Relentless media coverage of Kim Davis’s imprisonment has invaded every news cycle over the last week. As I watched this woman be punished for her unapologetic stand in her Christian values, many of my thoughts have been reflected in this one truth.
John 15:18: If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you.
In 1690, the Mayflower landed in Plymouth Rock, bringing over a hundred Pilgrims to the new world. They fled from the religious persecution endured in England, hoping that this new land would bring religious freedom. For centuries following the founding of our country, America would reach milestones in religious, racial, and gender equality that not even William Bradford could have hoped for. Despite all of that progress, the last few months have reflected nothing but a huge stride backward in our nation’s history.
To be frank, freedom of religion is the pillar of our nation’s existence, and to challenge that is the equivalent of seeking to disarm the English monarchy. It’s incomprehensible.
With this newly accepted view marriage comes a dicey confrontation that many state and federal employees are faced with. We must remember that this country is not void of Christian citizens. In fact, despite our descent from a nation that once proclaimed “In God We Trust” as a cornerstone for America’s greatness, we are still known to the world as a Christian nation.
The left has put conservative Christian believers between a rock and a hard place. Conservatives hold the belief that the implementation of our law is invaluable. On the other hand, conservatives also hold a position on religious freedom that directly reflects that of our Founding Fathers.
Thomas Jefferson, the writer of our Constitution, left no room for misinterpretation when he stated that the United States government should never be given the power to interfere with freedom of religion:
I consider the government of our United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the United States the powers not delegated to the United States. Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in any religious discipline has been delegated to the General Government. It must then rest with the States.
Obergefell v. Hodges brought to the Supreme Court an agenda long endorsed by our Executive Branch. By stretching the law and ruling that the Fourteenth Amendment should also protect a same-sex couple’s right to marry, those five justices waved goodbye to the religious freedom laid out by our forefathers.
By default, Christian government officials like Kim Davis, business owners like Barronelle Stutzman, Aaron and Melissa Klein, and many others are now faced with choices similar to those faced by Paul and Silas in the Bible: they must either be punished for standing firm in their beliefs, or deny that very faith for the satiation of those around them. Committed followers of Christ cannot simply check their faith at the door of their workplace and pick it back up when the clock strikes five. Their faith and their body are inseparable; it’s a part of who they are.
It is no secret that Bible-believing Christians do not believe in homosexual marriage. It is in direct conflict with the belief that marital union is for one man and one woman. Why, then, has our government put Christians in such a bad position? It seems to me that, if the tables were turned and the Supreme Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment did not apply to same-sex couples, our nation would be in an even greater uproar. Christians, however, are expected to bite their tongues and comply with a ruling designed to remove faith from all public decisions.
In the coming days, I am curious to see how the church will react to religious persecution in the 21st century. Will the church be silent in persecution? Or will they rise up and proclaim that “No weapon formed against them shall prosper”?
I guess we will just have to wait and see.