The case of Kim Davis, clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky, has hit the big-time with her imprisonment and then release to appear before an exultant crowd with presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee by her side. Is she a Joan of Arc here to save the Republic for God or a zealot ready to incite to rebellion? Or maybe she is something in between?
Certainly there is a reasonable expectation for accommodation for anyone in the workplace. But reasonable does not mean absolute. Certainly a soldier who claims to be under conviction that he or she cannot bear arms may find accommodation lacking and need to be content with something less than a dishonorable discharge. So, too, a clerk elected to carry the public trust in facilitating public policy and laws cannot expect conscience to substitute for that. There are times when our faith conviction means we take the penalty—walking away from the situation we cannot participate in. To stay might mean, as it has with Kim, that she has required her assistants to act as she think and enforced her religious view on the public that she will not serve. Ironically that is the very antithesis of religious liberty.
As many times before, this case shows a gross misunderstanding of not only religious liberty, but the history and constitutional basis of the United States. It is not a Christian Republic and certainly not a theocracy, even though our own Taliban might wish so. It is instead a once Protestant society that has drifted from its moral moorings. It is a once Protestant society where far too many religious vigilantes have fallen in love with legal shortcuts to religious problems.
Author: Lincoln E. Steed
Lincoln E. Steed is the editor of Liberty magazine, a 200,000 circulation religious liberty journal which is distributed to political leaders, judiciary, lawyers and other thought leaders in North America. He is additionally the host of the weekly 3ABN television show "The Liberty Insider," and the radio program "Lifequest Liberty."