Skip to main content

Should Christian public officials disobey laws that go against their conscience?


Much talk concerning Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk of court who was jailed for not issuing gay marriage licenses, has spawned regarding the topic of civil disobedience. In this article we will take a brief look at Kim's specific situation, what the Bible says about civil disobedience, and then how that specifically relates to public officials such as Kim Davis who intend on disobeying laws that go against God's Word and their conscience.

Prior to the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage that happened in June of 2015 Kim Davis took the oath of office as a county clerk in Kentucky (November of 2014), which was an oath to uphold Kentucky law. At the time, Kentucky had a ban on same-sex marriages in place. After the Supreme Court decision took place Kim Davis refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples citing her religious convictions. Other arguments occurred pointing out that Kim took an oath to defend the laws that were in place at the time she took her oath of office and therefore she deserves an exemption on issuing same-sex marriage licenses until the end of her term. Eventually a judge ordered Kim to issue the licenses, and Kim disobeyed the order resulting in contempt of court and being remanded to federal custody.

The Bible commands submission to governing authorities (Romans 13) in all situations unless they are being commanded to do evil in direct opposition to what scripture commands. The first instance of Biblical civil disobedience is in Exodus 1 when the Hebrew midwives refused to kill infants as ordered by the Pharaoh. We find other instances in the Old Testament such as Rahab in Joshua 2 when she disobeyed the king's order to produce the Israelite spies, instead she protected them in good faith towards God. Several other instances of civil disobedience exist flowing all the way into the New Testament, specifically in Acts chapter 4 and 5 in which the Apostle Peter ultimately disobeyed the command given by Jewish authorities to not preach the gospel saying, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). It is important to understand that we are to submit to all governing authorities in all situations, the only time we have grounds to object is when we are being forced to do something which the Bible indicates to be sinful. The Bible does not support anarchy nor Nazi submission to law that results in breaking God's laws.

Our conclusion regarding the Kim Davis situation is this: It is not a black and white issue when it comes to whether or not Kim should have resigned or demonstrated conscientious objection. The Bible requires us to civilly disobey laws (in a non-violent manner) that contradict God's Word, it also does not specify whether or not we should resign or remain in office to take a stand in Kim's given situation, both are legitimate expressions of denying personal approval of gay marriage. This decision becomes personal between Kim and God. If God has called her to remain in office and take a stand then she is right in doing so, if God calls her to resign she is also right in doing so. Some may argue that dispensing a gay marriage license is not sinful in particular, the question we need to ask ourselves in that regard is "can we issue the license in good faith toward God?" The Bible says "whatsoever is not of faith, is sin..." This is something that we need to deeply consider. BiblicalQuestions.net does not condone issuing the licenses and recommends resignation, but we also recognize that God does call some people to stand and fight in certain situations. All in all we need to pray for Kim, and pray for all others related to this matter, no matter how we feel about they way she handled the situation. The fact that they have jailed her is absolutely outrageous and should bring great concern to every person of faith in the country. This could be the start of a slippery slope that leads to greater frequency of incarceration for people of faith. We resent any legal action that results in jailing an individual for demonstrating their religious convictions, that is not the American way, ever!

Written by: Kyle Bailey, M.Th.

For more inspirational content SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel.

Photo credit to: http://images.enstarz.com/data/images/full/74490/rowan-county-clerk-kim-davis.jpg

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A letter to Modern Christians on Church Attendance...

On March 22nd of 2020 an unprecedented event occurred. This wasn't the first time that a widespread disease afflicted human-kind, nor was it the first time that health measures were taken by a human government in order to mitigate the risk of an epidemic. The unprecedented event that occurred on Sunday, March 22nd of 2020 was the physical absence of worshippers gathering as the visible Church of Jesus Christ in the United States as well as other places around the world. The 10 person gathering limit issued by the Centers for Disease Control led to the widespread closure of house's of worship across the country. Up to that point in Church History there had never been an example of this magnitude in which faithful Christians avoided the physical gathering together to worship Jesus Christ and study His Word in a community of fellowship. The typical reason offered by many Christian leaders in an attempt to justify the temporary closure of churches was something like this, "Chr

Is it ok to let your kids believe in Santa Claus?

"A wink of his eye, and a twist of his head, soon led me to know I had nothing to dread."- Twas' the Night Before Christmas, Clement C. Moore As a kid I was taught that Santa Claus was going to bring me the presents I wished for on Christmas morning. I watched movies and cartoons about Santa riding his sleigh with gifts to give to all of the children around the world. Some of the stories depicted Santa as giving coal to bad kids and toys to good kids and I was told jokingly by my parents that I would "receive coal if I was bad," but it was never made to be a serious threat. Up until around the age of seven I really believed that Santa magically came down the chimney and left presents for my brothers and I, and it never caused me to have any resentment toward my parents for telling me he was real. I saw it as my parents wanting to give me a fun Christmas adventure, a magical experience that my brothers and I could use our imagination with. As I learned

How should Christians respond to "cancel culture?"

With the rise of modern technology and social media platforms in the past decade or so we have seen a vast increase certain ideological groups seeking to cancel, ban, and silence those with different, offensive, or annoying opinions. Most of this has been done in the name of seeking to preserve a "safe environment" for people to engage the internet with less of a risk of being "triggered" by a differing opinion. Though on a historical level the ability to limit certain free speech that incites physical violence or destructive behavior has been pretty much agreed upon by most people. It seems clear that the idea that those who say things which are wrong, offensive, or annoying should be canceled, silenced and sidelined is entirely un-American and ultimately not Christian.  Cancel culture is demonic and oppressive. It's the same tactic used by the enemy to oppose the gospel around the world. The message of the cross is offensive to those who don't