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Clerk Kim Davis Will Be a Lonely Footnote in History

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Tricky business, this righteous outrage. You have to be so careful not to sound like a hypocrite while you're deriding hypocrisy. Messes with your sleep.

In the past few days, America's news media — from the largest organizations to the smallest blogs — have made a star of a 49-year-old woman in Appalachia named Kim Davis.

Davis is the Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk who is refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses. She is declaring a religious exemption for herself in her little patch of our amber waves of grain. And she's an elected official, so no firing her.

I'm angry as all get-out over what Davis is doing, but I can't blame her for relishing the national attention. She's an American woman who, at her age, is supposed to be invisible. But there she is, popping up in everybody's News Feed on her way to becoming a lonely footnote in history.

After the U.S. Supreme Court essentially told her to knock it off, Davis released an online statement through her new best friends, the far-right Liberty Counsel. An excerpt:

"I owe my life to Jesus Christ who loves me and gave His life for me. Following the death of my godly mother-in-law over four years ago, I went to church to fulfill her dying wish. There I heard a message of grace and forgiveness and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I am not perfect. No one is. But I am forgiven and I love my Lord and must be obedient to Him and to the Word of God.

"I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage."

A brief interruption here to note what Jesus said about homosexuality.

Absolutely nothing.

Back to Davis: "To issue a marriage license which conflicts with God's definition of marriage, with my name affixed to the certificate, would violate my conscience. It is not a light issue for me. It is a Heaven or Hell decision. For me it is a decision of obedience. I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God's Word."

As that excerpt illustrates, Davis is unreachable regarding her version of Christianity. Ridiculing her faith, her appearance and her multiple marriages, as so many have, only further convinces her of her rightness. She thinks God wants her to be a martyr. To her and those using her, our ridicule — our persecution — is proof that she is right.

We've been here before in this country, and as we have before, we will soon uproot this obstacle on the road to justice.

NPR's Robert Siegel asked Columbia University law professor Katherine Franke whether Davis' refusal to marry same-sex couples mirrors white officials' refusal to accept racial equality in the 1950s and '60s.

"It's exactly the same situation," Franke said.

"I think that certain people in certain places are changing their view on homosexuality ... but not everyone is there yet. And some people base their opposition to equality for same-sex couples — or for lesbians and gay men — in religion, but they can't use those values as a justification for not performing public functions.

"So what we're seeing now really in a way mirrors quite clearly what we saw in the 1950s, where many communities were more than happy to close all of their pools and playgrounds and public schools rather than having black children and white children play together. And we saw that resistance pass in a short period of time."

We don't need to mock Davis for justice to prevail. If we are to live our message, that all marriages are equal, then I'd rather treat her with the respect she has denied others. She can believe whatever she wants. Same-sex marriage is the law of the land, including in Rowan County.

Davis is a flawed human, and in that, she has a lot in common with the rest of us. As various news organizations have reported, Davis has been married four times, twice to the same man, and pregnant with twins by a man who was not her husband at the time. Eventually, she turned to God, hoping to find a way out of her mess of a life.

We can point to her circuitous route to redemption and her current state of religious certainty and declare her a fool and a hypocrite. Or we can see her as a woman who has joined that long list of humans looking for a chance to be something other than their biggest mistakes. I'm not going to get into the reasons my name is on the list. How about you?

I am not excusing Kim Davis' bigotry. I just don't want to let it harden my own heart.

I do, however, want to know why it is that the meanest of my fellow Christians claim they get their marching orders from God while the decent ones just keep acting like Jesus, loving everyone as best they can.

I'm going to be thinking about that all evening. I expect it will be a long night.

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and an essayist for Parade magazine. She is the author of two books, including "...and His Lovely Wife," which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. To find out more about Connie Schultz (con.schultz@yahoo.com) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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Comments

4 Comments | Post Comment
This really says it all in a professional and kind way.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Charles Cloak
Thu Sep 3, 2015 6:43 AM
So, because she's a 'flawed human being', like the rest of us, it's 'hands off', no goofing on her ass backwards, backwoods, ignorant and hateful version of 'Christianity' used not as Christ intended, as a means to unite through tolerance and love, but as a cudgel, to pound on the most vulnerable among us? Hell, no! Expose this backwoods baboon as she is! A bigot who uses faith to oppress! Would we stand for it today if it were directed towards blacks? Hell, no! Would we tolerate it if it were used against 'uppity women' who insist on their rights? Again, 'Hell, no!" This woman needs to be held up to ridicule and scorn to the point where this beady eyed little jerk is the new 'Poster Girl' for intolerance, just as Sarah Palin, is the 'Poster Girl' for 'mega-stupid' and loud and proud of it! Would you give her a pass if she denied marriage licenses to interfaith couples or inter racial couples? Once again, 'Hell, no!" The sad thing is, yes, I forgive her and I know Christ forgives her, although I've got a feeling that although he forgives her, he's not exactly hugging her, but holding her at arms length, like a bag of especially stinky garbage on a hot summer day! I'll forgive her alright, but I refuse not to use this person and this moment as a 'teaching tool' to show what is, or is not acceptable in America in 2015 and if it is to be a lesson remembered, it has to be presented in a way that people won't forget, and that's to show this woman's behavior as unacceptable in all its ugliness and ignorance and if that means holding it up to ridicule, well, that's just what the lesson needs to be made in a fashion that is memorable and will, ''stick'. So, I'll continue to 'stick it to her', thank you very much One final question for Connie Shultz: Do you have any gay sons or daughters? Would you be so 'kind' to this waddling, turd if you had a gay son or daughter and this bible banging moron refused to grant them a right The Supreme Court said was theirs?
Comment: #2
Posted by: Stephen Gyetko
Thu Sep 3, 2015 8:55 AM
I noticed in your column that you mentioned that Christ said nothing about homosexuality, however; the glaring omission here, is that you did not follow that up with what Christ said about marriage. As a Christian, I readily admit that what Christ says about marriage is tough to practice in today's world, let alone in Christ's on earthly time. The vast majority of the secular world, including most of Christianity, do not understand that the institution of marriage has been hijacked for centuries by nations, governments, political parties and social entities for more reasons than I care to list. Because of this, we now have two aspects to marriage that most people find difficult to recognize, the legal and the spiritual.

