Sunday, September 06, 2015

Kim Davis and Christian resistance.

Kim Davis is a Christian.

If she was a Catholic, would her resistance have more merit?  Could she have claimed some precedent or saintly example?  I ask that because of something Fr. Longenecker wrote, distancing himself from the Kim Davis supporters, saying:
If Ms Davis had been a Catholic rather than a Protestant Christian she might have had some historic examples of saints to guide her decision. I think she should have resigned. This is following a principle that one should always avoid martyrdom and persecution as much as possible while still being faithful to the gospel and to one’s conscience. - Standing on my Head

That said despite his contention she should have followed Thomas More's example and simply resigned her position as county clerk ... Thomas More is a saint.  I know he knew that - just saying.   I suppose out of work and penniless would be a heroic choice as well, but I wonder if that would have caught anyone's attention that there is something wrong with the State?

But that's not my point here.

I have a little difficulty with what Fr. Longenecker said.

“A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself.” - CCC

If Kim Davis had been a Catholic ... she might have had some historic examples of saints to guide her position.  In the first place, one doesn't need to be Catholic to be inspired by, or seek the intercession of saints.  Recently Pope Francis pointed out the profound union which exists through martyrdom when commenting on the Coptic Christians slaughtered by ISIS.  As a Christian, Kim Davis, despite what anyone says to the contrary is suffering for the Christian faith.

The many comments and criticisms online, as well as judgments concerning Davis' past life, used to discredit her resistance today, remind me of those who counselled Franz Jägerstätter not to follow his conscience as a conscientious objector.  To save time I will link to the Vatican biography of Franz Jägerstätter here.  For those who aren't familiar with him, Jägerstätter was an Austrian conscientious objector, refusing to fight for the Nazis. Jägerstätter was imprisoned, sentenced to death and beheaded. He has since been beatified by the Catholic Church.

His bishop and priest tried to dissuade Bl. Jägerstätter from his refusal to fight in the war for the Third Reich.

His parish priest and other good Catholics recommended that he give in for the sake of his wife and family.  They suggested compromise.  Though Blessed Franz offered to serve as a medic, his offer was refused.
Jägerstätter was criticized by his countrymen, especially Catholics who had served in the military, for failing in his duty as a husband and father. The municipality of Sankt Radegund at first refused to put his name on the local war memorial and a pension for his widow was not approved until 1950. - Source

One doesn't have to be a Catholic to follow one's conscience, nor to stand fast in Christian witness to the Gospel.  One doesn't have to be Catholic to claim precedent from the saints - but if you're looking for an example - Jägerstätter set a fine precedent for lay people.

Divine Love does not want to limit His action to a few privileged souls, He longs to give Himself everywhere - to conquer the entire world. - P. Marie-Eugene, O.C.D.

As for the critics of Kim Davis, who point out her former marriages as evidence against her own moral character, I want to recall something one of the Gorcum martyrs said before being killed:
One of the secular priests killed was notorious for his unchastity. When accused of this by his captors, he offered his famous reply, “Fornicator I always was, but heretic I never was.” - Source

One doesn't have to jump on any bandwagon in support of Kim Davis, but I'd definitely refrain from judging her determination to follow her conscience.  Fortunately, Fr. Longenecker takes the situation further, rightly pointing out some of the consequences the arrest of Kim Davis bodes for others who refuse to participate in same sex weddings.

Times are changing.

Something to ponder from Franz Jägerstätter:

“Today one hears it said repeatedly that there is nothing any more that an individual can do. If someone were to speak out, it would mean only imprisonment and death.
True, there is not much that can be done anymore to change the course of world events. I believe that should have begun a hundred or even more years ago. But as long as we live in this world, I believe it is never too late to save ourselves and perhaps some other soul for Christ.
One really has no cause to be astonished that there are those who can no longer find their way in the great confusion of our day. People we think we can trust, who ought to be leading the way and setting a good example, are running along with the crowd. No one gives enlightenment, whether in word or in writing. Or, to be more exact, it may not be given. And the thoughtless race goes on, always closer to eternity. As long as conditions are still half good, we don’t see things quite right, or that we could or should do otherwise….
“If the road signs were stuck ever so loosely in the earth that every wind could break them off or blow them about, would anyone who did not know the road be able to find his way? And how much worse is it if those to whom one turns for information refuse to give him an answer or, at most, give him the wrong direction just to be rid of him as quickly as possible?”  - Franz Jägerstätter: Letters and Writings from Prison

Woe to an age when the voices of those who cry in the wilderness have fallen silent, outshouted by the noise of the day or outlawed or swallowed up in the intoxication of progress, or growing smothered and fainter for fear and cowardice. The devastation will soon be so terrifying and universal that the word "wilderness" will again strike our hearts and minds. I think we know that. - Alfred Delp 


  1. As far as I can tell, she is just being true to her conscience and to her faith as she understands it. She may not necessarily reject Catholicism, but just following Christ as revealed to her so far. Having been Evangelical, I know that much of what is taught about Catholics is error.
    I don't know what I would have done differently if I was in her place.

  2. If Ms Davis had been a Catholic rather than a Protestant Christian she might have had some historic examples of saints to guide her decision.

    Well, you just don't much more snotty than that.

    And people who have brought up her past have no understanding of repentance, redemption, or salvation.

    All the little cr*p weasels who are behind this could have solved the problem easily by making it possible for another clerk to be able to sign the licenses. Her only objection was to her name automatically being on every license issued since she was the county clerk and that is the way their county regs are set

  3. Two days ago I taught a class about logical fallacies. One of the ones we discussed was the "tu quoque" (you too) fallacy, also known as the appeal to hypocrisy, wherein someone brings up an inconsistent past statement or behavior to dismiss a claim we make in the present--a claim that remains otherwise unaddressed. Inconsistency doesn't make us wrong. And there is such a thing as conversion.

