In Defense of Kim Davis and the Rule of Law

Some have likened Kim Davis to Rosa Parks. Others, to the Devil.

You will recall that Davis came under fire for putting her newfound faith into practice. Her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples has prompted foes to bring out the long knives.

The furor surrounding Kim Davis’ refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses overlooks the obvious: Kim Davis is being faithful to both her conscience and the rule of law.


How can that be, you ask? Let me explain.

Conscientious Objector

The Left cherishes civil disobedience when it is for a politically correct cause, but not when Christians stand up for traditional values and faithful adherence to biblical teaching or when they seek to defend the original intent of the Constitution.

Davis, a fairly recent convert to Christianity, cited her allegiance to her Christian faith as the overriding factor in her decision not to issue same-sex marriage licenses in Rowan County, KY.

As reported by Eagle Rising,

Davis “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.’”

In other words, Davis does not want to be forced to affirm an action which she regards as illegal and immoral. At the time, any marriage licenses issued in her county would bear her name. This is very similar to the government forcing pastors and priests, rabbis and imams, to perform same-sex marriage contrary to their theological beliefs.

(An often overlooked aspect of compelling people to attend or ministers to perform a same-sex wedding is that one of the questions asked is, ‘Does anyone object to this wedding?’” Silence is assent.)

Bryan Fischer, from the American Family Association, explained why Christians should decline a gay wedding invitation: “For exactly the same reason a Christian baker should politely decline to bake a gay wedding cake. It sends a message of affirmation for something God has plainly condemned.” He added, “How much more the pastor sanctioning ungodly behavior?” Or, for that matter, government officials putting the imprimatur of the government on that behavior.

Davis was jailed for six days for doing the right thing. Since then, an accommodation was made: “the Office of County Clerk of Rowan County no longer puts Davis’s name on marriage licenses but instead uses ‘Rowan County’ where her name is supposed to go.”

Davis’s attorney, Matthew Staver of Liberty Counsel, issued the following statement: “We are pleased that Kim Davis has been ordered released. She can never recover the past six days of her life spent in an isolated jail cell, where she was incarcerated like a common criminal because of her conscience and religious convictions. She is now free to return to her family, her coworkers and the office where she has faithfully served for the past 27 years. We will continue to assist Kim and pursue the multiple appeals she has filed.”

Just because it’s “the law” does not make it either constitutional or right!

Allegiance to the Rule of Law

Not only is Davis following her conscience, she is also obeying the rule of law. As noted by Godfather Politics, “Davis took an oath to uphold the Kentucky Constitution which forbids same-sex marriage.”

That’s right, the current Kentucky Constitution forbids same-sex marriage.

As Eagle Rising reports:

“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 left-wing extremist 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.”

Staver added: “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.”

Seventy five percent of Kentucky voters approved Kentucky Constitutional Amendment 1, which explicitly states:

“Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”

Constitutional scholar Mark Levin asked an important question: “How can it possibly be that the law of the land that these judges swear to uphold, the law of the land under which they have whatever authority they have, can be abused by them and then we are forced to live by the law of the judiciary?”

Levin added, “The court had no business whatsoever getting into this issue of same-sex marriage. NONE!” The problem, according to Levin, is not with Ms. Davis, or the State Constitution, or the Federal Constitution. Rather, the problem stems from “five justices who acted outside the law, who violated the law, and now we have people saying ‘follow the rule of law.’”

Remember: judicial activism is, by definition, unconstitutional.

Opposition to Unjust Laws

Our Declaration of Independence clearly reserves for the People the right to oppose unjust laws and, even, an unjust government. It reads, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”

Godfather Politics provides “a biblical case” for a Christian opposing particular government edicts, using biblical examples, and examples from recent American judicial cases, to make its case.

  • Peter and the other disciples were imprisoned for preaching in the name of Jesus, contrary to civil law.
  • Hebrew midwives spared newborn males contrary to the edict of the Pharaoh.
  • Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed‑nego all forsook civil laws which were contrary to God’s law – at pain of death.
  • Justin Martyr and other second-century Christians risked execution rather than worship false gods commanded by the Emperor.
  • Judge Randall J. Hekman refused to permit a thirteen-year-old girl to get an abortion.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is rightly renowned as a hero for his opposition to the Nazi regime and its usurpation of the German church and nation. He said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

The United States judiciary is increasingly acting in a tyrannical fashion, abrogating to itself constitutional prerogatives given only to the legislative branch. It is making law to achieve politically correct outcomes. When it does so, it’s rulings are themselves unconstitutional.

