Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Have Republican Candidates Huckabee and Cruz Just Committed Treason in the Kim Davis Case?

by Nomad

Statements made by two Republican candidates regarding the Kim Davis case may have crossed a line by encouraging rebellion against the authority of the Supreme Court. And it's called treason.

Committing treason in a nation which prizes the right of free speech has always been tricky business. Unlike many other countries in the world, in the US, people are allowed to say pretty much whatever they want. 

However, the freedom of expression has, contrary to conventional wisdom, never been absolute or unlimited. There are slander and libel laws, for example. Calling for insurrection is also proscribed as a abuse of freedom of speech. 

The  U.S. Code Chapter 115  defines treason like this:,
“Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”

Most of us have at one time or another challenged the authority of the government with our opinions. How else can a democracy function?
However, there are lines that shouldn't be crossed. And certain people should think twice before crossing them.

People who hold office (or are running for high office) have a bit more latitude to expressing their political opinion. In turn, they are also obliged -by their recognized authority- to be more responsible in choosing their words. 

Huckabee the Religious Huckster
When Ms. Kim Davis was freed from her six-day stay in jail, presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was on hand to squeeze as much attention-juice as he could. A rally in support was hastily arranged as Davis left the Carter County Detention Center.
It was truly a shameful display.
He told the crowd:
“Today I was proud to stand with Kim Davis as she was released from jail. Kim Davis should have never been locked up for being a Christian and for following her conscience and the law.“
By the definition of treason above, it was certainly a case of inciting and assisting those who are rebelling against "the authority of the US and its laws."
Huckabee was eager to give "aid and comfort" to Davis on stage before cheering audience. 

When has a lawbreaker been given as much support by a presidential candidate? But Huckabee was by no means alone.

Ted Cruz's Phony History
U.S. Sen. Cruz, R-Texas, today released the following statement regarding the arrest of Kentucky clerk: 
“Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny,” he said. “Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith. . . . I stand with Kim Davis. Unequivocally.”
It's a perfect example of the dangerous nonsense that has infected this discussion. Cruz is an artist at twisting words and their meanings. A poet of misrepresentation.
An exaggeration? Think again. Here's the conclusion of that statement:
We are a country founded on Judeo-Christian values, founded by those fleeing religious oppression and seeking a land where we could worship God and live according to our faith, without being imprisoned for doing so.
Cruz is talking about the Puritans who escaped religious oppression and then immediately installed their homegrown form of tyranny. Remember the witch trials which resulted in the executions of twenty people, most of them women. 
When the founding fathers sat down to draw up a government, this  was exactly against this theocratic rule that they rejected. 

Davis claims to be a victim of religious oppression. Of course, it was perfectly ok for Davis to oppress same sex couples by denying them their constitutional right as established by the 14th amendment. Nobody is prohibiting Davis from worshipping God. The courts are forbidding her from using religion as an excuse for discrimination.

It's necessary too. By obeying the law, it prevents the nightmare scenario of devout members of churches, synagogues or mosques with public authority rejecting the law of the land.
Today it is same-sex marriage, tomorrow a Muslim clerk could refuse to issue licences to Jews or mixed marriages. A Mormon could reject issuing licenses to Catholics.
Where does such lunacity ever stop?

The Outrageous Lie of Judicial Tyranny
"Judicial tyranny" was a phrase that Huckabee and Cruz both used. It has a ring to it especially people who are tired of obeying laws they don't like. But, where is the tyranny they speak of?

As a public official, Ms. Davis swore (presumably on a Bible to God) to uphold the law. At that time it was a voluntary act and she didn't ask for an exemptions based on her privately held beliefs. 
Now because of her intolerance to same-sex marriage, she has chosen to violate that oath. Furthermore, being unwilling to either step down from her position or to follow the law of the land, she was held in contempt of court. So,the lawlessness Cruz talks about belongs only to Ms. Davis.

The tyrants Cruz refers to are actually the Supreme Court judges. As the Washington Post notes in an op-ed piece:
Our system of government gives the Supreme Court final say over constitutional matters, and, though Cruz doesn’t like it, the court ordered states to recognize same-sex marriages. In fact, the high court specifically declined to give relief to Davis, and the federal judge who ordered her jailed for contempt of court is a George W. Bush appointee and son of a former Republican senator.
It's astounding that Cruz- who should know better- dares to call the Supreme Court judges outlaws

With these words, both Cruz and Huckabee are directly encouraging others to disobey the law. They are in effect celebrating Davis' contempt of the court.

Chris Christie Gets a Cookie
Another Republican candidate, Chris Christie, handled the matter with much better judgment and offered a more or less practical solution. On Fox News he said that, while everybody has a right to practice their religion, the law is the law.
"Now, I’ve said what I would do with this woman is to move her to another job where this is not an objection for her. Because you have to follow the law — and the law has to be these licenses have to be issued.”
“I think we should give her an option to do another job where her religious concerns are not going to be put into the cross hairs on this. So we have to have respect for people, but the government also has to function."
Whatever you might think of Christie, it was a statement that stands out as a bit of common sense in a sea of ignorance and rabble-rousing. 
Unfortunately hysteria counts for so much with our corrupted media, who like famished sharks must always search for something thrashing in the water.

A Challenge to the Courts' Authority
As stupid as it all is, this is, however, a serious matter.
Until the Department of Justice takes a firm action against people who attempt to stir up rebellion against the authority of the courts, this is a problem that will only get worse.
And that includes opportunistic politicians.

Davis seems to enjoy her dubious fame. According to her lawyers, Davis is unrepentant and "will continue to resist until officials find a way to accommodate her religious opposition to gay unions." If true, Davis is quite likely to be given a harsher sentence by U.S. District Judge David Bunning the next time.

This must be wonderful news for demagogues like Cruz and Huckabee. Ms. Davis is the gift that keeps giving. When she returns to jail, which seems inevitable, then Cruz and Huckabee and the other Republican candidates will be celebrating. 

Most voters know that people like Huckabee and Cruz have no hope of ever reaching the White House. 
That's not the problem. 

The true hazard is that these political figures show that disrespect and disobedience to the law of the land is not only rewarded but a valid form of political discussion.
And that's why there are treason laws in the first place.