In the past couple of weeks, the news has been filled with the saga of the county clerk who is refusing to issue marriage licenses in light of the Supreme Court ruling allowing same sex couples to marry in all 50 states. I didn’t really have an opinion on the ruling; I just wanted both sides to be calmer and more charitable. I didn’t want to add to the noise.
Most places complied with the ruling. But one clerk in eastern Kentucky refused to grant marriage licenses to gay couples, then all couples, and forbid her deputy clerks from doing so. As an elected official she can’t be fired; she must be impeached, except the Kentucky legislature doesn’t meet again for several months. So she was held in contempt of court, thrown in prison for a few days, and the case still hangs in limbo as everyone waits to see if she’ll defy the order again. She’s become a darling of the right-wing. They have cast her up as a martyr for the faith, refusing to ignore her belief that gay marriage is wrong. This is Christian persecution, they say. What it really is though is a piss-poor example of Christianity.
This is what people think of when they think of Christians: conservative politicians using Pentecostal/fundamentalist exegesis to assert political power under the guise of morality. They think of judgmental hypocrites. They think of angry protesters, angry not at the true injustices of the world, but angry at the lack of theocracy. This issue with marriage licenses is not standing up for the truth; it is hiding the truth by misrepresenting Christianity so horribly.
There are times when one should stand up, make a fuss, fight against evil. And I’m willing to believe that Kim Davis does feel genuine conviction against condoning gay marriages. But when one’s job conflicts with one’s morals, one should quit. Quit loudly, let it be known that the position is morally corrupt, but do not expect to be paid while not doing the job. I would not take a job in the infantry but refuse to shoot a gun. I would not take a job as an imam but refuse to teach the Quran. It is unfortunate that the job changed around her, but the right thing to do would have been to quit, to sacrifice employment for the sake of one’s morals. I could understand and respect that.
Instead, she held on to her job but refused to do it. She denied legal rights to several couples and threatened those who worked below her. Before this ruling, I’m sure her name was on marriage licenses of atheists, second marriages, couples lacking any discernment or understanding. Most people are focusing on Davis’ own four marriages and calling her a hypocrite. Again, I’m willing to give her the benefit here; a person is allowed to grow and change their beliefs. I think the hypocrisy comes into play with granting licenses to straight couples that contradict Christian understanding of marriage while denying gay couples. I think hypocrisy comes into play with her failing to do her civic-bound duty and wanted to remain paid. This is just creating noise and being a bad representation of Christ.