NEW YORK -- In case there wasn’t enough pretend persecution and paranoia imbued in the ongoing plight of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, a "patriot" militia movement, whose leader thinks the US is on the cusp of becoming a totalitarian state, could soon join her campaign.
Davis, 49, gained international notoriety in recent weeks for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples in Rowan County, an action that led to her brief imprisonment by a local judge. Davis said her Christian faith precludes her from issuing the documentation, citing "God's authority."
Oath Keepers walk along a street on the first anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown, on August 10, 2015 in Ferguson, Missouri
Now freed, the Oath Keepers, a far-right ragtag of former service personnel, gun fetishists, survivalists and conspiracy theorists, has offered Davis a "security detail."
Members of the militia, which is led by Stewart Rhodes, were spotted earlier this year in Ferguson, Missouri, calming a town inflamed by racial tensions by patrolling the streets with semi-automatic rifles and taking up sniper positions on the rooftops of local buildings. They also stood guard outside military recruitment offices in Chattanooga following the shooting in Tennessee in July.
Famously, the group was part of an armed standoff with federal authorities at a Nevada ranch in 2014, a dispute over Cliven Bundy’s refusal to pay several years of grazing fees to the government.
And now their leader is heading to Kentucky, offering Davis’ lawyers “the protection of his group,” which RightWingWatch reports is "already forming a presence in Rowan County.”
According to a statement released on Wednesday, Rhodes' interest in the case has "nothing to do with gay marriage," but rather his conviction that "Davis had been illegally detained by the federal judge who held her in contempt for violating multiple court orders.”
So who or what does Davis need protection from? As MSNBC noted, the "security detail" will stop any attempt by local law enforcement to return Davis to jail should the judge rule her in contempt.
A condition of her release was that Davis does not interfere with her deputies who started issuing marriage licenses during her incarceration. Should she do so, Davis would likely be retuned to jail.
However, as Rhodes pointed out, the judge “needs to be put on notice that his behavior is not going to be accepted and we’ll be there to stop it and intercede ourselves if we have to.”
Kim Davis with her husband Joe Davis in front of the Carter County Detention Center on September 8, 2015 in Grayson, Kentucky
So there’s a real possibility of an armed confrontation between US marshals and a right-wing militia over the issuing of marriage licenses as mandated by the US Supreme Court earlier this year.
The pledge of the Oath Keepers is to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Yet Rhodes appears to have appointed himself the arbiter of justice above the courts.
As such, Kentuckians can look forward to a grouping of febrile militant Christians with a paranoid and heavily armed militia. What could possibly go wrong?