So, Kim Davis is a hypocrite.
And how do we know this?
Why, because U.S. News & World Report (among other media) tells us it is so…
“The Kentucky county clerk facing potentially stiff penalties for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses has been married four times, raising questions of hypocrisy and selective application of the Bible to her life.
“The marriages are documented in court records obtained by U.S. News, which show that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis divorced three times, first in 1994, then 2006 and again in 2008.
“She gave birth to twins five months after divorcing her first husband. They were fathered by her third husband but adopted by her second. Davis worked at the clerk’s office at the time of each divorce and has since remarried.”
Thus the mainstream media — which rarely notices hypocrisy on the Left or among the moral paragons of Hollywood — has spoken.
Well, okay…even if Kim Davis has come to Christ with all sincerity (and I assume she has), her personal history is a bit weak on what we might call moral consistency.
Does it follow, then, that religious objections to same-sex marriage are invalid?
U.S. News’ description of Davis is actually a variation on an old argument in favor of SSM. To wit…
Since straight people have made such a hash of marriage — high divorce rates, family abandonment, and all the rest — their insistence that gays marrying will undermine the “sanctity” of marriage is laughable and self-deceptive.
This charge has been repeated countless times, and is extremely powerful. It’s brought to silence many people who do not favor SSM. The problem with it, however, is that it’s false because it compares two things that are not the same.
Marriage is a fundamental human reality: the highest legal, cultural and religious expression of the relationship between men and women, made possible (and necessary) by their complimentary body structures, biological functions, and emotional dispositions.
While marriage generally involves some degree of affection, shared physical pleasure, and companionship, those benefits are not its key purposes. The main objectives of marriage are to propagate children and to maintain bonds of obligation that can secure the support and well-being of related individuals over time (even when there are no children).
In serving these purposes, marriage functions as the foundation of society. It is the touchstone, the reference point for all interactions that occur between individuals, delineating the claims and responsibilities which people have toward one another.
Relationships between two men or two women can also involve affection, pleasure and companionship. And given their new-found legal status, they will presumably be determinates of obligation and responsibility. How much well-being they promote (economic, psychological and otherwise) remains to be seen.
But so-called same-sex marriage can never be the fundamental human reality that marriage is because it does not and cannot (in fact, it isn’t intended to) serve the needs written into our human flesh by sexual difference. Regardless of what the Supreme Court has ruled and what the legal system will now attempt to enforce, the concept of “marriage” simply doesn’t apply. These relationships are, and always will be…something else.
Therefore, the fact that some people fail at marriage does not justify or legitimize relationships that aren’t marriage at all. And even if Kim Davis’ multiple treks down the aisle raise questions about her Christian commitment and doctrinal understanding, they are beside the point.
Davis has chosen to sacrifice herself — or at least to sacrifice her career as a public servant — for a principle that is by no means beyond dispute as well as for a truth that is self-evident. The self-evident part is the actual nature of marriage (see above). The principle is that she should be free to conduct her functions as a county clerk without having to compromise her faith.
That principle is very “iffy.” Certainly the constitution guarantees her freedom of religious conviction. But the job to which she was elected is part of the official civic structure of Rowen County, Kentucky. She is bound to work within the law — even if (as Charles Dickens is generally credited with having written) “the law is an ass.”
People are arguing about this, as you would expect. R.R. Reno, editor of the online journal, First Things, applauds Davis’ approach to the issue of same-sex marriage as “noble,” writing that…
“Davis decided that she could not affix her signature to documents perpetuating the falsehood that husbands can have husbands and wives have wives. To do so would be to act in a way contrary to her conscience as formed by her Christian faith. With admirable consistency, she decided to stop signing marriage licenses altogether, not wanting to discriminate against gay couples ….
“She is not issuing counter-opinions to refute Obergefell [the Supreme Court case]. Nor is she campaigning to get other county clerks to join her. There have been no press releases, no assertive shrill spirit of protest on her part …. Instead, Davis simply won’t do what her conscience tells her she cannot do. She’s not acting contrary to the law; she’s not acting at all.”
Arizona Republic columnist, E.J. Montini, takes the opposite view, and expresses it quite bluntly…
“The court clerk from Rowan County in Kentucky who has been denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples was found in contempt of court and sent to jail.
