Last week, Sen. Rand Paul reintroduced his “Life at Conception Act,” an attempt to ban all abortion by granting legal “personhood” to zygotes and fetuses from “the moment of fertilization,” all without needing a constitutional amendment or Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Paul has been a staunch backer of such personhood efforts despite once claiming that he didn’t support “changing any of the laws” on abortion “until the country is persuaded otherwise.”
The bill Paul introduced last week varies slightly from the one he first introduced in 2013, specifically stating that it shouldn’t be construed as “a prohibition on in vitro fertilization, or a prohibition on use of birth control or another means of preventing fertilization.”
Personhood measures have been widely criticized for vague wording that could put legal birth control at risk, a concern that Paul appears to attempt to put at rest in the new bill. But that would all depend on what counts as protected birth control under the bill. Would IUDs, which could possibly prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg, be protected? What about the morning-after pill or hormonal contraception bills, which some anti-choice groups claim, with little evidence, could do the same thing? Some anti-choice activists claim that some or all of these constitute abortion, not birth control … notably the plaintiffs in the Hobby Lobby case, whose cause Paul enthusiastically supported.
It’s especially interesting that Paul attempts to avoid the growing controversy within the anti-abortion movement about in-vitro fertilization and the rights that should be granted to the excess frozen embryos that are often a byproduct of the process. It’s unclear if Paul is saying that embryos that are the result of in-vitro fertilization should not be granted the personhood rights that his bill would grant to all other embryos or if the bill would simply require that those embryos never be destroyed.
Both Paul’s 2013 bill and his 2016 version state that they shouldn’t “be construed to require the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child,” an important exemption because under such a law, ending a pregnancy at any stage would be the legal equivalent of murder. Already, an experiment in personhood-style laws in Alabama has led to the arrests of hundreds of women for using drugs while pregnant or otherwise contributing to the “chemical endangerment” of a fetus.
All of this, of course, is purely hypothetical at this point. Paul's bill is the product of a theory, which is controversial even within the anti-abortion movement, that there is a magic loophole in Roe v. Wade that would allow legal abortion to come tumbling down if Congress were simply to define fertilized eggs as “persons” under the law. Most likely, however, such a strategy would collapse in the courts: One prominent anti-choice attorney has called the personhood loophole an “urban legend.”
That’s not to say that Paul’s strategy doesn’t have support. His fellow Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has been talking up the personhood strategy on the campaign trail, saying that he would simply issue a decree as president that there would be “no more abortion” in America. Ted Cruz has quietly pledged to support personhood measures and said late last year that a personhood strategy to avoid Roe would “absolutely” work. Marco Rubio has hinted at a personhood strategy, but not explicitly embraced it.
Just in time for the holidays!
Kentucky’s brand new Tea Party governor just broke a campaign promise and REVERSED a positive move by his Democratic predecessor that had restored voting rights to some 140,000 Kentuckians.
Once again, Kentucky will be one of the very few states where people with felony convictions remain disenfranchised after completing their sentences. As ThinkProgress points out, this means that one in five African Americans in the state will be disenfranchised. Studies show that ex-felon disenfranchisement leads to higher rates of recidivism.
Oh, and Bevin also lowered the minimum wage.
ThinkProgress has more:
In another executive order this week, Bevin reversed former Gov. Beshear’s move to raise the state’s minimum wage for government workers and contractors to $10.10 an hour, bringing it back down to $7.25 an hour. About 800 state workers who have already gotten raises will be able to keep them, but new hires will now have to start at the lower pay rate. In the order, Bevin hinted that he would prefer the state have no minimum wage at all: “Wage rates ideally would be established by the demands of the labor market instead of being set by the government,” he said.
Today, Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission sent out an email to activists announcing a new campaign aimed at urging state legislatures to "nullify" the Supreme Court's gay marriage decision, beginning with "a national radio spot targeting the newly-elected Governor of Kentucky, Matt Bevin."
"Nullification" is the fringe idea that states have the right to annul federal directives that they believe are unconstitutional and/or unbiblical and the radio ad compares resisting the gay marriage ruling to fighting the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts, calling on Kentucky to take the lead in nullifying "the rogue Supreme Court opinion":
Congratulations Matt Bevin on being elected governor of Kentucky and for standing up for marriage. Over 74% of Kentucky voters affirmed that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, but the U.S. Supreme Court created legal chaos by issuing an unconstitutional opinion. We need principled leadership now.
