Here’s What I Think About Kim Davis and Christians Ignoring the “Law of the Land”
The more I read the less I’m sure of. Is Kim Davis an example that Christians should take note of for her refusal to compromise her religious convictions? Is she a criminal interfering with “the law of the land” that needs to either “get with the program” or get out of the way?
One thing I am sure of is that most people, by now, have at least heard of Kim Davis. And I am fairly certain that most people have made up their mind about whether they view Davis as a hero or a villain. But all the noise and static in the media and on blogs takes time to wade through.
At the risk of personifying irony by becoming part of the noise and static, I wanted to share some thoughts on what could, potentially, be one of the most crucial incidents in our nation’s history.
There seems to be a grave misunderstanding taking place that could alter the course of events if not adequately cleared up. Some are inclined to think that the Supreme Court of the United States makes laws in our country when, in fact, they do not. The Supreme Court has no authority to make laws but, in reality, is to uphold existing laws. It is Congress that has the task of making laws. For this reason Kim Davis is well within the bounds of law to refuse to sign a marriage certificate for a same-sex couple. Why?
Simply put the Kentucky state constitution defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Kim Davis swore an oath to uphold that constitution and the SCOTUS decision does nothing to change the Kentucky state constitution. As Harry Reeder points out in his well-written article:
“[T]he Constitution and laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky define marriage as a legal covenant between one man and one woman. And the Obergefell SCOTUS opinion has no authority to overturn those laws established by the people through their elected legislators…It is commonly believed that the opinions of the Supreme Court are the ‘law of the land.’…The law of the land—the Constitution—is supreme in the United States, not the Supreme Court. And the Constitution can only be changed by the people through elected legislators at the local, state and federal levels, not the judiciary at any level. Governors and Presidents execute the law established through elected legislators. The Supreme Court renders “opinions” on cases it hears, but it does not create law. If this delegation of duties is not observed then the warnings of Thomas Jefferson concerning the inevitable tyranny of the judicial branch will be a reality, as even James Madison, the architect of the Constitution, eventually admitted could happen!”
So first and foremost we need to understand that Kim Davis is not breaking any laws but is actually upholding the laws of Kentucky according to both the state constitution and the Constitution of the United States.
But, secondly, as Reeder also points out, Davis is adhering to her religious convictions and biblical principles:
“[A]s a Christian she cannot submit to the laws of men if they contradict and cause her to disobey the Law of God. The long standing premise as to the supremacy of God’s Law over man’s law is repeatedly affirmed in the Old Testament (i.e., the Egyptian midwives disobedience of Pharaoh’s decree to kill the Hebrew children, etc.) continuing in the New Testament (i.e., John and Peter’s refusal to obey the public authorities command to be silent as to the Gospel of Christ with the salient statement, “We must obey God rather than man,” Acts 5:29)”
The truth about what Kim Davis has done is not nearly as hyped up as the media has made it. She has upheld her oath of office, her state constitution, and the United States Constitution (specifically the 10th Amendment). In this she has broken no laws, and done nothing worthy of jail, scrutiny, or even a news story.
However, because Davis is doing something considered politically incorrect, something liberals and LGBT activists don’t like, she is now the subject of intense scrutiny. Consider for a moment what would be said if the SCOTUS decision was to ban abortion. The media outcry would be that SCOTUS has no authority to make such a “law,” and that the decision is illegal and doesn’t have to be followed. And those would be valid statements. However, because the SCOTUS decision in the Obergfell case is favorable to same-sex “marriage,” every media outlet is pretending that same-sex “marriage” is now the law of the land.
But it’s not the law of the land.
In fact, each individual state still has the ability and power to define marriage as it chooses. The 10th Amendment makes it clear that neither the Supreme Court nor any other judicial entity in the country has the authority to interfere with states governing themselves in these matters. So, in essence, until the state of Kentucky amends its own constitution to redefine marriage, nothing has changed.
Albert Mohler makes an interesting point on those demanding that Kim Davis adhere to the “law of the land” in this matter. He writes:
“It is very revealing that many of those who are celebrating Judge Bunning’s decision to send Kim Davis to jail and who are now asserting their absolute commitment to the rule of law are the very same people who made the opposite argument when it served their purposes. That argument, taken at face value, would have meant no civil rights movement — and no gay rights movement. Furthermore, it would have meant no American Revolution. If the Christian responsibility to obey government is extended without the support of other Christian duties, all that is left is tyranny and obeisance to the state.”
Indeed, it is only because the Obergfell decision went the way of LGBT activists that they are even demanding adherence to the law. Had the decision gone in the other direction they would be the first to advocate ignoring the decision and any corresponding law.
Where does this leave Kim Davis? Where does this leave Christians?
Well, I think it leaves Kim Davis right where she’s been all along: doing her job according to the oath of office she took. As we’ve discussed, she is not breaking any laws, and is actually upholding the “law of the land” in Kentucky. For that reason I think she is not just right in her actions, but justified.
As for Christians, this leaves us in an interesting position. Will the next step be to demand adherence to anything the state or federal government says regardless of convictions? Will Christians be forced from government positions? Those are questions that only time will answer. But it certainly seems Kim Davis has brought much needed light to the discussion. Once again a Christian standing for her religious convictions and biblical principle has the potential to change the culture and the lives of many others. It seems history really does repeat itself.