because we have the 1st Amendment, Catholics, Jews, Protestants of all varieties, Moslems, Buddhists, etc. are free to practice their faiths because we separate religious sacraments from civil institutions. Obviously, you are opposed to this. But even some mainline Christian Churches accept gay marriages, so which Church and its beliefs would you have us follow? Yours? Do you really want to go down that road? So, in States with majority Catholics, divorce would be outlawed. OK by you? And on and on it goes. As Kennedy said in his 1960 speech: “Today, I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you — until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped apart.”

Please stop the labeling and state up front your contempt for the 1st Amendment, for Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers, for any religious denomination, including some Christian, that disagrees with your rigid beliefs.

@Hano

I guess Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and many of the other Founding Fathers were ALL LIBERALS because they believed in the 1st Amendment. As usual, instead of showing any independent thought, you simply throw out labels. I got news for you, friends of mine who are Republicans and Libertarians also happen to believe in the 1st Amendment. Though it goes beyond your meager intelligence, they also understand the difference between a religious sacrament and a civil institution.

It might also interest you to know that Kim Davis, your role model, is thrice divorced with two illegitimate kids. In addition, she is surrounded with controversy in somehow earning twice as much as any other public employee in her little community, and hiring her 21-year-old son, something that most people consider inappropriate.

In addition, the judge made it clear that she could stick to her religious beliefs and not personally issue marriage licenses to gays; but that she could not order her employees to also do so. She chose to impose her religious beliefs on her employees as well.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/5-surprising-facts-about-kim-davis-144...

https://reason.com/archives/2015/09/10/religious-belief-and-the-rule-of-...

http://www.rawstory.com/2015/09/kim-davis-was-overpaid-as-a-deput…barely-won-a-primary-election-and-then-hired-her-21-year-old-son/

So, if believing in the 1st Amendment, something that Jefferson, Washington, and many others believe in, from all parts of the political spectrum, except the Christian Right, something that most scholars claim is the reason that Americans practice religion more than most other Western nations, is being a liberal, fine by me. I guess you never learned or understood the part of American history where many who came here were fleeing religious persecution.

Feel free to keep making a fool of yourself, something you are quite good at!

Civil Disobedience From the Right

Dr., please see https://www.lewrockwell.com/2015/09/patrick-j-buchanan/civil-disobedience-from-the-right/ It's time we told liberals like you "NO!"

@Hano

I also remember "two wrongs don't make a right." The question addressed by my OpEd is whether Kim Davis, an elected official, can overrule the Constitution and refuse to issue a marriage license, a civil document, based on her religious beliefs.

As for Hillary Clinton's use of a personal server, you assume I am not angered by it because you prefer to label people rather than entering into a civil dialogue, saying what you think and asking them their opinion. I think it was WRONG and RECKLESS. However, if she had only limited it to personal e-mails, e.g. about weddings, etc. I wouldn't have a problem with it. She has come under intense scrutiny and it may hurt her chances for office in the future. However, I would bet, but of course not sure, that others in both parties have done the same. What she did was wrong; but focusing on her is partly political. I remind you of the numerous sex scandals where one party uncovered inappropriate behavior by some politician in the other party, seldom if ever their own respective party.

As for the San Francisco case, it seems you have a pathological fixation on it. I'll let the courts and legislature deal with it. As I wrote in a previous OpEd, San Francisco probably needs to re-evaluate its stand and adjust, not necessarily, abandon its position. The Constitution allows for local laws to vary as long as they don't directly clash with a prohibition in the Constitution. In Kim Davis case, the 1st Amendment, “Congress shall make NO LAW.” The other cases represent laws not directly mentioned in the Constitution.

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. (10th Amendment”, US Constitution)

I repeat "TWO WRONGS DON'T MAKE A RIGHT" so your dragging up other cases, even if they were directly equivalent as clear violations of Constitution, not certain they were, doesn't change that Kim Davis ignored her oath of office and the Constitution. You fail to understand the difference between a religious sacrament and a civil law.

