03 September 2015

May We All Have the Courage to Emulate Her

I am glad to post the statement, below, issued by Kim Davis, the Rowan County, KY Clerk.  She is risking jail time for contempt of court for refusing to violate her conscience-- she is refusing to obey the unjust order of that court to issue marriage licenses to parties whose sham "marriages" would violate Kentucky statutes and the Natural Law.  

Though the theology evidenced in her statement is not entirely correct, her courage and fidelity to her conscience, which shows so great a desire to be faithful to Christ the King and Savior, deserves to be honored.

May we Catholics have the courage to follow her example, and may she be aided by heaven to continue to stand for the Natural and Divine Law.  While you're praying for that, you might also pray for her conversion to the One True Church founded by the Lord she loves so much. From the Defense of Marriage site:

Kim Davis Issues Statement Regarding Her Refusal To Issue Same-sex 'Marriage' Licenses

September 1, 2015 at 8:32 pm

Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because doing so would violate her deeply held religious beliefs. To avoid unequal treatment of same-sex couples, Ms. Davis has declined to issue any marriage licenses since the US Supreme Court illegitimately redefined marriage. Gay activists have forced the issue through the courts, winning a federal court battle purporting to "order" Ms. Davis to issue licenses. Yesterday the US Supreme Court declined to grant a stay of the lower court order even though it is under appeal. Ms. Davis has issued the following statement through her attorneys, Liberty Counsel:

"I have worked in the Rowan County Clerk's office for 27 years as a Deputy Clerk and was honored to be elected as the Clerk in November 2014, and took office in January 2015. I love my job and the people of Rowan County. I have never lived any place other than Rowan County. Some people have said I should resign, but I have done my job well. This year we are on track to generate a surplus for the county of 1.5 million dollars.

In addition to my desire to serve the people of Rowan County, I owe my life to Jesus Christ who loves me and gave His life for me. Following the death of my godly mother-in-law over four years ago, I went to church to fulfill her dying wish. There I heard a message of grace and forgiveness and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I am not perfect. No one is. But I am forgiven and I love my Lord and must be obedient to Him and to the Word of God.

I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage. To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God's definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision. For me it is a decision of obedience. 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. It is a matter of religious liberty, which is protected under the First Amendment, the Kentucky Constitution, and in the Kentucky Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Our history is filled with accommodations for people's religious freedom and conscience. I want to continue to perform my duties, but I also am requesting what our Founders envisioned - that conscience and religious freedom would be protected. That is all I am asking. I never sought to be in this position, and I would much rather not have been placed in this position. I have received death threats from people who do not know me. I harbor nothing against them. I was elected by the people to serve as the County Clerk. I intend to continue to serve the people of Rowan County, but I cannot violate my conscience."

UPDATE:  And... she is jailed by the Ministry of Love.


Long-Skirts said...

Dear God, many prayers for this good woman.

Sam said...

If she were truly a person of conscience, she would resign her position rather than issue those licenses. Instead, she wants to get paid for a job she is not doing. I'm afraid she's getting some very bad advice from some people who are happy to stand on the sidelines cheering her on without having their own skin in the game.

thetimman said...

No, Sam, I'll disagree with you there. It would be lawful for her to resign, and that would be one way to play it, but she doesn't have to. And that is the whole point here. By staying on but defying the Court, she is saying this: "I 'am' doing my job. Because my job is to issue marriage licenses to couples who wish to marry and are free to do so. And these couples are not free to do so."

If she resigns, the next clerk will issue the licenses. If she stays, she is, whether she fully even realizes it or not, defending the sacrament of marriage itself.

Now, of course she will likely be jailed, fired or otherwise brought out of the way. So what good is she doing anyone?

It is a question to ask any martyr.

Sam said...

No, she doesn't get to decide what her job is. She took an oath to uphold the constitution and, whether she likes it or not, the Supreme Court has held that gay marriage is a constitutional right.

Let me ask you this. If the county clerk had a deeply held belief that interracial marriages violate "God's law", would you likewise support that county clerk's refusal to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple?

chantgirl said...

What I thought was interesting in this situation is that the judge decided to not give her a fine because her supporters would raise the money to pay it (the Christian community has made itself heard raising money for bakers and pizzeria owners). No, he wants to send a message here, and that is why he is ready to send her to jail. He wants to make an example out of her lest others be inspired to do the same thing. However, throwing her in jail will probably work against him in the court of public opinion, and others will certainly be inspired to follow in her footsteps.

thetimman said...

Sam, sorry, but she took an oath to uphold the constitution and laws of the state of Kentucky. Kentucky law states marriage consists of a man and a woman. The Supreme Court's ruling is unjust, and that is the action she defies in order to uphold Kentucky law.

Steve said...

Timman, please correct me if I'm wrong, but I am under the impression that you are an attorney. You may belive that the SCOTUS decision in June was "unjust," and Kim Davis obviously would agree with you. However, her authority as a county clerk does not supercede that of the United States Supreme Court--as you know perfectly well. SCOTUS effectively struck down state laws prohibitting marriage by same-sex couples.

