Wednesday, September 02, 2015

What the Kentucky clerk case is really about.


You've probably seen coverage of this story: Kim Davis, the Rowan County Clerk of Courts, who refuses to issue same-sex "marriage" licenses, because of her conscience.

She's lost her last appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. As sad as that is, it's not surprising.

Here's a comment someone posted in a Facebook discussion of this:

She swore an oath to defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States and of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. If she cannot abide by that, she has no business being a public servant, paid for by those she serves. Her beliefs should have no function in whether she performs her public duties. If she has an issue with this, and possibly other laws that might conflict with her faith, then she should resign. It is that simple.

The sad truth is, that's more or less the way the law will sort out.

But this is a lot bigger than Ms. Davis.

This raises a broader question: what sort of country are we becoming?

I'd like to know what the bishops have to say to the question Ms. Davis raises: is it moral for a Christian to cooperate directly with "same sex marriage" in this fashion: by issuing a license for such a "marriage"?

Are faithful Christians obliged to refuse -- and, if necessary, resign?

Ms. Davis isn't the only one in this situation. Across the country, I'm sure there are a lot of employees in these county offices facing the same dilemma. What's different for her is that she isn't just an employee, she's the elected official responsible for this function. In other cases, I'd bet office staff who have moral objections are quietly stepping back, and letting coworkers, who don't have any objections, handle those cases.

Mark my words, at some point, the hammer will fall on one of those subordinates. Someone will demand: no, you can't let Suzie or Joe issue the license. You must sign it. You must issue it. Just as we've seen the exact same thing happen with bakers and florists and photographers. You must give your personal approval to my actions -- you -- you the Christian. I want you to have to do it -- or, face destruction.

Let's see where this points us, especially when you add in other conflicts that will come down the pike before long.

We already have schools being told, they must allow "transgender" students to use the locker rooms and bathrooms of their choice. That means a boy who claims to be a girl can have access to the girls' locker room, and vice-versa. The University of Tennessee is pushing students to use made up, "gender neutral pronouns"; at Washington State University, a professor plans to fail students if they refer to "male" and "female."

When the U.S. Supreme Court imposed "same sex marriage" on the entire country earlier this year, did you notice all the big corporations that gleefully -- and instantly -- published ads and tweets, siding with the decision, and in many cases, making it clear that they had no use for anyone who disagreed? I visited with a friend a few weeks ago -- he's a layperson with several children -- who works for a big company. He candidly says he expects he won't be able to be promoted, precisely because he dissents from the new orthodoxy.

This is the new "freedom," the brave new America: if you are a faithful Christian, you will be marginalized:

> You won't be hired by many companies; and if hired, you will not be allowed to advance.
> You won't be able to serve in many government offices; you won't be able to be a judge or a magistrate, if you won't solemnize unnatural "marriages."
> You will be hounded out of many, if not, most universities.


And what about the military? Does anyone think this won't reach there? You know that it will.

All this is solely from the same-sex marriage issue, and the related crusade for "transgender rights." We aren't even considering what happens if the government finds a way to implement it's mandate that businesses and religious entities help provide contraception and abortion services -- as part of health insurance. Nor are we even considering the implications as legalizing euthanasia gains steam.

Oh, it may all be "lawful."

But stop and think what it means when committed Christians are turned into exiles in their own country.

Think about the implications if you are a committed Christian.

But also: think about what it means if you are concerned for the country. Will making Christians unwelcome in the military, help our nation's defenses? Will alienating faithful Christians be good for the cohesion of our society?

Have a care, secularists. Christians have been through this before, and worse. They will endure. What will this do to the country?

17 comments:

Jim in St Louis said...

In THIS case the clerk has no legal leg to stand on and will have to resign or give in and issue the license, or some other compromise.

But I would like to see some kind of religious exemption legislation passed. I don't know the format or legal wording but just a little something to let people off the hook.


(full disclosure: I got married in August in a secular ceremony to this dude who has been hanging around since 1993)

Anonymous said...

