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Kim Davis and the Politics of the Sewer

September 4th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

sewer cover

Kim Davis should resign. In case you’re unsure who that is, Davis is the County Clerk in Kentucky who has become an international lightning rod over the issue of same-sex marriage because of her refusal to issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. She claims she cannot issue those licenses because of her deep Christian conviction that the Bible defines marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman.

She is correct about the Biblical definition of marriage. Although there are some who argue against it, most often based on wishful hermeneutics, the theological case for defining Christian marriage as between a man and a woman is solid. The problem that Kim Davis has is not her understanding of the Bible but her understanding of the Constitution.

The latter document may not consist of an authority higher than Kim Davis’ God, but it does create a secular society in which at the same time Davis’ free exercise of religion is protected and her promotion of a state religion is prohibited. The Constitution creates a pluralistic state in which Davis is free to believe as she is called to, and to act on that belief. But her freedom hinges on the freedom of all to practice religion (or not) as they see fit. I think her stand, though I do not doubt its sincerity, is mistaken. When Davis was elected as an officer under the Constitution (ultimately all office holders in the United States are subject to the Constitution) she agreed to enforce the laws of the state. If she cannot, she should resign. I know there are many who disagree with me and I’m fine with that.

What I find particularly tasteless and troubling, however, is raising her own marital history as an issue. What does it matter that she has been married four times, twice to the same man, in this particular case? It has nothing at all to do with the facts at issue. All it does is cheapen the argument. Following the trite aphorism “if you spot it you got it,” what personal attacks do is detract from the credibility of the attackers. Why are the facts not enough? Why do we have to sink to the level of ad hominem?

Ya. Google it. It might help lift our political discourse out of the sewer.

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