Rick Santorum went out of his way on Wednesday to say that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, a woman who was jailed a few days for refusing to issue a marriage license to same-sex couples, was a Christian martyr on the level of a Columbine victim and Martin Luther King Jr.
After virtually unknown presidential candidate George Pataki said at the second Republican presidential debate on CNN that he would have fired Kim Davis for refusing to do her job, the former Pennsylvania senator defended her.
“Sixteen years ago ago this country was tremendously inspired by a young woman who faced a gunman in Columbine, and she refused to deny God. We saw her as a hero. Today, someone who refuses to defy a judge’s unconstitutional verdict is ridiculed and criticized, chastised because she is standing up and not denying her God and her faith. That is a huge difference in 16 years,” he said.
“When we say in America that we have no room, how many bakers, how many florists, pastors, how many clerks are we going to throw in jail because they stand up and say, I cannot violate what my faith says is against its teachings?” Santorum continued. “Is there not room in America?”
Though Cassie Bernall, a Columbine victim has been held up as a “martyr” by the Christian right, the story is actually far more complicated, as David Cullen reported for Salon.
Pataki countered, “When you take an oath of office to uphold the law, all of the laws, you cannot pick and choose.”
Santorum went further, comparing Davis to civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., something he has said before. “Martin Luther King wrote a letter from Birmingham jail and said in that letter that there are just laws and unjust laws and we have no obligation to condone and accept unjust laws. And then he followed that up and said what’s an unjust law. an unjust law is a law that goes against the moral code or god’s law or the natural law. I would argue that what the Supreme Court did is against the natural law, God’s law and we have every obligation to stand in opposition to it.”