In the wake of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling in 2015, Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis became a Religious Right hero for her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, thanks largely to the work of the anti-LGBTQ legal organization Liberty Counsel, which not only represented Davis in her legal battles but worked tirelessly to portray her as a martyr and a civil rights hero.
To this day, Liberty Counsel continues to use Davis and her story to promote its right-wing agenda, and just last month used its own publishing imprint to produce her autobiography, “Under God’s Authority: The Kim Davis Story.”
Yesterday, Liberty Counsel released a video promotion for the book narrated by founder and chairman Mat Staver that featured not only Davis but Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, who heaped praise on Davis for “her boldness [and] her conviction” in “knowing that she was right.”
“Against all the scorn, all the enmity, all the vitriol, all the nastiness, she stood firm,” Bevin said. “I think Kim Davis is without question an inspiration, not only to leaders like myself—people in the public arena and those outside the public arena—but to my children, the children of America. People, even if they disagree with her, have got to respect the fact that here is a woman who was willing to put it all on the line out of conviction for what she believed and knew to be her right as an American citizen. And her faith and her conviction in the fact that that faith was protected by the First Amendment in our Constitution—in our Bill of Rights, specifically—is something that she was willing to put front and center, and if that’s not admirable, if that’s not something we would want all Americans to emulate, I don’t know what is.”
After Davis asserted that what happened to her was all part of a divine plan to “shake God’s people up” in preparation for the day when they too will inevitably have to stand in the face of relentless persecution, the video closes with a reworked version of Martin Niemöller’s famous “First They Came For The Socialists…” anti-Nazi poem:
First the came for the county clerk, but I did not speak out because I do not do marriage licenses.
Then they came for the wedding photographer, but I did not speak out because I did not photograph weddings.
Then they came for the baker, but I did not speak out because I was not a baker.
Then they came for the florist, but I said nothing because I was not a florist.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.