When is a supposed “hero” not a hero? Such a scenario is playing out in Kentucky. This past week, the supposed “heroic” actions exhibited by Rowan County Clerk and Apostolic Christian occurred when Kim Davis refused to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple. This is after the Supreme Court decision passed in July makes it lawful for same-sex couples nationwide to marry. Davis rather, chose to stand on “principle” and her Christian faith by not issuing the marriage license (Davis is asking to have her name removed from their marriage license issued via a state amendment but at this stage would still be in violation of the law).
In response, Davis has been jailed for not honoring the law. She is also being sued by couples she disenfranchised/infringed the rights of. The county has proceeded to issue the marriage licenses that Davis denied. Davis will defiantly remain in jail, believing she is standing on principle. Many Christians near and far have rallied behind Davis, encouraging her to continue standing her ground in this contentious battle we daily wage of man’s law vs. God’s Law in a fallen world.
As Believers, we clearly see it: the contrast between dark and light is so palpable in our society and world. Good is bad, bad is good. Our fallen world is in a perpetual state of moral decay. One could wonder why God would allow such immorality to continue. In addition, when Believers confront darkness with light, truth, virtue and morality, we are often met with hostility by those who choose to continue operating in lawlessness.
Getting back to Kim Davis: I recently began grad school with Regent University (Christian-based educational institution) to pursue and obtain my Master of Public Administration. Considering myself a Christian public servant prior to classes by virtue of how God has equipped me to lead this ministry, I am being equipped even more to understand the wisdom and discernment one must constantly embody as a Christian serving the public, in public office, etc.
In this, here is why Ms. Davis is not heroic, but is in fact, in error:
Believing that she was standing on principle and doing what was right, Davis stepped on other citizens’ rights. While I support traditional marriage between one man and one woman, Ms. Davis swore an oath before God as a public servant. As the founder and leader of Voices Against the Grain, a ministry that “advances God’s Kingdom in a ‘do your own thing’ society,” I understand not compromising God’s Word to gain favor with the world. In doing so, as Christians, in sharing God’s Truth, we are also to show love and compassion to those who have views that contradict God’s Word.
Our goal is to remove the veil that blinds them. To deliver truth in love that brings restoration. As Christ’s Ambassadors, we are asked to “deal gently with those ignorant or misguided since we ourselves are subject to weakness.” (Hebrews 5:2). This is even more true in Davis’ role as a Christian public servant.
We must use wisdom and operate as critical thinkers in all situations. We must trust that God is indeed Sovereign over all things, even in this situation, as God’s law is Supreme even when we exercise free will. Davis has minimized the greatness of God to overcome even this. Davis is in error by violating the law and worse, missing an opportunity to show Christ’s love. God is God all by Himself and doesn’t require us to help Him. None of her actions have shown these people Christ. Certainly the laws have changed since her being elected to the job 27 years ago. She should now consider if morally, she can still fulfill this role.
Is it possible for Christians and Christian public servants to operate as vessels of light, truth, morality and virtue in a fallen world? Yes, absolutely. By sharing God’s light, we help bring clarity to confusion and hope to darkness in our fallen world. By not doing so, we’ll continue to see moral decay and the tragedies manifest and proliferate our communities due to our silence and absence from these influential spaces. In order to transform such spaces, we need to be a light in the room and a voice of truth at the table. But there is a right way to do it.
This is the call for those who truly yield to the Holy Spirit and are not swayed by self-interest and emotions. This is the call for those who choose not to acquiesce in being a vessel of truth, virtue and morality when it is unpopular to do so. This is the call for those who are committed to serve in love, to operate in wisdom and deploy truth in the right tone at the right time while not inflicting injustice upon others. This is the call for those who choose to decrease self and increase Christ.
This is the call of a Christian public servant. I pray as the Body of Christ that we come into unity in this understanding.
Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.
Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.