Much has been made of Kim Davis’s refusal to issue licenses in Kentucky and the presidential candidates behavior. Let’s set aside Huckabee and Cruz for a moment and think about whether Kim Davis is doing the right thing.
From a Christian ethics standpoint, there are three different options here:
1. She resigns. This keeps her from having to compromise her sincerely held beliefs and keeps her from disobeying the governments orders. Its the cleanest option and is favored by wimps everywhere.
2. She refuses to resign and continues to defy the government’s order. This is the one that makes everyone uncomfortable for reasons I’ll get to later.
3. She issues licenses or allows her clerks to do so. This view would concede that her duty as an elected official is to obey the orders of the federal courts above all else.
Many approaching this issue with a Christian worldview will go with number one. They will say that she is indeed suffering by giving up her salary and position, and attribute righteousness to that suffering. Its much like the “turn the other check” virtue, they say. They will also point to verses like those in Matthew 6 where Jesus admonishes us to not do our good deeds publicly, but to keep things quiet. Of course, doing good deeds for the purpose of earthly recognition is sinful. I’m not ready to say that Kim Davis is doing that.
Fewer Christians will take number 3. Those who do will point to Romans 13 regarding the authority given by God to the civil authority or they will make an ethical argument that she is bound to the job the voters elected her to do.
I however, am going to point to number 2 with a caveat. I think Kim Davis should only refuse to issue marriage licenses to those that fall outside of current Kentucky statutes.
There’s nothing illegal or unethical about issuing marriage licenses that comply with Kentucky law and Natural Law.
It is, however, from a Christian perspective, illegal and unethical to issue marriage licenses in compliance with the Supreme Court’s (well really Anthony Kennedy’s) opinion. Here’s why:
First, God’s word prohibits it and it harms your neighbor. As a Christian, called to love your neighbor and act justly, you would be harming those same sex couples by giving them a marriage license. Kennedy, in his DOMA decision, stated something like: ‘The only reason to deny same gender marriage benefits is to discriminate against a politically unpopular group’. He was wrong on two counts. First, there’s no group more politically popular than the LGBTQ crowd. At a puny percentage of the population, I dare Kennedy to point to a more successful political constituency. Second, if you see the issue of sexual orientation in light of behavior that is harmful to the individuals engaged in it and not as an immutable personal attribute, you have a different reason to deny marriage benefits/status: namely, their well-being.
[If you have been convinced that sexual orientation is a personal attribute worthy of comparison to “race”, gender, etc. Please read or listen to Rosaria Butterfield’s first-hand account of her conversion from a lesbian activist and leftist professor to the wife of a Reformed Presbyterian pastor. Thousands like her – and of course the identical twin studies and The Bible should leave no doubt that sexual orientation is a behavior choice.]
Second, giving the opinion of the Supreme Court (really just Anthony Kennedy) the force of law over a subject to which it has no jurisdiction is itself unlawful. What will reign in the judicial lawlessness we have seen in this country for more than 60 years? It is this – ignoring their dictates except where they are constitutionally applied. Marriage is a 10th amendment issue. Does Kim Davis not have a moral duty to uphold and defend the constitution of the United States?
I do not accept that Christians should simply get out of the way of judicial tyranny and resign from public office so that a bunch of leftists can trample on the constitution and callously permit their fellow LGTBQ citizens to harm themselves. No, its not the easy path, but its the right one.