Friday, September 4, 2015

Glass houses and the rule of law

It's getting political around here lately, I know. I promise, once I have a computer with a working webcam again, I will return (mostly) to your regularly scheduled baby cuteness, crafting explorations, and assorted Nolan family updates.

But for today... Kim Davis. The court official from Kentucky who closed her office and refused to issue *any* marriage licenses rather than comply with a Supreme Court ruling and multiple orders from lower circuit court judges to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Mrs. Davis has been incarcerated on a charge of contempt of court. Her lawyer has recently made a statement (here) that should have anyone with a working brain up in arms. Short version? She's being compared to a Jewish person living in Nazi Germany.

Just think about that for a sec. She is being held up as a modern day martyr, painted as a victim on a level with people who were murdered on a mass scale, because she refused to do her job. Her job which, so far as I can tell, does not require her to sin.

I was waiting on a friend's okay to share a response they had read, because it was simpler and better stated  than anything I'm going to come up with, but I don't feel I can wait on this any further, so I'll just make my own. Fair warning, I am LIVID over this. I usually prefer to let the political stuff percolate for a bit longer before I open my mouth, just because it takes me that bit of extra time to order my thoughts well, but this directly insults and minimizes the history of four people whom I love fiercely, and I cannot be silent.

If anything had the power to make me ashamed to call myself a Christian, it would be self-aggrandizing bigotry like this. She is not a martyr, people, and shaking our heads and turning an embarrassed eye while she allows her attorney to present her as one is no different from openly supporting her rhetoric. Let's not forget that professing a belief in God as described in the Christian Bible is damn near an unwritten prerequisite for even running for an elected office in this country, let alone winning one, certainly anything on a state or national level. The idea that Christians are being "persecuted" in this country would be laughable if it weren't so disgusting, we have never been so free and protected as we are here and now. It is that very freedom which allows people like Ms. Davis to think that their religious beliefs give them the right to ignore the law.

Kim Davis is not being persecuted for her faith. She is an elected public official who refused, in the face of a lawful order from the highest court of the land, to do her job. She closed down her office, sent all her subordinates home (forcing them to flout the law as well, whether or not they actually support her views), and refused to issue any marriage licenses at all, rather than issue them to same-sex couples in compliance with the law of the land. And yes, before anyone says it, I'm aware that Kentucky law still defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Federal law trumps state, and the Supreme Court has come down on the side of gays having the same right to marry as everyone else. Render unto Caesar, anyone?

 "But don't you believe that Christians have a duty to protest against laws they feel compel them to sin?"
(Because someone's going to ask, so here we go.) Of course I do. If the law of the land required me to commit murder, I would refuse. If it required me to submit sexually to any man who took a fancy to my body, I would refuse. If it required me to give over my minor children to the total control of the state, I would refuse. (Oh, wait... home school... so, already doing that.) I absolutely believe that people of good conscience and sound mind have a moral obligation to assess the laws as written and enforced, and respond accordingly. And by "respond accordingly", I mean don't put yourself in a position where a compromising law would apply to you. For example, the Amish do not run for public office, as doing so would require the use of modern technologies which violate their beliefs, and if elected, would possibly involve them in military activities. For avowed pacifists, that's a problem, so they just don't put themselves in that position.

If you believe that same-sex relationships violate God's law (I don't, and I can argue the relevant Scripture as well as anyone), then it's really, really simple to avoid that sin. Don't be in a same-sex relationship. Last time I checked, the law does not require Mrs. Davis to join in marriage with a woman, have sex with a woman, shake hands with a woman, or even trade air-kisses. It requires her to issue marriage licenses to couples who meet the requirements of law to wed, which, following the recent Supreme Court decision, same-sex couples most assuredly do. The law says not one word about the issuing of a marriage license being indicative of the court officer's *support* of that marriage, and in fact we expect our elected officials to do their jobs as required by the law, irrespective of their personal beliefs. Therefore, even by her own definition, her job does not require her to sin, it just plain doesn't.

One further point... and I'd say this falls squarely under getting the plank out of one's own eye before remarking on the speck in another's... Mrs. Davis? Is on her fourth marriage. Her **fourth**. The same Scriptures which she uses to support her defiance of the Supreme Court ruling also mention that divorce is unholy except under very specific circumstances, and that remarrying after divorce is committing the sin of adultery. I fail to see how her fourth marriage, by literalist reading of Scripture, is any less problematic than the same-sex marriages the law now requires her to license.

From where I stand, the walls of Mrs. Davis' house are formed from a perilous amount of glass, and she's the only one throwing stones.


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