It was the brave Kentucky legislature that acted first when Congress passed the notorious Alien and Sedition Acts, depriving Americans for their First Amendment right to criticize their government. The famous Kentucky Resolutions declared the unconstitutional acts void and of no force. Other states followed suit, but Kentucky will forever have the honor of being the first state to legally check an abuse of power by the federal government.
Governor Bevin, we need Kentucky to once again lead the nation. Contact Governor Bevin and urge him to protect marriage and nullify the rogue Supreme Court opinion. Visit NullifyIt.com or call (502) 564-2611.
Bevin was an outspoken defender of Davis’s refusal to follow a federal court order that her office grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver has no doubts that Bevin’s “absolute” backing of Davis helped put him over the top in the election.
“There is no question that the case of Kim Davis and the issue of religious freedom played a role in the Governor’s lopsided win,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Kentuckians favor traditional values, and they are tired of the political elites represented by former Governor Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway. The voters sided with religious liberty,” said Staver.
“On the night he won the election, Gov. Bevin tweeted that he would bring ‘Christian principles to Frankfort.’ During his campaign and following his election, Gov. Bevin promised he would issue an executive order respecting the religious liberty of Kim Davis and other Kentucky clerks. We look forward to a new day in Kentucky,” concluded Staver.
Liberty Counsel reports that Davis will “attend the inaugural events, including the worship service, a parade, and the public swearing-in ceremony on the Capitol steps.”
It’s hard to know whether Davis’ invitation and attendance are really a further public embrace by Bevin or more like the “invitation” Liberty Counsel arranged for Davis during Pope Francis’s visit to DC, when she was smuggled into the Vatican embassy for what Liberty Counsel called a private meeting with, and endorsement from, the pontiff — and which Vatican officials characterized as more of a receiving line meet-and-greet.
Liberty Counsel’s efforts to get Davis chosen as TIME magazine’s person of the year were less successful.
In a radio interview yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul said that if he were to become president, he would pare down the federal government so much that he might even do away with the U.S. Postal Service.
Paul joined Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson, who played a clip of last week’s Republican presidential debate in which the Kentucky Republican said that he wants “a government really, really small, so small you can barely see it.”
Paul told Mickelson that this microscopic government might not have room for a postal service. “I think the federal government ought to defend us from foreign attack and have a judiciary and, let’s see, I would say the post office, but they screw up the post office too, so we really don’t even need them for the post office,” he said. “So I want a government that’s really small.”
“I would have a country that defends us from foreign attack, a country that sort of keeps the peace and a country that has a judiciary, a legislative branch, but a country where the federal government didn’t do much,” he added.
Paul’s previous contribution to postal reform was trying to amend a bill to allow guns in post offices.
But the Kentucky Republican isn’t giving up hope, telling Newsmax TV in an interview posted online yesterday that the polls have been “skewed” by the presence of “a celebrity reality TV star.”
Last week, Sen. Rand Paul went after Sen. Bernie Sanders, comparing the Democratic presidential candidate to Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot and warning that his ideology could likewise lead to “mass genocide.”
In an interview yesterday with Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson, the Republican senator and presidential candidate doubled down on his warning, but clarified that he wasn’t comparing Sanders to Pol Pot … “yet.”
I want to go head to head with this, I think, crazy notion of collectivism, crazy notion of socialism. And I want to make sure that all these young people realize is what socialism is is a lack of choice. You won’t be able to make what you want, you won’t be able to buy what you want. It’ll be controlled by the government. If you disobey, you’ll be fined. If you do it again, you’ll be imprisoned. If you continue doing it, what has often happened under socialism is the inherent force morphs into something even more dastardly. And that’s what happened under Stalin, under Mao, under Pol Pot.
And people say, ‘You’re calling Bernie Pol Pot.’ Not yet. But what I’m saying is the underpinnings of the belief in socialism is the implication of force in that you will force people to do what the states want them to do and that you take away their choices. And I think if young people knew that it was anti-choice, that socialism took away their choices to buy, sell, and do and work where they want to work, I think they’d be running away from it. But Bernie’s offering a version to them where he doesn’t quite inform them of the horrors of socialism.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., joined South Carolina radio host Vince Coakley yesterday to discuss the first Democratic presidential debate, where he said the candidates were “all trying to outdo each other in their disdain for the economic system of capitalism that made us great.”