It's called the undoing of the United States of America - along with Western Europe for good measure . The mission will be accomplished in many and varied ways . And the perpetrators will use our own Justice System to undo us . What is the agenda ? Simple : 1. Usurp the moral authority of the Church and those who embrace Jesus Christ and his God inspired teachings . Replace same with an embrace of everything from Secular Humanism to Islam . Flood our borders with those who would drag us down both economically ( 71% of Illegals receive some form of Welfare - this is well documented and not Urban Legend ) and spiritually ( as Muslims gain a foothold in American Cities they erect Mosques , elect their own to public office , and begin a push for Sharia Law - this is a Muslim stated strategy for the nonviolent takeover of the Western World . Again , this strategy is well documented ) . So , while the leader of the Roman Catholic Church embraces the Palestinian State and serves as an advocate for Illegal Immigration ( according to Cardinal Donald Wuerl , Pope Francis plans to offer his Washington D.C. Mass this September 23 in Spanish since - according to Cardinal Wuerl - Spanish is the predominant language of the Americas ) . Not to mention Pope Francis' advocacy for a Carbon Tax , which will simply serve to transfer wealth from the Western World to the Third World .
No , Father , it is what it is . Perhaps its high time for we the Faithful to push back ?

TerryC said...

We've seen it before. Professors who were turned out of the universities because they were of the wrong religion. Doctors no longer allowed to practice. Government workers fired. Business who had their assets seized and eventually people led into the camps.
Yes, we've seen this before.

Jim in St Louis said...

TerryC and Anonymous (and Fr Fox) –

Yes I agree there has been a good deal of ugliness with the progressive victories (progressives are not gracious winners), but I would not think that the situation is quite as terrible as maybe you see it. I admire and respect Christians but one unattractive quality they have is an unfounded sense of persecution. The public life always has been sin filed and vice has always been rewarded in the secular world. But there is not a squashing of religious life, or at least not that I can see.
True enough there are unresolved issues and I’d like for there to be some formula of mutual rights balanced. I don’t know what that formula would look like.

Small joke:
Said a recent retiree from the Marines “When I first joined homosexuality was forbidden, then it was don’t ask don’t tell, now its allowed openly—I’m going to get out before it becomes mandatory!”

Jim in St Louis said...


Well the joke is on me- right after I posted and said “oh nonsense! There is no persecution!” I saw that she has been jailed for contempt.

(!)

John F. Kennedy said...

Father, as you have stated, it will get worse. Once others begin to take stands, most will cave but the remaining will be attacked relentlessly.

I also have a friend who works for a large corporation (a household name) who is in a similar situation to the one you describe.

I pray that our children remain true.

Jenny said...

Jim, I personally know a wedding photographer who had to give up her profession (along with a $12,000 investment in equipment) rather than lose a lawsuit with possible jail time and fine. Fear of a bully drove her to do this. In public and private schools we punish underage bullies, but in adulthood we reward them.
"Brave New World" has become "Afraid New World".

Sevesteen said...

It is hypocritical to use the "picture of the future" graphic here--It is clear from your writings that you don't want to eliminate the boot, you merely want the Church to be in control of it. I don't demand that you recognize gay marriage, or even my straight marriage--but I'm not trying to get the government to demand that from you either. If you cannot serve alcohol, you should not work in a bar. I shouldn't be a cop, because I would be required to enforce laws I disagree with. If you cannot serve the law, you should not work for the government in a job that is involved in that particular law. This is the same as government officials that want to deny Chick Fil A franchises licenses to do business because of bigoted comments of their CEO. Neither is acceptable from an official.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Sevesteen:

Just one problem with your claim that I want the Church to be "the boot":

Who are the people you claim I want in jail?

As we speak, a woman is in jail right now, because of the lawless, illegitimate decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, forcing "same sex marriage" on the nation.

The chant outside the courtroom, when it was learned that she would be hauled off to jail?

"Love wins"!

