Yesterday, I wrote a line or two about Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who has now been jailed for her refusal to issue marriage certificates. Since then, I’ve done a lot of reading on the issue…both sides. Quite honestly, the more I read, the more my own view has changed.
You see, I used to be employed by the county clerk. I processed marriage licenses every day. At the time, I didn’t think much about it. It was simply part of the many tasks that were part of the job I chose to do. Of course, in 1993, there wasn’t a moral issue surrounding marriage licenses. Or was there?
Even in 1993, I had the right to refuse a couple a marriage license. If a couple came into our office and they were cousins, I could refuse their request. I had an obligation to ask if they were related and to refuse them if the relation was within certain boundaries. Family marriage was illegal.
I also could refuse them a license if they could not provide a court order proving that they were no longer married to a previous spouse. Polygamy was illegal.
Personally, I have a moral objection to both of those instances… a conviction, if you will. All these years later, I wonder what I would have done if either or both of those laws had been overturned and I had been ordered to process the marriage license of cousins or of someone still married. Would I have taken a stand for a belief I hold dearer than the law? Would my conviction been enough to break the law? Would I have the courage to face the consequences?
It’s not wasted on me that others have convictions different than mine. I have straight and gay friends who hold dearly to their own personal convictions that marriage should be between two loving, consenting adults, regardless of gender. The difference in our convictions is found at the root of our understanding of moral truth. Moral truth, for me is founded on God’s design for mankind. In the beginning, He designed marriage between one man and one woman. Though there are multiple stories of polygamy, incest, and homosexuality in the Bible, the fact remains that when God ordained marriage, He ordained it between a man and a woman. Moral truth for my friends who support gay marriage is founded on the belief that no one can tell someone else what to do. Each person is autonomous and should have the freedom to do and be as they please. Their convictions run as deep as mine do, yet the differences between us are great.
Courage has become a buzz word of sorts lately. Mainstream media would like us to believe that courage is defined by standing up for yourself/your beliefs in the face of adversity. The new face of Bruce Jenner has become the new definition of courage.
I find it ironic that our society, and especially mainstream media and social media, applauded Jenner for his “courage” and yet persecute Kim Davis for hers. They salute gay marriage advocates for their convictions and deny Mrs. Davis hers. The group that touts “tolerance” most is revealing how truly intolerant they are.
And, this is where my opinion on the Kim Davis situation has changed. When I first read of her struggle, my initial thought was, “just do your job you were elected to do.” As I read, I realized I had to dig deep to get beyond the mainstream media slant on every report. (What happened to impartiality?) The deeper I dug, the more I found evidence that isn’t being reported. Mrs. Davis did the job she was elected to do until that job changed. What mainstream media hasn’t reported on is that Mrs. Davis sought legal ways around the change in the law. When she was denied those legal ways, she stood on her conviction with courage.
In the end, I’ve realized that it is easy to be “courageous” in your conviction when everyone agrees with you and you are granted numerous accolades and awards. It’s a whole different scenario when you stand courageously on your convictions in the face of adversity.
I want the Kim Davis kind of courage.