September 3, 2015

Rise Up, O County Clerks!

by Jesse Johnson

Gavin NewsomFlashback: the year is 2004, and same sex marriage is illegal in California (by a law approved by voters in 2000 and affirmed by the State Legislature—this was the “everything but marriage” approach to the SSM issue, allowing same-sex couples the same legal rights as married couples, just without the word “marriage”). San Francisco mayor, Gavin Newsom, ordered the county clerk to illegally start issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. The California Supreme Court stepped in, ordering the process stopped. Eventually the Federal Courts intervened and (a homosexual judge) ordered the process started again, under the ridiculous legal reasoning that since that county clerk had allowed licenses to begin with, there was no rational reason to stop the process.

Sigh.

Present Day: Unlike California, Rowan County, Kentucky elects their county clerks. Before running for clerk herself, Kim Davis (a democrat) had worked in the clerk’s office for twenty-six years. In fact, her mother was clerk before her, and she had been the clerk for 40 years.

But forty years ago the implementation of gay-marriage was not an issue. In fact, even recently he issue was not even likely in Kentucky where there were all kinds of laws against recognizing SSM. There were prohibitions passed by the legislature, by ballot, and finally even a state constitutional amendment. Actually, Kentucky is one of the few states whose laws actually survived Federal Court Challenges, eventually upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals two days after Davis was elected county clerk.

Then…

Eight months later, the US Supreme Court ruled that every state needed to recognize same sex marriage, and that they needed to do so immediately. Some governors paused, saying they needed more time before deciding if the decision mandated their compliance. Eventually even those governors just punted on the decision, and are allowing each county clerk to figure out what to do. Their lack of leadership has made this an issue to be settled by every county clerk.

Such is the case in Kentucky. There, four different counties refuse SSM licenses (there are several other counties in other states that also are refusing to follow the Supreme Court’s opinion on marriage). But what makes Rowan County different is the rational used. Other counties have refused to issue SSM licenses, but Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses. She has said that her reading of the Supreme Court opinion bans discrimination based on sexual preference, and since she does not want her name on a SSM license, she has simply stopped the issuing of marriage licenses all together.

Let me explain why I think Davis is in the right to refuse: As a Christian, she believes SSM to be sinful, and she does not want to support something that is sinful. And in this case, it is not tacit support but she is being asked to literally sign off on the license. She, as the clerk, must sign the certificate saying, “Yep, this is a legit wedding, and I approve.”

That doesn’t mean that a county clerk’s signature is an endorsement of every wedding. She doesn’t ask about their compatibility, or premarital counseling. But it does mean that she is vouching that the marriage is not incestuous, bigamous, or polygamous (because those things are immoral). Basically that she is affixing her name, saying this couple meets the legal requirements for marriage, and she is putting her name on the license.

This is exactly what she will not do. She does not want to be a Romans 1:32 kind of person (or a Psalm 49:11-13 kind of person, or a Lamentations 3:36 kind of person, etc.)

And here is a really important point. In fact, I’ll bold it so you realize this is the main thing I’m trying to say: you might not think it should go against her conscience to sign a SSM license. But you should not tell another Christian to go against their conscience, especially when going against it would mean vouching for something that is obviously immoral (cf. 1 Cor 8, 10).

Imagine that Davis comes to you and asks for your more seasoned Christian advice–after all, she has only been a Christian for four years. What do you tell her? Do you tell to stop hiding behind God, and instead make an argument from Federalism (Federal Courts should not invalidate state constitutions, or something like that)? Do you explain to her why it really shouldn’t be against her conscience to approve a SSM, and explain to her the nuances of the Kentucky clerk system (keep in mind the combined nearly 60 years her family has worked in that office)?

Well, whatever you do, for goodness sakes’ don’t tell her, as your sister in the Lord, to just get over her conscience and sign off on SSM all ready.

If she came to me and asked me what she should do, I would answer her in song:

Rise up, O County Clerks!
Have done  with lesser things!
Give heart and mind and soul
to serve the king of kings!

Rise up O County Clerks!
The Kingdom tarries long.
Bring in the day of clerkhood
And end the night of wrong.

Rise up O County Clerks
Government for you doth wait.
Her strength unequal to the task
Rise up and make her great!

 

What would happen if our leaders, judges, or governors had the courage of this clerk’s conviction? But they don’t. They are (mostly) silent. They say things like, “I am opposed to SSM, and I would never sign off on one myself of course, but tsk, tsk, this woman needs to just do her job.”