Some "love": throw everyone who disapproves in jail.

I might point out that the advocates of this so-called "love" have set out to ruin people who disagree:

> The former head of Mozilla was hounded from his job for no other reason than he gave a contribution (perfectly legal) to the campaign opposing legalizing "same sex marriage" in California.

> The owners of a pizzeria in a small town in Indiana, because they said, when asked, they would not want to cater a "same sex wedding."

> A photographer in New Mexico who didn't want to lend her artistic expression to promoting "same sex marriage."

> A baker...in several places; and a florist in Washington State -- same thing.

Several of these people were, or are, facing financial ruin because they were targeted by the advocates of "love."

These same advocates of "love" declare that anyone who disagrees is a "bigot."

Now, you seem to claim that I want to do all these things to people who support same-sex "marriage." That's not true. You are welcome to produce actual evidence to the contrary.


Marc Puckett said...

Father, I'll point out that Professor Eugene Volokh sees a legal outcome of this that may satisfy Mrs Davis's conscience, in case you may have missed it.

[https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/09/04/when-does-your-religion-legally-excuse-you-from-doing-part-of-your-job/]

I guess I see it-- but it wouldn't satisfy my conscience, the fact that my name wasn't printed on the document.

Sevesteen said...

I'm primarily concerned with government actions and the actions of government officials.

The head of Mozilla--Overreaction, but not done by the government. I could be wrong, but I seem to recall that the donation came to light via government required reporting of political contributions.

Indiana Pizzeria--A set up, overreaction to a hypothetical situation, but not done by the government. However, anyone should be allowed to take the proprietors views into account when choosing who to do business with.

The photographers, bakers and florist--should not have been forced by the government to participate in a gay wedding, but I should be allowed to take their views into account when I choose who to do business with. I also think that participation is different than merely providing goods from stock, I've less objection if the government were to require selling goods in stock without discrimination.

An official who refuses to issue a license as required by law, or uses that position to thwart the law should not be able to continue in the position. It is not just marriage licenses that apply here, there have been quite a number of gun licenses and permits denied or delayed in violation of law, and I'm sure other examples I'm not aware of.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Sevesteen:

Thanks for your reply.

You accused me of wanting to throw people in jail who disagree with the Church's understanding of marriage -- I.e., you said I want the Church to be the boot -- and I asked you to state "who are the people you claim I want in jail?"

I'm still waiting for your answer.

Sevesteen said...

The Boot is more than just jail. One aspect is when officials can selectively grant or withhold benefits based on their own criteria rather than the law. When you voluntarily take a position of public trust, you give up some of your freedom. In order to regain that freedom you may have to give up your public position.

What should have happened if instead of thwarting gay marriage, it was interracial marriage, or maybe refusing to record real estate transactions for Hispanics?

Fr Martin Fox said...

Sevesteen:

Well, since "the boot" was part of my argument, don't I get to decide what it means, not you? I posted the picture, after all. So as part of my argument, yes, it meant going to jail.

Second, your description of Ms. Davis' position: "based on their own criteria rather than the law" aptly describes the majority decision in the Obergefell case. The rule of law only works when it applies to all. Otherwise it's a game for chumps; and that's what has happened here.

Third, you compare this to "interracial marriage, or maybe refusing to record real estate transactions for Hispanics?" Why not go on to compare this to scissors, apples and genetically modified food? That is to say, your items of comparison are not apt comparisons.

Sevesteen said...

The country has a process for determining what the law is. 5-4 means that is the law now. I haven't read this case, but often 5-4 isn't the division between existence or nonexistence of a right, but rather the scope of that right.

Interracial marriage is apt, especially as Loving vs Virginia was one of the precedents used in Obergefell. Obviously someone opposed the Loving decision, else it would not have made it to the Supreme Court.

The rule of law only works when it applies to all. Otherwise it's a game for chumps; and that's what has happened here.
I have no idea what you mean, other than that you disapprove of this decision.

