Let’s waste some time in meaningless arguments that should be really straightforward. This post is not about Kim Davis’ personal beliefs, or the validity of the those beliefs. The longer the conversation drags on, the more convinced I am that people are only interested in “winning” the argument. So let’s skip the part where we talk about philosophy or theology and talk about this from an ethics and civics point of view.
1 -Kim Davis is a civil servant.
A civil servant is someone who serves the government as a civilian. Common examples are the administrative assistants, project managers of the government agencies. They also include the men and women at the US Consuls across the world responsible for handing out visas. Now can you imagine a consular refusing to give a visa because they disagreed with the administration’s view on immigration? The water get a bit murky for Davis because she is citing her religious convictions, but the simple fact is that she is a civil servant required to obey the state. Her religious liberties are not at risk here and while it could be argued that she is being asked to perform duties that go against her religious convictions, the courts have ruled on MULTIPLE occasions, that government employees willingly sacrifice some of their liberties to better serve the liberties of others. Eg Goldman vs Weinberger (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldman_v._Weinberger)
2 – Kim Davis’ job doesn’t ACTUALLY infringe on her liberties.
While I understand that Davis is being asked to certify marriage licenses for same sex couples, she isn’t being asked to marry them. The process of issuing a license is basically taking a look at two people who want to be married and asking them a couple of questions. When my wife and I went to get our license the questions were
- Are you currently intoxicated or under the influence of any substances?
- Are you related first cousins or closer?
There may have been others but those are the only two I remember my initial thought being “Really? Do we LOOK related to you?” Anyways, the point is that Davis is not actually marrying the couples who come to her. She doesn’t sign off on the wedding certificate, she doesn’t officiate the wedding, and I imagine in her job she isn’t invited to 20% of the weddings to which she DOES hand out licenses. All she is doing is looking at a couple and looking at the criteria for what it is to be legally and married and giving them a thumbs up/down BASED ON THE LAW OF THE LAND. That does not infringe on her religious liberties.
3 – Kim Davis has wrongfully assumed authority
Let’s talk about how many times the bible warns against following people who have falsely taken authority. False teachers, false prophets, false apostles etc. By insisting that issuing licenses to same sex couples infringes on her religious liberties, Davis has elevated herself from county clerk to wedding officiant. What’s more, by insisting that it is a religious issue, Davis has elevated herself to Pastor. While I understand that many pastors will not marry people who aren’t even a part of their congregation, and while I also understand that many pastors are legally allowed to refuse to marry same sex couples, Davis has taken it a step further. Her actual position allows her to block every marriage in the county if she so desired, but by taking on the additional authority she has wrongfully assumed, she is now acting as a pastor and as a Justice of the peace. There are very good reasons why there are preconditions for sitting in EITHER of those two offices, and while I cannot say if Davis qualifies, the fact is that she has not actually been given that authority. Usually, when people wrongfully assume authority, someone in actual authority comes in and cleans house – so Davis was deemed in contempt of court. Again, not an infringement on her civil liberties, but a ruling on breaking the law.
Please no comments on this one. I think we’ve wasted enough time here.