    I suppose that giving up a necessary job out of principle could be viewed as supererogatory, and none of us has an obligation to commit supererogatory acts. You rightly pointed out that Thomas More was a saint. Whether quitting a job out of principle rises to the level of supererogation would depend on the person's financial circumstances, I suppose. (I teach ethics. Can you tell?)

  4. There is the law of man and the law of God. We can differ on the former, but not on the latter. She needs to resign to uphold her beliefs. Anything less is hypocritical. Suffering the consequences for her belief is the consequence. Her reward will be in heaven if God so chooses to admit her. This is nonsense otherwise. She cannot be County Clerk and decide what she will accept or reject. Enough already.

  5. Coptic Christians are Cstholics in union with Rome. And yes, absolutely, Kim Dsvis needs to resign. If you disagree with an organization,which in this case is the government, you don't stay as a part of it. If people are allowed to obey only the parts of the law that they agree with, we will have total chaos in this country. Yes, the law is wrong. Ths is why a Christian cannot be in a job which requires obedience to that immoral law. She has to resign.

  6. Anonymous6:03 AM

    Actually Kim belongs to an "Apostolic" sect which denies the Trinity so she is no more Christian than Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses are but that doesn't nullify her witness. Although I think according to the Gospel she defends she would be required to forsake her current "husband" and live a life of continence correct?

  7. The Gorcum quote is perfect here as I've seen many comments elsewhere focusing on her marriages and having children out of wedlock.

    Teh gays specifically didn't want her jailed because suffering for her faith isn't part of their narrative. It serves to highlight their ridiculousness.

  8. Actually, since there is no law in place, she should not resign merely because a judge unlawfully ordered her to do the impossible.

    First, SCOTUS struck down the law which was in KY. The law included definition of marriage and procedure to get a licenses, all based upon heterosexual marriages. Since that was ruled invalid, there is no definition of marriage and no procedure for getting licenses in KY. So the judge can't order to do what is legally impossible (cf. and )

    Second, the law which had been in place was about who MAY issue a license. May is not obligation. And the word, "shall" used after the title means may in legal jargon (cf. Castle Rock vs. Gonzalez 2005). According to SCOTUS, the old law said she may give a license; may is not an obligation, not a required duty.

    So not only is she doing her job, the judge, by ordering her to act in an impossibility, is not doing his. Maybe the judge should resign?

  9. I would also add we have the example of Daniel, who did not resign his office, while being demanded to do what was wrong. We have several examples of martyrs like that. It would be a dangerous precedent to say we have no ability to be in government when it makes laws against us, and it would be against Christian history (again, many Romans were Christians in positions of power when Nero was persecuting us). If we remove the salt of the earth from the earth, and hide our light under a basket, we only let evil remain. We have to remain active in the world.

  10. No the "gays" all have different views on this..(hard as it is to believe we all don't think alike Nan) I feel she should resign...we are a nation of laws and as a govt worker she can't just decide what she won't do based on her latest belief or what sect she is in. I think her past is fair game..not only because it's just another example of a moralizing Christian casting judgements on others while their own personal life is in direct opposition to the words they are mouthing( and the far religious right desperation to find someone to rally around no matter how pathetic that person may be..but in this instance I as a Catholic would have had to turn her away two times for a think she and her set of backwoods bible thumpers wouldn't have taken me to court? How about a Muslim enacting Sharia law and not giving legal rights to women? Just because your smarting over homos having the right to a civil marriage, you better seriously consider what kind of door your opening for anyone's interpretation of their deeply held beliefs

    The judge is a well respected conservative appointee who does not believe in SSM, but he can run circles around Davis in both intellect and professionalism.

  11. If you would be interested in knowing . . . the Catholic Dogma . . . that we *must believe* to get to Heaven . . .
    I list it on my website ...

    God knows what we think and believe . . .

    Catholic Faith (pre-fulfillment) writing of Deuteronomy 31 : 21 >
    "For I know their thoughts, and what they are about to do this day."

    Catholic Faith (pre-fulfillment) writing of Job 21 : 27 >
    "Surely I know your thoughts, and your unjust judgments against Me."

    Catholic writing of Romans 1 : 21 >
    "They ... became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened."

  12. So many weak and timid Christians. I hope if I am in a similar situation that I will stand firm like Kim God help me to be brave like her. People who criticize Kim's past do not understand what Christianity is about: Jesus died for sinners! We can all change and repent through His sacrifice! I cannot believe the sophistry of those who criticize her.

  13. I don't really see much repenting from her and the goober she is married to now, who was the one she was, uh, sleeping with while married to the first one. Shouldn't she renounce her marriage to Jethro and go back to her first husband, you know, if she is truly repentant. I don't see her humbly standing on stage saying "Im a sinner too." not to mention her husband who will jump in front of any camera. I see her in a frenzy of righteous zeal..basking in her 15 minutes.

    So where her past comes into play is just this, she is refusing to grant secular marriage licenses because of her particular religious beliefs (new that they are.) Again, I as a Catholic could have denied her at least two of them, (maybe three depending on how many times she has done the marriage go around) If I was a Muslim I could have refused to serve her and you as a woman? How do you think a diverse, country with several different religions being practiced, (and within Christianity how many different versions of that are in play...Mrs. Davis herself would probably call you a superstitious Papist for believing in the Trinity. So all the people who are supporting Davis (cause she don't go for the Ho-Mo) should ask themselves again, how far do you want this to go, cause it can come and bite you in the butt.

  14. I linked to a post about her release on your blog, from mine.

    Where did it go?


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