We are urged by World, “Even if you think Davis is wrong (I don’t), she is following her conscience before her God and that is all God requires in debatable matters: “Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:5).”

The writer adds: “Kim Davis evidently reasons from the civil disobedience of Peter and John, who ‘greatly annoyed’ (Acts 4:2) the powers that be to the point of getting themselves locked up. Upon release from jail they were warned by the judge (a striking parallel with Judge Bunning and the Davis case) not to violate law again, and they replied, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard’ (verses 19-20).”

Hypocrisy on the Left

The Left is blatantly hypocritical on these clear-cut issues. They condemn behaviors by others that they extol in themselves. Political correctness is the dividing line in all these cases.

Hypocrisy extends to the White House and Justice Department. “President Obama who refused to enforce the Federal Defense of Marriage Act because he thought it was unconstitutional.”

Texas Senator Ted Cruz asks: “Where is the call for the Mayor of San Francisco to resign for creating a sanctuary city resulting in the murder of American citizens by criminal illegal aliens welcomed by his lawlessness? Where is the call for Obama to resign after 6½ years of ignoring and defying our immigration laws, our welfare reform laws, even his own Obamacare? When the Mayor of San Francisco resigns, when President Obama resigns then we can talk about Kim Davis. But for every talking head who goes on TV and says this one county clerk in Kentucky is a threat to our liberty, what they are saying makes no sense.”

Victor David Hanson notes, “Hundreds of liberal sanctuary cities have announced that federal immigration law does not apply to them. That scary, neo-Confederate idea of legal nullification was sanctioned by the Obama administration – in a way it never would have been if a city had suspended the Endangered Species Act, emissions standards, or gun-control legislation.”

Godfather Politics also addressed this blatant hypocrisy:

“Davis’s arrest was met with cheers by same-sex marriage advocates who for some reason did not demand imprisonment of officials who lawlessly issued gay marriage licenses in clear contravention of state and federal laws. Take, for example, Democrat  who is currently the California lieutenant governor. Back in 2004, when gay marriage was banned under California state law, Newsom openly defied the law and used his power as the mayor of San Francisco to force taxpayer-funded government clerks to issue gay marriage licenses.”

“More than 3000 same-sex couples violated the law, and not one of them was fined or went to prison. This says nothing of the clerks who issued them marriage licenses.”

“Why wasn’t anything done to Tonya Parker, a black, openly lesbian Texas judge who refused ‘to conduct straight-couple marriage ceremonies in her state until same-sex couples can wed?’”

Davis is Not Alone

In the Old Testament, Elijah discovered that he was not alone – there were 7,000 other people who had refused to worship false idols. So, too, Kim Davis is not alone in standing up for truth and justice.

CNS News reported: “The belief of the Kentucky County Clerk, Ms. Davis, that the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell interpreting the Constitution as mandating the legalization of same-sex marriage in all American states is an egregious error and distortion of the Constitution is a belief that many other thoughtful persons share.  Her view that the federal government must defer to the states regarding the regulation of marriage is one that has very deep historical, legal, and practical roots.  Ms. Davis certainly has a constitutional right to express those views.  Although those views may irritate Judge Bunning, he cannot jail her for holding or expressing those views.”

In North Carolina, “More than 30 North Carolina magistrates so far have refused to perform weddings since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages in all 50 states.”

Moreover, “In Oregon, Judge Vance Day has picked up the baton of resistance from Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis. While Davis sits in prison, Judge Day will continue the fight for both religious liberty and resistance to immorality. … The judge recently announced that he will not perform any same-sex marriage ceremonies. A spokesman for the judge said that ‘It’s an exercise of his religious freedom rights under the First Amendment.’”

Resign or Oppose?

For decades, the Left has sought to privatize religion in America, to remove it from the public square. They have falsely asserted a “wall of separation” between church and state and they have rewritten the First Amendment to uphold the concept of freedom from religion, not freedom of religion.

