Crazy About God

There was a time — somewhere between the Cold War and Sept. 11, during the golden age of secular societies — when the world believed it was done with certainties. Nevertheless, history loves bouncing back to surprise us. The forceful return of the religious, seen everywhere on the planet, is as surprising as it is worrying, at least for those who consider religion “a matter between every man and his maker,” as Thomas Jefferson said in … 1776.*

Since the Supreme Court recognized the legality of gay marriage last June, Kim Davis, a clerk in Kentucky, has systematically refused to give marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the name of her religious beliefs. After spending five days in prison because she refused to obey the court’s decision, Davis has become a heroine and a Christian martyr in the United States.

In order to keep her job at the head of the clerk’s office, Kim Davis is appealing to an agreement of the Kentucky legislation. It just goes to show that no religion has a monopoly on legal compositions, reasonable or not.

Before her, other government employees in Texas, Mississippi and Arkansas have invoked their religious beliefs when not giving out the piece of paper in question, but they had the grace to quit — not Kim Davis. And since she was elected, it’s impossible to remove her from her job without the intervention of the governor.

Because she is standing up to the laws of her country, Kim Davis has been associated with the Civil Disobedience movement, and even with famous people like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King.

Seeing giving a marriage certificate to two people in love and participating in a legal system that legitimizes slavery as the same fight? Come on! However much Kim Davis repeats that she is listening to the voice of the Lord and respecting the laws of Nature, it’s not God who’s paying her but the taxes of her fellow citizens.

Negative people have highlighted on social media that Davis, 49, has already been married four times and divorced three times. She would therefore be hard-pressed to defend the permanence of the sacred institution of marriage. That doesn’t stop her from triumphing in the Bible Belt. Adored by her admirers, Kim Davis looked like a born-again Christian version of Janis Joplin as she left the detention center earlier this week. She received the support of two presidential hopefuls, the Republicans Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz, despite the fact that the government employee is … a Democrat.

The planet has become a strange place, led by fear and insanity, where reason seems to withdraw in the face of fundamentalism, with all religions mixed up. Maybe we need to stop looking to the heavens and, as Camus said, be interested in being men.

* Editor’s note: The quote actually dates from 1813.

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