Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Land Of The Free?

Kim Davis. She’s being called herohypocritemartyrhereticpetty local tyrant. (And this only includes what Christians are saying!) Needless to say, she’s the flash point of a particular battle in the unceasing culture war ravaging America.

Naturally, folks view her struggle through various lenses. Some (Davis herself) envision this as a religious liberty issue. Others frame it as an example of judicial tyranny. Relatedly, some see it as a matter of States’ rights. And then there are those who view it through a civil rights prism.

I suppose each of these perspectives has at least a modicum of applicability.

But I would like to consider it from a different angle; perhaps observe it in the light of a social justice issue of which relatively few speak.

Let me begin with a question. Agree or disagree with Davis: Why should she be locked behind bars?

The knee-jerk reaction from those who oppose her—for whatever reason—is, “Well, she should go to jail because she broke the law!

It’s debatable whether she’s broken the law. She’s certainly never been charged with any crime. But don’t get sidetracked…

I want to know why she should be caged like an animal for refusing to issue marriage licenses.

Why do we so quickly and casually cage non-violent human beings?

Friends, the “Land of the Free” has the largest prison population in the world. We put more citizens behind bars than China or Russia or Iran. According to various reports, the U.S. has only about 5% of the world’s population but a whopping 25% of the world’s prisoners. In fact, since 1970, our prison population has risen 700%.

Now why is this?

I’m sure there are a number of factors. But I think a primary impetus for increased incarceration is MONEY.

You see, caging human beings is big business. Many prisons are privately owned.

Between 2000 and 2010 the number of inmates serving sentences in private prisons doubled. Today, the $5 billion industry houses close to 20 percent of federal prisoners and about 7 percent of state prisoners . . .

Privately owned prisons are a 5 billion dollar industry. Let that sink in. 

Kim Davis should never have been caged. I’m thinking the same is true for lots of others.


  1. We've been "caging" people for a lot longer than there have been private prisons. Let's see, there was Daniel imprisoned in the lions' den; Paul imprisoned in Rome; Bunyan imprisoned in Bedford County Gaol; Alexander Peden and John Blackadder in Bass Rock...but you get the point.

    1. I'm pretty sure the ancient and medieval worlds had their "private" prisons/dungeons as well...but yes, I do indeed get your point.

      Thanks for reading and thinking.