Mike Huckabee, Republican presidential candidate, has spoken of the Kim Davis case as the beginning of “the criminalization of Christianity”. I think most of my readers are aware of the Kentucky County Court Clerk who is denying marriage licenses to all applicants, in order to discriminate against same-sex applicants.
I feel that I should say something on this subject, since I am a Christian with views that are different from those of Kim Davis and Mike Huckabee. I am not alone, though, as you can see by the letter below, from Faithful America, a progressive Christian organization.
Dear Faithful America member,
The Kentucky clerk who refused to obey a court order and grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples has been taken into federal custody.
The religious right is already doing its best to turn her into a martyr. Mike Huckabee is on TV insisting that this represents the “criminalization of Christianity” and “bowing to the false God of judicial supremacy.”
The sad truth is that right now, Kim Davis is the public face of Christianity in America. This is no longer just about marriage equality — it’s about whether being a Christian and being a bigot are one and the same.
It’s a fight only Christians can win. Our secular allies have won some amazing victories for equality, but only we can stop from anti-gay extremists from hijacking our faith with cries of religious persecution.
That’s what Faithful America is all about — bringing together hundreds of thousands of everyday Christians to raise our voices and show the nation another side of Christianity.
[End of excerpt]
Like many Christians, I am reluctant to actually endorse any lifestyle that is different to that which is set forth in the scriptures. But if one looks to the Bible for examples of marriage, one immediately finds that numerous holy men were polygamists. They had multiple wives. I wouldn’t want to endorse polygamy either. But, as a message to my faithful brothers and sisters in Christ, I must correct those who say that the government of the USA has to align itself with Christian or Jewish religious texts and teachings. My friends, anyone with any education at all knows that the Constitution of the United States actually forbids the promotion of specific religions, and that we actually live in a secular government, a democracy, wherein the beliefs and concerns of ALL citizens are to be honored equally.
These people, like Mike Huckabee, are making us all look like uneducated, bigoted fools.
Listen, I pray to God daily. And when I pray, I often say, “In Jesus’ name I pray”. But in a court of law in the USA, the words of Jesus, or of Moses, have no more authority than the words of Muhammad (peace be upon him). Or, for that matter, the teachings of the Buddha, or the Hindu writers and teachers. Indeed, the concerns and opinions of our citizens who happen to be atheists, agnostics, or Satan worshipers, are ALL TO BE GIVEN CONSIDERATION.
Whether you agree to this, or not, the courts, and judges of America DO AGREE WITH THIS. A basic lesson in vocabulary would inform you of the difference between a democracy and a theocracy. And once you looked these up in a dictionary, you would see that the closest thing to a theocracy is only to be found among the strictest Islamic dictatorships, and the only (self-proclaimed) Caliphate, the Islamic State, or ISIS. These people want a government that is run in accordance with their holy book, the Koran, or Quran. This is the meaning of the word, theocracy.
Christian friends, we must live our personal lives according to the dictates of our conscience. And in doing so, of course we must consult the Bible. But in matters of laws, and of marriage permits, or gun permits, or fishing licenses, or whatever has to do with government offices, we are all obliged to obey the law of the land. We are all NOW FREE to obey the convictions of our Faith. No one is required to marry someone of the same sex. No one is being required to put their ‘seal of approval’ on any marriage whatsoever. Kim Davis simply has to do her job, without discriminating against any group, whether it be divorcees (shouldn’t remarry, according to the words of Jesus, unless their spouse has died), or whether it be homosexuals that want to enjoy the same benefits as all the rest of us.
Perhaps one should consider not taking a job that might require them to do something that hurts their conscience. But to tell people that they can’t live according to their beliefs, or lack of beliefs, is not our place in the world. No one is being forced to become gay. You don’t even have to go to their church, or allow them to join your church. You can, and must, learn the concept of the separation of church and state.
This is the proper way to deal with such things, as Christian believers in God. This is the way of peace, of love, and of respect for all citizens.
P.S. In matters concerning sexuality, marriage, and so forth, there is a good deal of latitude in allowing for different interpretations of the scriptures. Also, it is certainly true that the writers of the Biblical texts were influenced by the culture of the time in which they lived, 2000 years ago. Personally, I agree with some of the more liberal teachers, who doubt that Christians must accept all Biblical scriptures as being dogmatically correct and applicable to their situation.