Brian Tashman's blog

Benham Brothers Defend Kim Davis With Fake George Washington Quote

Jason and David Benham, two right-wing activists with experience in portraying themselves as Christian martyrs, hailed the latest “victimof religious persecution, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, in a column for the far-right outlet WorldNetDaily this weekend:

Her jailing last week reveals that we have deep spiritual and political fractures in our foundation as a nation.

We have abandoned the God of the Bible, the very God of our founding. Our spiritual foundation has been compromised.

George Washington said, “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.”

When we reject God’s law by removing His influence from every vestige of society, how can we rightly govern ourselves?

The answer is: We can’t, and we’re not.

Of course, Washington never actually said that.

As the Mount Vernon Association points out, this remark that is sometimes attributed to Washington first emerged in 1835, decades after Washington’s death.

(Incidentally, the Benham’s father, Religious Right activist Flip Benham, has led protests at the home of Judge David Bunning to hold him "in contempt of the Court of Almighty God.") 

Nonetheless, the Benham twins went on to claim that gay marriage is still illegal in Kentucky:

The power to define marriage is not delegated to the federal government anywhere in the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, according to the 10th Amendment, individual states have the right to define marriage. And the way to do this is to amend a state constitution, which dozens of states have already accomplished by votes of the people. This is the beauty of our system. “We the People” get to decide on our laws (democracy).

Kentucky did this very thing in 2004, saying, “Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”

This is the law in Kentucky.

So, based on our system of government, Kim Davis did what was right by refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses because she was upholding Kentucky law. And the 10th Amendment protects the law that Kentuckians put in place.

So the question is, if Kim Davis is sitting in jail as a lawbreaker today, what law did she break? Did the U.S. Congress pass a gay-marriage law when we weren’t looking? Was a same-sex marriage amendment voted on by the people of Kentucky without notice? The answer to all of these is “No.”

The fact of the matter is that five members of our Supreme Court have gone rogue and become tyrannical, disregarding our constitutional and federal system of government. And we the people believe that their opinion (decision) actually made a new law, legalizing gay marriage.

Linda Harvey: 'Homosexuality Reigns Supreme' In America

On her radio bulletin today, Linda Harvey of Mission America expressed outrage that Kentucky clerk Kim Davis had to go to court after barring her office from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Harvey insisted that couples seeking marriage licenses in Rowan County should have just gone to a different county office where they wouldn't have faced discrimination from a public official, all the while claiming that same-sex marriages are fraudulent marriages anyway.

“We must challenge this idea that homosexuality reigns supreme in this country,” she said. “We must speak out against the tyranny that threatens the very fabric of America and how we work, what we teach our children, what we are allowed to say publicly, how we worship and what we are expected to support or else face retaliation.”

Rick Wiles Is Waiting For Obama To 'Say He Is A God'

Two years ago, “Trunews” host Rick Wiles wondered if President Obama would use a trip to Jerusalem to “declare himself as God.” While that didn’t happen, Wiles has now offered new evidence that Obama will soon announce his godhood: a dream from a friend.

Wiles dedicated part of his Thursday broadcast to running a previously unaired segment of his interview with televangelist Jim Bakker, in which the two traded conspiracy theories and End Times prophecies. In the new segment, Bakker and Wiles discussed a dream that C. Alan Martin once had in which he prophesied that Al Gore would be the 43rd president and that his successor would bring about God’s judgment on America as he “claims to be God, but is of devil.”

That was all the proof Wiles needed, citing the dream as evidence that Obama is “evil” because he said he is a God” and is bringing about America’s destruction. “This dream is coming true, the time is now,” he said.

Five Bizarre Arguments Kim Davis' Supporters Have Used To Defend Her Lawbreaking

Religious Right activists claimed that they were shocked and stunned this week when a federal judge held Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in contempt of court after she repeatedly refused court orders to allow her office to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, even after losing her appeal to the Supreme Court.

While the Religious Right has been outraged, many legal observers have wondered how anyone could be surprised that a judge would actually hold Davis accountable for blatantly violating the law. Some have even questioned whether Davis' lawyers at the conservative legal group Liberty Counsel are giving her bad advice and urging her to break the law in order to turn her case into a fundraising bonanza. As one retired judge told Louisville's Courier Journal, “I think you have an ethical responsibility to tell your client she doesn’t have a legitimate cause of action.”