On a related point: You mentioned that, through her choice to defy SCOTUS decisions (both Obergefell in June and the this week's SCOTUS decision to not overrule the lower court in her case), Davis is "defending the sacrament of marriage itself." I'm sure that you understand, once again, that marriage under civil law is distinct from sacramental marriage as recognized and sanctioned by a church. The Catholic Church, for instance, determines which couples it will allow to marry sacramentally. The state does not make that decision. Nothing at all has changed in that respect in the era of the Obergefell decision. Never has any court decision or state law required any church anywhere in the United States to marry, for instance, a couple in which one or both individuals have a divorce history. The county clerk is responsible--as part of her basic job duties--for issuing CIVIL MARRIAGE LICENSES. She is not in the business of administering or registering sacraments. Never has been, never will be.

Sam is right. This woman most definitely has the right to follow her conscience. In fact, she SHOULD follow her conscience. But since her conscience is obviously is unreconciable conflict with her basic job duties, she should follow the convicitons of her conscience and resign her job. She does not get paid to pick and choose her job duties--no more so than a postal employee can choose which pieces of mail he will or will not deliver, since he may have objections to the pornographic magazine going to someone on his route.

Anonymous said...

What would you say about her four marriages?


Sam said...

I can't say what oaths she took in this case, but as someone who administers oaths as part of his job, I can tell you that even state and local elected officials usually swear or affirm to uphold the constitution of the United States in addition to their state constitution. By the way, you didn't respond to my hypothetical about the county clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses to interracial couples.

Bsdouglass said...

I believe the judge is a Catholic. His father the former senator is. His statement on natural law is baffling. Maybe he just doesn't know what the term means.

Now we got to see persecution in action complete with Christians caving and offering incense... And we have a nullification test case to boot! USA love it or leave it.

thetimman said...

Thanks to all for a good discussion.

Magda, I say that since she claims to have converted after those events I'll take her at her word. And, as a logical matter, it's irrelevant.

Steve, there is nothing in the constitution that gives the Supreme Court the authority to strike down laws as unconstitutional. It has claimed that power since Marbury v. Madison, but there are many scholars who comsider that a raw exercise of power. A state could disagree and reach its own conclusion. The congress or executive could disagree. Obviously this is a historical oddity, but true nonetheless. Hence the nullification reference by bsdouglass. Regardless of accepted custom, the Supreme Court cannot legitimize an unjust law, it can only enforce it. Resisting an unjust decision is one way to overturn it. If she resigned, she is not resisting it nearly as demonstrably and effectively. If they ordered the county's Catholic health director to perform an abortion, he should not have to resign or have to do it, either.

This strategy could have been used by Jeb Bush when the federal judge ordered Terri Schiavo to be murdered by starvation. He talked of resisting the order, but caved.

I completely disagree with the unfortunate strategy of some to decouple legal and "real" marriage. the job of the civil order is to defend the moral law, just as the church must do. We have ceded the field on moral issues for decades to the detriment of society. The issue of previously divorced persons being issued licenses is different. Such marriages may or may not violate a Divine Law, depending on factual circumstances in each case of the kind that clerks would not normally be aware of. They don't violate per se the Naural Law. But anyone can see if two men or two women seek a license. Such a "marriage" is an impossibility by definition.

Sam, a lawyer takes an oath to uphold the constitution. I can read the fourteenth amendment, for instance, so when I say that I disagree with Harry Blackmun's opinion that unborn babies are not entitled to life, I don't take his view as final, and I believe I can fulfill my oath. I did not respond to your hypothetical because it is obviously different. Man plus woman equals marriage. There is no question of interracial marriages violating the Natural Law.

Finally, just step back and consider that this woman is being jailed for this. Whether she is justified or not, the act of jailing her is repugnant.

When I said she was upholding the sacrament of marriage, I meant that this was her effect.

Dymphna said...

I saw this woman in shackles. Who did she kill? How many thousands of pounds of drugs did she sell? What crime family is she the head of? Shackles are for violent, vicious criminals who are capable of attacking the judge or the officers. This was deliberate cruelty to frighten everyone else into obeying.

Anonymous said...


I appreciate your legal analysis and recognition that she's upholding state laws and constitution of KY, which have not been changed by the SCOTUS ruling. I would think the proper process upon such a SCOTUS ruling is for state legislatures to respond with either defiance of unjust ruling or capitulation. If state law capitulates, then the operative law would be for Davis to issue SS licenses. But state law does not say so. She was not elected by SCOTUS to do what SCOTUS says. (I've expressed these ideas on blogs.)

I am surprised sadly by the many NRO writers who do concede she's acting unlawfully by not following SCOTUS ruling and subsequent fed court orders.

God bless Kim Davis! May more of us follow her!

Anonymous said...

I think she was targeted. They picked her because she has been married 4 times. And of course, they can use that for fodder. I know a bishop who predicts it will not to long before the Catholic Church is sued for refusing to marry a same sex couple. And polygamy is on the way.

John Horvat said...

One must obey God and not man in this case of an unjust and immoral law.
As St. Augustine says: "Unjust law is not law." It is a perversion of law. We have the right and duty to resist such laws as the Church has done for centuries.

chantgirl said...

The judge has said that she may be released from jail if she "changes her mind". Is there any precedent in this country for throwing someone in jail until they change their mind? Jail time is supposed to be a punishment for a specific crime. Is her crime not issuing licenses or having the wrong kind of "thoughts"?