Christine Flowers, 9/13/2015 [Archive]

Conservative Hypocrisy on Kim Davis

By Christine Flowers

I felt the need to watch "A Man For All Seasons" over the weekend.

I pull it out whenever some high profile lawyer validates the low opinion so many people have of us. But this time, I wanted a reminder of what it really means to take a conscientious stand based on principle, and not out of some twisted idea of civil disobedience.

Obviously, I'm referring to Kim Davis, the apostolic Christian democrat who still serves as clerk of court in Rowan County, Ky. Anyone not living under the Rock of Peter these past couple of weeks knows that Davis defied the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage and refused to do her job.What was that job?

Purely, and simply, she was charged with issuing marriage licenses.The job description didn't tell her to issue marriage licenses to the people who had passed her Biblical muster.It didn't require an anatomical examination before issuing those licenses.It just required her to stamp them, sign them and deliver them.

To the delight of evangelical Christians and the politicians who pander to them, Davis cited her religious beliefs in refusing to follow the law.

And the circus began.

As much as I resent the fact that same-sex unions are now the law of the land, I respect that law and this land exponentially more than my personal vision of marriage.

So the deliberate flouting of the law by a woman who had other options is infuriating.It is exactly what Bruce Haines of Montgomery County, Pa. did when he issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples when the law prohibited it.It is exactly that attitude of lawlessness that so many conservatives attributed to Barack Obama with his executive orders on immigration.It smacks of rank hypocrisy to attack liberals when they color outside of the lines, but then forgive conservatives because we have a philosophical kinship with them.

What Kim Davis has done is to make it harder to convince those who disagree with us on underlying principles to at least respect our right to be given a perimeter of faith in which to operate, without encroachment.

That's why I felt the need to watch "A Man For All Seasons." Thomas More, patron saint of attorneys with a soul did not invite his tragic destiny. When faced with taking a public vow that clashed with his private beliefs, he resigned his office as Chancellor of England. He tried desperately to use the greatest tool of our trade-his clever mind-to avoid being trapped between public duty and personal integrity. It was only when he was forced by Henry VIII to take a vow recognizing the king as the head of the Church in England, thereby betraying our shared Roman Catholic faith, that he signed his own death warrant.

That is what is called sacrificing everything for your beliefs. The Kim Davises of the world parade their faith in front of us like some antidote to secular persecution, which is ridiculous. There is a place for God, and a place for Caesar, and creating a false battle between the two is as much a sin as issuing licenses to same-sex couples when your faith forbids it.

In fact, it's much worse, because you are making devastating tears in that great and vibrant document that protects our right to believe in God and serve him, without forcing Caesar to throw us in jail because of misguided and fabricated zeal.

Kim Davis is no Thomas More. And as he rises up, glorious in memory, so should she be forgotten and disowned by all Christians who cherish their faith and the freedom that makes it possible.

——-

©2015 Christine Flowers. Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, and can be reached at cflowers1961@gmail.com.

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