- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Former “Star Trek” star George Takei argued Tuesday that Kentucky clerk Kim Davis is less like the modern-day Rosa Parks some religious conservatives are making her out to be and more like Alabama’s former segregationist and Democratic governor, George Wallace.

“When supporters of Kim Davis see her defiantly refusing to issue a marriage license to a gay couple, they see someone bravely standing for her faith and her principles, refusing to budge from them,” Mr. Takei wrote in an op-ed for MSNBC. “To her supporters, she is the Rosa Parks of religious liberty, someone who finally said, ‘Enough is enough, I have rights, and I will fight for them.’ “

“When I view her behavior, however, I am reminded of a different character from the early civil rights era: Gov. George Wallace of Alabama,” he wrote. “For Wallace, the federal government’s plans to integrate public education in the South amounted to a surrender of the state to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his friends in Washington. There are echoes of this in the Davis case, as once again, a ruling from the Supreme Court in D.C. trickles down to the state and local levels.”

Mr. Takei went on to argue that there is a striking similarity to how insecurities and fears are still being exploited by today’s politicians.

“Presidential candidates such as Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz were quick to stand by Davis’ side as she emerged from jail, observing ominously that this was part of the overall War on Christianity,” he wrote. “Religious liberty is now a rallying point for the right, even as that concept is distorted beyond all recognition to permit government officials to inject their personal beliefs into purely ministerial or clerical matters.

“Gov. Wallace also understood the power of exploiting fear. He was once a candidate endorsed by the NAACP, but took a drubbing in his first bid for governor,” he continued. “Then Wallace discovered that Alabama voters were genuinely afraid of what desegregation would mean for their communities, and he shifted quickly to run on a staunchly segregationist platform. When asked why by 1962 he had started using racist messaging in his campaign, Wallace was blunt: ‘You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about [expletive for black people] and they stomped the floor.’”

Mr. Takei said that discrimination based on sexual orientation will eventually face the same fate as racial segregation, ending in the “dust heap of history.”

“But along the way there will be opponents like Davis to remind us that social change means social displacement and a recalibration of what is acceptable,” he concluded. “And as with Gov. Wallace, decades from the day Davis stood her ground we will no doubt look back and wonder above all why so many stood with her.”

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