Non-religious woman who refused judge's order to meet with Christian counselor loses her sons

Has anyone ever tried to fight the courts on that one? It seems like something they do largely out of inertia.


I’m not sure what your point about Davis is, since the brouhaha isn’t about her beliefs but her assertion that she did not, in fact, have to do her damn job and initially refused to let anyone else do it for her, while still smugly drawing a paycheck. If she was actually morally against it–“it” being upholding the Constitution as she swore to, and “it” also being verifying that couples who came before her were legally entitled to marry (which they were)–she had every opportunity to resign her post.

I mean, I realize you’re attempting to draw some connection regarding beliefs, but…c’mon. Best you could do?


She tried to take legal action. It was ignored.


Her kids were the reason that she didn’t “play along”.


I once did a relatively deep dive on a specific courts history of 3rd party contractors for this purpose - though mainly I was reviewing those paid to provide “expert” testimony. Absolute horror show. Judges get a LOT of leeway- what’s that old saying about power? At any rate, I haven’t read the article but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if she and the judge both see eye to eye on the necessity of converting heathens.


Yup, they try, and mostly seem to win, but only after incurring extra costs, extra sentence time, etc.


The cases are comparable, but not in the way greenberger tries to compare them.

In both cases, a person acting on behalf of the government imposed their religion on someone else.


There needs to be an AAA (Atheist Alcoholics Anonymous)…but that might get confusing with American Automotive Association already claiming that name.

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There tends to be a fair amount of handwaving about that Commandment such that it doesn’t apply to whatever such folks don’t want it to apply to.

Very few self-proclaimed Bible literalists actually take it literally when it’s personally inconvenient to do so.

(Some do, but they seem pretty damn rare.)


But should she have had to?

Change up the situation and see if the logic still works.

A (bigoted) judge might think a gay parent would be a better parent if they were straight, so should a gay parent have to play along with pray-the-gay-away therapy if such a judge ordered them to?

Of course not.


Non-Christian Alcoholics Anonymous?
Non-Religious Alcoholics Anonymous?

Hmm, avoiding acronym collisions is tough.


It’s there. It’s under the “It is therefore recommended that:” section of the court order that is obviously highlighted in the news report. No other person is listed as an alternative to Mary Pepper.


Your comparison is not exactly apples-to-apples. Kim Davis is a government employee refusing to do her job due to her religious beliefs. She has the option to quit said job. The other is a regular citizen being ordered to receive counseling from a woman forcing religion on her (whilst also skirting the law regarding her use of the library as her “office”). She wasn’t given any other option (other than losing her kids).


I would say that it is fairly obviously different: we have (at least) two problems here:

  1. We have a judge practicing medicine by making a referral to a specific practitioner; not just ‘a duly qualified relevant person’

  2. We have a judge playing fast and loose with the establishment clause by making a referral to a specific practitioner who apparently offers only jesus-therapy. (Were the counselor merely a counselor who is also a christian, that’s be irrelevant; but she appears not to offer any non-jesus based treatment, so enforcing compliance with her under pain of state force is a bit of an issue.)

I really don’t see how these situations are even slightly similar: it would be utterly trivial for the court to simply specify ‘a medical practitioner’ and completely eliminate the problem. There’s also the not strictly court related; but troubling, problem that this ‘counselor’ appears to be wholly useless for any psych referrals that don’t involve talking about your relationship with god. If she wants to stick to niche practice, maybe that’s fine; but if you are a one trick pony like that attempting to practice in the general population seems like a bad idea.


They seem pretty comparable to me, other than specific details which have nothing to do with the basic issue at stake. I’m not saying this situation isn’t crazy, but, crazy is a subjective thing. What isn’t subjective is whether you have the right to go against the law when it clashes with what you truly believe- and our culture has always, historically, cheered that situation. I certainly supported Occupy Wall Street’s decision to stay at a park they were not supposed to be at. And if this crazy lady truly thinks homosexuality is wrong and is being forced, by evil liberal forces, to sin against her god, well, good for her for refusing to do so.

If we were feeling really radical; we might suggest an ‘alcoholism treatment program that wasn’t hacked together by amateurs in the 1930s with a surprisingly tepid track record’. That might ruffle some feathers, though.


I don’t argue that the state is completely in the wrong in the latter situation. I mean, yes, that’s insane. But that’s the point; this woman used her brain and said “talking to this Jesus counselor is crazy, fuck that.” Which is what she should have done.

But arguing which state-mandated decision makes more sense isn’t the point, because that’s a somewhat if not very subjective thing. In Davis’ eyes, she found herself being told, by law, to do something she found fundamentally wrong. And, yes, okay, sure, we can say “quit your job, then” and clearly, that’s what she needs to do in the long run. But in the short term, most Americans can’t just up and quit their job just because. She didn’t take the job knowing she’d have to do this; the law was switched on her after she took it. So I don’t really fault her for not quitting her job, I mean, come on.

My point is, if you put yourself in their shoes, these two seemingly-different situations aren’t really that different. They’re about making a moral choice that goes against society’s law. And in both cases, good for them for not just going along with something they found to be wrong, even though I happen to think one of them is totally off-base.

Just skip straight to removal. A judge that doesn’t understand the separation of church and state is clearly unqualified.


So when someone swears to uphold the Constitution as an integral part of their government job, that’s just like someone else being forced to pray to a god they don’t believe in by someone sworn to uphold the Constitution as an integral part of their government job?

Kim Davis and the judge in this case are the government workers running afoul of the Constitution, in case you couldn’t figure that out.


Yup. And like I said, ‘13th Stepped’, and the rest.