Kim Davis has become the poster child for the radical right’s backlash against same-sex marriage in the US. I refuse to use the term conservative Christians because these extremists defy every tenet of Christianity. We have many Christian denominations with varying beliefs and practices, but the extremists go beyond the bounds. Other countries have been far ahead of us in granting equal civil rights.

The facts are simple: she had neither the legal or moral right for her actions. As a three-time divorcee and an adulterer, she can claim no moral high ground or religious basis for her bigotry. The oath of office that she took offers no exceptions of her duties for religion. When she issues a marriage certificate, she does not personally approve the marriage. She merely certifies to the state that it is legal and the process is in order. Whether she may choose just to quietly resign or to assume the role of a movement leader and appeal for funds and more publicity may not be a personal decision. Those who would use her to promote their cause may impose it upon her.

It is too early yet to see how this media spectacle will play out. The divisive tone in the nation is inflamed by the media seeking controversy that plays to the extreme and absurd for attention. They’re not interested in real conversations about basic issues affecting our country such as war and peace, economic injustice, racism, refugees, and the oligarchy. These issues are too complex and don’t photograph well. We’ve already seen in the national political campaigns the media flock to whoever is the meanest and shouts the loudest. It doesn’t matter whether or not they are in command of reality or have a substantial platform. It’s just pure entertainment and not news. The reality shows have gone prime time, including the news segments on the cable networks.

Same-sex marriage is the law of the land, and people can choose whether to obey the law or to disobey. We saw mass disobedience of the law during Prohibition, and the Constitutional amendment was repealed. Perhaps those in opposition are hoping eventually for a reversal of the U.S. Supreme Court decision and thus feel justified in disobeying the law. Perhaps they’re just angry and want to vent their anger in any way possible, including violence.

The real issue isn’t about same-sex marriage. It is about social and legal justice. It’s about equality before the law and that no laws should enshrine discrimination against minorities. It’s also about equal enforcement of the law without discrimination. We’re still struggling with that in terms of race, and the radical right is trying to reverse the gains of the past 60 years and take us back to the 1950’s. They demonize the poor and glorify the rich and thereby ignore all of the declarations of the Bible, including both the Old and New Testaments. They will use any means, including lies and distortions, to impose their theocracy upon a democratic nation. They would make us a flip-of-the coin compared with Iran.

Those who would appeal to our Founding Fathers also ignore the fact that the founders established not only the separation of church and state but also the protection from religion imposing upon the rights of the state and individuals. The folks who wrote our Constitution understood the mistakes of centuries of state-sponsored religion in other countries and offered us a unique opportunity for religious diversity and freedom of expression. You not only could be Catholic or Protestant, you could be Jewish or Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu. We welcomed people of all faiths and nationalities. Of course, it took 150 years to also include all races.

Let’s face it; the extremists have given all religions a bad reputation, not only in this country but also around the world. ISIS would try to take us back to the 8th Century or earlier. We have not yet seen that level of violence in the United States, but the KKK and others are ratcheting up the level of violence. Hopefully we will not return to the mass murders of the 1920s. Transgender people seem to have become the new primary target of prejudice. Our nation was founded upon equal opportunity for all; let’s hope that we can keep the dream alive.