The Republican presidential candidate linked Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist in the mold of Northern European countries, to the murderous communist regimes of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, saying that “most of the times when socialism has been tried” there “has been mass genocide of people or any of those who object to it.”
“It amazes me and it actually kind of scares me,” Paul said. “I’ve been spending more time going after Bernie and socialism because I don’t want America to succumb to the notion that there’s anything good about socialism. I think it’s not an accident of history that most of the times when socialism has been tried that attendant with that has been mass genocide of people or any of those who object to it. Stalin killed tens of millions of people. Mao killed tens of millions of people. Pol Pot killed tens of millions of people. When you have a command economy, when everything is dictated from one authority, that’s socialism, but it doesn’t come easily to those who resist it.”
Whatever one might think of Sanders’ political ideology, there is a vast gulf between the kind of socialist policies he is discussing and the total economic and social control imposed by communist dictatorships.
Falsely suggesting that the recent mass shooting at an Oregon community college took place in a gun-free zone, Sen. Rand Paul said yesterday that as president he would encourage every school in America to place stickers on its windows warning potential criminals that teachers are armed and “you will be shot.”
The Kentucky Republican told Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson that the Oregon shooting was “an incredible tragedy, but it’s even made worse by the president politicizing it and jumping in.” The president “doesn’t understand,” he said, that “the problem is mental illness and not necessarily gun registration or gun ownership.”
“The other common denominator, other than mental illness,” he added, “is that people are going to places where guns are prohibited. So when you have a gun-free zone at a school, it’s like an invitation, if you are crazy and want to shoot people, that’s where you go. I would do the opposite. I would have and encourage every school in American put stickers on every window going into the school saying, ‘We are armed. Come in at your own peril. We have concealed carry for teachers who have it and we also have armed security and you will be shot.’”
Such stickers should be placed on “every cockpit of every commercial airliner” and on “every school,” he said.
Paul said that he would support preventing “people who have exhibited criminal insanity” from owning guns, but that such laws would have to be made at the state level. But he added that broader issues, such as the lack of a “Christian foundation” in the country, may also be influencing mass shooting.
“I do think that we have generalized problems in our country that may somehow influence, I’m not sure they’re the answer, but I think that we lack a certain belief in right and wrong, a certain Christian foundation or religious foundation to our country anymore,” he said, “and I think some of this perversion is coming from that. But also there’s some things that are just inexplicable, that’s just mental illness, they’re not getting better with treatment and they’re not going to get necessarily better with religious influence as well.”
Last week, the armed militia group Oath Keepers caused a bit of a stir when they announced that they were converging on Rowan County, Kentucky, to “protect” anti-gay county clerk Kim Davis from being detained again for refusing to issue marriage licenses. Soon afterwards, the Oath Keepers leadership called off the mission when Davis, through her attorneys at Liberty Counsel, declined their offer of an armed guard to stand off against federal officials, but not before members of the group had already started to arrive in the county.
One of the organizers on the ground for the Oath Keepers’ short-lived Kim Davis mission was Denny Peyman, a former sheriff of Jackson County, Kentucky, and member of the “constitutional sheriffs” movement, which believes that county sheriffs are the nation’s highest law enforcement officers and therefore have the power to unilaterally arrest federal officials.
In an interview with the far-right radio program Liberty Roundtable last Wednesday, the day the Oath Keepers publicly announced their Davis mission, Peyman said that if he had been sheriff when Davis was found in contempt of court for defying court orders to issue marriage licenses, he would have blocked U.S. Marshals from arresting Davis and would have instead personally arrested the judge who found her in contempt.
“I would have loved for that to happen when I was in office,” he said. “It would have been a completely different scenario would have come out of this whole thing.”
“Yeah, Denny Peyman would have bust out and arrested that judge for violating due process, huh?” asked Sam Bushman, the program’s host.
“Exactly,” Peyman responded. “The judges all take care of each other. I’ve turned in enough evidence and stuff and all they do is seal it and make sure it doesn’t get back out. They take care of each other. When I arrested the judge here and stuff, they basically protected him, because they could be next and they know that.”
Later in the interview, Bushman and his cohost Curt Crosby said that the people sheriffs should really be arresting are Hillary Clinton, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and President Obama.
Peyman agreed: “You know, you put a couple of people away, the rest of them might straighten out, you think?”
