Kim Davis — Kentucky Clerk — Martyr? Really?

With social media all a buzz about Kim Davis, the clerk from Kentucky, and so many Christians ready to make her the next Christian hero, I’m finding myself not so ready to do that. By the way, I am a Christian. By that I mean that I am a dedicated follower of Jesus Christ. But, my take on Kim Davis may be a little different from yours.

It seems that many Christians in the social media world are ready to make Kim Davis a poster child of the Christian’s plight in America. Is this person someone who Christians should be deemed a hero of their faith?

Take a couple of minutes and think this through with me:

Is what Kim Davis is doing actually a biblical response?

When Kim Davis ran for public office, she actually, by choice, placed herself under the authority of the government. That means she placed herself in the position to submit to that authority as long as she holds the office.

Paul wrote of the Christian response to government authority in Romans 13:1-6. By the way, the Christians to whom he was writing lived under the rule of a government that wasn’t overly friendly to their faith. I won’t quote the entire text, but here are the headlines of what Paul was saying:

  1. Every Christian should be subject to the governing authorities.
  2. To resist the authority is ultimately to resist God.
  3. The ruling authorities are not a “terror” to us unless we’re doing something wrong.

Though this text doesn’t cover everything regarding the Kim Davis’ case, I don’t think anyone can truly make a biblical case for what they’re doing without dealing with these pivotal New Testament verses and how they apply to us today. Kim Davis deliberately put herself in the position to submit to the government authority.

Peter also wrote about our attitude toward the ruling authority over us to people who were being persecuted for their faith:

“Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” (1 Peter 2:17, ESV)

The truth is, the government can’t make me marry someone else who is my gender. I can live my life under this government as a Christian without being forced to live a way that compromises my faith. So can Kim Davis.

I don’t like the fact that through one court decision the Supreme Court of the United States changed the law about marriage any more than many of you. I don’t like that for a lot of reasons that go beyond the decision they made. That’s not what the Supreme Court is supposed to be doing per our nation’s constitution. But, that, tragically, is the way it is!

That means that Kim Davis, as long as she’s a county clerk in Kentucky, must live under that law and the oath she made when she took the office. In case you’re wondering, I don’t think that Kim Davis should just simply “do her job” as so many on the blogosphere seem to think. I think she should quit her job.

I’ve also read where some Christians want to equate her to Daniel, and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. (That’s their Jewish names) They weren’t elected officials, they were disposed captives and had no choice but to do as they were told to do. That’s a big difference from someone who purposely ran for a public office. Daniel and his friends would have gladly resigned their posts to live faithfully set apart for God’s work. They were forced to make hard choices as the way things were. So is Kim Davis.

Secondly, they were told that they were not allowed to live their faith, at all. That’s not happening with Kim Davis in Kentucky.

The office she holds is not one that brings change to law or policy, it follows it. If she wants to bring change to the law of the land, she needs to run for a different type of office. As a Christian in America, she still has the right to do that.

Is what Kim Davis is doing really some kind of martyrdom?

The Kentucky clerk worked for the state and in taking that job, like everyone else in the world, agreed to work the requirements of that job. Here’s the thing: she’s been filling an office for the state that has never been in agreement with her faith. This is nothing new.

But, it seems, now, that many Christians want to make her a martyr. To put her on the level of someone who’s been dragged out of her house in the middle of the night in India and beat to death in the street, or the people in North Korea meeting in secret and fear just to read the one Bible the group has hoping to worship together without being caught and arrested, is ridiculous.

She’s not being prosecuted or persecuted for her faith. She’s being prosecuted for being a government official, by her own choice, then not doing what the government for whom she works tells her to do. To call that some kind of martyrdom is an insult to true martyrs.

This is also not the same thing as a government official walking into a church demanding a pastor to officiate a marriage that He doesn’t believe is biblical. Not even close.

If she wanted to make a statement about her faith, she should have resigned the day she learned she would be required to issue marriage licenses she believes to be un-biblical.

Do I want Kim Davis representing me?

I preached a sermon series back in the spring called “Word.” During one sermon in that series I spoke of how the church has lost its voice in the American culture. One of the ways the church loses its voice is when Christians speak in ways that are not gracious and loving. That’s being done more than I’d like to admit in the discussion of homosexual marriage. (By the way, I’m writing and about to begin a series that will discuss marriage and homosexual relationship and marriage in-depth; biblically).

Just so you know, I don’t believe there is such a thing as gay marriage. But, that doesn’t mean I have to agree with the way all people who call themselves Christians talk about it or act about it.

If you haven’t noticed, it’s not a good idea for anyone or everyone who claims to be a Christian to be the spokesperson for our beliefs. Kim Davis is not my spokesperson for two reasons:

  1. She’s only been a Christian for four years. She’s not ready to be my spokesperson, or any other Christian’s either. There’s a reason Paul told Timothy that people seeking leadership in the church should first be proven. She’s not qualified to lead.
  2. I don’t espouse to her theology. Believe it or not, not all Christian theologies are equal. I can’t fly the banner of Kim Davis any more than I could ever do so with the Duggars. Though in some ways different, they both hold to a legalistic, works based evaluation of holiness and godliness. They believe the Christian must change their behavior, when the New Testament clearly teaches holiness and godliness comes when God changes our thinking and the heart of our thinking through “the renewing of [our] mind(s).”

I’m not looking for a hero in her, the Duggars or anyone else. By the way, I’m not trying to retract the Duggar flag now in light of the Ashley Madison scandal either. Because I never flew it.

Here’s my advice: before you make statements calling Kim Davis a hero, use vitriolic voice to speak about what’s happening in our nation, or share information on social media that others are saying, stop and think. Think about who they are and what they’re really saying and doing. Think about how that really works out, biblically.

Not every Christian who speaks or acts, is representing Christ well.

Christians are so busy looking for a celebrity for the cause; looking for a hero. Why? We’ve always had one. His name is Jesus. If you’re looking for a banner to fly let it be Him. That way, we can reflect who He is, as He is, “full of grace and truth.”

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