Conscience or the clinker?

Published 7:18 pm Tuesday, September 8, 2015

My two churches are of the size where, at prayer time, we can sort of “go around the room” and accept members or guests lifting up situations or people that are close to them. Usually it’s a family or community person and everyone knows who or what.

We try to stay away from political or national things except for the natural disasters that wreak havoc on our nation. But, to be honest, there are those genuine pleas that our nation might find its way out of this pervasive decline of faithful values.

Still, there are people who are not local who are lifted up. People like Kim Davis, the duly-elected Kentucky court clerk who, for her conscience, has landed herself in the clinker. The clinker, of course, is the old-timer’s name for the local jail.

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My purpose in bringing up her name is not to foist upon you any opinion about the reason of her jailing. I have mine and you have yours. That’s what is wonderful about this nation of ours. We have freedom to think and express our views. In Kim Davis’ case, her freedom to act as she has; to follow her conscience has cost her.

The issuing of marriage licenses is one of her office’s most obvious responsibilities. When the Supreme Court decreed that same-sex marriages were to be the law of the land, that controversial decision became a challenge throughout the nation.

What if your conscience or your faith could not support such a decision? What would you do? If you were a “Regular Joe or Jane” you could gripe and complain all you wanted to and your disagreement would simply fall on the ears of those who were close enough to hear you complain.

Kim Davis isn’t a “Regular Jane.”  She is an elected county clerk officer and her name is signed to every marriage license that is officially given by Rowan County, Kentucky. Even those of same-sex couples. Davis, a 2011 born-again Christian, said through her actions, “I cannot do that.” And she hasn’t.

A judge said, “Yes, you will or you’ll be held in contempt of this court and the clinker will be a result of your disobedience.” The judge didn’t really say “the clinker;” I added that part.

There are two sides to every coin. Davis’ job description includes the issuance of marriage licenses to all who meet the secular standards of the state even if it is two men or two women.

On the other side of the coin is the personal faith of Kim Davis and it doesn’t allow for the marriage of men to men or women to women. To sign her name to a document that endorses a union that her God says is an abomination is an act that Ms. Davis says she cannot do. It’s a matter of conscience.

It’s a real dilemma. When does one obey the laws of the land, even when they are against faith, and when does one stand, with conscience, courageously against such laws?

Our history is full of examples of men and women standing up for their beliefs. Some are hailed as heroes while others are condemned as standing in the way of progress. I will admit that I am proud of Kim Davis for standing up for her belief. I will also admit that her courage has a price to pay.

I believe these confrontations will become more and more prevalent. Soon we will find out if we really mean what we say when we say, “One nation under God.”