Kim Davis Should Resign

Kim Davis is the embattled clerk in Kentucky who is refusing to issue any marriage license so she won’t have to issue one to homosexuals. I am passionately committed to religious freedom and sympathetic to Davis’ predicament, but this is the wrong place for Christians to die on principle. If the culture eventually shuts down our schools and parachurch organizations, this case will be one of the reasons why.

Here are two reasons why Kim Davis should either issue marriage licenses to all who are legally allowed to obtain them or step aside for someone who will.

  1. She is damaging the larger cause. Have you noticed how the same media that scarcely mentions the confessed baby butchering in the Planned Parenthood videos has rediscovered its journalistic chops with the Kim Davis story? They realize they have a winner, a story that only metaphorically bleeds (contra Planned Parenthood) yet supports their narrative that Christians are hypocritical bigots who really, really don’t like nice people who happen to be gay.

Kim Davis comes off as hypocritical. She divorced multiple times yet wants to deny gay people from marrying even once. I realize that she divorced before she put her faith in Jesus, but marriage is a creation ordinance that applies to Christian and pagan alike. Even unregenerate Davis would have known that her divorces disrespected the institution of marriage. I don’t know whether she had biblical grounds for divorce, but the culture doesn’t care. The optics are bad. It’s hard to imagine a more unsympathetic figure for the cause of religious freedom.

Davis also is not a naïve victim. She ran for county clerk a year ago, when she knew the marriage issue was winding through the courts and there was a good chance that whoever won the election would be in this very situation. If she could not in good conscience issue marriage licenses, then she should not have run for office. Why work hard to get a job you know you won’t perform?

  1. She has an obligation to perform her duties as an agent of the state. Martin Luther taught that Christians belong to two kingdoms, a spiritual, heavenly kingdom ruled by the church and an earthly, physical kingdom ruled by the state. Luther said that Christians who are employed by the state must at times commit acts that would be wrong to do as individuals.

For instance, it is wrong to kill another person, but that is what a Christian executioner must do on behalf of the state. Luther said the Christian executioner will put the condemned person to death in a Christian way, with loving respect rather than from hateful revenge, but he will perform this role on behalf of the state. Luther realized that the only thing worse than a bad government was no government. Imagine the chaos when even government officials don’t obey the government (see Hillary’s emails).

No one should violate his conscience, even in government work. If a sergeant orders a soldier to massacre non-combatants, the right response is to resist. If a governmental role requires one to routinely violate her conscience, the best response is to resign.

I’m saying that a government official is in a different position than a school or business owner. We who want the freedom not to violate our consciences in our professions should make a distinction between private enterprise and government work. Christians who defend Kim Davis’ right not to do her job should not be surprised when such intransigence is used to take away ours. The culture is coming for us. Let’s not make it easy for them.

Picture by David. Sourced via Flickr. Used by permission.

13 Comments

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  1. I’m of two minds on this. Yes, she has an obligation to do her job but that argument can lead people to inaction over immoral things. I believe that she must follow her conscience on this. If she believes that the state has overstepped its God-give boundary by redefining the creation ordinance of marriage, they she is right to refuse to recognize that. Should she resign over it? That would be the easiest way to resolve the tension but would it be best? I’m not sure. Let them fire her. Let them jail her. Let them do what they will. If she’s willing to ensure whatever they do with her, it shows the lengths they will go to defend their over-reach.

    This morning Molly Hemingway shared a link to a series of tweets by Dan McLaughlin, an editor at Red State, who pretty much blamed the SCOTUS for creating Kim Davis. In Obergefell the SCOTUS disregarded the rule of law and now the general population is catching on, McLaughlin said. He believes she’s wrong but finds the fault with the way the political elite flaunt the will of the people. Here’s the storify link:

    https://storify.com/baseballcrank/how-the-supreme-court-created-kim-davis

  2. Agreed that she should follow her conscience and accept the consequences whatever they are. She should also recognize what effect her actions are having on the religious freedom of all Christians. She’s not helping.

  3. Do you think so? By taking a stand on what she perceives to be a religious freedom issue she jeopardizes religious freedom? It seems to me that continual capitulation would erode religious freedom. Well, it is being eroded anyway but you know what I mean.