“I don’t question her convictions. But convictions sometimes come with a cost. The Supreme Court has ruled on this. Times have changed. If Clerk Kim Davis can’t do the job she is sworn to do owing to her religious beliefs, then she should resign. Until the United States becomes a theocracy we operate under the rule of law and not what any given individual describes as ‘God’s authority’ ….
“Maybe now the good people of Kentucky can move on.
So there — take that, Kim!
Naturally, what the the Obama Administration and the leading Democrat presidential contender had to say on the issue were eminently predictable…
Hillary Clinton (in a tweet):
“Marriage equality is the law of the land. Officials should be held to their duty to uphold the law — end of story.”
White House spokesman Josh Earnest:
“The principle of the rule of law is central to our democracy.”
Held to their duty?
Rule of law?
Sometimes irony can be so heavy that it defies laughter.
To me the Kim Davis affair is a straw in the wind — a very unsettling one.
For some time now, our legal system has been cracking under the burden of patently unjust and immoral rulings, such as those that have destroyed private businesses for refusing to participate in gay weddings: cake bakers, photographers, and the rest. With Davis’ incarceration, the cracks are getting wider.
Current GOP presidential contender Mike Huckabee captured the moment in a tweet…
“Kim Davis in federal custody removes all doubts about the criminalization of Christianity in this country.”
Our legal/political system is coming into serious conflict with our Judeo-Christian culture, and people are beginning to wonder whether it’s possible to heal the rift.
I equate this situation with that of the late, unlamented Soviet Union. There totalitarian ideologues had attempted to impose an economic theory that did not work because it contradicted the natural human concern with self-interest and family provision. They also imposed a moral/legal system that was at variance with the traditional Christian culture of the Russian people. The Soviets worked hard for a long time to realize their vision, and the effort cost the lives and happiness of millions.
In the end the whole Soviet house of cards collapsed.
Today in the United States we are living under a political regime and an intellectual/ideological class that are attempting, through every legal, informational and economic means, to impose a set of beliefs about human nature that are as ungrounded in reality as were the doctrines of Soviet Communism. The American people are resisting, and their resistance is getting stronger.
One sign of this is the Donald Trump phenomenon.
Forget that Trump is squishy on the whole sexual-morality thing. What matters about him is that he speaks with candor on real issues which other politicians don’t want to touch, and (as I said in my post of August 2) people are lovin’ it.
Confidence in the American legal system is very shaky right now — indeed, our entire understanding of government has come under a darkening cloud. We are approaching a great divide.
By an interesting coincidence, the motto of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is…
“United We Stand, Divided We Fall.”
Whether you see Kim Davis as a martyr or a hypocrite, her protest will pass. Resolving the conflict which her stand has highlighted — and healing the divisions behind it — will not be so easy.
Here’s a link to the U.S. News & World Report story about Kim Davis…
…as well as to R.R. Reno’s reflections, in which he asks a very salient question…
“So why the furor? Because her refusal poses a symbolic threat to ‘marriage equality’ and its claim to realize the high ideals of justice. One word of dissent, one act of conscience, disturbs the serene confidence of progressives that they have a monopoly on all that is right and good.”
Even so mainstream a media outlet as The New York Times detects an undercurrent of public discontent in the Kim Davis situation, headlining a recent analysis piece…
“Uneasy Truce on Gay Marriage Is Shaken by Kentucky Clerk’s Defiance”
Here’s the article…
Another religious-rights dispute also turns on conflict between faith values and job demands. This one involves a Muslim flight attendant who has filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming that she was suspended from her job for not serving alcohol…
You gotta love Ted Cruz, who has something pithy to say about every dispute. In a statement on his website, the GOP presidential contender offers a blistering criticism of those demanding that Kim Davis resign, asking…
“Where is the call for President Obama to resign for ignoring and defying our immigration laws, our welfare reform laws, and even his own Obamacare?”
Just to cover both sides, here’s a really dumb tweet from lefty Christian columnist Rachel Held Evans…
Sure, Rachel — damned religious totalitarians!
Well, I say bring back the Inquisition. Those were the good old days.