Vail Daily column: Nightmare on Rational Street

Richard Carnes
My View

I was downvalley at Animal Services in Eagle to register our new puppy.

After turning in the paperwork providing proof of current rabies vaccination and so on, the clerk handed it back saying, “I’m sorry, but I don’t allow pit bulls to be licensed in Eagle County. You’ll have to come back with a proper breed. Next!”

She was very busy.

“But I like this breed,” I said. “She’s so cute, here, you wanna see a picture on my phone?”

“Next!” she again shouted, looking over my shoulder.

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“What do you have against pit bulls?” I asked. “I mean, she’s my dog, isn’t it my choice if I want to keep her? And what do you mean by ‘proper’ breed?”

Slamming her pen on the counter, grabbing everyone’s attention in the room, she looked me squarely in the eye and said, “A breed that fits my qualifications for a proper breed, and that’s all you need to know.”

“Excuse me,” I said, shifting my head like Samuel Jackson in “Pulp Fiction.” “Under whose authority do you make such an absurd claim? And hey, my taxes pay your salary and …”

Before she could answer a synapse snipped and I awoke from my nightmare.

Still groggy and staring at the ceiling, I knew the source of my dreadful dream was a religious zealot in Kentucky who had just been sent to jail for refusing to issue a marriage license to a gay couple because adhering to Bronze Age scribblings prevented her from doing her tax-funded job.

This proselytizing paper pusher had the opportunity to let any of her five deputy clerks do the job, but she refused, making it obvious her goal was to end up in jail in hopes of being a martyr, even thanking the judge after he sentenced her.

One can only assume the pride of carrying the cross of bigotry through prison cell doors.

Mike Huckabee jumped in to say the court’s ruling “removes all doubt of the criminalization of Christianity in our country.”

Oh, please, Mr. and Mrs. Drama Queen, no one is persecuting her or her church or confiscating her holy book.

But I must admit it would have been funny if a judge refused to grant one of her divorces because it is forbidden in the Bible (keeping it Christian and all, you know).

This is like a Buddhist clerk at Walmart refusing to sell a gun, or a Jehovah’s Witness nurse refusing to give a blood transfusion, or a Muslim butcher or bartender refusing to serve ham or alcohol, or a Mormon refusing to sell coffee, beer or cigarettes.

Refusing to follow the law as a public servant is not exercising your freedom of religion, it is using a public funded service as a tool for your own personal agenda.

And she had the audacity to compare herself to Rosa Parks, no doubt in anticipation of a book deal or reality show.

Nope, sorry lady. You’re nothing more than a Christian bigot, and like others have said, if anything you’re the bus driver that had Rosa Parks arrested.

But should she be in jail because of it?

Of course not. She should simply find a job where she can preach her silly hellfire and damnation of gays and whatever else offends her without being on the taxpayer’s dime.

The important point to remember is she is refusing to follow the law and preventing her staff from following the law.

Everything else is beside the point.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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