Sigh.

In the short-term this will end in one of a few ways. Either A). Davis relents and changes her mind, B). she gets thrown in jail, or C.) the state removes her from office. I submit to you that all three would be a step back for biblical ethics.

In the long-term, this will end either with A). Christians caving on SSM, B). deciding that government jobs are for those without consciences, or (hopefully) C.) a renewed sense of resolve that the government cannot compel us to act against our consciences.

Christians should be supportive of other believers in complex situations trying to do what is morally right in complex times. And it deeply bothers me how many people who just a few months ago were so dogmatic that “the Supreme Court can’t tell me what marriage is!” are now telling Davis to get over herself. We don’t have to choose to be on Davis’ side or on the SSM side. But we do need to be on the side of righteousness, and opposed to sin. In this situation, it should be obvious where the lines are drawn.

Jesse Johnson

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Jesse is the Teaching Pastor at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA. He also leads The Master's Seminary Washington DC location.
  • wiseopinion

    I have shared Romans 1:32 to many lately. It seems that not many remember (or even know) that last part of the last verse of Romans…”Christians” are known for shooting their wounded and this is a good example. Woe to those who encourage her to “go with the flow”…even my Pastor thinks she would be a better witness of God’s love and charity to “just sign the paper”. He thinks the florist and the baker would be a better example of God’s love just to arrange the flowers and bake that wedding cake. I remembered a quote I heard long ago….”If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.” Peter Marshall

    • rampant_lion

      When he’s displaying thinking like that, why is he still your pastor?

      • wiseopinion

        that is an excellent question rampant_lion….he is no longer my pastor…quit going to that church early this year after nearly 1 1/2 years trying to be a voice in the wilderness….I should have said previous pastor…

  • Kay

    Yesterday my two coworkers (unbelievers) were mocking Karin Davis for her stand and called her a hypocrite when they found out she had been divorced and remarried several times. They were literally whispering so that I wouldn’t hear what they were saying but I could hear it through the partition anyway. Apparently the divorces happened prior to her becoming a Christian, so I guess this is an opportunity to explain how Christianity is about coming to grips with your sin, whether it be adultery or homosexuality or whatever, turning from it in repentance towards God and faith in Jesus Christ.

  • David Antonini

    I agree with your arguments about complexity and conscience. But you aldo said it precisely, all she is doing is “saying this couple meets the legal requirements for marriage, and she is putting her name on the license.” She does not have to express moral approval. Biblically, SSM is not a thing. Neither are many or most divorces. If we are to give grace to her conscience, why is she allowed to withhold grace from homosexuals who get saved and whose first step of obedience is to wed, because that’s all they know? Maybe later they’ll repent, but the argument is just as strong for those wishing to wed as it is for hers.

    • Alex

      To make the argument that the clerk’s responsibility extends solely to affirming the legality of marriage petitioners is potentially an argument worth having. (Although, I’m guessing that Jesse would say that according to current laws, SSM petitioners in KY fail that requirement.)

      I think I need help understanding the definition of the word “grace” in your post. By grace, are you referencing “permissive latitude” or the common grace God extends to all humans who seek to engage in marriage? (I just want to ensure that I am interacting with your post correctly.)

      If you simply mean permissive latitude, then you are arguing that Christians owe other Christians the freedom to choose, even when unrepentant, sexual sin is involved (homosexuality).

      If you mean God’s common grace, then I would argue that she cannot withhold the common grace of marriage from a homosexual couple, in the same way that the US cannot “withhold” the right to vote from non-citizens. It’s not being withheld if it is not an intrinsic right they possess. God has not extended common grace to homosexual marriages (celibate or not), and as such, the clerk is not withholding grace to SSM petitioners.

      Also, no recently-saved homosexuals’ first act of Christian obedience can be to get married to each other, “because that’s all they know.” In the same what that no recently-saved heterosexual’s first act of Christian obedience can be to look at pornography. An act of willful disobedience cannot be your first act of obedience, even if it is based on a poor understanding of God’s commands.

      Finally, the miracle at Cana was not an example of Jesus giving “latitude” to drunkards by giving them more wine. I think we can all agree that Jesus did not violate His conscience in the performance of His earthly ministry.