Bill Berkowitz accused Davis of conflating “her responsibilities as an elected official with her self-aggrandizing and idiosyncratic religious notions.” Funny, but those “idiosyncratic religious notions” were self-evident truths for centuries in America. Middle America still believes in them.

Time and time again, Christians – motivated by their faith – have spoken truth to power in the name of justice and freedom. Christians were at the forefront of the abolitionist movement. Christians led the Civil Rights Movement. Today, Christians are spearheading opposition to the countercultural values of the Sixties which have become enshrined in academia, the media, Hollywood, and the government, and they are resisting the unconstitutional, coercive efforts of those in authority who would subvert freedom and the rule of law.

Some argue that Davis is trying to force others to accept her beliefs, when, in reality, it is gay activists and their supporters who are seeking to force Christians (and others) to both accept and endorse the gay agenda, which includes normalization of the gay lifestyle and gay marriage. In reality, the progressively left-wing culture is forcing its beliefs on Christians.

Contrary to assertions by the Left, the Constitution is compatible with biblical precepts because the Bible informed the worldview of the Framers.

Regarding Davis, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said, “Great respect, it seems to me, has to be given to people who resign rather than do something they view as morally wrong, in order to make a point. … the rule of law is that, as a public official in performing your legal duties, you are bound to enforce the law.”

Kennedy ignores reality: If all the godly people resign from public office, that would leave only ungodly people running the government.” Is that what we want?

American history is replete with examples of people standing up to illegal and immoral governance.

“Law of the Land”

In 1857, the Supreme Court ruled in the infamous Dred Scott case. Prior to and after its decision, abolitionists (led primarily by Christians) fought for the emancipation of slaves, rejecting this flagrantly immoral and unconstitutional decision. Likewise, Abraham Lincoln led the nation in opposition to this grievous injustice which was contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution.

Abraham Lincoln fought a war in defiance of Dred Scott. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were put in place specifically to overrule Dred Scott – which, liberals assert, was the “law of the land” at that time.

Are Roe v. Wade (abortion) and Obergefell v. Hodges (same-sex marriage) the “law of the land?” No! The Constitution is the law of the land (see Article VI of the Constitution).

Abraham Lincoln’s nuanced view of Supreme Court decisions is as incisive and salient now as then (emphasis added):

“[Supreme Court] decisions must be binding in any case upon the parties to a suit as to the object of that suit, while they are also entitled to very high respect and consideration in all parallel cases by all other departments of the Government. And while it is obviously possible that such decision may be erroneous in any given case, still the evil effect following it, being limited to that particular case, with the chance that it may be overruled and never become a precedent for other cases, can better be borne than could the evils of a different practice. At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the Government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their Government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.”

As Ramesh Ponnuru noted, “the Lincoln administration did not attempt to undo the Supreme Court’s decision with regard to the parties in Dred Scott v. Sandford but also refused to speak or act as though it were correct. It recognized that blacks could be citizens regardless of that decision, and granted passports and patents accordingly.”

The Cost of Discipleship

Isn’t it ironic? The very people most outraged at Davis, accusing her of breaking the law, are the very ones who threaten wanton violence in the name of justice.

As reported by The Federalist Papers, Davis “and her husband have been the target of threats by those supporting gay marriage, including threats of rape, murder and arson.” Vulgarity and death threats populate Twitter and Facebook.

Speaking of these bullies, Davis said, “They told my husband they were going to burn us down while we slept in our home. He’s been told that he would be beaten up and tied up and made to watch them rape me. I have been told that gays should kill me.”

The Family Research Council recently honored Davis with its “Cost of Discipleship Award.”

FRC noted, “Kim isn’t ordering her office to stop issuing marriage licenses permanently. She’s simply asked that, as a Christian with strong religious convictions, her name no longer appear on them. And for that, she was jailed.”

Tearfully, Kim explained, “I am here before you this morning with a seemingly impossible choice, which I do not wish on any of my fellow Americans. My conscience or my freedom.” She choice the former.

Those who love liberty and the rule of law, you should support Davis, who is championing both. If it weren’t for people like Kim Davis, America might still be divided by slave and free states.

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