Of course, Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver has been urging public officials to defy the Supreme Court since even before the court issued its landmark marriage equality decision. The group acknowledged that the marriage equality ruling would “expose Davis to potential liability if she refuses to compromise her religious beliefs and violate her conscience.”

Davis, who identifies as a born-again Christian, doesn’t seem ignorant at all of the fact that she is breaking the law. In fact, she attempted to convince lawmakers to change Kentucky’s laws on marriage licenses in order to suit her demands. When that didn’t happen, Davis went ahead and ordered officials in her county not to issue any marriage licenses to any couples, citing “God’s authority.” According to Davis, “if I left, resigned or chose to retire” from the county clerk position, “I would have no voice for God’s word.”

Davis and her supporters are instead tried to use bizarre legal arguments to back up her case:

1) God’s law trumps U.S. law

Rena Lindevaldsen, a Liberty Counsel attorney, offered insights into the group’s legal thinking when she delivered a lecture to the Liberty University School of Law, which named Lindevaldsen its interim dean after Staver decided to dedicate more time to his work at Liberty Counsel.

Lindevaldsen told students in a speech titled “Do Government Officials Have Authority to Impose Their Morals on Others?” that any law that is not “consistent with Scripture” — or, more accurately, their interpretation of Scripture — is no law at all, and therefore, officials are obligated to break such laws since “civil government only has the authority that God has established.”

With this reasoning, Liberty Counsel thinks that officials can impose their morals on others as long as they are acting according to their understanding of the Bible, and therefore don’t need to respect the legalization of same-sex marriage because its unbiblical.

“Whether it’s zoning or taxes or marriage or abortion, in those issues, government doesn’t have authority to say that these things are appropriate because they’re contrary to Scripture,” Lindevaldsen said.

In a case involving a child custody dispute between a self-identified “ex-gay” and her former lesbian partner, Liberty Counsel similarly advised their client, the "ex-gay" woman, to break a court-approved custody agreement because, after all, God’s law is superior.

Staver said that Davis should not follow the Obergefell decision as it would violate her oath of office, which, he said, requires her to “not act in contradiction to the moral law of God.” He also told other officials not to respect the ruling because it “directly conflicts with higher law.” As the judge in Davis’ case noted, such arguments would allow Roman Catholic clerks to deny a marriage license to a previously divorced person because the Catholic Church proscribes divorce.

2) Davis was elected before Obergefell, so she’s exempt

In one positively bizarre defense of Davis, Religious Right activist Keith Fournier said that Davis’ oath to uphold the laws only requires her to uphold the laws that were in effect before January 2015, when she was sworn into office.

Some contend that that because Kim Davis works for “the government” she must comply by issuing the license with her name on it. In other words, she loses her right to religious liberty because she has a public position. This fails to consider the crucial fact that when she was elected to her post as the Rowan County Clerk, marriage under Kentucky law was solely between one man and one woman. That was the law she swore to uphold. Then the five oracles of the Supreme Court issued their edict in Obergefell v Hodges, with no basis in the Constitution, past precedent, common sense or the Natural Law.

If this was the case, then anyone who was elected to office before the Loving v. Virginia decision, which struck down state bans on interracial marriage, would then be able to refuse to issue marriage licenses to such couples. Likewise, officials who took office Brown v. Board of Education would be allowed to block the integration of schools.

Furthermore, as the appeals court pointed out in this case, the office doesn’t belong to Davis, it belongs to the people of the county:

The injunction operates not against Davis personally, but against the holder of her office of Rowan County Clerk. In light of the binding holding of Obergefell, it cannot be defensibly argued that the holder of the Rowan County Clerk’s office, apart from who personally occupies that office, may decline to act in conformity with the United States Constitution as interpreted by a dispositive holding of the United States Supreme Court.

3) Davis is the only clerk obeying the law

Mike Huckabee has been making the case that Davis is the only clerk upholding the law and that it is actually the vast majority of clerks who are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples who are the ones breaking the law.

As Huckabee said on MSNBC yesterday, marriage equality can only be legal in Kentucky if the legislature passes a same-sex marriage bill that the governor signs into law, adding that the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision is invalid because the court “cannot overrule the laws of nature and the laws of nature’s God.”