In your opinion, what is the criteria where a public official should be allowed to disregard the law and the supreme court, and when should they be held accountable? What would be the legal difference between someone refusing to perform their duties due to claims of religiously based objections to the Loving decision, and someone refusing due to objections to Obergefell?

Fr Martin Fox said...

The country has a process for determining what the law is. 5-4 means that is the law now.

No, that's not the process we have. If five members of the U.S. Supreme Court declare themselves to be God Incarnate, does that make it so? According to you, that's the law merely because they say so.

Now, you are correct in one thing: the distortion of our republican system of government has gone so far that people actually believe, as you do, that five members of the U.S. Supreme Court can declare oranges to be sentient, and it will be "the law." So the rot has gone pretty far.

Interracial marriage is apt, especially as Loving vs Virginia was one of the precedents used in Obergefell. Obviously someone opposed the Loving decision, else it would not have made it to the Supreme Court.

If you can't figure out the differences here, then yet more indication of how far the rot has run. Loving concerned a law banning that which had always been legal: men marrying women regardless of their skin color. The law in question did not even deny that men and women of differing skin colors were capable of marriage; at no point was the support for anti-race-mixing laws ever about defending the "true nature" of marriage. Everyone knew the purpose of the law wasn't about "safeguarding marriage" at all; it was about segregation, pure and simple. Obergefell concerned a redefinition of marriage, beginning at the moment the decision was handed down. Justice Kennedy does not deny it; his majority opinion admits it's redefining marriage.

Here's the gist of your "Loving = Obergefell" argument: that there is no meaningful difference between differentiating between people of different skin colors, and differentiating between males and females. That is your argument.

And, from that argument follows the conclusion that a "whites only" bathroom is morally the same as "mens only" bathroom. According to your equivalency, no bathrooms should ever be "segregated" on the basis of sex.

The rule of law only works when it applies to all. Otherwise it's a game for chumps; and that's what has happened here.

I have no idea what you mean, other than that you disapprove of this decision.


I suggest you read it slowly and reflect on it.

In your opinion, what is the criteria where a public official should be allowed to disregard the law and the supreme court, and when should they be held accountable? What would be the legal difference between someone refusing to perform their duties due to claims of religiously based objections to the Loving decision, and someone refusing due to objections to Obergefell?

Not sure; we're in territory that we don't want to be.

But let us apply your arguments to another Supreme Court decision, Korematsu v. United States, in which the U.S. Supreme Court (by a whopping, 6-3 majority) upheld President Franklin Roosevelt's order that U.S. citizens of Japanese descent could be forcibly removed from their homes, denied their freedom, and detained in "internment camps." (You can read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korematsu_v._United_States.)

According to you, that decision was and is, "the law," (it has yet to be overturned), and citizens are supposed to obey it. Public officials must not allow their consciences to keep them from obeying this law.

And, I might point out, this is no hypothetical. This happened, not all that long ago.

If Kim Davis were resisting, not Obergefell, but Korematsu, I am quite comfortable saying that my position would be exactly the same. How about you? Would you maintain your criticism of Kim Davis, if she were refusing to assist in sending U.S. citizens to "internment camps" because of their skin color?

Sevesteen said...

Loving concerned a law banning that which had always been legal: men marrying women regardless of their skin color

You are either mistaken, or you are using a different definition of legal than I am. A majority of the original 13 states had anti-miscegenation laws. Before 1887 few states were without these laws and before 1948 they were still in a majority of states. Similar logic was used, that since interracial couples are free to marry their "proper" race and the penalties are the same for each there is no discrimination.

Of course there have been laws so evil that they should be resisted by all, but in the US those laws are rare. Existence of an example of such a law does not mean that any law you disagree with falls in that category. I do not consider gay people or gay relationships evil.

Public officials should be held to a higher standard than ordinary citizens. In places and times where gay marriage was illegal I would expect an official who issued marriage licenses to gay couples to be removed--even though I would support their decision. Sometimes moral actions have consequences.