Yesterday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins appeared on Fox News’ “The Kelly File” to defend Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who barred her county office from issuing marriage licenses after the Supreme Court struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban.
Perkins, who usually loves to talk about the supposed rise of Islamic law in America , dodged Fox News host Megyn Kelly’s question about whether a Muslim county clerk could deny a marriage license to an interfaith couple, saying that it is up to the voters to decide whether that Muslim clerk should keep his or her position.
Perkins also claimed that there is no religious objection to interracial marriage because “interracial marriage is very difficult to point to in scripture.” Public opposition to interracial marriage was actually much higher when the Supreme Court struck down 16 state bans on interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia than opposition to same-sex marriage is today, and many of the Religious Right leaders of that day denounced interracial marriage as unbiblical. As the trial judge in the Loving case said: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”
In fact, Perkins attended Liberty University, an evangelical school founded by Jerry Falwell, an interracial marriage opponent who got his start in politics by attempting to stop the federal government from stripping Bob Jones University of its tax-exempt status over the school’s ban on interracial dating.
“If Chief Justice Warren and his associates had known God’s word and had desired to do the Lord’s will, I am quite confident that the 1954 decision would never have been made,” Falwell said of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision in language reminiscent of anti-gay preachers today. “The facilities should be separate. When God has drawn a line of distinction, we should not attempt to cross that line.”
Perkins also falsely claimed that Davis is not barring her deputy clerks from issuing marriage licenses.
Kelly: You know the argument on the other side though. What if somebody goes in there and says, my sincerely held religious beliefs and now we’re back in 1952 say, blacks and whites shouldn’t get married. And therefore, I don’t care that the Supreme Court said it’s legal, I object and therefore, no.
Perkins: Well, it’s much different. You have a long standing orthodox view about marriage in the Bible. The issue of interracial marriage is very difficult to point to in scripture. Are there some that hold that view? Yes. But it is —
Kelly: What about Muslims? What about Muslims who say, a Muslim man may not marry a Christian woman and therefore you applying to me on the Muslim clerck? I’m not giving you that marriage license.
Perkins: If — are you saying if there is a Muslim and clerk that —
Kelly: The Muslim clerk says, I want a religious accommodation — how many accommodations can we grant?
Perkins: Right. In this particular case. What you have are the voters of this district, of this region of the country that elected her as the clerk. If they don’t like what she is doing they can kick her out. It is not up to some unelected judge to impose his views on her and hold her in contempt of basically whatever he wants.
Kelly: And she may yet be if somehow she interferes with future licenses to be issued by the deputies although it doesn’t sound like she is going to do that if they changed the issue.
Perkins: Well, here is all she wants. All she wants is to have her name off the license. She is not saying nobody in my office can issue this. She’s saying, I just don’t want my name —
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