When host Joe Scarborough said that Southern states still had to desegregate their schools after the Supreme Court ruled in Brown, despite the fact that the states still had segregationist laws on the books, Huckabee insisted that “you have to have enabling legislation.”

“The Supreme Court cannot and did not make a law,” the Republican presidential candidate said in a statement. “They only made a ruling on a law. Congress makes the laws. Because Congress has made no law allowing for same sex marriage, Kim does not have the constitutional authority to issue a marriage license to homosexual couples.”

Before Obergefell was decided, Staver insisted that a state “does not have to obey” a Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality because it would be “so far removed from the Constitution” that it would cause one to ask if the justices have “literally lost their mind.”

Pat Robertson made the same claim, saying that Davis and others are “not obligated” to follow Obergefell.

4) Gays can just drive to another county

Davis and her lawyers argue that all 20,000 Rowan County residents must accommodate Davis’ personal religious views — views that she ordered all deputy clerks to follow — by driving to another county if they want to access government services.

“You drive 30 minutes in any direction in Kentucky and get a marriage license,” Staver said. “You don’t have to force Kim Davis herself to issue the license.”

And what if officials in the neighboring counties join Davis and the other handful of clerks who are refusing to issue marriage licenses? Staver doesn’t seem to know, as he would likely to defend such clerks as well, insisting that it is more reasonable to let one official disregard the law than to allow taxpayers to receive access to taxpayer-funded services.

5) Anti-religious test for office

While Davis may have exhausted her appeals in the case where couples challenged her refusal to issue them licenses, Liberty Counsel has tried to throw a Hail Mary by filing a lawsuit against Kentukcy's governor, alleging that enforcing the Obergefell is actually unconstitutional since it would impose a religious test as a qualification to hold the office of county clerk.” The group even argued, like Fournier, that issuing marriage licenses would violate Davis' oath and represent anti-Christian discrimination:

19. Before taking office as County Clerk in January 2015, Davis swore an oath to support the constitutions and laws of the United States and the Commonwealth of Kentucky “so help me God.” Davis understood (and understands) this oath to mean that, in upholding the federal and state constitutions and laws, she would not act in contradiction to the moral law of God, natural law, or her sincerely held religious beliefs and convictions. Davis also understood (and understands) the constitution and laws she swore to uphold to incorporate the constitutional and other legal protections of all individuals’ rights to live and work according to their consciences, as informed by their sincerely held religious beliefs and convictions, including without limitation such rights she holds in her own individual capacity.

20. Davis’s sincerely held religious belief regarding the definition of “marriage” was perfectly aligned with the prevailing marriage policy in Kentucky at the time she took office, as provided in the Kentucky Constitution, Kentucky statutes, and controlling court decisions, and as effected by the Commonwealth through Governor Beshear and Commissioner Onkst.

38. Governor Beshear’s targeted and discriminatory marriage policy pronouncements constitute government-imposed pressure on Davis to act contrary to her religious beliefs, and expose Davis to potential liability if she refuses to compromise her religious beliefs and violate her conscience.

But the Rowan County office is not Kim Davis’ church or her “business,” as she once referred to it. Davis does not have to offer her personal support or approval to same-sex marriage; in fact, she and her church can remain dutifully opposed to such unions, but she cannot stop the government, which has legalized gay marriage, and county clerk deputies from performing job functions just because she has a personal disagreement.

Mike Huckabee: Government Treating Gitmo Detainees Better Than Kim Davis

Promoting his Tuesday rally in Kentucky defending county clerk Kim Davis, Mike Huckabee told Fox News that the government has been more accommodating to detainees in Guantanamo Bay than to Davis, who was jailed for contempt after violating court orders to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

If gay people want to receive a marriage license, Huckabee said, then they should wait until Election Day to vote for a new county clerk.

Huckabee isn’t the only one bestowing martyrdom status on Davis.

In yet another column defending the Kentucky clerk, Fox News pundit Todd Starnes said that “perhaps one day, students of history will read not only letters from a Birmingham jail, but letters from a Kentucky jail.” He even likened Judge David Bunning, the Bush-nominated judge who held Davis in contempt of court, to Bull Connor:


Federal Judge David Bunning did with a gavel what Bull Connor tried to do with dogs and fire hoses. Please...

