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Kim Davis and Faith in the Workplace
Kim Davis, the court clerk in Kentucky who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples is going to jail for contempt of court. Her reasons for refusing to do so are because, in her own words, “To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God’s definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience.”
So quit your job, Kim. Problem solved.
I worked for ten years as a commercial/advertising photographer, and there were jobs I turned down on moral and religious grounds. I took a hit in the wallet for doing so, but I walked away with a clear conscience and good feeling knowing that there were just some things I would not do for money. Come to think of it, I’ve had moral qualms of one kind or another at just about every job I’ve had because I’m surrounded by people who don’t share my convictions. It’s not that I was asked to do anything illegal, but in every job, there are corners that can be cut and rules that can be bent. There were/are some lines I will not cross.
Yes, it’s more difficult to act like a Christian now than it was in, say, 1957 or thereabouts. However, how difficult was it for Paul, Barnabas, Aquila, Priscilla, et al., to live their lives in a culture and legal system that offered them no help whatsoever when it came to taking a stand for Christ? Despite that hostile environment, an environment in which thousands were killed for their beliefs, Christianity flourished and covered all of the Roman empire and the world. Maybe we need to take a long, hard look at the relationship between our faith, our culture, and our politics, and ask ourselves which of the three is truly most important in our lives.Published in General
I’m vociferously opposed to forcing private business to serve gay weddings, as well as the way SSM was legalized by judicial fiat – but in this case I absolutely agree with you.
If you take a job with an employer, you agree to play by their rules. And doubly so when that employer is the state (who usually provides you with above-market job conditions). Make a bargain with the devil, play by the devil’s rules.
I don’t like the way the judiciary is sneaking into all facets of life, but if there’s any group that should be bound by the fiat of a government body, it’s government employees.
C.W. Cooke said the same yesterday on the podcast. I agree with you guys. I’m sorry things have come down the way they have, but at this point, her only choice is to quit and go about changing things in other ways.
Are there other public official positions for which Christians, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims need not apply?
She following Thoreau’s tenets of civil disobedience quite correctly by willingly going to jail. Quitting her job would mean admitting error, not only on her own behalf but on the behalf of every person that voted for her.
Any of them that might involve a new ruling imposed by the Supreme Court for social engineering purposes that have no basis in law – so all of them.
Can an Orthodox Jew serve on a submarine? I thought being on a submarine requires everyone to work 7 days a week.
Might not be the same type of public official you’re thinking of, but since they’re both government employees I don’t see what the meaningful difference would be.
There are 31 sanctuary cities in this country that will not enforce federal immigration laws. Laws that have been on the books for decades and are settled. This is not a considered problem because of federalism or some such excuse. These cities represent some of the major population concentrations of this country and everybody knows their names.
In Kentucky, one county clerk out of 120+ counties clerks, in a backwater part of the state that most people of this country have never heard of and even less will visit is not following one federal law that has been in place less than a fortnight and everybody is calling for her head.
Why do mayors of cities have the right to ignore federal laws but clerks of counties do not? Oh the hypocrisy of this country and its political system knows no end.
Why is this even in the news? Because a gay couple can not get married? Of course they can all they have to do is drive to the next county, maybe a 10 minute drive at most. No this is the left destroying any opposition to their agenda. The question to me is why is the right, why are you helping them?
No, her other choice is to accept the state’s punishment while refusing to admit error, in emulation of folk like Henry David Thoreau and the Apostle Paul, not to mention Jesus Christ.
The difference is that Thoreau was objecting to paying his taxes, an action to which the government was forcing him.
Kim Davis made the active choice to take the job with the government – nobody forced her into that job. If she didn’t want to be subject to government policy on marriage, she could have chosen a different employer.
More, actually. 18 hour days are a beast.
Ouch. Makes me even more glad I turned down the NUPOC offer back in college – you guys are stronger men than I.
But back to the original point: it seems to me that there are a number of government jobs which conflict with certain religious practices, and that the answer has always been that it is the employee who must cede ground, not the government. The military just seems to provide the best examples.
I agree that citing the Bible is not a justification for refusing to follow federal law. It is a justification for resigning your position (as you suggest) or rising up in rebellion (in extreme cases).
But there is something entirely illegitimate about SCOTUS’s tyrannical and wrongful Obergefell decision, and disobedience in the states does strike me as a plausible response. What is a state to do in the face of a overreaching federal government? Well, both Jefferson and Madison thought that disobedience was a proper response, in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions.
Point taken. Hadn’t really thought of it that way. As a nurse, I’ve always wondered what I would do if asked to help do something that went against what I believe in. Thankfully, I haven’t had to encounter that, yet. Guess if we ever really end up with a national heatlthcare system, I might. Time to retire then.