      • David Antonini

        Permissive lattitude.
        If I work bar, Walmart etc, I’m not allowed to refuse hunting rifles if I believe hunting for sport is immoral, not allowed to refuse condoms to teenagers, or refuse wine to drunkards who aren’t drunk when I serve them.

        You may not agree, and I’m not keen on it either, but some people are drawing a distinction between homosexual sex, and homosexual relationships. If you were attracted to someone else, wanted to marry them, but knew to have sex with them was wrong, and go in accepting that, the argument goes that that is an acceptable middle ground. I don’t wholly agree, as there are a number of issues that brings up, but when you pull sexual activity out of the equation, the scriptural context thins out considerably.

        Re Cana – that’s exactly what I’m saying. Of course He didn’t violate conscience. But he did give wine to those intoxicated enough to not know the difference between good and poor wine. So there’s something to consider then, whether it is about alcohol consumption, or what the interaction between our actions ans others’ sin or potential sin etc.

        • Alex

          Got it. But here’s the distinction…there is a difference to be made between permitting someone to engage in a behavior which would violate your conscience and not theirs (e.g.,sport hunting), and when the ACT of permitting violates your own conscience, irrespective of the other person’s conscience (e.g., signing SSM licenses).

          I would argue that in the case of celibate, Christian homosexual marriages, there is no room for permissive latitude. The redefinition of marriage subject to our consciences over and against the clear definition presented in Scripture is sinful. Trying to mold God’s decree in common grace to our notions is akin to denying God’s creative work revealed in Psalm 19. (Any situation where people supersede God’s authority is sin.) Personally, I believe that men and women who argue for such a position fall into the “empty deception” of Eph 5:6. (I get the impression that you and I agree on that point.) And, as such, we are obligated, both by conscience and Scripture, to repudiate such a position. And, according to Gal 6/Matt 18/ 1Cor 5, required to confront professing believers who engage in and support that position. I don’t see this as a permissive latitude situation.

          Now, I think the flavor changes when we move out of the church dynamic and into the relationship of a governmental official discharging her duties. Although, I believe both Jesse and Doug Wils make compelling arguments for navigating the path as this county clerk has done.

          • David Antonini

            I completely agree with you on your final point.

            On the former, yeah, sure. And yet I’ve heard compelling arguments comparing Moses’ divorce laws with (possibly begrudging) acceptance of SSCM. When you’re in close relationships with people who fervently believe in Jesus, yet also deeply love someone of the same sex, the right path becomes difficult. Particularly when such lattitude seems to be given to heterosexuals with regard to sexual sin and divorce. One might feel strongly that destroying a long term relationship of effective discipleship and pursuit of holiness is more destructive than loving, when sexual sin is not involved.

            On the other hand, I think the concept of sexless marriages is problematic to begin with, and more difficult in practice.

            And then, what do we do with presently married couples who are homosexual and have lived together for 20 years? If they come to believe in Jesus, His living, dying, rising and forgiving our sin, where do you proceed? What of any kids they are raising? My concern is for the pastoral aspects of this conversation, for those sincerely searching and journeying folks, and those counselling, discipling and leading them in all of this.

          • Alex

            Well, if we are speaking specifically about pastoral/counseling issues then I would strongly counsel two young Christian men (for example) not to enter into a celibate marital relationship.

            In the first place, I do not accept, on the face of it, that such a relationship is a long-term hotbed of effective discipleship and pursuit of holiness. But, let’s put my prudish nature aside for the sake of the argument.

            In this hypothetical situation we all agree that homosexual behavior is sinful, even if we don’t all agree that homosexual attraction is problematic. Entering into an intimate relationship with another same sex person, who shares your sinful attraction, will not spur one another on to good deeds and holiness. “Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned?” (Pro 6:27). It would not be pastoral to encourage Christians to remain in a situation which lends itself to constant temptation. “Flee from youthful lusts…,” Paul encourages Timothy. So also should our counsel be to others.

            Even if it were permissible to use Moses’ dispensation for divorce as a begrudging precedent for SSCM (which I don’t accept), that does not mean we encourage struggling marriages to end in divorce, or for divorced Christians to remain there. We push them towards God’s ideal, not toward the loophole.

            Also, I would mention, as an aside, that there already exists a non-sexual, intimate, and God-honoring discipleship relationship between men; it’s called friendship. If David and Jonathan can remain unmarried, so also can our hypothetical Christian guys.