Posted by Todd Starnes on Friday, September 4, 2015


Todd Starnes: Jails Will Soon Fill Up With Christians

Fox News pundit Todd Starnes has been at the forefront of the Religious Right’s campaign to turn anti-gay Kentucky clerk Kim Davis into a martyr, and appeared on American Family Radio yesterday to denounce the judge who put Davis in the custody of U.S. Marshals because of her continued violations of the law.

“I warned people of faith that this kind of stuff is coming,” Starnes told “AFA Today” host Crane Durham. “Now we know that it is here and this is a very dangerous and very disturbing development. But quite frankly, you know what, we all knew, Crane, those of us who read our Bibles, we all knew that there was a time coming in this country where the persecution would happen and it seems as though, at least in the case of Mrs. Davis, that time is right now.”

Discussing his recent interview with Davis, in which she said that she wouldn’t resign her position because she plans to use the county office to spread “God’s word” and act as “a vessel God,” Starnes said that Kentucky lawmakers failed to even meet with Davis about legislative remedies for her supposed plight. He added: “I hope that the folks listening to this program in Kentucky will call their state legislators and their representatives right now and demand that they take action to protect other Christians in the state of Kentucky, otherwise I suspect the jails are going to start filling up pretty quickly.”

Rick Wiles: 'Homosexual Gaystapo' Will Murder Christians Like Kim Davis In 'Reign Of Terror'

End Times broadcaster Rick Wiles appears to be just a little bit upset with a judge’s ruling that Kentucky clerk Kim Davis must remain in the custody of U.S. Marshals for consistently violating the law.

Davis had ordered her county office not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and, after the Supreme Court rejected her final appeal, Davis said that she would still continue to deny marriage licenses because she is acting under “God’s authority.”

Wiles stood by Davis yesterday in an epic rant where he claimed that America will soon see massive violence as a result of gay tyranny:

Kim Davis’ imprisonment is only the beginning of the reign of terror by the Obamanista communist regime’s gaystapo. If I am right about America being Mystery Babylon, eventually the blood of the saints must be spilled in the streets, martyrdom of Christian saints is one of the attributes of Mystery Babylon in the Last Days. When Babylon’s economy collapses, so too will its old constitutional republic framework. What will ensue in the aftermath of a massive economic collapse will be bloody and brutal tyrannical repression of Christianity by the Jesus-hating homosexual gaystapo. Just like the militant homosexuals who terrorized Germany in the 1930s through the Nazis, the National Socialist Party, the Democratic Party is the new National Socialist Party, the Nazis.

The “Trunews” host later added that America may soon face a military attack from China and Russia as divine punishment for its treatment of Davis and for the federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

As Wiles explained, the U.S. government has effectively turned into Sodom and Gomorrah and will consequently be punished. 

Kim Davis' Lawyer Invokes Nazi Gas Chambers, Warns Of Massive Persecution

On Wednesday, anti-gay Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’ lawyer, Mat Staver, founder of the right-wing legal group Liberty Counsel, compared Davis to a Jew living in Nazi Germany.

Following a judge’s order yesterday that Davis remain in custody of U.S. Marshals for continuing to defy the courts by refusing to issue marriage licenses in her county, Staver appeared on the Family Research Council's “Washington Watch” program, where he once again brought up Nazi tyranny.

“Washington Watch” host Craig James, after mentioning his own lawsuit against Fox Sports for terminating his job as a football analyst over comments he made mocking gay rights, claimed that America is now on a “slippery slope” of anti-Christian persecution. Legal organizations like Liberty Counsel, he said, need to “confront people who are breaking the law" — which, in James’ mind, apparently does not include Davis.

Staver then accused Davis’ critics of turning America into Nazi Germany: “Back in the 1930s, it began with the Jews, where they were evicted from public employment, then boycotted in their private employment, then stigmatized and that led to the gas chambers. This is the new persecution of Christians here in this country.”

The Liberty Counsel chairman has previously claimed that respecting gay marriage laws is no different than handing Jews over to the Nazis: “You cannot obey something that is contrary to God's law. And we would easily say, well, what would happen if the government forced you turn over a Jew in Nazi Germany? All of us would say we wouldn't do that, we wouldn't listen to that. Well, we're about ready to walk into the moment.”

