Amazing the empty-headedness that is still swirling around the Kim Davis situation, especially following her release from the fallacious judicial penalty imposed upon her. Yesterday was to have been the final bark of the dog from yours truly on this, but in light of the vindictive and unscrupulous attacks upon her character, it’s a case of “once more into the breach, dear friends, once more” (with apologies to Shakespeare). There are many misinformed people out there spouting off about what her “official” responsibilities are, and what they ought to be and how they trump her religious beliefs; thereby she got what she deserved. Really?
Well, call me crazy, but I don’t see where Kim Davis has violated any existing law. The recent omnibus SCOTUS declaration vis-a-vis so called “Sodomite marriage” notwithstanding, it can’t be “civil disobedience” if she isn’t violating any existing statute. One might even plausibly argue that she is in fact defending the existing laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and its 9th and 10th Amendment rights. One can be a hard core Christian absolutist like myself (if such we be) and still not check one’s logical faculties at the door.
As I’ve opined many times before, we ceased being a nation of laws right around the time our country began governing us by fiat. The authorization of the acrinimic agencies that were allowed to pass laws with criminal and civil sanction, and the enforcement authority to impose their will on we citizens, removed our freedom of self-government. Compound that with the lawlessness of the current administration and the wimpishness of our legislators, and we now have what we have. We are ruled by a cabal of pirates who obey what laws they deem agreeable, and disregard the rest. They have appointed a whimsical judiciary making up “laws” as they go along (unConstitutionally, that is), and everything they decide is imposed upon We The People by an unaccountable bureaucracy that is bankrupting the nation without respite. And now our “watchdog” press is wringing its hands because a few of the conservative candidates are bluntly telling We The People the truth, and not playing the wimpish pushovers that they love to shove around. If this nation doesn’t wake up soon to the clear and present danger, there won’t be anything left to be civilly-disobedient about.
It is up to we citizens to correct a government that has itself become lawless. The ballot box is only one way to do so, and it is a very unreliable tool. Confrontation of the government by citizens protected by the armor of their Conscience is a long-standing tradition. If it cannot be corrected, a government must be revised or replaced with a more reliable instrument for defending liberty.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” ~ Galatians 5:1
On now, to George Neumayr and his piece from today’s American Spectator, “No Higher Power” …
As Kim Davis sat in jail, she received criticism from not only the usual liberal suspects but also conservative-leaning Christians who take an oddly absolutist stance against civil disobedience by government officials. If a Christian clerk resists an unconstitutional and unjust law to sign gay marriage licenses, why is that morally wrong? It undermines the proper functioning of the government, say her Christian critics. But that argument only makes sense if the smooth functioning of a tyranny is a moral good. It isn’t.
Justify Davis’s civil disobedience and the “rule of law ceases to exist,” says Rod Dreher of the American Conservative. No, the rule of corrupt judges is impeded, and that is all to the good. If the rule of law has been twisted tyrannically, why prioritize its preservation? The unquestioning adherence of government officials to unjust laws does far more damage to the real good for which government exists than the supposed bad example of Kim Davis ever could.
Were civil disobedience by government officials everywhere and always wrong, the United States of America wouldn’t exist. Its origin traces to the willingness of colonial officials to resist King George III’s unjust decrees, and many of those acts of resistance look like minor quibbles compared to the serious objection Kim Davis raises.
Russell Moore and Andrew T. Walker of the Southern Baptist Convention rule out civil disobedience for Christians in government, writing that they “have a responsibility to carry out the law” or resign. Limiting the Christian response to those two choices is music to the ears of tyrants, as it means either the corruption of Christians or their total marginalization.
Implied in the stance of Moore and Walker is that civil disobedience by Christians who remain in their positions and resist somehow violates the will of God. But how could it possibly be the will of God for state authority to rest entirely in the hands of secularists or secularized Christians? That is the inevitable consequence of the “do your job or quit” stance.
Forbidding Christians in government from practicing civil disobedience at a time of tyranny is a formula for the extinction of Christianity. “I die the King’s good servant but God’s first,” said St. Thomas More. Now Christians, if they take the claimed prohibition on civil disobedience seriously, will have to delude themselves into thinking they can be God’s good servant while the secularist state’s first. Will they end up God’s good servant if they serve as secularism’s amoral arm?
Defenders of Davis, according to Michael Gerson, George W. Bush’s former speechwriter, are “doing great harm to the cause of religious liberty and to the reputation of their faith.” By Gerson’s reasoning, cooperating with religious liberty’s steady diminution and Christianity’s secularization somehow advance religious liberty and Christian integrity. Such sophistry explains how secularism triumphed so easily, to the point where judges now feel cocky enough to throw Christians in jail. The secularists can always count on appeasing Christians to make their arguments for them.
For decades, oh-so-nuanced Christians, desperate for a pat on the head from those in power, have counseled their less respectable brethren that this or that violation of religious freedom is “not the hill to die on.” The consequence of this counsel is that secularism now controls all the hills.
“I think that when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties they lead their country by a short route to chaos,” says Thomas More in the Robert Bolt play. It is curious to hear the Christian critics of Kim Davis reverse this argument and fret over the chaos that might result should conscientious Christians in government forsake their duties, as if the stability of a government separated from God’s law is more crucial to the common good than is the moral truth to which that disobedience gives effective witness.
Without that moral truth, all of government descends into chaos and civil disobedience becomes a corrective to it. By exposing herself to jail, Davis has helped reveal the increasingly coercive character of secularism, which will not rest until all Christians bow to its dictates or disappear from public life. For her Christian critics, in the midst of this purge, to be worrying about the propriety of her actions looks like a case of straining at the gnat and swallowing the camel.