Christianity, The First Amendment and Kim Davis

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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A lucky man. Also a lawyer. Classic oxymoron.

9 thoughts on “Christianity, The First Amendment and Kim Davis

  1. Good post, Dave. I pretty much agree with your position – especially the later stuff. I’m not sure that people like this woman are so much bigots as they might be just “well intentioned” Christians who somehow decided God’s primary agenda is social activism rather than love, and that God needs us to stand up and defend Him. As you said, this approach seems to mostly accomplish alienating us from those He might most want us to interface with and succeeds in continuing the impression of hate and judgment within the Christian community. This woman is free to walk away from a job (for “Caesar”, by the way) that requires her to act counter to her beliefs. She should do so because of her commitment to her faith – willing to “suffer” for her faith – and to be sure that she does so with a true love for those who need to hear the message of the cross. And that is a message of love – not one of social shouting.

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  2. I Googled “does the First Amendment protect Kim Davis’s actions” and this post was on the first page of results. Thank you for your explanation – I read the text of the First Amendment several times today, trying to figure out whether she/her lawyers/her supporters had a valid argument. I couldn’t find anything in the text that I interpreted as supporting her claim; I’m glad to know I wasn’t missing something.

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  3. I hope you will allow me the privilege of chiming in on this. Although I am not an attorney (although CLOSELY related to two), I do have the benefit of Bible college and seminary similar to the author. The situation in Rowan County has given me a lot to think about. Starting with: What are we asked to do/act on as Christians? Everyone, religious or otherwise likes to state that Jesus was all about love. However, Jesus himself stated that “if you love me you will keep my commandments”. In other words, love is more then emotion. It is an act of will. Second, if Jesus is truly God, what are His commands on this issue? It starts with creation itself. John Chapter 1 states that Jesus was the instrument of the initial creation, as well as everything that was/is created at any point in history. Psalms 139 states that He formed us volitionally and creatively while still in the womb. We also know that God does not sin, nor tempt anyone to sin (also a quote of Christ). Finally, what was Christ’s view of homosexuality? If He was indeed and continues to be creator, then Gen 1 and 2, Matt 19 and Mark 10 all state that Christ created us male and female, intended to be joined together in an inseparable union. No other union is every mentioned or endorsed. When Christ met the woman at the well, He showed compassion on her and shared the gospel and His role as Messiah with her. She indeed placed faith in Christ’s claims. However, Christ’s closing words to her were “go and sin no more”. In other words, He reached out in love, but firmly addressed her sin. When the three “visitors” came to Abraham in the Old Testament to tell Abraham of their plans for destroying Sodom and Gomorroh, Christ is clearly identified as the visitor that remained after the other two had left. In effect, Christ Himself was bringing destruction to these two cities. The book most quoted by Christ in the gospels is Deuteronomy. . .which has MUCH to say about homosexual lifestyles. Finally, the apostles (Paul in particular) write several times on this topic. So what does all this mean? We can’t change the world (unsaved) and are not even to judge the world. The reason is that apart from Christ’s work on the cross, being accepted by faith and regenerating an individual’s life, they cannot live a Godly life. So going back to the woman at the well, we are called on to reach out in love to those that do not belong to Christ. . .gay or straight. The changing is done by Christ and the work of the Spirit. However, the book of James states that those that truly belong to Christ will not continue in sin. So if the Bible. . .and Christ. . .identify particular actions as sin (including that of homosexuality), then those that accept this lifestyle and continue in it do not. . .and cannot. . .belong to Christ (again read the book of James). So we end where we started “if you love Me, you will keep My commandments”. This means that as a Christian I am called on to share the gospel with all people. . .regardless of what they have engaged in. At the same time, I am called on to share a “complete” gospel.. . .one that shows that coming to faith in Christ means making Him Lord of my life. . .in all areas including sexual. I am to reach out to all people. . to proclaim a gospel that frees them from sin. . .not enables them to continue in it.

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  4. i don’t go to church but that shouldn’t really mean much i know that religion bleeds over and you cant help but to hear some of it anyway my grand mother was super religious and i think one thing you may have left out that Kim Davis is referring to is the fact the bible and church preach is that no man or q\woman shall lay with another.

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    1. Many people quote “separation of church and state” to condemn David and those like her. However, they have never actually investigated what Jefferson and the rest meant when they wrote the first amendment. They had just left a nation with a nationalized church everyone was forced to join/obey. The point of the amendment was to restrict government from involving itself in religious affairs. It was not to restrict religion from government. In fact, the same founders that wrote the document required members of congress to have an endorsement letter from their local church before they could serve in congress. In other words, the founders believed that the government was to be based on religious principles and look to scripture for guidance. This can further be seen in the fact that Yale, Princeton and Harvard were in fact seminaries when originally formed.

      The issue we face today is that we have a society that wants to remold the intent of the founders to accomadate their lifestyles. There is no longer any desire to actually know. . . much less adhere to. . .original intent as the founders drafted it.

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