Think Before Communicating: Consider the Davis Case
Evaluating Kim from Kentucky
Quite well known by now, Kim Davis’ comments and actions are the topic of the day in disparate circles. Opposite of responses that are not much more than an emoting contest, some have found the story to be an opportunity to seriously consider the complex issues it involves.
Looking at her evolving circumstances through the eyes of others’ various views is intriguing. The exercise is a reminder that “everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts” though thought police try to declare certain opinions illegal.
There is a lot of value in giving a thorough examination to others’ opinions without cutting them off the minute we suspect we will disagree. Listening to what others say in an unbiased way is closely kin to valuing our critics. The concepts of both options are wise teachers.
Talking before fact checking always takes us into dangerous territory so two things to take away from rhetoric filled opinions in any situation are: 1) get to the bottom of a story before forming an opinion and 2) be careful not to express ourselves in ways that make us look like we are stereotypically responding to issues.
Those two build up to more worth keeping in mind. Even if we are there to see everything that is happening, we do not know certain things like detail on all of the related background or what anyone involved might be thinking at any given moment. At such times, we should be working to figure out what responses would be most helpful.
That is difficult to do when we look at situations as if there are formulas for living in boxes labeled life. If we then decide not to get the whole story or forget to examine whether our thinking is narrow because we are emotionally charged, our responses are pretty much useless except for inflaming others.
After some listening, reading, and watching, I’m thinking all this through from a political/legal perspective. You may have heard the point about joining the military. New personnel are told that as federal employees they are absolutely not to obey an unlawful order, and aren’t we glad for that?
Many questions come up on that bit of thought, particularly on how serious it would be to have a military that blindly followed unlawful orders. Nor do we want other federal employees to disregard the consequences of allowing that to happen and then participating in it, especially our legislators.
It takes very little research to get a grip on the fact that the situation that this Kim Davis now faces reminds each of us that the Constitution is designed to protect citizens from our executive, legislative, and/or judicial branches of government working independently.
At least in part, she may be coming from the perspective that she is not breaking the law, just refusing to follow an order that she suspects is unlawful. She may not be able to put it in those exact words, but that seems to be something of what she faced in the context of what she began doing.
What are We Facing?
In America it's very curious when any group of people says to another, "You have to agree with what we do and support our point of view. You cannot live out your beliefs. You must change and accommodate us to make us happy. Your job is to endorse us and your responsibility is to advocate for us. You are not allowed to contradict us or refuse to affirm us. You must each one personally submit to us."
The mindlessness of that sort of empty thinking and the laughter it would provoke except for the seriousness of the attitude is simply stunning within a so-called free society, but worse than that, we have world-wide historical examples of what it leads to in nations. Conform or else is what it has come to far too many times.
Observing people’s reactions to what news media and entertainment have dynamically created, it seems that the issue in this case could boil down to a question about reasonable doubt on whether the direction this court clerk was asked to follow is legal. That would at least be something of an explanation for the violent responses to her actions.
Fundamental Change Now
To have a minuscule handful of people changing everything for everyone would mean that we are indeed fundamentally changed. That is the goal of some, and we are well on the road to the consequences of what we've seen of it in more than one area, but it was not how we were founded, nor why America's Constitution has been protected by blood, sweat, and tears.
Our Constitution does not grant the Supreme Court the power to be the only mediator of constitutional issues, thankfully. There is a long history of intelligent and rational opposition to our federal judiciary making their opinions the law and, this one instance aside, as a nation we would all be wise to step back and take stock of what it means to allow the trend to continue.
Those wanting to achieve fundamental change in America knew exactly what they meant and how they meant to go about it. Fundamental change is what voters brought on themselves, legislators have continued to allow, and now, many people are seeking to reverse in upcoming elections.
Knowing that a majority of our founders did not believe that the Supreme Court was responsible to mediate all constitutional issues and could not hand down irrevocable decisions is a calming factor in the tide of todays trends. It will be fascinating to see how the current flows.
For my part, I believe that our country was fundamentally changed when in 1973 the Supreme Court decided that ending life in the womb was the law of the land. Changes in the Court’s attitude to many other issues were a coming given after that, as far as I could see, so situations we now have across the country are no surprise. (For the record, I do not claim that perspective as unique to me.)
Is Bashing Legal Now?
We see media and entertainment continuing to produce moving presentations that are sad twists of truth on various issues. They are stereotypical versions of how some people view things, but not an honest look at those issues. Nothing else can be expected from that venue, of course, but we do well to think beyond what they try to feed us.
When it comes to bashing Christianity, the lack of knowledge displayed in the representations is pitiful, yet if people have no desire to know the truth about Christianity we cannot expect them to have the ability to repeat truth about it. However, true Christians try to respond with compassion in the face of attacks, even when they are so vicious that it boggles the mind.
Remembering this rule when our emotions are on high alert is not easy, but that does not change the truth or importance of it. Everyone benefits when each of us will at least try to honestly look at all angles of an issue and then respond to it without twisting facts and being blinded by anger, even if the anger is justified.
We've all been gripped by that kind of blindness at one time or another to some degree, but it is crucial to guard against it lest we sink to making illegal threats such as those that have been delivered to this Kentucky County Clerk. Whether she is right or wrong in her reaction to the issue she faces, death threats and other violent threats are against the law.
People who want to see the law followed should call for justice on her behalf regarding the threats even if it turns out that the legal system goes against her case. A second look at her case tells us that fair-minded objectivity, as well as the law, demands justice regarding the threats to her and those associated with her.
Or, have we come to the point in this country where disagreement with opinions means it’s okay to make threats and not only get by with it, but have the support of the populace? Are we really that oblivious to history's lessons?
These issues are complicated by the fact that some Christians don't bother to work at understanding the Word for them in this day of grace through the Lord Jesus. As well, the fact there are those who call themselves Christians without understanding what it is or how Christians are called to live according to His Word creates difficulties.
Discussions could be more profitable if everyone understood that either agreeing with or being fearful of stereotypical representations of Christians or Christianity is to simply be blind followers of culture, not Jesus the Christ, but it is just odd to hear the bashing from those who say they are Believers in tandem with those who call Christianity a religion of hate.
By the same token, the examples of hatefully bashing Kim Davis for anything is hypocritical at best. An unchangeable rule of life is that people on any side of any issue who desire to be understood cannot treat others in a different way than they want to be treated without coming across as the worst of the worst.
Closing Thoughts on Discussions
Hubs can be great places for good discussions and that's important in today's political climate, but ultimately, we have the option of deleting comments.
A good debate can and should be an enjoyable and satisfying process, but achieving that result requires maturity, clear thinking, honesty, correct definitions, and a willingness to attempt to understand all sides of an issue.
Debate is very often a good thing, but if anyone takes it in the direction of having a nasty attitude, indicating, among other things, that another person does not have a right to express their own opinion, then it's no longer good debate. At least one party is then trying to turn it into a war.
In today's society changing tolerance to mean that everyone should think alike is now old news. So much so that the trend now is to say that everyone should be alike. Adding the word acceptance to the definition is damaging to individuals, society, and freedom.
Political correctness closes debate, ends conversations, and shuns differing viewpoints, making too many people fearful about expressing their views–the very purpose of the plan, obviously. I often wonder what those who support that plan are thinking, then I remember something significant, they are not thinking of the repercussions.
An interesting article on some real time experience with political correctness on college campuses (of all places) is well worth reading, and this article on how tolerance does not mean acceptance is filled with good food for thought. You might also be interested in what can happen when a government and the media have no tolerance for a country’s constitution.