            Finally, you counsel the 20 year homosexual couple that have come to faith to dissolve their intimate relationship. I wouldn’t say they should get divorced, because they were not married. They should terminate all extant legal connections, and pursue godliness. Just like I would counsel all new Christians to “lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit…and put on the new self, which is in the likeness of God…” (Eph 4:22-24).

            I get the relationships are messy, and that people are broken and sinful. But just as Christ doesn’t leave us in that state upon our salvation, neither should we leave our brothers and sisters there as we walk in pursuit of godliness together.

        • Ira Pistos

          Matt 19: 4-6
          “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

          Marriage was set in place by God and is unalterable by man.
          Raise up a perversion of it in antipathy toward God and name it marriage and still it will never be marriage.

          What you choose to arbitrarily deem to be immoral is of no relevance to what God has woven into the fabric of creation as right and wrong. There is no comparison between this and qualms over hunting or becoming tipsy.

    • Jordan Standridge

      We all get that it wouldn’t bother your conscience to sign the papers. That’s not the point though, it bothers hers and we cant ask her as fellow Christians to go against her conscicence. The example you give of a homosexual couple getting married is flawed because their conscience is telling them TO DO something that is sinful, her conscience is telling her NOT TO DO something that she believes scripture says is sinful. I think that NOT makes a world of difference. In other words we can encourage christians to stop doing something they feel they are free to do, but we cant tell christians to start doing something they feel is sinful especially when it is sinful.

      • David Antonini

        So we can tell people to, say, stop having affairs, but not tell them to do something (like, say give food to the hungry who will go sin with that energy). There are those who believe scripture says they should marry. The sinfulness is irrelevant because you’re basing that judgement on your interpretation of scripture (rightly or wrongly).

        Scripture also says to obey the governing authorities.

        And no, i would not sign. I don’t believe the government should be in the marriage business in the first place. I’m married because my spouse and I made a commitment before God and our congregation/community, not because I have a piece of paper.

        • Alex

          David, I’m trying to understand your train of thought. Are you saying that we (Christians) can/should not tell other Christians to feed the hungry, if we are convinced the hungry will use that food to energize their bodies for sin?

          I think these are some fairly safe principles on what we, as Christians, should tell other Christians to do…
          1. We should ALWAYS tell Christians not to sin.
          2. We should ALWAYS help Christians inform their conscience from Scripture. (With the recognition that our own consciences may be informed through that process.)
          3. We should SOMETIMES tell Christians not to engage in behavior that their conscience allows, because their consciences are misinformed. (This is the case with your hypothetical, homosexual Christians. They are being told not to do something they think is permissible. They are not being told to do something they think is sinful.)

          May I also ask, how your comment that “the sinfulness is irrelevant,” could possibly be true? Some things are inherently sinful, and should always be prohibited. Some things are inherently permissible, but become sinful when they cause believers to violate their consciences. SSM falls into the former category, not the latter.

          I truly hope that my comments aren’t sounding argumentative. I’m sincerely trying to understand/discuss.

          • David Antonini

            I’m not making that argument. I was trying to find an example where we would encourage someone to do something they don’t agree with. I have heard that argument, though. I don’t agree with it.

            I say the sinfulness is irrelevant for the purposes of what we were saying. My conscience tells me I can drink scotch, and share my enjoyment of scotch with others. I’ve been to churches here where that is treated as if I liked prostitutes and wanted to share them.
            My point was that we weren’t talking about the sinfulness of a particular action, we were talking about conscience. Conscience based on personal understanding of scripture and personal convictions. My conviction that something is sinful, or not (eg SSM, SSCelibateM, drinking, occasional but not frequent or habitual drunkenness, eating halal, food sacrificed to idols, eating blood sausage, marrying my wife’s sister after my wife passed away, nude art, etc etc) probably conflicts with others. If they are convinced/convicted otherwise, then are discussion is either about how I instruct them, tolerate their acting on their convictions etc OR it is about the absolute sinfulness or not of the actions in queation. For our discussion we were discussing the former, and the latter was (obviously) open to disagreement.

        • Jordan Standridge

          If someone says, “my conscience tells me not to feed someone who is dying of hunger because if I do he will stay alive and sin” I don’t think I would spend too much time trying to convince him to feed dying people, I would spend most of my time trying to win him to Christ.

          • David Antonini

            Ha. Fair enough. But people don’t want to give money to people who might buy drugs, etc. I just find your distinction between encouraging to do and to do not troubling.

