Kim Davis: Why we shouldn’t reprimand those who express their beliefs

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Kim Davis: Why we shouldn’t reprimand those who express their beliefs

Opinion writer William Flannery believes that Kim Davis. Credit: Jessie Snyder/The Foothill Dragon Press

Opinion writer William Flannery believes that Kim Davis. Credit: Jessie Snyder/The Foothill Dragon Press

Opinion writer William Flannery believes that Kim Davis. Credit: Jessie Snyder/The Foothill Dragon Press

Opinion writer William Flannery believes that Kim Davis. Credit: Jessie Snyder/The Foothill Dragon Press

William Flannery

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Our society has come a long way from the discriminatory nation we once were, and we have positively progressed in becoming more welcoming to groups that have experienced unfair prejudice. However, does that imply that individuals who have contradictory personal beliefs should be censured or reprimanded?

Opinion writer William Flannery believes that Kim Davis. Credit: Jessie Snyder/The Foothill Dragon Press

Opinion writer William Flannery believes that Kim Davis should not have been punished for refusing to issue marriage licenses to a same sex couple. Credit: Jessie Snyder/The Foothill Dragon Press

Our society has come a long way from the discriminatory nation we once were, and we have positively progressed in becoming more welcoming to groups that have experienced unfair prejudice. However, does that imply that individuals who have contradictory personal beliefs should be censured or reprimanded?

Recently, licensed clerk Kim Davis was apprehended and served five days of prison for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples due to her religious beliefs, which violates the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding the subject.

The Supreme Court’s decision was another example of how we improved and no person should be denied their right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness, yet that encompasses all people with different perspectives.

Davis’ decision and that of others under similar circumstances should not be shunned or ostracized, as everyone has the right to express their beliefs. Yes, our society shouldn’t be exclusive, yet it also shouldn’t cater to the needs of a specific group; there should be equal opportunity to state your opinion. 

Verily, this unfair accommodation was once reversed, where those who opposed same sex couples were accommodated for. So why should the solution simply invert this? There should be balance between the two sides: licensing same sex marriages should be encouraged, yet it should not be an absolute requirement. If someone has a firm opposition to something, they should be allowed to express it. If this wasn’t true, then the same sex community would have never been able to achieve their status today.

It could be argued that the freedom to deny service would only influence discriminatory behavior, however a key counter to this is how developed our society has become. Racial obscenities have been ineffable due to cultural and social influence. The acceptance of any group of individuals can be promoted through television and public service announcements, films, music, or any other medium that penetrates our society, including educational services. Thus, there are other alternatives that can preserve your right to expression without the fear of mass exclusion.

However, this does not allow for direct criticism of an individual’s belief, nor should they be attacked for being explicit about their opinion. They are protected by the First Amendment, and doing so would be just as bad as attacking the social group.

In regards to the First Amendment, Davis’ decision was based on her religion, and she and all other Americans have the freedom to practice their religion. Thus, her (and all others of similar circumstances) choice should be respected as she is only abiding by her beliefs, which she has the right to do. It should also be recognized that it is not specifically the religion that possesses any aversion to a specific group: it is the jurisdiction of the individual whether or not they wish to abide by certain ideals, and it is ultimately their opinion.

As a society, we must recognize both sides of any argument and respect the rights of the two. Prejudice should not be an aspect of our culture, regardless of whether it refers to sexism, race, sexuality, religion, or otherwise, which includes those who are defending and opposing a subject.

We cannot achieve the unified society we strive for if we reprimand either side or have them censored; if we did so, the result would be an endless cycle of discrimination along with favoritism of one side of our society. Thus, those have an opinion shouldn’t be afraid to express it, so long as they are mindful of how others think. While they should be open to criticism, they should never reprimand or attack others for having an opposing viewpoint. They have the same rights as you do, a quality of our nation that we should strive to protect for all individuals.

 

What do you think?