Just an opinion but Rowan County of Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis has not been placed in jail because of her religious beliefs. She has been jailed for a refusal to follow the law.
She has every right to object to the law. Civil disobedience is not unprecedented and has been undertaken by numbers of individuals for various reasons throughout the course of US history. Proponents of this course of action have faced legal and other consequences for their actions.
A similar concept is that of a Conscientious objector who objects to serving in the armed forces because of their beliefs. With the discontinuation of the draft this avenue is no longer prominent in US history, but the Vietnam era of US history is not that far removed.
Perhaps the greatest change today from the yesteryears is the ability to spread stories virtually instantaneously via social media and other outlets. The professional and financial consequences of being disobedient or objecting is often mitigated by the proverbial 15 minutes of fame and the far too deep pockets of those who promote an agenda for profit and not so much for strong personal belief.
Whether one who was alive at the time agreed or disagreed with Muhammad Ali and his citation of his religious beliefs for refusing to accept his lawful military service at the time, he served his punishment for draft evasion. Yes he did not serve jail time as he appealed the decision and others of less means did experience prison sentences. He did pay a substantial fine and more telling could not participate in his chosen profession of boxing for a period of approximately 3 years. While SCOTUS eventually overturned his conviction, he did not regain those 3 years in his profession.
Right or wrong, is not my point here. My point is that events today are not unprecedented, and agree or disagree with a law or question the legality of the law, a failure to abide by that law may result in consequences. There is nothing new. Ms. Davis is not in the same position as those who sat at lunch counters asking to be served by the establishment’s employees. She is in the position of the proprietor who chose to deny service.
Who you feel is on the correct side of the argument is entirely up to you. It’s similar to driving. That 4 way stop sign or traffic signal may be an inconvenience; may restrict our right to proceed as we wish; but if all follow the rules all progress toward their respective destinations at somewhat comparable speeds. If only one chooses not to stop and the others who have patiently waited their turn do not or are unable to yield to the one not following the law, damage occurs. Injuries and possibly deaths may result, and no matter what everyone has their progress halted.
It’s our choice….
According to Duties Of Elected County Officials, Informational Bulletin No. 114, Legislative Research Commission Frankfort, Kentucky, August 2014:
The county clerk issues marriage licenses (KRS 402.080) and files and records all marriage certificates (KRS 402.220 and 402.230). Military discharges may also be recorded in the county clerk’s office (KRS 422.090). On or before the 10th day of each month, the county clerk reports to the state registrar of vital statistics all marriage licenses issued and all marriage certificates returned (KRS 213.116). Each county clerk must furnish each applicant for a marriage license with a copy of a marriage manual to be prepared and printed by the Human Resources Coordinating Commission of Kentucky (KRS 402.270). (p. 54).
The Kentucky Revised Statutes lists who may solemnize a marriage in 402.050
Marriage shall be solemnized only by:
(a) Ministers of the gospel or priests of any denomination in regular communion
with any religious society;
(b) Justices and judges of the Court of Justice, retired justices and judges of the
Court of Justice except those removed for cause or convicted of a felony,
county judges/executive, and such justices of the peace and fiscal court
commissioners as the Governor or the county judge/executive authorizes; or
(c) A religious society that has no officiating minister or priest and whose usage
is to solemnize marriage at the usual place of worship and by consent given in
the presence of the society, if either party belongs to the society.
Unless I am missing something, the county clerk merely accepts the fee for a marriage license which then allows for another to perform the actual ceremony. Isn’t that a very fragmented association at best between the clerk and the couple seeking to obtain the license? From a strictly Biblical position is it written anywhere that a woman must apply for a license from a governmental body to be married?
Regardless of position on this specific case involving Ms. Davis, isn’t a greater potential conflict (I know for some it is already) whether a marriage is officiated by say a judge instead of a minister, priest, or any religious leader? I do know of couples who a Roman Catholic priest refused to marry following the Pre-Cana consultations because the priest did not believe the marriage would last, and that couple went to a Baptist congregation, got married, and divorced a short time later. A former colleague who is a devout Roman Catholic has for years sought an annulment for a marriage which ended years before he worked for me and will not marry or live with the woman who has been by his side through some very trying times unless he obtains an annulment.
It just seems to me that from a ‘religious’ perspective, arguments can easily become contradictable.