Did she just take the job? Maybe I’m under the false impression she’s been doing it for a while. If she has, it seems the terms of her employment were recently changed by the SCOTUS. Should she have accounted for the possibility that a millennia old institution would be redefined in a perverse way that would require the suppression of her closely held views, and, quite possibly, the vast majority of the public she serves?
People are being fined and going to jail for adhering to their beliefs. It’s only the beginning. This is what happens when good people fail to comprehend the totalitarianism of the Left, and naively cooperate with the advancement of its agenda.
A White House speechwriter, Matthew Scully, wrote a book stating that as a good Christian, he could no longer condone the slaughter of animals. If this Kentucky clerk decides to go vegetarian and refuse to issue hunting licenses, what happens to her right wing friends then? Would they back her action on the grounds of “religious freedom”? How hard would they fight for her then?
There are probably some positions in HHS that would be objectionable.
And you probably won’t find many Jews or Muslims stamping sides of pork for the USDA.
It makes zero difference. She is non-violently protesting an edict of the US government, and willingly going to jail for it.
Horsefeathers. As long as the refusal is non-violent and the person is willing to accept the state’s punishment, it does not matter one iota what justification a person cites for refusing to follow federal law. She could cite a divine message from the Flying Spaghetti Monster and it still wouldn’t matter. That’s how civil disobedience works.
This woman is an elected Democrat. She’s partially responsible for the situation she finds herself in. Sorry if I don’t really care what happens to her.
This is a legitimate point.
The root problem I see here is the continuing dilemma that the Supreme Court now has de facto the last word on any issue, and is constantly inventing new jurisdictions for itself. On a logical level, there is now nothing standing in the way of it becoming a dictatorship.
Nonetheless, I think it would be more effective for an entire state to stand up and declare itself not subject to Supreme Court decisions it deems unconstitutional, instead of a single clerk objecting to a policy her direct boss (the state of KY) has apparently endorsed. Of course that would bring up strains of Brown and Little Rock, but I don’t see any other pathway at the moment.
Well, there is no first amendment right to hunt, and I’ve yet to hear that vegetarianism is a religion. I actually would support and vote for SSM, with a conscience objection defense for private entities. You know, legislation. That way the Kentucky County Court Clerks Association could have had a hand in crafting it, so that the Clerks did not have to violate their religious beliefs. Or so that they knew what was coming and could make a decision about whether they would resign or comply with the new statute. But Obergfell was a hammer blow, and apparently First Amendment protections mean nothing next to the supreme Court decision of the week.
I think most people here agree that she is free to exercise civil disobedience, she just needs to accept the consequences that come along with doing so. MLK spent time in jail, too. This is a dangerous game to play if you’re a county clerk from Backwater, USA.
In essence, yes.
Anytime one enters employment in a large organization, one has to take into account that there might someday be a change in management which leads to policy changes one cannot tolerate. At that point, it’s on the employee to adapt or leave.
And while I personally don’t think the Supreme Court should be part of the “management” on issues such as this, that ship sailed long before Davis entered office, so she should have at least been aware of the possibility.
Let me also say I have no serious objection if she really wants to go to jail to make a political statement – it’s her choice and her right. I just don’t see her current position as one of being oppressed.
Notice that fact does not get much air time does it.
I would go to the next county and get my hunting license. I figure the process will eventually sort the issue out at the next election. I work in Kentucky and Southern Indiana. I am use to Democrats that do not follow the law and enforce it as they wish. You work around it.
Even in the articles about the Republican Senate President supporting her, they failed to mention her party. I expect them to bury it, but to omit it completely is fails to achieve even my very low expectations of journalists.
Isn’t Clerk of the Court an elected position? Doesn’t that make it a little different? They can’t simply fire her, they would have to go through an impeachment process (or whatever the equivalent is at the county level.) Otherwise she’d have been fired already and this would be yesterday’s news
I applaud her willingness to to take a stand for her beliefs, beliefs with which I happen to agree. But as an elected agent of the government she needs to either do her job or resign her position. Resigning her position in protest would have generated headlines (albeit not as many or for as long) and would have allowed her to maintain the integrity of her beliefs.
Interesting that she is getting air time at all considering her party affiliation. Normally when Dems in this area (which is most of the politics) break the law it gets ignored around here.
Ever occurred to you that she is doing her job? That her county wants her to do what she is doing? From what I can tell everybody upset about his are not from her county.
Except that her job requires her to serve multiple masters – the will of her voters, the laws of her state, and the Constitution (which is theoretically the supreme law of the land).
After all, if her constituents had elected her with the mandate that she not issue interracial marriage licenses, nobody here would argue she was in the right, even if she was just doing “what her county wanted”.
The key issue in my opinion is the fact that the Supreme Court is using its authority to interpret the Constitution to supersede all other voices. If Davis’ objection was “the Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction over my state in this matter”, and not “my religious rights are being trampled”, I would have more sympathy.