With Kim Davis In Custody, Conservatives Anoint Her As A Martyr

The decision by a federal judge to put Kim Davis in the custody of U.S. Marshals for repeatedly violating the law and refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples has solidified the Kentucky clerk’s status as a Religious Right martyr. Following the court’s ruling, conservative leaders and commentators immediately defended Davis.

Mike Huckabee, who has called Davis to offer his support, repeated his talking point about the “criminalization of Christianity” and announced plans to travel to Kentucky to support her legal battle.

Huckabee started a petition demanding President Obama “free Kim Davis”:

Dear President Obama, Attorney General Lynch, & Judge Bunning:

Immediately release Kim Davis from federal custody. Exercising Religious Liberty should never be a crime in America. This is a direct attack on our God-given, constitutional rights.


Mike Huckabee

He also warned on Facebook that others, including pastors and caterers, may soon join her in jail:

Having Kim Davis in federal custody removes all doubt of the criminalization of Christianity in our country. We must...

Posted by Mike Huckabee on Thursday, September 3, 2015

Fellow presidential candidate and Davis defender Rand Paul told CNN that “it’s absurd to put someone in jail for exercising their religious liberties,” wondering why federal courts are involved in the matter in the first place.

Ted Cruz released his own statement decrying the supposed “persecution” of Davis by the Obama administration, which had nothing to do with the case:

“Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny. Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith. This is wrong. This is not America.

“I stand with Kim Davis. Unequivocally. I stand with every American that the Obama Administration is trying to force to chose between honoring his or her faith or complying with a lawless court opinion.


“I call upon every Believer, every Constitutionalist, every lover of liberty to stand with Kim Davis. Stop the persecution now.”

Liberty Counsel, the virulently anti-LGBT organization representing Davis, said that she is not going to jail for contempt but just for being a Christian:

“Kim Davis might be jailed for her conscience, but her conscience is free,” Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver told Glenn Beck’s The Blaze. “He’s just putting her behind bars and treating her as a criminal.”

Liberty Counsel radio host Matt Barber said that Davis will now have to “bow a knee before ‘LGBT’ gods” or burn to death, likening her to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

RedState founder Erick Erickson mentioned civil war:

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said in a statement that the judge has imposed an unconstitutional religious test for public office: “If this is not resolved in a manner that accommodates the orthodox religious beliefs of Clerk Davis, this will, in effect, establish a reverse religious test barring those who hold biblical views of marriage from positions of public service. Such a religious test by proclamation or practice is wrong.”

After conducting a fawning interview with Davis, Fox News pundit Todd Starnes continued to defend her, warning that “these are very dangerous days for America”:

Kentucky clerk Kim Davis was taken into federal custody today. Federal Judge David Bunning says she will remain behind...

Posted by Todd Starnes on Thursday, September 3, 2015

Kim Davis' Lawyer Says She's Just Like A Jew Living In Nazi Germany

A federal judge put Kim Davis in custody of U.S. Marshals today after the Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk repeatedly flouted the law by ordering the county office to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Dominic Holden reports that Judge David Bunning, a federal judge nominated by George W. Bush, “did not believe it made sense to fine Davis because he did not believe it would compel her to act.”

Yesterday, Davis’ attorney, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, appeared on “Crosstalk” to defend Davis, claiming that she is simply trying to do her job, or at least, her job as she sees it. He even likened her to a Jewish person living under Nazi rule.

When host Jim Schneider of VCY America asked why Davis won’t resign, Staver said that the county’s residents support her and “she’d probably be able to win the governor’s seat right now rather than just the clerk of Rowan County. She’s there to do a duty, a job and the job duty was changed.”

“Does that mean that if you’re Christian, don’t apply here; if you’re a Jew, you gotta get — what happened in Nazi Germany, what happened there first, they removed the Jews from government public employment, then they stopped patronizing them in their private businesses, then they continued to stigmatize them, then they were the ‘problems,’ then they killed them,” Staver said. “The fact of the matter is, she has a right to this employment and you don’t lose your constitutional liberties just because you are employed by the government.”

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