  4. Good comments – sister Davis can take any stand she wants, but as a public official, her duty is to obey the law of the land – if she cannot, she should resign – IMO this would send a better, more effective message than trying to have her cake and eat it too – it comes off inauthentic, disingenuous and sinfully stubborn…

  5. Now what? She is in jail because she refuses to issue licenses. I did not hear that they gave her an option of stepping down (I could be wrong). Where is this going to go? She is not the only clerk not issuing licenses, there are judges not performing same sex weddings & have stopped performing all weddings.

    I would suspect that there are other courts (clerks & judges) in the county or surrounding counties that will issue licenses & marriages … why can they go there? I know, a softball question!

  6. I have mixed feelings. I appreciate the fact that someone is wiling to take a stand for truth. However, I do not think Kim Davis is the best individual to be carrying the banner for marital bliss. Mikes’s point that she is viewed as hypocritical is exactly right. Homosexual couples could make the argument that they understand the concept of marital commitment. Davis, having been divorced several times, would have difficulty making the same argument.

  7. Thank you Mike for this very well thought out and well documented and articulated response to the latest hot topic regarding this issue. Just yesterday I passed along on my facebook page my view of Davis’ predicament and noted that I too disagreed with her refusal to do the job she was elected to do. As a former City of Grand Rapids employee, I had many weekly tasks that were part of my regular duties as the Administrative Assistant to the City Clerk that I did not necessarily enjoy or agree with as a Christian (such as typing meeting minutes of extremely liberal elected officials regarding topics I strongly disagreed with, but doing it with the right attitude and to make the minutes read well and make the officials look “intelligent and articulate” in their statements, even though the material I had to work with was anything but that. I did my job with a duty to my position and to my Lord because everyone I worked with knew I was a Christian and looked at me to be “different”. I completely believe that if it comes to a point that you cannot do your job and serve the Lord with all your heart while doing it, it may be time to move on to a different job! Hence, the situation with Kim Davis. When the verdict came down that she would be required by law to issue licenses that she felt violated her religious freedom, that was the time to administer her resignation. I am also in total agreement with you that we as Christians as called to uphold the law, especially in our jobs. After all, police officers may not agree with legalized marijuana, but they cannot ignore a person’s right if they have the legal documentation to have possesion of it and are smoking it in a legal area just because they are a Christian. It is their duty to follow the law!! Some Christians disagree with me and call on the separation of Church and State in the Constitution and in the Bible that Jesus was only referring to paying taxes due to Caesar, not obeying the law. However, paying taxes was part of the law in Jesus’ day and he obeyed it. You never saw Jesus disobey the laws set by the Romans!! He wasn’t put to death as a lawbreaker, but an innocent man. Anyway, I digress!! Thank you again Mike for putting into words a topic I tried to cover yesterday but had many Christian friends disagree with me stating that it was Kim Davis’ religious freedom to do what she was doing. In my personal opinion, it is a disservice to the rest of us Christians as we try to be an example and reach out to those living the gay lifestyle and witness to them and try to show them the true way to the Kingdom.

  8. This blog was spot-on. I do respect those who take a stand for Christ, and I am disgusted by what the SCOTUS and our president go ahead and do without our approval, but Kim Davis had other options in this situation. As Christians, we shouldn’t go looking for situations that put us in people’s faces. Especially as public servants.

    I don’t believe any good is happening at a bar at 2 AM, but that is the right of those who choose it. I’m not going to go get a job bartending, and refuse to serve people to make a point. That would just be shooting myself in the foot. We still have some options that make us look good as Christ’s followers. Let’s use them while we can.

  9. Could you elaborate more on how Smith is affecting religious freedom for others in negative ways?

  10. I remember 4 men in 8th BC Israel who refuse to violate their consciences because of their relationship with God. These men were appointed government officials who stood up for God and his laws against the King’s laws which meant they would face death. Whether or not we as Americans have protection in the constitution, we need to stand up for Christ as Daniel, Hanania, Mishael and Azariah, otherwise known as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did in Babylon. These men didn’t quite their jobs they chose to stand for God.

    Kim Davis may not be the ideal person to stand up for God’s truth but she is just the same. I hope when the time comes regardless of my past (or yours), which is covered by the blood of Christ, I/you will be able to take that stand.

  11. Jacqueline Townsend Hayes and September 24, 2015 — 1:13 am

    Kim Davis must do her job or resign. I worked a few jobs and I had to follow the orders by my superiors or resign. How is it she feels she gets a pass because of her religious background. Her conduct is positively outrageous. She was hired during a time when this was being decided upon, she had to know it was possible. Her superiors have the right to make her due her job or remove her from this position.

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