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?” -
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