For anyone that’s been otherwise distracted, Kim Davis is the Kentucky county clerk that was thrown into jail yesterday for failing to issue civil marriage licenses (to anyone, gay or straight) in the wake of SCOTUS’ big “Love Wins” ruling.
Her (third/fourth) husband has likened her to “biblical figures” for her position on the sanctity of marriage. Presumably, he doesn’t mean Jezebel.
Anyway – now, she is experiencing a very literal conviction of conscience.
And this is my question (it’s been my question for some time):
“What on earth does a civil marriage have to do with a religious one?”
We are talking about a social contract here, issued by a secular institution, governed by a set of civil laws, that entitles a partnership to certain legal rights and tax privileges.
There is no religious belief at play. There is no one compelling a priest or elder or rabbi or imam to perform a sacramental ceremony.
This is simply a legally-recognised binding that gives any man or woman the right to sit by their spouse’s bedside during times of illness, and prevents them from being kicked out of their homes by their partner’s family in the aftermath of a death.
There is no religion in this. It is simply “render unto Caesar”, etc.
If someone were to feel that this was a crisis of religious conscience…
If you have religious objections to the death penalty, then best you don’t work as an executioner.
If you have religious objections to blood transfusions, then best you don’t volunteer for blood donation groups.
If you have religious objections to unveiled women, then best you don’t freelance for Victoria’s Secret.
And if you have religious objections to same-sex marriage, then best you don’t officiate as a civil servant, bound under oath to issue civil marriage licences.
These are obvious things.
What you don’t say is:
“I want to be a martyr for the cause, but not pay for it by being unemployed”
“My religious beliefs entitle me to earn a salary for not doing this job.”
If you want to take a moral stand, then you must pay for it.
That is how these things work.
Otherwise, you are not a martyr.
You are just someone that collects $80,000 a year for being wilfully incompetent.