The Martyrdom of Kim Davis

And the Pathology of a “Culture Warrior”

Kim Davis, a card-carrying arbiter of morality and righteousness, is having her moment in the sun. Faced with having to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples or go to jail, Davis chose incarceration. Almost immediately, #IStandWithKimDavis began trending on Twitter and rumors of a book deal were circulating.

She’s a culture warrior and, despite being a Democrat, a hero for the modern conservative Christian movement. She is a beacon of hope for those who believe without a doubt that same-sex marriage is an abomination and will lead to the downfall of America. At least she thinks she is — why else would she sit in jail and defy the United States Supreme Court order to issue same-sex couples marriage licenses?

To be Kim Davis, or to agree with Kim Davis, is to be gleefully ignorant of Biblical scripture, which condemns many modern practices such as divorce, cutting your hair, eating bacon and getting tattoos. Davis herself has been divorced four times. Four. Times. She’s sorry for that, her lawyer says. Davis believes herself in a rightful moral position to deny others the privilege of marriage, despite her abuse of the institution itself.

But Kim Davis’ hypocrisy isn’t new or unique to those who hold the torch of godliness. Before Davis, we learned that Josh Duggar, member of the popular 19 Kids and Counting clan, was not only a child molester but an adulterer and a liar. An outspoken opponent of gay marriage, Duggar led the conservative Family Research Council and often spoke about the immorality of homosexuality and its impact on children in gay families.

mar·tyr·dom. noun. a display of feigned or exaggerated suffering to obtain sympathy or admiration.

Certainly getting divorced (four times) isn’t on par with the sexual assault of minors. But carrying those less than perfect backgrounds, people like Davis and Duggar perch on their mantles and yell at the rest of us about sin and morality. And worse than yelling, they use their positions of power to stop those that they have determined unworthy access to basic human rights. They are self designated martyrs. They are compared to Jesus, and with crowns of hypocrisy, choose to ignore their own human failings. They claim that gay marriage goes against God, and hurts children, but seemingly believe things like divorce or sexual assault or betrayal do not.

Bigotry isn’t a mental illness, but it carries with it a certain pathology. You must accept certain truths and ignore others, exalting yourself to a position where speaking with the being you believe created the universe is possible, nay, inevitable. This delusion, combined with the sway of celebrity that comes from the Christian right must be intoxicating for people like Josh Duggar and other politicians who use their positions of power to pass off hatred as public policy.

It’s only natural that a small town clerk from a rural town in Kentucky who claims to have personally spoken with God would want a piece of that spotlight.