How to get your liberal heart broken, Pope Francis edition

It turns out that Pope Francis had a personal audience with Kim Davis, better known as Mike Huckabee’s campaign mascot the nutty county clerk lady in Kentucky what refuses to sign off on same sex marriages despite the Supreme Court making those marriages just as legal as opposite marriage. Davis said that “just knowing the pope is on track with what we’re doing, and agreeing, you know, kind of validates everything,” which is nice for her. A lot of liberals were skeptical of this story when Davis’s attorney first started talking about it, which was understandable since Davis’s lawyer is the same guy who said that tens of thousands of Peruvians were praying for his client for some reason (a claim that shockingly turned out to be false), but now that the Vatican has confirmed the meeting that skepticism seems to be turning to anger at the Pope.

Look, fellow lefties, I know you all got stars in your eyes when Pope Francis started spending more time talking about climate change than about the horrible things that can happen when two consenting adult men or women freely choose to enter into a committed, loving relationship with each other. Hey, I kind of like the guy too. But he’s still the Pope. Of the Catholic Church. He may personally care about poverty or climate change to a greater degree than his recent predecessors, but dehumanizing gay people is probably part of the entrance exam to get into the seminary, to say nothing of rising to the rank of bishop or cardinal. You certainly don’t get to be Pope without ticking off that box. Francis may not be easily categorized as either “left” or “right” when it comes to cultural issues, as Elizabeth Bruenig suggests, but he’s still been pretty clear when it comes to opposing gay marriage, and supporting the right of “conscientious objection.”* That he met with the new American poster child for both of those things shouldn’t be that big a surprise.

* I think the right to conscientiously object is important too, but I question whether what Davis is doing qualifies. If you’re a conscientious objector to a war, you’re freed from personally having to perform (usually compulsory) military service (or perhaps service in a particular military action, though selective objection isn’t always recognized). You go away and the army brings in somebody else who’s willing to do the job. For one thing, this doesn’t really fit Davis’s case because she isn’t being compelled to serve as county clerk; she’s free to quit at any time and spare her precious conscience. Moreover, Davis actually wants to object to same-sex marriage personally but also to prevent couples from being legally married in general. This is akin to a conscientious objector lying down in the middle of the runway to keep the jets from taking off, or parking a tank where it keeps all the other tanks from getting out onto the battlefield. It might be noble, depending on your point of view, but it’s not legal and I doubt, in the military example, that anybody would recognize it as an exercise of that person’s rights.

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One thought on “How to get your liberal heart broken, Pope Francis edition

  1. It’s no wonder this was kept quiet until the Pope was safely out of the country. Nobody’s asking him if he thnks county clerks should be free to refuse licenses to folks with living ex-spouses.

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