Perhaps it is because I have been camped out in the book of Daniel the past several months, but I’ve been ASTOUNDED at the response from those who call themselves “Believers in Jesus Christ” to a woman who is now sitting in a jail cell for her faith.
I’ve never seen so many misinterpreted verses and excuses tossed out into thin air like “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. It’s the law… she broke the law…. It’s our Christian duty to obey the laws of the land. The sideline coaching has become the latest “holy fad.”
I knew my generation had become accustomed to the soft touchy-feely services plush with fog machines and concert lights, I just didn’t realize we had become so distant from conviction that we would throw this woman in a jail cell ourselves. I’ve wrestled with all of these excuses, and it just doesn’t match what I am reading in scripture. I mean gosh golly, I would love to find a way around a jail cell. Jail does not sound like a great plan, so if there was a loophole, I sure would want to find it!
But I’m not.
In fact, I am finding just the opposite. The book of Daniel is so rich and relevant for the days we are living in, it’s almost as if I can smell the hot breath of the lion, and feel the fiery furnace Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into. You remember Daniel, the man who was apart of the king’s court… He didn’t seem to find it necessary to step out of the king’s court when commanded to obey the law that went counter to his God. No, he defied the law.
But what does this look like in our world today? Do Christians have to follow the law of the land? David Barton has done an incredible job speaking on the flagrant violation of the constitutionally-mandated separation of powers by throwing Kim Davis in jail, as well as outlining our responsibility as citizens of this world who live counter to the culture of the age. He says:
Some on the Christian side are now claiming that Kim Davis (the County Clerk in Kentucky jailed for refusing to issue homosexual marriage licenses) has gone too far. They argue that the judge offered her a way out by allowing others in her office to issue the license, but she refused. Thus (they argue) Kim is prolonging the punishment by her own choice. But such claims ignore several key facts.
First, Kim understands that every marriage license issued out of her office – whether by her or by someone else – will have the name “Kim Davis” officially stamped on it. Believing as she does that God does not approve of homosexual marriage, she does not want her name to ever, either now or in the future, be associated with something of which God openly disapproves.
We understand her concern. At WallBuilders, we have more than 100,000 original or copies of original historic documents from before 1812. Suppose we had in our possession a homosexual marriage license issued in 1795 with George Washington’s signature on it. We would conclude that Washington approved of homosexual marriage, even if someone below him had issued the license. (I used Washington’s name in this example because we know that he believed exactly the opposite on this issue; after all, he instituted the original ban on homosexuals in the military.)
Kim Davis has chosen to remain in jail not to be cantankerous or become a martyr; she remains there because she does not want anyone now or in the future to be confused about her agreement with Biblical morality.
Second, recall the extensive protections for religious conscience long provided in America:
- Quakers are not forced to fight in wars;
- Jehovah’s Witnesses are not required to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance;
- The Amish are not required to complete the standard compulsory twelve years of education;
- Christian Scientists are not forced to have their children vaccinated or undergo medical procedures often required by state laws.
- And many other examples.
Quakers hold that Bible teachings don’t permit them to be party in taking another human life. So let’s say that the government concedes that they don’t have to fight in wars; all they have to do is load the bullets into the guns of the other soldiers who do the killing. This certainly is not an acceptable compromise for a Quaker.
And Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to say the Pledge because they believe that allegiance is owed to God alone and no one else. So let’s say that the government agrees that they don’t have to say the Pledge; all they have to do is hold the flag while everyone else recites the Pledge. This compromise still crosses the line of their religious convictions.
We don’t require any such “compromises” for any other group with religious convictions – whether Amish, Christian Scientists, Muslims, Jews, Sabbatarians, or so forth. Why make Kim different?
Third, Christians least of all should be asking Kim to compromise her conscience. After all, few subjects in the Bible are stressed as strongly as that of every individual maintaining a pure conscience before God – referenced more than thirty times in the New Testament alone; and multiple passages instruct that public policy be crafted to protect the rights of conscience.
Consequently, this right is first enshrined in American legal documents beginning in 1640 and continued for long thereafter. As John Quincy Adams affirmed, “The transcendent and overruling principle of the first settlers of New England was conscience.” A century-and-a-half later, the Founding Fathers affirmed that support for this right remained unabated:
- “Government is instituted to protect property of every sort. . . . Conscience is the most sacred of all property.” James Madison, Signer of the Constitution
- “It is inconsistent with the spirit of our laws and Constitution to force tender consciences.” Thomas Jefferson
- “If I am asked, ‘Why do you obey the will of God?’ I answer, ‘Because it is my duty so to do.’ If I am asked again, “How do you know this to be your duty?” I answer again, ‘Because I am told to do so by my moral sense or conscience’.” James Wilson, Signer of the Declaration and the Constitution, Original Justice on the U. S. Supreme Court
- “The rights of conscience and private judgment . . . . are by nature subject to no control but that of Deity, and in that free situation they are now left.” John Jay, Author of the Federalist Papers and original Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court
- “Consciences of men are not the objects of human legislation.” William Livingston, Signer of the Constitution
Today, America’s three-century-long public policy on this issue is now unknown or ignored.
Significantly, secular nations do not allow differing rights of conscience but instead demand conformity, which always requires punishment and coercion. As America allows secularism to become the dominant force in its culture, the loss of legal protections for the religious rights of conscience will be a direct casualty.
And so here we are today, with even Christians questioning whether Kim Davis has the inalienable right to religious conscience that every previous generation knew that she had.
DB (posted on his Facebook page 9/7/2015)
Perhaps the flashing concert laser lights have blinded us, and our brains are now full of fog from the “turbo” worship fog machines. Whatever the disconnect is, we had better fix it; like NOW!
Satan never wastes a fiery dart by aiming at a spot covered by armor. The bull’s-eye is located dead center in our inconsistency. That’s where he plans to bring us down. -Beth Moore
The days are dark. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are not welcome in this world anymore. The friendly streets that once were… are no longer. If we do not resolve now, we WILL compromise. It’s human nature.
Kim Davis was the first shot and practice run for what is ahead.
It will not end with Kim. It began with Kim.
Many quickly fell prey to the “rules of the age” and said she deserved everything she got. I have to wonder… what will happen with the next shot. Will the rules of following Christ continue to change in effort to ease the pain? What happens when they come after your job? What happens when they demand something that necessitates you either change your doctrine or defy the law? Put your armor on friends. If we don’t wake up and decide to be a Daniel, we will become just a pawn and resident of Babylon. However, if we resolve here and now that we will not bend, bow, or partake at the king’s table, we will find that our resolve will shut the mouth of the lion. There is peace in the lions den. There is peace in the furnace. #resolvenow
First they came for the baker,….but I did not speak out because I was not a baker.
Then they came for the wedding photographer….but I did not speak out because I was not a wedding photographer.
Then they came for the city clerk….and I told the police to go arrest her because her faith should be kept to herself.
Then when they came for me….well, they didn’t come for me because I got got a new Bible translation.
Everyone lived happily ever after. – Monica Boyer