Bigots do what bigots are going to do. They discriminate against others who weren’t born with the same color of skin or religion or sexual preference. They get caught making racial slurs or offending religious groups other than their own or comparing the President to Hitler. More often than not, the bigot involved claims that the Constitution gives him or her the right to be a bigot. “What about my First Amendment rights?” they’ll say. Inevitably, the bigot garners support from others who support the bigoted action in the name of “freedom.”
I guess quoting the Constitution makes people think they’re smart. “The First Amendment protects my freedom to say what I want to say!” “Freedom of religion was guaranteed by our Founders!” And you know what? Both of those statements are absolutely 100% correct. However, it would help their claim to intelligence not to use it as the backbone for bigotry.
Kim Davis has made headlines over the past several weeks for her refusal to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples when the law makes it quite clear that it is her duty to do so. She does this under the guise of her version of Christianity and her right to freedom of religion. She believes that the government cannot force her to participate in something that violates her beliefs. Now she’s pleading for a federal judge to allow her to continue to break the law.
Let me qualify the rest of this post by saying that I am a lawyer. I am also a Christian and I have a college degree in religious studies. I promise I know a little bit about the Constitution, the Bible and Christian doctrine.
With regard to the Constitutional issue, the attorneys representing Mrs. Davis should be disbarred. I am so sick of people claiming their First Amendment rights are being violated when they have no idea what that actually means. Kim Davis’ freedom of religion is not being violated in any way, shape or form. Neither is mine. And neither is yours. We can all go to church on Sunday. We can pray in public. Heck, we can even listen to Christian music if we so choose. No one is taking you to jail or depriving you of your liberty because you are a Christian. Ironically, most of the people screaming from the rooftops about religious freedom at the moment would have a panic attack if a mosque opened up in their neighborhood but that’s a different topic for a different day. Let Mrs. Davis try to violate a law in the name of Christianity in the Middle East or North Korea and see how that goes. I promise she’d find out really quickly what freedom of religion is and what it isn’t. She would be begging for a contempt of court hearing before a federal judge. As Christians, we have been freed from sin through Jesus. As Americans, we are free to believe that and share it with others without the fear of a death sentence.
With regard to Mrs. Davis’ so-called “stand for Christianity,” I respect her beliefs. I really do. I think her priorities are a little out of whack but I am sure she would probably have the same opinion of me. However, it isn’t her place to decide who can be married and who can’t regardless of whose authority she is claiming. If she really wanted to take a stand for Christ, how about following the law, issuing the licenses and then telling the couple about Jesus and inviting them to church?
Does Mrs. Davis have to condone the actions of others? Certainly not. Should she use her convictions to exclude people from the love of Christ? Certainly not. I sincerely believe that the main purpose for all Christians is to share their faith with as many people as possible. Jesus’ last words before his Ascension into Heaven were “go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20; New Living Translation. Is Mrs. Davis furthering her purpose as a Christian by taking this “stand?” I sure don’t think so. How can you share Jesus’ message with people by rejecting them? What chances does any other believer have of leading these people to a relationship with Christ after the example that Mrs. Davis has set? Her actions are more of a detriment to the Christian faith than they are an asset.
Let’s not complicate things. Jesus commanded us to love one other just as he loved us. I think the greatest stand we can take is to love those who are different than we are rather than condemning them. Leave the judgment up to God.
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