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-Kentucky: Christian County Clerk in Jail for Civil Disobedience

by Dr. D ~ September 3rd, 2015

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A county clerk in Kentucky was jailed for refusing to issue licenses for same-sex marriages . Here’s the story from USA Today:

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, whom U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning has placed in the custody of U.S. marshals ready to take her to Boyd County jail, said through her lawyers that she will not authorize any of her employees to issue licenses in her absence.

"My conscience will not allow it," Davis said earlier to Bunning. "God’s moral law convicts me and conflicts with my duties."  …

Kim Davis’ lawyers called into question whether any licenses issued in her absence would be legal.  …

"Her good-faith belief is simply not a viable defense," said (Judge)Bunning, who said he also has deeply held religious beliefs. "Oaths mean things."  …

"It’s very unjust," said the Rev. Randy Smith of Morehead, Ky., where Kim Davis’ office is located. "Religious liberty has been trampled on today."

<Read the whole article>

Response: So it begins, Christians being jailed for civil disobedience; that is, for refusing to compromise their beliefs and faith. Many will say that she was incarcerated for failing to do her job and upholding the law. Some Christian even suggest that it would have been better for her to resign since she can no longer carry out all of her sworn duties.

The change in government policy towards gay marriage will bring about all sorts of unforeseen problems for Christians who want to live their lives according to their beliefs and religious principles. In this case, country clerks have taken an oath of office to support the laws of the land. However, Kim Davis has also committed her life to Christ and Biblical teachings creating a conflict.

In the future, some government offices and positions may be off-limits for Christians who want to live according to their principles and religious beliefs. I wonder if the founders who wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights ever considered this possibility?

We do have examples from our past where Christians refused to abide by the laws of the land that conflicted with their religious convictions. First the Christian abolitionists who operated the underground railroad and later Christian leaders in the civil rights movement who contended against the ‘Jim Crow’ laws. In those cases, the Christians involved could always appeal to a higher Biblical morality in their efforts which was accepted and supported by a large number of folks in the general American culture.

The current conflict is far different. Many in the current American culture consider the Christians who refuse to change and go along with a progressive understanding of sexual morality as judgmental ‘bigots’ and ‘discriminators.’ Christians are still appealing to a higher Biblical morality, but in this generation the culture is not as sympathetic to an appeal to Biblical authority and many in America are far more secular than they were in the past.

Unfortunately for conservative Christians, the First Amendment may not protect them in the future. Certain offices, businesses, and occupations may no longer be viable options for Christians who want to live according to their principles without compromise.

Look for more instances of Christian civil disobedience in the near future. The courts are going to be busy before this is resolved. Unfortunately the First Amendment and freedom of religion may be compromised and reinterpreted in the process.               *Top

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3 Responses to -Kentucky: Christian County Clerk in Jail for Civil Disobedience

  1. Brian

    Amnesty International has been at the forefront of opposition to any discrimination against Muslims for their beliefs in any western country.

    See, for example

    https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2012/04/muslims-discriminated-against-demonstrating-their-faith/

    http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/press-releases/surveillance-of-american-muslims-underscores-lack-of-safeguards-0

    If you search the Amnesty International website for articles and posts about anti-Islamic discrimination in the US, you get literally hundreds of hits.

    But where is Amnesty International when a Christian woman is put in jail for abiding by the tenants of her faith? The silence is deafening.

  2. Dr. D

    Brian, If you review any of the many responses in America to the jailing, the tide of opinion is clearly against the Christian. This is a portent for the future. Even among Christians there is some resigned sentiment that the conflicting situation that the clerk is in is a hopeless ‘no win’ situation that cannot be resolved. Leaving the Christian clerk ultimately with only two actions left- to compromise her convictions or resign. That is where we now seem to be in America? A third unsatisfactory option would be to wait and be fired.

  3. Brian

    Keep in mind that, as I have pointed out previously, the US Constitution has a provision that no religious test will ever be required to occupy a government office. The reason for this clause was that, in colonial America, the empowered groups (i.e. the Anglicans who are now called Episcopalians) required you to swear oaths or otherwise show that you were an Anglican before one could hold government office. The goal of these tests was to insure that no “dissenters” held public office in the colonies. “Dissenters” basically meant Baptists in Colonial America.

    Now, all Evangelical protestants, most of whom sprang for Baptist roots, are facing similar religious tests to hold public office. Right now, it is limited to clerks and judges. I predict the next step will be to expand the religious tests to other offices and civil service positions.

    Oddly, I do not think anyone in the public debate on this issue has referenced or remarked upon the religious test clause of the Constitution.

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