On September 3, 2015, a federal judge ordered county clerk Kim Davis to jail for contempt, since she, citing her religious beliefs and "God's authority," refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. She stated:
- "You can't be separated from something that's in your heart and in your soul," Davis told the judge as she explained how the Supreme Court's ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide conflicts with the vows she made when she became a born-again Christian. I promised to love Him with all my heart, mind and soul because I wanted to make heaven my home.”
- "I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God's word," her statement said.
Judge Bunning’s ruling seems to be more than extreme. Republican presidential candidate, Ted Cruz, charged that it was lawless:
- “Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny. Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith. This is wrong. This is not America.
- “I stand with Kim Davis. Unequivocally. I stand with every American that the Obama Administration is trying to force to chose between honoring his or her faith or complying with a lawless court decision.
- “In dissent, Chief Justice Roberts rightly observed that the Court’s marriage decision has nothing to do with the Constitution. Justice Scalia observed that the Court’s [5 against 4] decision was so contrary to law that state and local officials would choose to defy it.
And several have bravely chosen to defy it. And how is the Court’s ruling illegal? The American Family Association writes:
- So the Court had precisely zero authority to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which was passed by overwhelming and bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress, and signed into law by a Democrat president, Bill Clinton. DOMA makes it expressly clear that the business of defining marriage is an issue that belongs exclusively to the states. That is the LAW, passed by the elected representatives of the people in the constitutionally prescribed manner. If DOMA is to be amended or overturned, there is only one body on earth which has the legitimate power to do so, and that is Congress. The Supreme Court has absolutely no moral or constitutional authority to tamper with it at all. So if Congress by law has reserved to the states the right to define marriage, what has the state of Kentucky done about it? The people of Kentucky, according to the prescribed method outlined in its state constitution, have defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman, period. Kentuckians enacted their marriage amendment in 2004 with an overwhelming 75% of the vote.
By overriding DOMA and the vote of 75% of Kentuckians, the five Supreme Court progressives have elevated ideology over the Constitution and a concern for the overall well-being of our nation. Their decisions can only serve to alienate, embitter, and breed greater distrust.
Our nation was not always so intolerant of religious belief. The secularism of our Founding Fathers bears little resemblance to the militant, coercive “secularism” of today. The historian, Edwin Scott Gaustad, quotes perhaps our most un-Christian Father to this effect:
- “Almighty God hath made the mind free.” It follows therefrom that mankind should do all that it can to keep minds unshackled and un-coerced. Let us consider, Jefferson noted, that if an all wise and powerful God restrained himself from coercing either the bodies or the minds of men and women, how utterly absurd it must be for “fallible and uninspired men” to arrogate to themselves the right to exercise “dominion over the faith of others…Be it enacted,” therefore, “that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever.” One will suffer in no way for his or her religious opinions; on the contrary, all persons “shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.” And whatever their opinions, this will in no way affect their citizenship or their rights. (A Religious History of America, 119).
Jefferson might not have been a Christian, but he respected Christian conscience and regarded State coercion of religious conscience as needlessly repressive, as did the other Fathers.
There were many other options the Kentucky municipality could have adopted in regards to Davis. They could have allowed Davis room to not have to violate her faith. They could have directed gay clients to other clerks.
This is something that has been routinely done in mental health clinics. A new rape-case client is not assigned to a counselor who had just been raped. A Christian therapist is not assigned a same-sex (SS) couple. There had been respect for people’s feelings and faiths. What would it cost to make such allowances!
However, this is rapidly changing. Two Christian students were dismissed from graduate counseling programs in two different state schools because they refused to acknowledge that same-sex marriage is morally acceptable. This is a far cry from the Fathers who proclaimed that government should in no way exercise “dominion over the faith of others.” Jefferson had insisted that all people “shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.”
In contrast to this, the Obama administration eliminated certain rights of health care professions to not have to participate in activities that violated their conscience. Must today’s secularism compel a dogmatic secularly religious conformity in these matters? (And isn’t this an establishment of a State sponsored secular religion!) Must it force the pharmacist to prescribe the morning-after pill against his conscience? Must uniformity be imposed on all? On the same page of this World Magazine edition,
- A chaplain at a briefing asked a senior Pentagon official if a biblical worldview on homosexuality would be protected in the post-DADT [Don’t Ask, Don’t’ Tell] military. The reply he received was chilling: If you cannot come in line with the policy, then resign your commission.
We still don’t know how the repeal of DADT will play out for the chaplaincy and religion. However, this Pentagon official, reflecting the opinion of many others, is essentially saying, “The only religion will be our secular religion! We no longer allow religious diversity.” But why not? We’ve made provisions for the conscientious objector (CO) who refused to bear arms because of religious convictions. Why not also for the integrity of the religion which has provided the very foundation for this nation? In God of Liberty, historian Thomas S. Kidd writes:
- Whether evangelical or rationalist, most Patriots assumed that Christianity would, in some sense, be the cornerstone for the preservation of the new American Republic. (112)
According to Kidd, these sentiments were broadly held for quite a while:
- Through the era of the Civil War most Americans would continue to believe that the Christian religion should assist government in lifting people’s moral dispositions, so that they might contribute positively to the freedom of the Republic. Even the skeptical Thomas Jefferson believed that Christianity… “is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty.” (114)
The religion of the Founding Fathers allowed for religious diversity, as Jefferson proclaimed: “Almighty God hath made the mind free.” Therefore, this should guarantee the free expression of religious conscience. However, today’s secularism wants to place us in shackles: “You must believe in SS marriage, or else! No alternative speech will be tolerated!”
Our Founding Fathers were wise. They realized that by compelling religious conformity, they would not only be promoting a State religion, but also would jeopardize any possibility of unity. Meanwhile, today’s aggressively militant secularistic religion is placing this unity in jeopardy.
After Judge Bunning’s decision:
- Hundreds of people chanted and screamed, "Love won! Love won!" as word of these decisions reached the crowds outside the federal courthouse. (OneNewsNow)
Love didn’t win! Had love won, diversity of faith and freedom would have been upheld. Perhaps Davis might have been relieved of the responsibility of issuing marriage licenses or perhaps SS marriage requests might have been re-routed elsewhere.
No! Love didn’t win! Intolerance and the pressures for uniformity of belief and social conformity won! The very consensus that had once made this country great has been shattered and, with it, its vitality.