Needed: A Million More Like Kim Davis
Like the Union troops hunkered at Fort Sumter, faithful Christians are now exiles in our own land, and under fire. Anti-Christian “progressives” have demanded unconditional surrender, and federal Judge David Bunning has fired the first mortar round.
Even as I write, a soft-spoken and well-respected civil servant of 27 years sits languishing, like some violent criminal, in a Kentucky prison. She is confined, indefinitely and without benefit of a trial, to a tiny cell. She is a political prisoner in a moral and spiritual war.
Like so many accidental civil-rights heroes that came before her, Davis, a Democrat who was overwhelmingly elected as Rowan County clerk, has peacefully and graciously refused to violate her Christian conscience. She has declined to sign her name to marriage certificates that defy God’s natural design for the timeless institution and has requested, as a simple accommodation, that either her name be removed from the marriage licenses, thus eliminating her personalized acquiescence to the Supreme Court’s novel attempt to usurp God’s authority and redefine this cornerstone institution, or, alternatively, “to allow licenses to be issued by the chief executive of Rowan County or [by] developing a statewide, online marriage license process.”
That’s it. Simple, reasonable and fair. Our nation has a rich history of respecting the rights of conscientious objectors, and Kim Davis, like tens-of-millions of her brothers and sisters in Christ, is exactly that.
“There is absolutely no reason that this case has gone so far without reasonable people respecting and accommodating Kim Davis’ First Amendment rights,” said Mat Staver, Davis’ attorney and head of Liberty Counsel, a Christian civil rights organization.
“This is a heaven or hell issue for me and for every other Christian that believes,” Davis said on Thursday. “This is a fight worth fighting. … I’ve weighed the cost and I’m prepared to go to jail.”
And so she has.
Reasonable people can disagree on the propriety of Kim’s actions. Some say that she was right in refusing to violate her conscience by signing her name to a legal document that presumes to solemnize that which God condemns. Still others say that she needs to either “do her job” or resign — that she took an oath and is violating that oath.
Nevertheless, all reasonable people must agree that imprisoning this innocent woman for her conscience is both an outrage and gross violation of her constitutional liberties. Even the ACLU thought it was a bridge too far. The fact remains that people don’t shed their First Amendment rights when they become government employees. Kim Davis swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution, the Kentucky Constitution and the laws of the Bluegrass state. When she took her oath, United States law, the Kentucky Constitution and the Kentucky Revised Statutes all reflected the millennia-old definition of natural marriage: “Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky.”
The Kentucky Legislature has yet to change this law one jot or tittle. Instead, five lawyers in Washington, D.C., issued an opinion presuming to move the goalposts mid-game. Court opinions are not “the law of the land.” Judges don’t make laws — only the legislature can do that. Kim Davis is not defying the law; she is upholding it as codified.
Accordingly, she has repeatedly asked, “Under what law am I authorized to issue homosexual couples a marriage license?”
Neither Judge Bunning nor anyone else can answer.
Because no such law exists.
In a statement on Friday, Mat Staver made the same point: “Not long ago 75 percent of Kentuckians passed the state’s marriage amendment. Today a Christian is imprisoned for believing what the voters affirmed: marriage is between a man and a woman. Five people on the Supreme Court imposed their will on 320 million Americans and unleashed a torrent of assaults against people of faith. Kim Davis is the first victim of this tragedy.”
Indeed, many scoffed at our warnings that Christians will someday be forced to either endorse “gay marriage” or go to jail. Well, scoff no more. That day has arrived. In just two months since the high court’s disgraceful Obergefell v. Hodges opinion, the full-on criminalization of Christianity has begun. You must either bow a knee before the false gods of same-sex “marriage” and “gay rights,” or face the fiery “contempt of court” furnace. We have moved from anecdotal instances of anti-Christian discrimination to systemic religious persecution.
Here’s the formula: 1) The government affirms homosexual behavior, abortion or some other institutionalized sin via judicial fiat; 2) Christian objects, refuses to disobey God and requests a reasonable religious accommodation; 3) The government denies the accommodation and jails the Christian for “contempt of court.”
You’re going to hear that term “contempt of court” a lot in coming days. It’s the straw man charge that will be utilized to imprison not just Christian public officials, but private citizens as well. Christian business owners, lawyers, private sector employees, parents of school-age children who don’t want their children indoctrinated by sexual anarchist propaganda and many others will be held in contempt of court, denied due process and incarcerated indefinitely.
The persecution isn’t coming. The persecution has arrived.
And that’s what it means to be a Christ follower.
Pray for a million more like Kim Davis. Is she perfect? Certainly not. None of us is. Indeed, before Kim’s transformational Christian re-birth four years ago, she was thrice divorced and “played in the devil’s playground” for much of her life.
She was lost. But now she’s found. God has an amazing way of taking empty, broken vessels, rebuilding their lives and then using them mightily for His glory and honor.
Stand, like Kim, fearlessly, lovingly and boldly for Christ, declaring, as did the apostles when faced with a similar decision, “We must obey God rather than any human authority” (see Acts 5:29).
Indeed, as the Bible’s Daniel, a “public official,” boldly refused to disobey God and commit sin by worshiping a pagan king, so too has Kim Davis honored our Lord by refusing to bow before a pagan court – by refusing to call evil good and good evil.
They wanted to make an example of her. Instead, they made a martyr of her.
And awakened a sleeping giant in the process.
Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war. (Follow Matt on Twitter: @jmattbarber).