Render Unto Caesar…


DISCLAIMER: If you support Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis’ refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses, you may not want to read this post. It might anger you.

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If you make the choice to enter the political arena, you should understand a couple things up front:

  1. If elected, you hold a POLITICAL position that IS NOT subject to your personal or religious beliefs;
  2. That POLITICAL position may eventually require you to perform a duty with which you disagree.

If you’re an ELECTED official, you have the responsibility to stand for and represent your constituents, regardless of your personal feelings and religious convictions. I’ll go so far as to recommend that if you’re unable to tolerate and respect views – and carry out the laws – that oppose your own, you might want to avoid entering the political arena entirely.

In light of this, I believe Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis made the wrong choice. She’s an ELECTED (aka, POLITICAL) official. So deciding that her religious convictions won’t allow her to fulfill her job as a POLITICIAN (essentially), is poppy-cock. One could make the argument that when she ran for election as county clerk in 2014, (and during the 24 years she served as a deputy under her mother, the previous county clerk – apparently nepotism is legal in Kentucky government offices) same-sex marriage wasn’t legal nationwide, and there was no way she could’ve envisioned it would become law during her tenure as clerk. If that’s the case, perhaps she shouldn’t have run for political office… especially in light of her religious beliefs. Aspiring politicians need to be able to see the forest as well as the trees – they need to be able to think analytically, explore the “what ifs” of the future of politics.

And as she’s made this a religious debate, she’s actually defying scripture (available HERE, in whatever version you prefer): Luke 20:20-25 (ESV): “So they watched him, and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. So they asked him, ‘Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar or not?’ But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, ‘Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?’ They said, ‘Caesar’s.’ He said to them, ‘Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’

In other words: Kim Davis is a POLITICIAN, in “Caesar’s” (aka, the US) government. Unless marriage licenses have changed since I was married in 2000, the state and issuing county are listed at the very top of the license. The clerk’s name is listed at the bottom, as the GOVERNMENT representative. It has NO reflection on the clerk himself/herself. The clerk is just a sexless name on a piece of paper. Ms. Davis is only responsible for signing and delivering the legally-obtained license. And I don’t believe that’s in violation of God’s law. Even Jesus taught that we are to give Caesar (Government) his/its due. And “Caesar” (the U.S. Supreme Court, in this case) has decided to interpret the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to mean that “the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples” just as it is to opposite-sex couples. THAT is “Caesar’s due.”

If Kim Davis was pastor of a church, THEN she could refuse (hopefully in a respectful manner) to provide “Holy Matrimony” to same-sex couples with her religious convictions as foundation for her refusal. Refusing to hand over a legally-applied-for marriage license to same-sex couples, in accordance with her JOB, her position as a POLITICIAN, simply because it’s contrary to her religious convictions, is extremism and attention-seeking.

If I was a county clerk, I like to think I’d be obedient enough to “Caesar” (and to God) to perform my duties as dictated by my employer (government). And if I disagree with them strongly enough, there 3 options available, as there are to Ms. Davis:

  1. Comply with the law, respectfully voicing my objection, understanding that God will not hold me accountable for obeying a lawful order;
  2. Recuse myself (as ELECTED officials have done in other jurisdictions), allowing my deputies or another department to handle the marriage licenses;
  3. Resign.

Simple solutions without all of the drama. Why is there so much drama? Why must it be one extreme or the other? Why can’t we accept and tolerate each others’ opinions and convictions without making every issue a battleground? And that includes allowing people to make their own (legal) decisions and mistakes, without giving into the desire to cause controversy and cast stones. Pick your battles, people; we are – NONE OF US – without sin.

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