Update: In a phone call, Bushman disputed the use of the term "far-right" to describe his program, insisting that we instead use the description, “American that believes in and wants to promote God, family and country and wants to protect life, liberty and property and believes and advocates that this nation shall endure.”
Yesterday, we reported that the Oath Keepers, a "Patriot" movement group best known for the standoff at the Bundy Ranch and for showing up heavily armed to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, was converging on Kentucky to offer a "security detail" to anti-gay clerk Kim Davis to protect her from further arrest for refusing to do her job and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Now, almost as soon as they arrived, the Oath Keepers are packing up and going home. Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes writes in an email to members today that Davis, through her attorneys at the Religious Right legal group Liberty Counsel, has (probably wisely) declined their offer of assistance. He encourages members to save their gas money for another mission, such as "our planned upcoming operation to guard Texas border ranches against drug cartel violence and invasion":
Upon request by Kim Davis' legal team, Oath Keepers is canceling the planned security detail for Mrs. Davis in Morehead, Kentucky.
Oath Keepers has been contacted by Kim Davis' legal team at Liberty Counsel, and they have, on her behalf, declined our offer of assistance in protecting her from a possible repeat incarceration by Federal District Court judge David Bunning. We will, of course, respect her wishes, and are hereby issuing a stand-down for our security volunteers who were planning on deploying to Morehead, Kentucky on Monday.
Oath Keepers will NOT be conducting a security detail for Mrs. Davis. We always seek the full consent and cooperation of anyone we protect, and we must respect their wishes if they decline that protection. Anyone who was planning on going to Morehead, KY to serve on the security detail are now asked to not do so. We do thank you most sincerely for your willingness to step up, as unpaid volunteers, in defense of due process. That was a very honorable intent, and we commend you.
This is a free country, and of course you are free to still go there on Monday and peaceably assemble to express your support for her due process rights and your opposition to arbitrary arrest if you want to, but Oath Keepers will not be conducting a security detail, and she apparently does not want anyone else to do so. Therefore, we encourage you to save your gas money and time off work for another security detail, at another time (such as for our planned upcoming operation to guard Texas border ranches against drug cartel violence and invasion).
We have not talked to Mrs. Davis directly, and therefore we don't know her reasoning or ultimate intent, but we do note that civil disobedience where the person is willing to allow themselves to be unlawfully arrested and are willing to go to jail to make a point, is a time honored, respectable, and honorable American tradition going back to Henry David Thoreau. We must respect that if it turns out to be her chosen strategy. There is more than one way to skin a cat, and such non-resistant civil-disobedience can be a powerful tool in resisting tyranny. Or it may be that she is confident of making an accommodation. We don't know, but regardless we will respect her wishes and stay out of it.
Rhodes ends with a "special message to our critics":
As for the many harsh critics of our offer to protect Mrs. Davis, it is frankly sad that so many Americans cannot understand taking a stand in defense of someone's due process rights regardless of who that person is, what they stand for, or what they are accused of doing or have done. That should not matter, and all that should matter is our common ground of the Bill of Rights and the hard-won rights of due process and in particular jury trial. As I told one person who wrote in:
You can't see past your opposition to what she did long enough to see our point about due process and the dangers of having judges use their contempt power like a magic wand to put people into indefinite detention till they submit. Please try to focus on the due process rights of the accused, not on the particular crime. I would, and have, stood up for the due process rights or anyone, regardless of the accusations made against them. I did so during the Bush Admin, when I stood up for the due process rights of Yasir Hamdi and Jose Padila, both of whom are Muslim Americans who were held in indefinite detention by Bush. I also stood up for the due process rights of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay. And the paper I wrote at Yale Law about that won Yale's top prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights. But that was during the Bush years, and was a harsh criticism of what a Republican was doing to Muslims. so the leftist professors at Yale ate it up.
Now, with the shoe on the other foot, leftists are apparently as blind to the bedrock issues of due process for someone they despise - Davis - as the Bush supporters were when it came to someone they despised - Jose Padilla and Yasir Hamdi.
Clearly, in America, what matters most is whether the accused is seen as a "good guy" or a "bad guy" and if seen as being bad, then there is zero concern for due process and people will clamor for expedited punishment. I suppose that is just a reflection of human nature. But sad nonetheless.