Your last comment on my previous OpEd referred to San Francisco’s gun laws despite the fact that they were NEVER mentioned in my OpEd which focused on how easy it is to obtain a gun in the US, easy for children, mentally ill, criminals, and, yes, illegal immigrants. It seems you are incapable of directly addressing issues brought up in an OpEd and go off on tangents.

As I commented previously, you seem to be a very frustrated individual, lacking logic, incapable of entering into a civil dialogue, just venting your frustration in a complex world you apparently are ill-equipped to deal with.

I wait....

....with baited breath for your piece on how it is OK for Hillary to keep a private server due to her personal convictions, how the Mayor/City Council/Sheriff of San Francisco are justified in ignoring federal immigration law due to their personal convictions and how Obama can ignore numerous laws (including his own healthcare law) due to his personal convictions. I am not a religious person but I seem to remember "Remove the plank from your own eye first...."

ADDENDUM TO MY OP-ED

I didn’t want my OpEd to be too long, so I left out a few points.

The key point is that marriage is both a religious sacrament and a civil institution. As a religious sacrament, regardless of what State one lives in, each religious group is consistent on who can marry, whether divorces are recognized, etc. As a civil institution, marriage laws vary from State to State, e.g age requirements, community property, child custody, etc.. One can be married by a Justice of the Peace, recognized by the State; but not by ones respective religion. One can get divorced by the State, again not recognized by some religions. And, of course, one could have a marriage ceremony performed by some religion; but without obtaining the marriage license, this would not be recognized by the State.

Kim Davis is an elected official. Imagine if a Mormon were elected and, due to his/her religious prohibition against alcohol, refused to issue liquor licenses. Or, perhaps, a Seventh Day Adventist is elected and, due to prohibition against eating meat, refused to issue butcher or restaurant licenses. Of course, this wouldn’t happen; but the principle is the same, the separation of Church and State.

Too bad Americans don’t study and/or understand history. It was Virginia’s harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that led to Jefferson’s statute of religious freedom. Yet, many Baptists nowadays are trying to impose their religious beliefs on everyone. Quakers founded the State of Pennsylvania as a haven for religious freedom. They welcomed immigrants of all faiths. As soon as the Quakers became a minority, they were excluded from holding public office or serving on juries because of their holding to the Biblical injunction against swearing any oaths. So, there is some hypocrisy in that religious groups in the minority often subscribe to a separation of Church and State; but once in the majority, some ignore their own history.

Until the adoption of the 14th Amendment, the Bill of Rights only applied to the Federal government. Religious laws and requirements, in one way or another, were imposed by the various States. And even after the passing of the 14th Amendment, it took many decades of judicial cases before the Bill of Rights became the law of the land.

The United States has a higher proportion of citizens professing a religion, a higher proportion participating in religious services than almost any other modern Western industrialized democracy. Most historians agree that this is partly due to our 1st Amendment.

Since John F. Kennedy’ 1960 speech, the lines between Church and State have become ever more blurred. What many advocates of religion don’t understand is WHO will decide? If one lives in a community with 51% Catholics, will divorce be prohibited? If an Orthodox Jewish community is the majority, will the sale of non-Kosher meats be banned? Should we adopt Israel’s approach, ban Justice of the Peace marriages, and give the authority to whichever Church, Synagogue, Mosque, etc. one belongs to? Or, as mentioned above, should each communities laws be governed by whichever religion represents 51% of the population?

Kim Davis is, as I wrote in my OpEd, free, outside of the elected office she took an oath to, to practice her religion as she chooses. Her Church does not have to perform a marriage ceremony for gays. She need not attend such a ceremony conducted in another Church. She need not socially interact with gay couples; but she is not free to impose her religious beliefs onto civil law, at least, not in the America I believe in.

"marriage is both a religious sacrament and a civil institution"

That's only because the church and the government seek to manage our lives....... Actually marriage is a basic human right, as many people are demonstrating in partnerships and unions without involvement of either church or state........We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, ....

Excellent

There is no substantive difference between the idea that JFK might take orders from the pope, and the reality that Davis is taking orders from her god. "I believe in a President whose views on religion are his own private affair . . Today, I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you ."