The ruckus over Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis has lit up social media. She’s the latest victim in the federal government’s efforts that cause many Christians to take a stand for their religious freedom. The Supreme Court ruled that Davis must issue marriage licenses to homosexual and lesbian couples. In defiance of that order, Davis made it clear she would not issue said licenses. And away they carted her to jail until she “changes her mind.”
What if she never changes her mind? Does she remain in jail forever?
Many Christians on social media have argued that Davis made a critical error. They reason that instead of refusing to perform a function she religiously objected to, that she should have resigned her post as county clerk. She would have been able to excuse herself from violating her conscience and religious freedoms, and the clerks under her would have performed the tasks and that would be the end of it (except that the gay lobby would have another notch in its belt of victims). But Davis didn’t do that. She did something much more difficult. She held to her job, refused the court order, knowing what would happen to her, and went to jail. In my book, that makes her a hero, and here’s why: Kim Davis took a stand for morality and righteousness
She didn’t force anything on anyone, but stood her ground against what she was being forced to do in violation of her religious liberties:
She tried to follow scripture to the best of her understanding
She took the hard road
She counted the cost and was willing to pay the price
Now, if we look at what Christians in other countries are enduring, we can find a whole lot of heroes. And in America we can find them as well, even among the bakers and wedding planners who have been sued and forced to comply and even lose their businesses. But Kim Davis is different because she is a government employee. And while most government employees are abiding by the Supreme Court’s directive, she is not. She has recognized just what many Christians have been saying about this issue all along. When it comes to your First Amendment freedoms in the market place or the government hall, check your religious liberty at the door. Mike Huckabee is right. This is the criminalization of Christianity.
The political and social issues at hand are important ones. But my primary concern is whether or not Kim Davis did something biblical. The Bible is the supreme law book (so to speak). It’s authority is higher than the constitution, treaties, federal, and state laws. The Judge of the Universe ranks higher in authority than the Supreme Court. Therefore, there comes a time in a Christian’s life when he must make a choice. Does he obey the government or does he obey the scripture as best as he understands it? Choosing the scripture is the hard road in an ungodly society.
Is what Kim Davis did biblical? I believe it is. Since my first concern is with scripture, it is from scripture that I support this view.
If we want a biblical model for what Kim Davis did, then I’d go to the book of Daniel. Daniel’s three friends were officials of the government when Nebuchadnezzar ordered them to worship the golden statue. They didn’t ask to be removed from the government or quit their jobs. They simply refused to obey the legal but immoral order. Likewise, when it was law not to pray to God, Daniel didn’t ask to be excused from his prime ministership. He simply refused the legal but immoral order. In both cases God blessed the ones who disobeyed because they stayed true to their faith in God. In the book of Exodus, Pharaoh ordered the midwives to kill all Hebrew newborns that were male. The text says they feared God and refused to do so, even lying to pharaoh about why they didn’t do it. They didn’t stop being midwives or quit their jobs, or asked to be relieved or dismissed. They simply disobeyed the legal but immoral order. God’s response? He blessed the midwives with families of their own.
Now, my friend Tracy Dykes makes an important point about these examples. He said on my recent Facebook post, “I don’t disagree with you that Davis did the right thing, and that God honors those who refuse to compromise. However, these examples are not strictly analogous. In both cases (in Daniel and Exodus), those defying the order were not employees in a free society, but exiled slaves of a totalitarian regime/king. Neither the 3 youths in Daniel nor the women in Exodus had the option to ‘quit’. Resigning their post, so to speak, would have been no different than what they actually did … which is refuse to comply. It wouldn’t have mattered if Daniel’s friends asked to be removed from their post, because the command to worship the statue was for everyone everywhere. The issue was refusal to worship, not the disobedience of an employee. So I think Davis had a real choice that was not available to those in these biblical stories.”
Tracy’s point is exactly on target. But for me, the larger issue is the choice that Kim Davis made in how to take a stand. She intentionally went for the hard road. Daniel, his friends, and the midwives didn’t have the option to quit. So there’s was the hard road anyway. We admire these biblical characters because they took the hard road and faced possible execution. I think this is why we should admire Kim Davis. Kim had the choice to take the easy road, but she didn’t. She took the hard road to intentionally make her point: what she was required to do was participatory in sin, it was wrong, and against the God of creation. She choose to side with the Bible when she could have opted for the easy way out. And for that, I admire her.
Kim Davis is paying the price for staying true to her faith in Christ as best she understands it. I think she serves as a wake-up call to all Christians who compromise their faith when difficulty comes their way. What price are you willing to pay to follow Jesus in an anti-Christian environment? Are you willing to take the hard road, no matter what it costs? Isn’t this what Jesus warned us of when he talked about the hard times to come in the latter days?
Kim Davis has only been a Christian for four years and has found enough love for the Lord to suffer for his sake. In my book, that makes her a hero.
What about us?