Kim Davis, a county clerk in KY, has refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, despite being ordered to by a federal judge, and a refusal by the Supreme Court to grant a stay of the order.
I support her. I support her civil disobedience, and I hope to write more on that topic in coming days.
But as I read news reports about the situation, a news item from the past was brought back to my consciousness. It concerned the Obama administration & Eric Holder (then Attorney General) refusing to enforce the Defense of Marriage act (DOMA). Due to their belief that it was unconstitutional, they simply refused to obey it, because they disagreed with it. Conservatives everywhere were incensed.
Talk radio & comments sections exploded with comments like: “You can’t accept a paycheck and refuse to do your job. That’s b***s***. It wouldn’t work for anyone else [besides the President and Attorney General…]”
Now here’s the thing: That comment above was not from a conservative angry about DOMA. It was from a gay man commenting on Kim Davis today on my Facebook page. I added the part in brackets. It would be easy for we as Christians and conservatives to leap on such comments to point out the hypocrisy and inconsistency of their position.
Did you support Eric Holder & Barack Obama’s decision not to enforce DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) which was a duly passed law? I’ll be honest: I didn’t. I thought it was a shame that they refused to keep the law, to do their legal responsibility.
So why do I come to Kim Davis’ defense when she does the same thing?
So here’s what I’ve struggled with: Am I a hypocrite? Is Kim Davis? Are all the people hypocrites who thought Obama was heroic, and this lady is disgusting? Is everyone who thought that Holder/Obama was wrong, but this lady is heroic? You see the conundrum?
So here’s my conclusion:
No, none of us are being hypocritical. Most people on our side are not, and most on the other side aren’t either. And I don’t want to sit here and just talk past each other, everyone accuse everyone else of being inconsistent, when actually we are both being consistent!
The truth is, this issue is not proving anyone a hypocrite — it’s just revealing a deeper disagreement, a more fundamental opinion: That we disagree on what forms the BASIS of law.
Christians believe in a moral Law Giver (which we would argue forms the basis of the legal code). Thus, we believe in MORE than the legal code… we believe it is wrong to tell a lie, even if one did not swear or sign a contract. We believe it is wrong to commit adultery, even when there are no legal implications for that behavior. The legal code misses that one… but the moral Law does not.
This is why Jesus Christ was so revolutionary — he was stubbornly insistent on his intention to unify men’s hearts to the Moral Law, not merely subjugate their bodies to the legal code. Thus, when he insisted “Do not swear… but let your ‘yes’ mean yes and your ‘no’ mean no…” (Matthew 5:37) he was not attacking the saying of “I swear” but the belief that truth only matters when there are legal implications!
We believe that all breaking of the moral law is sin (even if it is not illegal!), and will be judged by the Moral Law-Giver. Regardless of whether man notices, or we “get away” with something because the legal code did not cover it– we will still be judged rightly when we stand before God. Thankfully, for our sins, we believe in the grace & forgiveness of God when we repent and believe in His Son, Jesus.
So, Kim Davis and I are acting consistently with our beliefs. I assume the activitists on the other side are too. The issue is not hypocrisy — it is disagreement over whether or not there is a higher moral law, and if so, what it is, how we know it, and how we behave in response to it.
So my question to you and all people would be: When you stand before the One who created the very IDEA of moral law… what will you say to Him? What would be your defense? If he knows about your lying, your immorality, your stealing, your cheating, what will you say?
My defense is this: not that I have been good enough, or perfect, or that everything I did was legal… but that Jesus Christ has paid the debt of righteousness I owe to the Moral Law… I hate my own sin, and turn my back on it, and turn to the righteousness of God’s truth… and in Him, I stand… forgiven.
And that’s Good News.