Now, after a cycle of the Republicans in power, and then the Democrats, with both exponentially growing the military industrial complex, national security surveillance state over us, I see that Orwell was right when he said "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever." It doesn't matter to me whether it is a right boot or a left boot. Or whether you think the person being smashed deserves it. I oppose it. - Stewart
On Monday, Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis is scheduled to return to work after having been freed from jail for repeatedly refusing to allow her office to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Davis has been ordered not to interfere with the issuing of such licenses going forward, but it seems pretty clear that she has no intention of obeying that court order and so lots of media outlets are expected to be on hand to see how she responds if faced with another gay couple seeking a marriage license.
Today, Ray Comfort appeared on Bryan Fischer's radio program to announce that he intends to take advantage of the anticipated media presence next week to promote his own anti-gay film, "Audacity," by traveling to Kentucky to hand out books, t-shirts, and copies of the movie while a plane towing a massive banner flies overhead.
The media has not paid much attention to his film, Comfort complained, nor to its message to gays that God will hold them "morally accountable" and send them to Hell for their behavior and so he intends to bring his message directly to the media gathered at the Rowan County clerk's office.
As Steve Benen noted yesterday after Mike Huckabee claimed that the Dred Scott decision is still the “law of the land” and is just being ignored by elected officials, when it comes to the implementation of marriage equality, the GOP presidential candidate has invented “his own brand of crackpot civics.”
Huckabee put his made-up civics beliefs on full display in an interview yesterday with the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins in which he claimed that Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear could “very simply” fix the situation with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, by removing clerks’ names from marriage licenses altogether … while simultaneously claiming that the governor actually has no authority to do so.
This, Huckabee explained, shows why the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality was “so illegal … because this has left the whole country in a state of ambiguity and confusion.”
“The governor can fix this very simply by simply saying he’ll change the form,” Huckabee said. “Now the question is, does he have the authority to do that? And if so, under what authority? This is where this all gets very confusing. And it’s why the haste to rush into implementing same-sex marriage is so ridiculous and, frankly, Tony, it’s why it’s so illegal is because this has left the whole country in a state of ambiguity and confusion.”
Huckabee went on to cite the Tennessee judge who denied a straight couple a divorce this month in a stunt ruling meant to protest the Obergefell decision, which the former Arkansas governor said was just a sign of all the confusion about gay marriage.
“It’s chaos, confusion that’s been created,” Perkins agreed, “and this is just the beginning of what we’re going to see play out here.”
Huckabee then proceeded to roll out some other desparate legal theories about Davis, claiming that she is not required to follow laws that were implemented after she took office and even claiming that she could be guilty of a felony in Kentucky “if she just arbitrarily changes the wording of the marriage license.”
“When she was elected to that position,” He said, “she was operating under the Kentucky constitution that expressly says that marriage is between a man and a woman. … So that’s what she was elected on, that is the job she is doing. And there is a specific statute in Kentucky law that if she just arbitrarily changes the wording of the marriage license, that’s a felony. So here’s the question: Which law does she follow? The ambiguous and unconstitutional judicial tyranny ruling of the Supreme Court that has not yet been codified? Or does she follow the specific constitutional and statutory requirements under Kentucky law, under which she was elected?”
“And I just really am disapponited that some of the people think the way to handle this is just have public officials resign their jobs,” he added, “because they’re going to go ahead and surrender to what Jefferson called judicial tyranny.”
The Religious Right activists who frequently claim that they are simply seeking to “live and let live” in a country that increasingly favors LGBT rights and other social progress sometimes compare themselves to the Pilgrims, citing the historical myth that the American concept of religious liberty originated with early Puritan governments.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, made this argument on his “Washington Watch” radio program today in response to a caller who claimed that the arrest of Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who attempted to bar her entire office from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, portends laws making it “illegal to pray in the military” and is reminiscent of Nazi “legislation trying to annihilate the Jews.”
“It’s just kind of sad that if you have religious beliefs you can’t be an elected official,” the caller said.
Perkins agreed, attacking the “intentional” “misconception” that “religious liberty is simply the freedom to pick the church of your choice” rather than the freedom of people like Kim Davis to impose their religious views on everyone else.
“Do you really think that William Bradford and the Pilgrims came to America, to this land, seeking just to move their church membership because they couldn’t find a church that they really liked there in England or Holland, where they were before they came back to England?” he asked. “I don’t think so. And, in fact, they had religious freedom in Holland but they didn’t have the ability to build community and a framework to live under based on their religious freedom. That’s why they risked it all to come to what we now know as the United States of America.”
