When the Obergefell v. Hodges decision was announced, HLI’s statement reflected the obvious consequences that would follow, and that we are now seeing play out with an innocent county clerk being thrown in jail. At the time I said:
Let this be remembered as the day that it became official: The United States is no longer a nation of laws, but a nation of the will of the powerful. When duly passed state laws can be reversed on a whim, giving the government power to redefine an institution that preceded it by thousands of years, we are a deeply, and now perhaps irrevocably, broken nation.
With the same political powers who have been forcing this absurd redefinition of marriage now openly expressing their unwillingness to protect religious freedom, the stage is set for a cold civil war, with the battle lines running not from north to south, but through families, communities, businesses and institutions. This is not the first time the courts have rejected the law of nature and nature’s God, but it is perhaps the most flagrant such rejection, and it is time for Christians to realize that if they do not unite and fight now, that their very beliefs will be outlawed.
Now Kim Davis sits in a Kentucky jail for refusing to sign the marriage application of two men, and for refusing to allow her deputies to do so as well. Based on many of the opinions written, Ms. Davis is in violation of the law.
There is a lively debate among Christians about whether Ms. Davis has done the right thing. All respect her right to not comply with the unjust law, but some think she should have allowed her deputies to sign the license if they could do so without compromising their beliefs, or she should have simply resigned. Others think she is right to not only refuse to cooperate in an unjust law, but to also obstruct the process of its implementation at her level as a means to draw attention to the attack on religious freedom.
Others point out her supposed hypocrisy in being remarried four times and then standing up for the Christian definition of marriage. First, since most of those criticizing her on this point were celebrating the right of county clerks to violate the law by illegally issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples just a few months ago, they should really be more careful about raising the charge of hypocrisy.
As every Christian knows, it is not hypocritical to undergo an authentic conversion, as Ms. Davis apparently has, and look back at the errors of your own past life and denounce them as such. The God of infinite mercy forgives the repentant sinner. We shouldn’t tire of repeating this reality. And either way, it isn’t to us to judge about the state of one’s soul. We can affirm that Ms. Davis’s position on marriage is eminently worthy of support, and her past problems do not change that fact.
On the most superficial level, putting Ms. Davis in jail for violating a court order has a certain consistency to it, especially since she also had recourse to quit her job, which would have been a morally justified option.
But what next?
Will all faithful Christians have to quit their jobs in government? Because that is exactly where this is heading. And when the same injustices multiply post-Obergefell and creep into employment law, will all Christians be dismissed from their jobs if they fail to sign statements on “tolerance” required by the State? Have we already forgotten the battle for religious freedom in Indiana earlier this year?
Ms. Davis may not be the perfect Christian, but which one of us is perfect? She has chosen this fight and has forced a conversation that this country needs to have. Her jailing is unjust not because the specific laws about obedience to court orders are themselves unjust, but because they have been employed to support a much higher and absolutely unjust ruling. The Supreme Court ruling is an abomination of the law in the eyes of God, and ignores the clear language of our Constitution and Bill of Rights—which until a short time ago upheld freedom of speech and exercise of religion.
When the highest authorities in the government flagrantly reject the law, why would they expect low level employees to obey the law?
We should consider the words of Archbishop Charles Chaput from a CNSNews.com interview in February of 2014, when he prophetically warned that religious freedom in the U.S. is “at risk,” and that “the more government mandates evil action, the more likely civil disobedience becomes.”
May God bless and protect Kim Davis, and may He use this battle to awaken Christians to the threats against them in this Culture of Death. The time has come for civil disobedience — it will not be easier next month or next year.
(This article has been changed to add Ms. Davis’ correct last name. Our apologies for any confusion.)