          • Jordan Standridge

            I appreciate this, it is helping me think through it. I just can’t seem to think of any situation where you would tell someone to do something against their conscience. I don’t think we can tell people to give money to people who might buy drugs. You can tell a christian to go to church, but if they say my conscience is telling me not to, then I think its fair to wonder if they are a christian in the first place. I can’t come up with a scenario where you have to convince a christian to go against their conscience and I don’t think giving money to the homeless is a christian mandate. (feeding the starving is though)

    • kevin2184

      Hi David,
      Your sentence, “homosexuals who get saved and whose first step of obedience it to wed”, doesn’t make sense because marriage is the last thing any gay person who truly gets saved, would want to do (regardless if the marriage is platonic or not). You then follow up with “Maybe later they’ll repent” which again makes no sense because belief Christ as Savior must also come with submission to Him (i.e. repentance) as Lord.

      The first words of Jesus in Mark’s gospel are “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Accordingly, in Matthew when Jesus starts his public ministry, Matthew notes it as, “From that time on Jesus began to preach “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matt 4:17). Note that Jesus doesn’t say “Believe, for the kingdom of heaven is near” because He knows that one can’t truly “believe” unless that faith includes “repentance”; and that is how Jesus “began” his public ministry (He didn’t bring up repentance sometime afterward, rather it was a requisite for salvation from the start). Also John most clearly equates faith and obedience (and hence, repentance) when he ends chapter 3 of his gospel by expositing Jesus’s 3:16 glorious verse with, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, whoever does not OBEY the Son shall not see life but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36). Throughout John (e.g. chapters 14, 15) Jesus equates obedience with faith (John 14:5, 21, 23, 24; 15:9, 14). In short, Scripture clearly teaches that a “claimed” faith in Christ without obedience, which NECESSARILY BEGINS with repentance, is no faith at all.

      Finally, the Lord saved me out of a homosexual lifestyle 7 years ago, a salvation I ran from during that time because I understood (even then) that true salvation would require repentance on my part. What I didn’t understand at that time is that; not only does God offer heaven as a free gift to those who desire to trust in Christ as Savior but that He also “grants” those who come to Him with the necessary repentance needed for one to come to Christ as Lord (Acts 5:31, 11:18). What a wonderful Savior in that HE PROVIDES EVERYTHING necessary for salvation. If the homosexual couple who you write about who have come to Christ do exist, I’d love to share with them the true (and complete) gospel of our Lord; one that graciously provides deliverance of sin through the granting of repentance to whomever humbly desires to turn from their sin and turn to God.

  • Ira Pistos

    A very nice post Jesse. Well researched and thoughtful!

    I support Kim Davis completely. She should under no circumstance endorse sin.

    Where I was wavering was her disobedience to authority. My view was that it would be best to boldly refuse to endorse sin and then step down from the position. I didn’t like that it should end that way, I’m proud of her conviction and courage.

    I’ve no confusion on this matter, it’s incumbent upon us to disobey a mandate to sin, I just thought that our remaining option was to obey to the extent possible and in Kim’s case, step down.

    Reading your post and the post by Douglas Wilson, especially his reference to Daniel, has altered my understanding and I am glad for it. I can also support her for not stepping down.

    Do you concur with my new understanding? That because as an American she has an option to relinquish her position in obedience without sin does not mean that she should.

    Thank you.
    Ira,

  • Fred’n’Janet Butterfield

    Or D): Kim Davis resigns from her position for the sake of her conscience (which, to be fair, could be seen as a variant of your second B) — although I might reword the latter as “…government jobs for those whose consciences are not troubled by SSM”).

    However, alternative D) allows Mrs. Davis to live within the constraints of her moral framework (as informed by the Scriptures, and reflected by her conscience) and still uphold the rule of law in the U.S. — even laws that we deem morally objectionable, indeed, those that allow and promote conduct that is undeniably contrary to God’s Word.

    See the thoughtful discussion of this in yesterday’s “Volokh Conspiracy” blog posting (below), noting, in particular: Justice Antonin Scalia’s comments (written in 2002) concerning the death penalty; and Jonathan Adler’s analogy re: conscientious objecting to warfare, excerpted below:

    “Someone who objects to war due to his religious conscience has a right to be a conscientious objector and not serve in the military, even were there to be a draft. But he does not have the right to serve as a military officer, draw a paycheck from the military and then substitute his own personal views of when war is justified for that of the government. The same applies here.

