Four Reasons Christians Should Support Kim Davis

Rick Phillips

Most Americans have by now learned the name of Kim Davis, who as clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky has refused to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples.  Having been directed by a federal judge to issue such licenses on the grounds of the recent decision of the US Supreme Court, Davis was jailed for contempt of court, remaining resolute in her conviction until she was released yesterday.

Christians have different reactions to Kim Davis.  Many have criticized her for failing to perform her duty as the law requires, often citing Romans 13.  But put in biblical and historical context, Christians should be supporting Davis, praying for her and rallying to her cause.  Let me offer four reasons for this perspective: 1) She is acting in accordance with Romans 13:1; 2) She is fulfilling her God-given duty as the lesser magistrate; 3) She is being persecuted for her Christian faith by hypocritical and tyrannical powers; and 4) She is demonstrating the power of the grace of Christ in salvation.

1.       Kim Davis is not violating but rather upholding Romans 13:1, which says, "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities."  The sovereign secular authority in the United States is the Constitution, and in Kentucky it is the state constitution, which is why Davis swore obedience to both when she took her office as county clerk.  It turns out that the Kentucky Constitution defines marriage as exclusively involving a man and a woman.  It also turns out that the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution explicitly restricts the federal government from issuing decrees on matters like this.[1]  Davis did not swear an oath to obey the U.S. Supreme Court, who, as pointed out by the four dissenting judges, committed an act of lawlessness in mandating homosexual marriage in the United States.  Davis is right to refuse to obey their usurpation of authority, just as Abraham Lincoln was right to ignore the Dred Scott decision in 1857.   For more details on Kim Davis' upholding of the Constitution, read Harry Reeder's excellent article, with which I wholly agree.

2.       Kim Davis is fulfilling her God-given duty as the lesser magistrate.  It is the calling of lower government officials to protect the people from the tyranny of the higher magistrate, here the federal government.  This biblical principle was used to justify, among other things, the American Revolution against the British sovereign.  It was exemplified when the fugitive David protected the people from the tyranny of wicked King Saul in the book of 1 Samuel.  Lower officials are morally required to oppose evil oppression from above, which is why lower German officials were convicted for not opposing the heinous deeds of the Nazi hierarchy after World War II.  They were rightly held accountable to stand against evil with the power that had been granted to them.  This is precisely what Davis is doing on behalf of the people of Rowan County, who elected her to office and whose views she is upholding.  (For those who object to the use of the Nazi analogy I offer no apology.  Historically speaking, the tactics of the radical Left in America today finds its closest analogy in the intimidation tactics of the Nazi Party as it gathered power in pre-war Germany.  And the intolerance and savagery of the now-empowered Progressives are very much akin to that of the Nazis.) 

3.       Kim Davis is being persecuted for her Christian faith by hypocritical and tyrannical powers.  Christians should be careful not to claim persecution whenever our cause is denied.  But in this case the charge of persecution seems warranted.  The Obama Administration routinely flouts the laws of our land, yet there is no judicial response.  We have cities who refuse to enforce federal immigration laws, but no prosecution takes place.  We have compelling evidence of horrific crimes committed by Planned Parenthood, but there is no legal investigation.  The mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, violated laws dealing with gay marriage but was not brought before a judge.  We have Muslim officials refusing to observe laws that are offensive to them, with no reprisal.  But the clerk of a rural county exercises her conscience and she is thrown in prison without bail.  Why was Kim Davis singled out for imprisonment?  The answer seems to be that Davis is a Christian.  The now empowered radical Left in America is determined to intimidate Christians to submit even our consciences to their authority.  There is no other rationale for the national attention being given to this obscure situation and the judicial severity employed against Davis than to make the point that the full power of tyranny will be unleashed on Christians who will not submit to what the Bible forbids.

4.       Kim Davis is demonstrating the power of the grace of God in salvation.  Progressive-minded Christians will disagree with this statement, since Davis commits the gross sins of dressing in plain and unstylish clothes and of failing to accommodate the demands of secular culture.  But Davis is admitting her sins, professing publicly her faith in Jesus, and resolving against worldly oppression to obey the Word of God without violating her Christian conscience.  This is what the grace of Christ looks like in a true believer's life, along with the self-control and gentleness that are apparent in her demeanor.  Of course, we do not know enough about Kim Davis to proclaim her a true Christian hero.  But in this matter, she is showing the conviction that Christ gives to those who love him.  Kim Davis' own message from jail was the very testimony being exemplified in her life: "God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.  Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God" (2 Tim. 1:7-8).

These four reasons should cause Christians to support Kim Davis by speaking out and praying.  I hope it also causes other Christians in her position to ask themselves why they are not doing the same.  Why are they using the authority given to them to sanction the evil of homosexual marriage and with it the destruction of the biblical model of home and family?  Why was Kim Davis the only one sitting in a jail cell because she would not yield her conscience to Caesar, but resolutely named Christ alone as Lord over all?  When will Christians wake up and realize that the culture war in America is a true instance of the spiritual warfare about which we read in Scripture?  When will God's people, as Paul exhorts, "Put on the whole armor of God," in order that we "may be able to stand" against the schemes of evil in our day (Eph. 6:11)?  This is the example that Kim Davis is setting for fellow Christians in America.  May we not only pray for her but follow her biblical example as our own situations may require. 

[1] The Tenth Amendment reads: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."