Kim Davis: State vs. Conscience

Kim Davis jailed for contempt
Kim Davis
jailed for contempt

A woman in Kentucky, a government employee, refused to issue a marriage license to a gay couple, citing her religious belief as the reason. This has caused quite a storm, with people lamenting the sorry state of America, which some say is turning into a theocracy.

The connection between state power and religion is long and complex-really long and really complex. The two were joined at the hip for most of human history, on the theory that the job of rulers is to maintain order and keep his subjects alive. How can you do that if you don’t agree on what “order” is? This is a valid point. What is the order the ruler is maintaining and do we agree on that goal?

Not in America, founded on Enlightenment principles of freedom of conscience. The founders knew all the blood shed for the preceding centuries by states enforcing a given religious dogma and they were having none of it. I think they were right, not for the usual reasons, but because when a state enforces Christianity, Christianity is the loser.

Christians’ consciences are going to conflict with state policies at times, particularly if the state is prone to wars of aggression. I have quit jobs because they conflicted with my conscience, like the charity I worked for that was being skimmed by rich board members. Nope, can’t help you with that. CAN NOT.

Ms. Davis is entitled to her beliefs, but works for the state. The honorable thing to do is to quit and say why she quit. I feel for her as a fellow human being, she must be feeling like an ant under a magnifying glass about now.

1 Comment

  1. Do you know anyone who hasn’t had to make this choice? I don’t. At some point, some boss or business will ask you to do something you have moral objections to. You either buckle down and do your job, or you quit. She refused both options. That’s why she’s in jail.

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