Legal marriage is the aspect that is a direct result of man's usurpation and is used as a control mechanism for taxation, contracts, benefits, inheritance, etc. Spiritual marriage is something that is totally separate because the Bible makes it very clear that "...this cause" was ordained of God. Spiritual marriage belongs to God forever and He has never given this to man to do with as he pleases. It is only natural to assume that there will be conflicts when the secular world tries to use the "legal" marriage to gain credibility with the "spiritual" marriage. As a Christian, I understand that my marriage represents the spiritual body of Christ because we "twain shall be one flesh". Because of this, my wife and I enjoy a "union in Christ". I do not care about the "legal" marriage because it has not, nor ever will, represent what I have spiritually.

Here is the litmus test to determine if you have a legal or spiritual marriage. The Bible says that if God put your marriage together then no man can take it apart. If your marriage does not honor God, then He alone can take it apart. God has some requirements as to who He puts together, primarily one man with one woman, but there are a whole host of additional considerations that come into play. If you don't have a clue as to what those considerations are, then more than likely, God did not put your marriage together, therefore; you are "legally" married.

The Bible is a record of "THE Greatest Love Story" as it depicts the redemptive ministry that Christ performed. The Bible is also the record of the "second greatest love story" when Christians begin to understand the concept of spiritual submission that should occur between a married couple joined by God. Submission does not mean that my wife is less than me. The secular world, including the feminist movement and some Christians, have totally misunderstood this doctrine.

First, spiritual submission is for Christians whom "God hath joined together". Secondly, there are requirements for both the man and the woman. Remember my statement about marriage being tough to practice in today's world? Here is the "tough". The husband is to be the spiritual leader of the home. The wife is to aid her husband (submission) in achieving the spiritual growth of the family. Now here comes the love. Because of the wife's help, her husband is to love her in the same way that Christ loves the church. Christ gave His life for the church. The husband is charged with the same love for his wife. So if the husband is NOT the spiritual leader of the home, then spiritual submission breaks down and is not achieved. Here is the most basic reason for the decline in the life of the American family. I think there is an old adage concerning the relationship between the family and the nation. As a country, we are there now.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Tim Elsea
Fri Sep 4, 2015 6:32 AM
Tim Elsea's post says it well. Ms. Schultz believes Christians are mean if they stand on the principles brought forth in the Bible. I beg to differ. "Mean" is ISIS beheading people in the name of religion. "Mean" is lawless people shooting police officers. "Mean" is racist people who shoot innocent church members. "Mean" is taking advantage of the poor and being indifferent to the needs of those around us. A loving and caring Christian who realizes that though he or she is not perfect but is forgiven by the blood of Jesus is often called to stand on God's word, knowing it is the right way to live. They are not trying to be "mean" or exclusionary when they tell you how God would have us to behave, they are trying to help you understand God's perfect plan for life on Earth. They are inviting you to follow Christ and his teachings as well.
If you had a disease that could be cured, it would be "mean" if the physician didn't tell you how to go about getting better. In the same way, Christians want to let you know that God has standards to live by and those who reject Christ will be miserable living in sin and face a life of eternity in hell. We don't want to see anyone face that, so we offer God's word as the answer. Sin of any kind affects the family and the community and the nation. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of wickedness, and in large part due to homosexual practices. We are tired of seeing families and children torn apart because of sin. We are concerned that our country will be destroyed because many ignore God's law.
1Cor 6:9 lists several sins, among them homosexuality, that will keep people from inheriting the kingdom of God should that person not repent and seek forgiveness. God makes it known that he doesn't want any to die apart from him. Christians follow Christ in carrying out the mission to tell others about God's word and his love, but we can't ignore the fact that sin is sin. Love tells someone what can make their life more meaningful, abundant, and full, and what sin they need to get rid of in order to do so. Jesus loved this way - he pulled no punches when it came to sin, and he offered forgiveness full and complete!
Comment: #4
Posted by: GR Walden
Fri Sep 4, 2015 3:38 PM
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