Rhetoric and Kim Davis

In case you’ve been living on Mars, in a cave, with your fingers in your ears, you’ve likely heard of Kim Davis.  She’s the Rowan County Clerk who has invited national (and possibly international) attention by refusing to issue marriage certificates to homosexual couples – and has apparently forbidden the rest of the clerks in her office from issuing them well.  Kim has ignored United States law by refusing to issue marriage certificates and today found herself locked up for contempt of court for ignoring multiple orders for her to issue marriage certificates.

In other words, to do her job.

Now, that’s not really what this post is about.  Her past has been beaten to death in the media over the past couple weeks and she’s got ardent supporters and people who want to see her dead.  All that’s been bandied about by everyone and their dog recently.

What interests me is a tiny little thought that pinged through my head this evening that makes me wonder if Kim hasn’t backed herself into a corner unwittingly.  Her original argument for not issuing – or allowing her office to issue – marriage certificates to homosexual couples sprung her religious conviction that marriage was supposed to be between a man and a woman.  She’s dug her heels in on this one and is refusing to budge.  I know from experience that it’s impossible to debate religion.  By it’s very nature of proclaiming to know everything, religion cannot budge on any issue lest it be seen as less than perfect.

Had Kim simply stood up and said, “I cannot, in good conscience, issue marriage certificates to homosexual couples because it violates my faith.  I am therefore stepping down from my position,” I would have felt sorry for her but also applauded her courage to her convictions.  After all, no one said living a Godly life would be easy and sometimes you have to walk away from things that you just can’t do.  I wouldn’t have agreed with her, but I would have appreciated her conviction.  Conviction is a rare thing these days.

Some people would probably ask how I can question her conviction when she’s in jail for refusing to do something she disagrees with.  To those people I would remind them that Kim Davis stopped issuing all marriage certificates because “she didn’t want to appear biased.”  That statement undermines everything in one fell swoop.  If she was truly convinced she was correct, she would have refused to issue marriage certificates only to homosexual couples on religious grounds and not cared a whit whether people saw her as biased.  After all, God supposedly has her back on this one, so all the courts and all the public opinion shouldn’t matter a bit.

She could have stood up, held her head up high, and pointed to whatever part of the Bible people use to prove these things.  By refusing to issue all marriage certificates Kim Davis has undermined her own soap box.

The fact that she’s refusing to issue any marriage certificates at all smacks of desperate desire to bury the evidence, to pretend she’s not really a bad person.  This leaves me with a couple possible suppositions based on her behavior.

  • She’s didn’t seriously expect this to be a big deal and now she’s stuck
  • She’s just trying to get attention

Neither of those are really good reasons to do what she’s doing.

Personally, I wish she (and everyone else) would just get over it and start treating everyone equally.  Failing that, she should step down and find a job that doesn’t challenge her beliefs so much.

I guess the plus side is the rest of the clerks in the office decided to go ahead and issue certificates starting tomorrow.

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One thought on “Rhetoric and Kim Davis

  1. Fully agree with you, Eric. I’m all for anyone standing up for their beliefs, but to become a martyr like this is just uncomfortable for all… If you can’t do the job for moral reasons – stand down, let someone else.

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