    If Davis believes the government’s definition of marriage is fundamentally immoral and contrary to her religious convictions, she should remove her self from the state’s machinery of marriage. That she has every right to do. What she does not have the right to do, however, is serve as a government official and fail to fulfill the obligations that come with that office.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/09/02/justice-scalia-explains-why-kim-davis-should-issue-marriage-licenses-to-same-sex-couples-or-find-a-new-job/

    I find these arguments to be very persuasive.

    I’ll close by staying that, while I agree that there are circumstances where civil disobedience is absolutely necessary (cf. Acts 5:29), and has been exercised appropriately in our own national history (e.g., during the Civil rights movement — indeed, by the leaders of the American Revolution themselves, who well-understood the mandates of Romans 13:1-5), there are options here that fall short of needing to “rise up” against the government. Mrs. Davis should simply resign, clearly restating her reason for doing so — thereby choosing, for the sake of a clear conscience before Almighty God and a desire to uphold His righteousness, not to participate in “the machinery of [same-sex] marriage.”

    iHs/FB

    • Karl Heitman

      What happens if/when there comes a day when it becomes unlawful, in the eyes of Uncle Sam, for pastors to refuse to marry SS couples? Should he resign the pastorate?

      Where’s the line? https://dougwils.com/s7-engaging-the-culture/in-which-i-paint-with-some-bright-yellows.html

      • my2cents

        or you can remain a pastor and not officiate weddings. Or only preside over weddings of those who are members of your church.

      • Jason

        Who defines the responsibilities of a church elder? An elder who refuses to “marry” SS couples is the only elder fulfilling their obligation to their station. Resignation makes the least sense for them.

        However, someone who works in any position (from prostitution to [perhaps some day] postmaster) that requires them to behave immorally in order to fulfill the obligations of their job shouldn’t be concerned about the prospect of resignation.

        Objecting to changes in the work place are within our rights for the time and object we should. However, at some point, when a job description is incongruent with godly living it needs to go.

  • Jason

    In the second set B and C may go hand in hand. Ideally, our government wouldn’t enforce immorality to begin with. However, it’s of the people, by the people, and for the people. We can be certain that the love of many is growing cold and at some point most of “the people” aren’t going to be very concerned with *anything* but the lawlessness that got them there (Matthew 24:12).

    If we say that it’s B OR C we’re implying that the government will only ever do what we’ll comply with (which at this point is untenable) or that we’re so dependent on government jobs that we *are* actually compelled to perform them even should they become immoral.

    If we’re going to stand firm in the faith on penalty of death we certainly must be ready to experience forced career changes as well.

  • Dave

    Jesse, while options “B). she gets thrown in jail, or C.) the state removes her from office” may be seen as “a step back for biblical ethics” for the government/culture that enforces those options, they can also be seen as a conscientious Christian faithfully accepting the consequences for standing her ground. Hopefully, such a steadfast witness will inspire those watching her walk the walk, particularly because it is not popular.

  • 4Commencefiring4

    It’s been pointed out on other forums and sites that folks in Davis’ position don’t ask couples who are seeking to wed whether one or both is divorced, so why then the singling out of SSM to deny a license? And other than the fact that an SSM couple is obvious when they walk in, I’m not sure there’s a good answer. If we’re going to invoke Scripture, then shall we also deny a license to Joe and Mary when Mary left her husband to take up with Joe, or vice versa?

    Can the permit office in certain counties in Nevada deny a building permit to a contractor who is building a brothel, which is legal there? There’s all manner of things a christian official might have an objection to providing, but their job serving the public might not be compatible with their conscience.

    I think that, before taking any job nowadays, a believer has to stop and consider what might possibly be asked of him in that job. I’ve known strong christians in private industry about whom I’ve wondered just how they sleep at night knowing the political games and back-stabbing one must employ to rise to the top in corporate America. I guess that’s one reason (excuse?) I didn’t ever try to do so.

    • Ira Pistos

      4CF4, you said “I think that, before taking any job nowadays, a believer has to stop and
      consider what might possibly be asked of him in that job.”

      That is wisdom.

      The issue with the stand that Kim Davis is taking is that she will not affirm that marriage is other than between a man and a woman. She will not affix her name to something that is a perversion of what God has ordained.
      As you said, this is observable and requires little judgment or discernment.

      The other marriage complications being frequently referred to are, if she’s aware of them at all, beyond her judgment, the realm of the individuals and pastors and remain between a man and a woman.

