The incarceration of Mrs. Kim Davis reminded me of a favorite essay, one by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. -- "Letter from Birmingham Jail." Dr. King also was jailed for conscientiously objecting to unjust law. The Kentucky county clerk, conscientiously refusing to have her name on marriage licenses issued to homosexual men desiring to be "married," does not wish to be complicit in thought or deed to the falsehood of a man becoming a wife. Her reason is based on a conscience formed by the Christian faith. She takes her faith seriously.
The conflict for Mrs. Davis, and for many others, arose three months ago as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court-imposed redefinition of marriage in the Obergefell vs. Hodges case. Mrs. Davis, following her conscience, deems this court-imposed new definition marriage to be an unjust ruling. While it is a ruling, it is tantamount to law. An unjust one so deems Davis and millions of others.
Dr. King's "Letter" was written to eight white pastors who had urged him to wait and defer the sit-ins and marches so that the matter could be resolved more civilly in the courts. The pastors urged him to refrain from breaking existing law. Dr. King explained his understanding and basis for why unjust laws should be disobeyed.
One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."
He further explains how to determine an unjust law.
Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.
It's probably no coincidence that the well-read Dr. King understood what the Founders and Framers of the Constitution meant in the Declaration of Independence when on explaining the reason and basis for breaking from the unjust laws of England they appealed to the "Laws of nature and Nature's God."
Gay ideology, homosexual activists, and their supporters dismiss the natural law as a basis for legislative law because it flies in the face of their project to rationalize homosexual acts as "natural" or normal, especially the project of their attempt to "normalize" the falsehood that two men can "marry" each other. So it's ironic that homosexual activists and supporters have coopted the Civil Rights movement to advance unsound laws supporting their project while the leader of the Civil Rights movement himself preached and taught that just laws are "rooted in eternal law and natural law" while unjust laws are not. Gay ideologues, homosexual activists, and their supporters want a government separated from "Nature's God" and God's law.
Many say that since Davis has refused to sign marriage licenses that she should resign or be removed. People are entitled to that opinion. But Mrs. Davis doesn't think she should resign. The legislators of Kentucky could impeach her. Or the citizens in Rowan County could vote against her in the next election.
Some Christian critics say her position undermines the proper functioning of the government. But that argument only makes sense if the smooth functioning of a tyranny is a moral good -- and it isn't. Mrs. Davis' actions have impeded the rule of corrupt judges. Christian critics who forbid Christians in government to practice civil disobedience are laying the formula for corrupting Christian faith and thereby its eventual extinction, or ensuring a formula for tyranny.
Government officials are not robots; their activities render legitimacy to other activities. If Davis is accommodated, then someone else must make the same decision. If all Kentucky clerks refused, and all the people the state tried to hire also refused, what would Kentucky do? Same-sex "marriage" is not and has never been about freedom -- but about recognition. And that recognition of the falsehood of same-sex "marriage" will, in the end, have to be coerced -- as we are currently witnessing.
It's no surprise she was released as soon as she was. Mrs. Davis has not proposed changing the Obergefell ruling. She is not offering a replacement law. She is not protesting against the government. She is not encouraging others to assemble and protest. She is not encouraging other clerks to do what she is doing. She is simply following her conscience. And herein lies the greatest threat to the Dark Side intent on destroying the institution of marriage and family. Because it shines a bright light on the fact that the Dark Side does not have and will not have a monopoly on the notion of what is right and wrong.
It will be interesting to see what follows. I'm guessing Mrs. Davis' victory, in not violating her conscience against unjust and unsound court rulings and laws, will inspire and encourage others to do likewise, because historically speaking she sat in jail with some pretty good company -- not to mention the fact that perhaps the Truth set her free. May God bless her and those she inspires.
The Case for Kim Davis: Part 2 by Stanley Fish