“They came here for the same thing that Kim Davis is asking for,” he said, “religious freedom. Not freedom of worship, but the freedom of religion.”
Perkins may have accidentally made the perfect Kim Davis analogy. The Puritans traveled to Plymouth Colony after a stint in Holland where, as historian Robert Tracy McKenzie notes, they “encountered a religious tolerance almost unheard of in that day and age.” In America, he writes, “they hoped to live by themselves, enjoy the same degree of religious liberty and earn a ‘better and easier’ living.” In doing so, they set up a theocracy, where, as PBS writes, they sought “religious freedom—but only for themselves.”
Perkins is absolutely right that Kim Davis and her supporters are seeking something similar to what the Pilgrims sought in the 17th century : not the freedom of religion, but a religious state, governed by them.
The Oath Keepers, the anti-government “Patriot” group that mounted an armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management at the Bundy Ranch, stationed armed guards outside of military recruitment centers after the Chattanooga shooting, and unsettled Ferguson protestors when they showed up carrying assault weapons, is now offering anti-gay Kentucky clerk Kim Davis a “security detail” to protect her from further arrest if she continues to defy the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.
Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes announced yesterday that he had reached out to Davis’ lawyers at Liberty Counsel to offer the protection of his group, which he says is already forming a presence in Rowan County, Kentucky, where Davis was recently released from jail after prohibiting her office from issuing marriage licenses. Rhodes said in a statement that his position has nothing to do with gay marriage, but rather his conviction that Davis had been illegally detained by the federal judge who held her in contempt for violating multiple court orders.
In a phone call with former Jackson County, Kentucky, Sheriff Denny Peyman and other local Oath Keepers activists, Rhodes said that he was on his way to Kentucky to help with the Davis operation. Although the group had originally intended to picket outside the home of the judge who held Davis in contempt, he said, they had changed their plan when she was released on Tuesday.
Rhodes said that the Rowan County sheriff should have blocked U.S. Marshals from detaining Davis, but since neither the sheriff nor the state’s governor will do their “job” and “intercede” on behalf of Davis, the Oath Keepers will have to do it instead. “As far as we’re concerned, this is not over,” he said, “and this judge needs to be put on notice that his behavior is not going to be accepted and we’ll be there to stop it and intercede ourselves if we have to. If the sheriff, who should be interceding, is not going to do his job and the governor is not going to do the governor’s job of interceding, then we’ll do it.”
Peyman suggested that he meet with the Rowan County sheriff to “educate him” on his responsibility to block the actions of the federal courts, but in the meantime, Rhodes said, “our guys are already there and more coming” and they are ready to “lead by example” by preventing Davis from being arrested again.
When Rhodes asked Peyman what he would have done if he were sheriff of Rowan County when Davis was detained, Peyman said he would have stopped the arrest.
“This is exactly the kind of thing that our Founding Fathers dealt with when dealing with the magistrates and the officers of the crown who wanted to run roughshod over the rights of the colonists without a jury indictment, without any of that,” Rhodes declared. “Same thing. They’re going to show their power and show you who’s boss.”
Although Rhodes's anti-government extremism doesn't always align with the Religious Right, his rhetoric on Davis not far from that of the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, who said that U.S. Marshals and county prison officials should have refused to participate in Davis' detention because they have no obligation to follow “laws that have no moral foundation that are actually in contradiction to moral law and truth.”
UPDATE: Rhodes reports that Davis, through her Liberty Counsel attorneys, has declined Oath Keepers' offer and he has ordered members of his group to "stand down."
This post has been corrected to note that Peyman is the former sheriff of Jackson County.
Mat Staver, the head of Liberty Counsel and the attorney representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her effort to bar her office from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, claimed yesterday that if Davis doesn’t get her way then Christians will be effectively barred from holding all public offices.
Interviewing Staver on his “Washington Watch” program, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said that he was “very disappointed” in Republicans who have suggested that Davis resign from her position if she is unwilling to perform a major part of her job.
“That would establish a reverse religious test where if you hold an orthodox religious view of marriage, you would be barred from holding public office,” Perkins said.
Staver agreed with Perkins, noting that Davis “believes God called her” to run for clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky.
