On Tuesday Sept 8, 2015, Kim Davis, Rowan County Clerk in the city of Grayson, Kentucky was released from jail. A judge ordered Davis jailed for contempt following Davis’ refusal to issue marriage licenses. Davis stated that her refusal to issue marriage licenses stemmed from long held religious beliefs that marriage was between a man and a woman. As a result, Davis refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The dust up over this issue follows this summer’s U.S. Supreme Court decision granting same-sex couples the right to marry. In so doing, the court declared the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. However, as a country supposedly founded on religious freedoms, the jailing of Davis raises the uneasy specter that America is willing to sacrifice the rights of one for the rights of another. Whatever happened to that hallowed word Americans love to invoke in defense of a particular cause, “principle?” How is it that suddenly that word no longer applies to religions, or has it ever?
Flashback April 29, 1967, a New York Times headline reads, “Clay Refuses Army Oath; Stripped of Boxing Crown.” A young Mohammed Ali suffered the wrath of those who refused to accept his refusal to serve based on religious beliefs. It would appear that principle applies only when that principle serves personal agenda. In this battle, there is plenty of principled personal agenda.
For instance, does anyone believe that current Republican Presidential hopefuls Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and former Governor Mike Huckabee, R-Ark. would have joined Ali at one of his (Ali) rallies? And what about those principles abandoned by the conservatives justices on the Supreme Court or better still, President Obama. It was not until his last campaign that Obama revealed that his thoughts on the issue of same-sex marriage were evolving- how convenient.
The justices and the president are not alone. A study by the Pew Research Center revealed a dramatic shift in attitudes about same-sex marriage. “In 2001 57 percent of Americans opposed same-sex marriage, while 35 percent of Americans supported it. The same poll shows that today opinions have greatly shifted to reflect slightly more support for same-sex marriage than opposition -- with 48 percent of Americans in favor and 43 percent opposed.”
Christian doctrine teaches that we should love everyone. As a Christian, I do my best to apply that “principle” to my life. However, loving someone is not an excuse to enable. Especially what a person believes is immoral behavior. Does not the law in order to recognize the principled wishes of one segment of society by punishing Kim Davis for standing on personal principle render moot the rationale for doing either? I was always of the impression that the purpose of laws is to point out and punish bad behaviors not to encourage them.
Written by Jay Arrington, Featured writer for the Maryland Daily Examiner
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