Monday, September 28, 2015

Freedom can be Ugly...

It's impossible (at least for me) to avoid seeing the stories about Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who needs her religious freedom specially protected because doing her job now interferes with her religious beliefs. And it appears the Pope has said people have the right to take this kind of stance in the name of religion.
In reality, people in the United States have the right to say a lot of things and to do a lot of things - in the name of freedom - generally. That's what makes our country unique. Sometimes the exercise of freedom doesn't look so pretty. In fact, sometimes it's down right ugly.
To my knowledge, there are no laws that prevent the Westboro Baptist church from protesting at funerals of fallen soldiers. The Klu Klux Klan has a right to hold rallies and march - even the ACLU has defended that right. We can think of dozens of instances of people protesting - exercising their rights - and it did not look so pretty to many others. We have lots of rights in this country. We protect those rights but there are consequences.
It is the consequences that need the closest scrutiny. In each circumstance, we need to put a different face on the issue at hand. If we protect - or fail to protect - the individual right (no matter what that "right" is) how does that apply to other similar situations? That seems to be the work of the judicial system - weighing the law - the constitution - and providing some balance.
Kim Davis' job changed after she was elected. She doesn't like that change and doesn't want to accept it. I get that. It's kind of like getting a new boss who does things differently - maybe outside of your perceived ethical boundaries. You raise an alarm and say "hey, I'm not liking this" and expect something to fix your problem. Kim has gotten the answer. Most of us understand that it's not going to be fixed for her. Why not? Because there can be a thousand other similar issues from a thousand other directions that would then require special exemptions/protections. Yes, she has the right to raise the objection. Objection noted. Now about your job...Are you doing it or not? If not, step aside. The job is different now but it must be done. If it is too painful, you can quit. We all have the right to walk away from a job that has become too painful to endure.
You do have a right to keep protesting. You have a right to hold rallies and march about it. Many of us will think it looks pretty ugly. Tax payers shouldn't have to pay for ugly. I'd be fired if I refused to do my job, though I do have the right to protest if I want to do so. The consequences will likely be rather ugly.

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