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What Kim Davis and My Pantsless Kid Have in Common

Photograph by AP

Last week at the grocery store, my son threatened to take off his pants in the produce aisle. He stood there, fists clenched, holding his ground.

Instead of informing him of the "No shirts, no shoes, (no pants), no service" rule of the land, I simply asked him, "Did God tell you to do this again?"

"Yes," he said, and off came the pants. I had no idea he wasn't wearing underwear. I swear to, well, God.

But my son strolled passed the kiwi and the oranges with his beliefs intact. He, and I by allowing him to break the rules because of his own views, protected his religious freedom. I told him to go ahead and do what he wants if what he wants are things God told him to do.

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Sure it's OK not to wear pants ("Loose the sackcloth from your waist ... buttocks uncovered." Isaiah 20:2-4), because, as many of our political leaders today believe, in sharp contrast to the beliefs of the men who wrote the Constitution, "We must obey God rather than men."

Truth is, there was not a 7-year-old pants-ing incident at Whole Foods, but can you imagine if our government—let alone, our kids—were able to use religion as an excuse to exercise their will as they pleased at any moment?

There are countries around the world these people claim to hate—like Iran—that rule by religion. Which is exactly what these right-wing Christian extremists are trying to do.

In every family there are rules, rules not meant to be broken for the protection of the greater family unit. My son's pursuit of happiness must take place within the reasonable confines of the world around him.

Not just by what feels right to him.

This big ol' can o' crazy that Kentucky's Kim Davis opened up only makes me realize that there is something seriously wrong with what has happened to the United States, the ignorance of its founders' intentions and the interpretation of where we should be going. It is about so much more than the acceptance of same-sex marriage. It is about defining the separation of Church and State.

I hate to break it to y'all, but the United States is not a Christian nation. It is, instead, a nation based on religious freedom. People came here to escape religious tyranny. They came here to practice religions—all kinds—whether it is Puritanism, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam or no religion at all—without interference of the government.

That's a real fact.

Thomas Jefferson said our civil rights have no dependence on religious opinions. This is very clear (much clearer than other parts of the Constitution for which the same senators and would-be-presidential nominees lay down their lives defending the 2nd amendment—but that argument is for another day.) Jefferson wrote, "History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes."

And the big man himself, George Washington, said, "We have abundant reason to rejoice, that, in this land, the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition, and that every person may here worship God according to the dictates of his own heart. In this enlightened age, and in this land of equal liberty, it is our boast, that a man's religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the laws."

For us to say now that we must follow the rule of a Christian god is not only anti-Constitution, anti-Founding Fathers.

It is straight up anti-American.

Kim Davis is not—and should not—be held on a pedestal, because, she is not working to protect anyone but herself.

This "God over Men" way of ruling, advocating for Christian, law should be particularly concerning to women who care about their autonomy, health and right to vote. ("Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord." Colossians 3:18)

People of color, people of differing faiths, gay, lesbian, transgender men, women and children, we should all be very afraid. If people like Kim Davis get their way and get to take off their pants in public because God told them to, because they claim religion should be rule and not actual law, be very afraid.

There are countries around the world these people claim to hate—like Iran—that rule by religion. Which is exactly what these right-wing Christian extremists are trying to do. How is their future any different than those of these non-secular states?

They're not.

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Kim Davis is not—and should not—be held on a pedestal, because, she is not working to protect anyone but herself. She is, as Jefferson predicted, one of many abusing their positions, harming the public and availing "themselves for their own purposes."

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