Kim Davis, the Kentucky County Clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because it violates her Apostolic Christian faith, frightens the heck out of me. Her actions threaten my children and family directly, in fundamental and disastrous ways.
This week, as I attended Rosh Hashanah services, the issue couldn’t have been clearer. Outside our place of worship, and virtually everywhere in Brooklyn and beyond that Jews gather to pray, a police officer was posted to protect us from danger and ensure my ability to express my religious beliefs.
My daughters are part of a religious minority, as are millions of Americans. Not just Jews, like my family, but Muslims, Buddhists, Mormons, and many smaller Christian churches each represent a tiny fraction of the population according to the Pew Research Center. Ms. Davis’s own Apostolic Christians have fewer than a million followers. Even the Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Lutheran churches each call fewer than one percent of Americans members.
What Ms. Davis is supposed to be doing in her role as County Clerk is to protect my children from being forced to follow other’s religious beliefs and to make sure my girls have access to all the opportunities and privileges provided by the laws of the land.
The perversion of her elected position is a disastrous change in the role of our government that could take away much from my children. Imagine if a driving tester refused to let my daughters take the required test for their license because it was against his religion’s teachings for women to drive; or if a teacher refused to teach them the science of evolution, required knowledge for standardized tests; or an emergency medical technician refused to give them blood because transfusions are forbidden in their religion; the list of possible, and seemingly absurd abuses of public positions could go on and on. This, though, is the ridiculous can of worms Ms. Davis and her supporters want to open.
My daughters understand that our faith is personal, existing inside of us, our home, and our synagogue. We rely on the freedom to kindle Shabbat candles, to attend services where we chose, to pray as we wish, but would never expect others to follow these practices unless they choose.
My girls rub up against laws and regulations every day. I depend on every government employee to treat my girls fairly, justly and in the same manner as the members of any other religious group. No one is forcing Ms. Davis to divorce her husband and marry a woman. No one is asking her to do anything in her private life or change her religious observance. She is only being asked to fulfill the requirements of her elected position.
What she threatens is access to all the protections, services, rights, and opportunities provided under the law — education, employment, housing, family, health care, and on and on.
Call what she’s doing whatever you want, I can’t sleep for worrying if there’s any way to protect my children from the destruction Ms. Davis is trying to heap on our lives.