Rowan County Courthouse, Morehead, KY
Rowan County Courthouse, Morehead, KY

The Des Moines Register pipes up with yet another mindless liberal screed.  They opine about Kim Davis, a Christian county clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky, who has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because she believed it would offend her religious conscience after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear ordered county clerks to issue said licenses regardless of sexual orientation.

The editorial says in part:

The First Amendment does not require that public officials abandon their religious beliefs to enter government service. But that doesn’t mean they can deny constitutionally protected rights that belong to others based on those religious beliefs.

Kim Davis, a devout Apostolic Christian, cites Scripture and “Jesus Himself” on the definition of marriage, which is her right as a free-thinking individual. But as an elected county official, in regard to the question of separation of church and state, she should have turned to the Gospels that quote Jesus as saying, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.”

My pastor, Shawn Barr (who also contributes to Caffeinated Thoughts on occasion), had a great response on Facebook.

 

The Des Moines Register editorial board says that the KY clerk denying marriage licenses should remember Jesus' quote to…

Posted by Shawn Barr on Thursday, September 3, 2015

Actually that’s a quote the Supreme Court should have considered prior to ruling to throw out the dictionary and constitution when the majority wrote its opinion that was based more on emotion than law.

By the way Jesus was talking about taxes not the definition of marriage.

So to Rekha Basu or Andie Dominick (who ever wrote the editorial today) let’s leave the Biblical application to those who actually know what they are talking about which would be not you.

Marriage was not created by government, not instituted by government nor defined by government.  Government simply recognized its reality.  We can certain argue the merits of government not being involved in the marriage license business – something I’m very open to at this point, but the simple fact is that it is not an institution government was ever meant to define.

So in the proper understanding of this verse, as Shawn wrote, Kim Davis did render unto Ceasar’s that which is Caesar’s and to God that which is God’s.

Granted, Davis may endure consequences to her actions as she faces being found in contempt of court. That is something all believers will have to consider when facing having to make a choice between obeying man and obeying God.

The Register also made another statement in the excerpt above.  They said that the First Amendment, “doesn’t mean they can deny constitutionally protected rights that belong to others based on those religious beliefs.”  Three problems here (probably more, but I’ll point out three):

  1. There is an errant belief that the First Amendment doesn’t protect religious conscience.  It does. The freedom of religion doesn’t just mean I can practice my religion in my private life, but throughout my entire life which includes the workplace especially in terms of not having to violate my religious conscience. Government should never coerce a private citizen or employee to sin.  That is a clear violation of the First Amendment.
  2. They falsely believe that marriage is a constitutional right.  It is not.  This was a point made in several of the dissenting opinions.  Please show me in the Constitution where we have a right to marriage?  This goes along with us suddenly having a right to abortion preborn children even though it clearly violates the 5th and 14th Amendment Rights of that preborn child… We do have an inalienable right to life, we do not have an inalienable right to take life without due process.  We also don’t have the right to marry.  There have always been restrictions placed on marriage that have varied by country and by state – some have been just (protecting minors) and unjust (banning interracial marriages).
  3. If marriage is suddenly a right because the Supreme Court deemed it to be so then the Register believes (no surprise) that our rights come from government, not God.

Some additional points to consider….

  • Davis became county clerk prior to the ruling therefore she entered the job with a clear conscience. They changed the job description so to speak.
  • Same-sex couples can go to any of the other clerks in Kentucky who don’t have qualms about issuing a license.
  • Addressing the Des Moines Register’s headline – neither the Supreme Court’s ruling and Governor Beshear’s executive order are law.  Until the Kentucky Legislature passes a law changing how they handle marriage licenses Davis is following the law of Kentucky.  Why do people believe the law just magically changes when a court makes a ruling.  Go read your Constitution that’s Civics 101.
  • If Davis is fined or jailed for her refusal to issue a same-sex marriage license what is next?  Are we going to force a doctor in a state-run hospital to perform an abortion?

Reasonable, tolerant people should accommodate religious convictions.  Forcing Kim Davis to pay a fine or go to jail is neither reasonable or tolerant (as I wrote this Davis was placed into custody until she agrees to issue the licenses).  Expecting religious people to resign from their positions because they suddenly are placed in a situation where they are required to violate their religious convictions is not reasonable or tolerant either.

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