There is an interesting story in the news right now out of the State of Kentucky. The Rowan County Clerk, Kim Davis, who objects to gay marriage for religious reasons, asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to grant her “asylum for her conscience.” Since the Supreme Court ruling in the Obergefell case Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses. Two gay couples and two straight couples sued her, arguing that she must fulfill her duties as an elected official despite her personal Christian conviction. A federal judge ordered Davis to issue the licenses and an appeals court upheld that decision.
County Clerk Davis, however, has continued to hold firm and will not issue the marriage licenses. Her attorney, Jonathan D. Christman, with the Christian law firm Liberty Counsel, wrote the court. He compared it to forcing a person who objects to war into the battlefield, or forcing a person who opposes capital punishment to carry out an execution.
“That searing act of personal validation would forever, and irreversibly, echo in her conscience — and, if it happened, there is no absolution or correction that any earthly court can provide to rectify it.”
Now I do not know how this case will turn out. I have my suspicions and I am not optimistic, but there are a few things I find interesting.
First, there are some who think Clerk Davis should just resign, well, she is not going to do that. Davis has said she will not resign from her $80,000-a-year job, and vowed that she will never license a same-sex marriage. She has turned couples away for two months, in defiance of a series of court orders. She can’t be fired because she is an elected official. The only thing that can be done to remove her is to impeach her. Well, that is probably not going to happen, because the majority of the legislature in her state agree with her. Last week the Republican Head of the Senate spoke at a rally in her defense.
Pastor Toby Sumpter prayed that God would give us thousands more men and women with courage and conviction like this. I have to echo this prayer. Davis is doing nothing more than putting into practice the Christian Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrate. One of the issues that confronts us as we enter into an America of ever increasing tyranny is what can we do? Are unjust or immoral actions by the government simply to be accepted and their lawless commands obeyed?
I know this kind of action troubles some of you, but I would like to recommend a great little book on the subject. Matthew Trewhella’s “The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates.”
Pastor Trewhella shows how Americans can successfully resist the Federal government’s attempts to trample our Constitution, assault our liberty, and impugn the law of God. The doctrine of the lesser magistrates declares that when the superior or higher civil authority makes an unjust/immoral law or decree, the lesser or lower ranking civil authority has both the right and duty to refuse obedience to that superior authority. If necessary, the lower authority may even actively resist the superior authority. Historically, this doctrine was practiced before the time of Christ and Christianity. It was Christian men, however, who formalized and embedded it into their political institutions throughout Western Civilization.
Sadly most Christians know nothing about proper Christian resistance. We need to keep County Clerk Davis in our prayers and pray that God would show us mercy by raising up many more like her! May God have mercy on our nation.