Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis is in a tight spot. She says she can’t issue any marriage licenses as her job demands because she doesn’t believe in same-sex marriages. When asked by whose authority she refuses to issue same-sex marriage licenses, Ms Davis replies, “God’s authority.”
I believe I have an answer for her dilemma.
The U.S. Supreme Court says that same-sex marriages are legal in all 50 states. And the governor of Kentucky has ordered all county clerks in the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. But that isn’t good enough for Ms Davis. She continues to feel that affixing her signature to a marriage license for same-sex couples implicates her in sin, and it’s a matter of heaven or hell for her.
Various courts have told Ms Davis that she must issue the licenses. Ms Davis appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and they refused to hear the case. The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) took Ms Davis to court, asking the court to fine her. Instead, the court jailed Ms Davis in contempt of court until she changes her mind, for at least a week.
Most people suggested that Ms Davis either give in and issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples — that is the job she is paid by taxpayers to do — or resign. She apparently would prefer to sit in jail.
But there is another way out for Ms Davis.
Ms Davis has been divorced three times and married four. When her detractors bring this up, Ms Davis and her supporters claim that she has since been saved by Jesus and cleansed of her sins. In essence, Ms Davis has become a Christian zealot. The problem with zealots is they become the mega faithful, self-righteous and unbending. (Jesus points out that when you divorce your husband and marry another you are an adulterer. Finding Jesus doesn’t change that if you stay with your new husband, by the way.)
But if you truly believe in the Gospel of Jesus, Kim Davis, consider Matthew 22: 15-22. That’s the scripture in which the Pharisees try to trip up Jesus by asking if the Jews should really pay a tax to the government. Jesus asks the Pharisees to see a coin that is paid in tax and they show him a Roman coin. He asks whose face is on the coin, and the Pharisees respond that it is Caesar’s. “Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s,” instructs Jesus, “but give to God what is God’s.”
In essence, Jesus is telling Ms Davis that she can meet her obligation to her government job issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples (giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s) while continuing to believe in her heart that same-sex marriages are wrong (giving to God what is God’s), thus not personally being a party to what she sees as wrong. That, according to her Bible, is the authority that God gives.
Kim Davis isn’t the only conservative Kentucky country clerk having trouble with the idea of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples for religious reasons. They should all remember to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s while feeling safe in giving to God what is God’s in their hearts.
© 2015. Alan Eggleston. All Rights Reserved.