      She recognizes this as being about the perversion of marriage, a deliberate, premeditated lashing out at God, and she will not condone it.

      • Ira Pistos

        I was a tad over the top. They may not realize consciously, the deliberateness of their motives nor the Person of their animosity.

  • tovlogos

    Amen, Jesse.

  • Karl Heitman

    Good word, Jesse. The situation reminds me of the moral tension military chaplains would possibly have to deal with when DOMA was repealed. Would chaplains still be protected under the 1st Amendment (“prohibiting the free exercise thereof”) and the US Code or be asked to provide “services” for SS couples? If the latter, most of the guys I talked to would either 1) fight or 2) fly. In this case, I can see how easy it would be to fly, especially due to the lack of support from other Christians. At least chaps have their endorser. Individuals like Davis have no one. Scary times.

  • 4Commencefiring4

    Davis is being subject to the very same harassment at the hands of gays–and their friends in the press–as the baker in the gay wedding case. What’s really going on here isn’t merely a gay couple who just wants a license to marry–they could get that in 30 minutes from any other county office, per KY law. No, this is about the same thing as in the baker’s case: forced compliance and public surrender and salute to the rainbow flag under threat of punishment.

    The goal here is another scalp, another trophy, the spoils of war and a victory over the “big bigot”–christianity. They weren’t going home until the enemy taps out. And they will repeat this in every place they encounter resistance. Count on it.

    They intend to roll over everyone. Doesn’t matter if it’s a government official or a private citizen with a business. Every domino shall fall, or they’ll die trying. We have to decide if the Constitution’s protections against religious freedom mean anything or not. Right now, I’d say the 1st amendment is being erased, one baker and one clerk at a time.

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  • The biggest problem is that Kim Davis is reported to be a modalist, denying the Triune God of Scripture and taking a radically legalistic view on soteriology. Is gay marriage among the unregenerate community more important than sound doctrine in the Church? It is a mistake to celebrate a heretic…for any reason whatsoever. Just my opinion. If Kim is truly Apostolic Pentecostal and denies the Trinity and believes women should not cut their hair, and believes that women ought not to wear slacks, and believes you have to be baptized literally in the name of Jesus Christ, and that you must speak in tongues to be saved, she is anything but a Christian model on this issue. Yet we hold her out as being persecuted for Jesus when in reality, if the reports are true, she very likely does not even know Him. I am exhausted with the Christian political agenda. Before I get knocked around…John MacArthur has been my favorite preacher for years and still is. His take on issues like this is as balanced as can be in my opinion. Let us be about the gospel, not changing civil codes and demanding religious freedom as if we have a RIGHT NOT to be persecuted like the rest of our brothers and sisters have throughout church history. I think this is the wrong focus for the Church.

    • 4Commencefiring4

      “Let us be about the gospel, not changing civil codes…”

      Yes, and meantime we have secular jobs to do. Right now. We have to decide how we’re going to carry out those duties. Saying we should be about the gospel sounds fine, and is fine. But we also have to take decisions daily regarding the terrestrial matters before us.

      The case in KY brings to a head what we are going to be facing more and more as time goes on and what the end of the Age–if it’s upon us–will come to resemble.

      There is a real divide–and one that merits seasoned thought–as to what the right path is here. It’s easy to say, “Stand up for God!” and feel all righteous. But the devil–and sometimes truth–is in the details.

      On one hand, the laws that were being tested were those restricting marriage to two people of opposite sex. SCOTUS decided such laws were unconstitutional based on the 14th amendment’s “equal protections” clause. The same logic overturned the “separate but equal” doctrine, something we all applaud. But George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse doors, something we abhor. He didn’t care what the court said. He thought he was standing for God, too, in a twisted sort of way.

      I’m not suggesting Davis is George Wallace; but do we decry him while applauding Davis? Both thumbed their nose at the court.

      Then there’s Rosa Parks. The transportation law that existed she decided was unjust and so she defied it. She wasn’t a government employee and there was no court case being heard. Like MLK, she saw an injustice and decided to act. She defied “the governing authorities”, in plain contravention of Scripture. But do we say, “Amen”? Sure we do.

      All I’m saying is these things are not black and white. Davis didn’t need to be jailed, and the gay couple could have gone to an adjacent county for the license and been done with it in 30 minutes. But they wanted a scalp more than a license. That’s where we need to evaluate our response.