04 Sep 2015

Kim Davis’s Honorable Stand

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Hilltodieon2

Lots of conservative legal experts, including Antonin Scalia, Jon Adler, and Jacob Sullum have come forward to argue that Kim Davis should either do her job and issue same-sex marriage licenses or resign, Douglas Wilson produced an exceptionally eloquent rebuttal.

A consensus appears to be developing among otherwise reasonable people that Kim Davis, of Rowan County fame, either needs to start issuing marriage licenses or quit her job.

For those just joining us, a county clerk in Kentucky is refusing to issue marriage licenses against her conscience and is also refusing to resign. Her name, which should be on a bronze plaque on the side of the courthouse, is Kim Davis. A federal judge has ordered her to appear in his courtroom Thursday to explain why Davis should not be held in contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses.

But there is a difference between contempt of court and seeing that the courts have become contemptible. …

[Rod Dreher (9/1) wrote of Kim Davis’s stand: In the future, there will surely be hills worth dying on, so to speak, as Christians. This is not one of them.]

I want to begin by making an observation about that hill-to-die-on thing, but then move on to discuss the foundational principle that is at stake here. After that, I want to point out what it would look like if more government officials had the same understanding that Kim Davis is currently displaying — despite being opposed by all the intoleristas and also despite being abandoned by numerous Christians who admire her moxie but who don’t understand her moxie.

First, whenever we get to that elusive and ever-receding “hill to die on,” we will discover, upon our arrival there, that it only looked like a hill to die on from a distance. Up close, when the possible dying is also up close, it kind of looks like every other hill. All of a sudden it looks like a hill to stay alive on, covered over with topsoil that looks suspiciously like common ground.

So it turns out that surrendering hills is not the best way to train for defending the most important ones. Retreat is habit-forming. …

The point here is not just private conscience. The right to liberty of conscience is at play with florists, bakers, and so on. But Kim Davis is not just keeping herself from sinning, she is preventing Rowan County from sinning. That is part of her job.

Every Christian elected official should be determining, within the scope of their duties, which lines they will not allow the state to cross. When they come to that line, they should refuse to cross it because “this is against the law of God.” They should do this as part of their official responsibilities. This is part of their job. It is one of the things they swear to do when they take office.

This is nothing less than Calvin’s doctrine of the lesser magistrates (Institutes 4.20.22-32), which I would urge upon all and sundry as relevant reading material. And as Calvin points out, after Daniel — a Babylonian official — disobeyed the king’s impious edict, he denied that he had wronged the king in any way (Dan. 6:22-23).

Read the whole thing.

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3 Feedbacks on "Kim Davis’s Honorable Stand"

cactusjack

So by the same logic an Amish official can and should refuse to issue concealed carry permits?



Guaman

Contrary to what is becoming the popular pragmatic belief, principles are not the beginning point of negotiations.



gonewiththewind

I absolutely agree that she should do her job or resign (or be fired). However I feel the same way about the president ignoring immigration laws and border enforcement. Shouldn’t the law be applied with the same exact standard for everyone. Put Obama in jail for contempt of court and don’t let him out until he agrees to start enforcing our laws. Ditto for mayors of sanctuary cities.

On a somewhat different point; IF all public employees ( I am assuming here that applies to soldiers as well) MUST either perform their job as described by law or resign (and the soldiers cannot resign) why did we punish the Nazi soldiers for obeying their laws/leaders??? Should we absolutely require that everyone in government should absolutely enforce every law that any legislature/congress can dream up? As I understand it the Supreme Court ruled 100 years ago or more that an unconstitutional law is not legal, not enforcable and citizens are not required to abide by them. Hmmmmm! I do believe that there is no constitutional basis for alternative marriage. Not gay marriage, not polygamy, not marriage between siblings, etc. The constitution is silent on this and thus the federal government cannot mandate it either by judicial or legislative methods. Period.

But they did and for that they should be impeached.



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