“But if what we do is follow the advice of some of these Republican candidates that say she needs to resign, well what does that mean?” he asked. “That means that Kim Davis and anyone else who is an elected official … that means you have to check your faith at the ballot box. And once you’re elected, you have to change your faith, put it aside, transgress it, you cannot have your conscience accommodated. ‘No more Christians need to run for office,’ that’s essentially the message, and if you’re in office you need to resign your post immediately. Now what kind of America is that? It’s certainly not the America that the Founders envisioned and I don’t think it’s the kind of America that most people want.”
“It won’t stop with this issue, Mat,” Perkins warned. “It will be something else next. This is the time to stand and exercise our religious freedom lest we lose that religious freedom.”
Staver claimed that Davis was merely seeking the “simple accommodation” that her name be removed from marriage licenses in the county — a new line from the attorney who has been urging public officials to defy the marriage equality decision lest they run afoul of God’s law .
Davis, he said, is the first of many Christians who will be jailed “for their religious beliefs” thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision.
“This is a tragedy, it’s the first Christian jailed since the decision of the Supreme Court on June 26 on marriage,” he said. “But unfortunately, Tony, as you and I fear, I don't think this is going to be the last Christian jailed for their religious beliefs and conscience that collide with this issue of same-sex marriage.”
“No, not as long as there are Christians who are willing to live their lives according to their faith,” Perkins agreed, “and there are a lot of them out there.”
Today, GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee joined a handful of hardcore anti-gay activists for a rally in support of Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who has become a Religious Right hero for briefly going to jail rather than allow her office to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
At the end of his remarks today, Huckabee sanctimoniously declared that he is willing to spend years in jail on Davis' behalf in opposition to the legalization of gay marriage.
"I have a message for the judge," Huckabee proclaimed, "and I say this with all my heart: If this judge believes that somebody must be put in jail because a person is willing to stand on the biblical definition of marriage ... Let Kim go, but if you have to put someone in jail, I volunteer to go. Let me go. Lock me up if you think that's how freedom is best served."
"I am willing to spend the next eight years in the White House leading this country," he thundered, "but I want you to know, I'm willing to spend the next eight years in jail but I'm not willing to spend one day under the tyranny of people who believe they can take our freedom and conscience away!"
Davis may indeed soon be headed back to jail as her lawyer, Mat Staver, said that she will continue to break the law in defiance of court orders when she returns to work later this week.
Mat Staver, the Liberty Counsel attorney who is representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during her ongoing refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses, appeared on the "WallBuilders Live" radio program today, where he said that requiring Davis to issue such marriage licenses is like requiring her to provide licenses to "sodomize children."
"A clerk provides licenses to do something," Staver explained. "A license to operate a motor vehicle on the road, a license to build a particular facility or a license to do this or a license to do that or a license to operate a business. So that person is licensing someone to do something and in this case, they're licensing what? They're licensing something that is directly contrary to the core of their religious convictions, to engage in sinful activity among same-sex relations and sanction something that is contrary to the Scriptures and that is marriage of two people of the same sex."
"To force someone like that to give a license for something that will legalize, that will put a stamp of approval on something that is absolute rebellion against God, sinful, then that is a direct collision of unprecedented magnitude," he continued, saying that requiring Davis to do her job is like requiring her "to grant a license to engage in pornography, to grant a license to sodomize children or something of that nature."
Michael Peroutka, a neo-confederate whose Institute on the Constitution promotes a far-right Christian Reconstructionist view of religion and government, has joined the chorus of right-wing voices that have gathered to defend Kim Davis, the county clerk jailed for contempt of court after refusing to obey a court order that she issue marriage licenses to qualified same-sex couples.
Peroutka appeared at a rally with other Davis supporters over the weekend, declaring, “Kim Davis has given all believers a lesson in faithfulness.”
Peroutka ran as a Republican and won a seat on the county council of Ann Arundel County, Maryland, last year, once declared that the Maryland General Assembly had no legitimacy after passing gay-rights legislation that he said violated God’s law. Peroutka is also a long-time funder of the right-wing activism of Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who has also been promoting resistance to the “tyranny” of judges who rule for marriage equality.
An NBC News story on Peroutka’s support for Kim Davis quoted him saying, “There is no law that requires her to grant a marriage license to people of the same sex. The Court has had many opinions ... but they are not law."
Earlier this year, Peroutka’s Institute on the Constitution warned U.S. Supreme Court justices that striking down state bans on marriage equality “could bring God’s judgment on the Nation.”