I don’t know precisely why I have been captivated, but the story around Kim Davis has just really captured my attention. Davis is a court clerk in Rowan County Kentucky who has maintained her religious beliefs prevent her from issuing marriage licenses in Kentucky and specifically to same-sex couples.
Apparently, she was just doing the job until the August 12 SCOTUS ruling that changed the law to include licenses for couples pursuing a same-sex union. Mrs. Davis then ceases the issuance of all marriage licenses in that county, which I don’t quite get. A judge found her in contempt and sent her to jail.
Let me just diffuse any anxiety here by saying that I believe Kim Davis to be neither hero nor villain in that I have just been trying to figure out all that is happening. I firmly believe that civil rights of all people need to be protected. And I do not believe the violation of law in denying anyone what their due process and civil rights would allow is appropriate in this case or any other. Nevertheless, Mrs. Davis found herself in quite a quandary. After years on the job, the law changed. Then she found herself in a real dilemma. The law collided with her personal beliefs. She has been both vilified and championed depending on whose side you’re on concerning this issue. At last report, the courts have since gotten things back into compliance in Rowan Country which is a good thing, but what a dilemma!
Can you imagine waking up one day and facing this reality? Either resign, obey a law that you don’t believe is moral or scriptural, or stand up for what you believe and go to jail? Likewise, can you imagine having the legal right to go get a marriage license and be denied your legal right? The most interesting part of this story that has captivated me is simply this: she was willing to be imprisoned for what she believed. She went to jail rather than comply with the law because of what she believes to be God’s moral position as she understands the Bible. Of course, some are contending that she doesn’t really believe, is a hypocrite, etc.
But wait, I can’t help but be reminded of the scores of others who had been imprisoned for what they believed over the ages. I wonder if this is a preview of things to come for those who may have held a religious belief that has been accepted and considered normal for centuries only to have the laws changed by cultural pressures and people find themselves on the outside looking in, or for those who have new found legal freedom who still find roadblocks because of conscientious objectors? May God give grace to all as we continue to have conversations of love, compassion, fairness, and accountability and lead us to a place of truth and understanding.