Kim Davis and the Assassination of Character

I object on principle to the derogatory discussion of her marriages.

They are not relevant to the case. If issuing marriage licenses to divorced persons were under dispute, then such discussion would be relevant. Arguments should be attacked on their own grounds. Shifting the grounds of the argument, in order to undermine the character of the opponent — aka “shooting the messenger” — simply “wins,” or at least engages in, some other argument.

(The actual statements in this article are wrong — divorce was quite “Biblical” in Jesus’ time. Some knowledge of the Bible would have helped the author avoid stepping on his own tongue. )

I find this type of ad hominem, ridiculing her personal life, particularly distasteful. Some people are assholes, and invite abuse. Think George Zimmerman. Others simply blunder into a situation and are unable to find a satisfactory way out. Ridiculing her on her marriages, or her appearance, the way she talks, as people have been doing — to me, these behaviors smack of class prejudice. It’s on the same level as ridiculing a homeless person sleeping on the sidewalk. Such ridicule is also unchristian.

Often, a person who has undergone significant personal struggles, finds, at last, a way of coping that seems both legitimate and successful. That person may then fear deviating from the path prescribed by that coping mechanism. That fear of deviation is justifiable. We are not surprised, nor do we object, when a reformed alcoholic refuses to “have just one drink.” We understand, and accept, the danger that is represented by that “just one drink.”

In the case of Kim Davis, that coping mechanism appears to be Apostolic Christianity. For better or worse, she has fixated on her sect’s opposition to gay marriage, and she may well fear deviation from the path specified by that opposition. I think that quite possibly she sought pastoral counseling, and the pastor advised her to do what she is doing. I might be wrong. She just doesn’t seem a person with the character or views, to make a publicly humiliating display of herself, without some kind of encouragement to do so.

I might be quite wrong. But, descriptions of her various marital antics give the impression of someone narcissistic and manipulative. Such a person might find the unexpected spotlight of this legal battle attractive, even irresistible. That person definitely will not find jail at all attractive.

Her arguments in justification of her behavior are not valid. They’re not legally valid, they’re not morally valid. They’re not valid in terms of doctrine. If discussion needs to be had, it should be confined to her arguments; leave off on her marital confusions, her sense of style, and her personal habits.

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