Calvin College Chimes

Kim Davis faces off against the Supreme Court in the name of religious freedom

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With the recent ruling of the Supreme Court to strike down all state bans on same-sex marriages, a local Kentucky clerk by the name of Kim Davis has taken it upon herself to defy the ruling of the court on grounds of religious freedom. By refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, Davis was in turn jailed for contempt of court and held in custody for five days.

Many outraged Christians have called upon Davis’s prosecution as a persecution upon her freedom to the expression of Christian values and beliefs. Davis claimed that because the court’s mandate to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples was a violation of her faith and her conscience, that she was not obligated to follow the ruling.

Garnering support from GOP presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz, Davis was released on Tuesday with plans to return to work at her post in Rowan County, Ky. Davis thanked her supporters and encouraged them to continue their fight for religious liberty, saying, “I just want to give God the glory. His people have rallied, and you are a strong people. We serve a living God who knows exactly where each and every one of us is at. Just keep on pressing. Don’t let down, because he is here. He’s worthy.”

However, the U.S. District Judge, David Bunning, issued the release of Davis under the strict condition that she cannot continue to withhold marriage licenses to legally entitled couples. While Davis herself has not made any indication that her stance on the issue has changed, Bunning was clear that if Davis were to disregard the legal duties of her job that she would be taken back to jail.

Supporters of Davis have been heavily championing this story as an issue of religious freedom, yet other Christians have responded in opposition. Brandon Robertson, a Christian writer with Huffington Post, has pointed out the challenge of Davis’ situation as a government worker with a Christian faith.

According to Robertson, at the core of Davis’s fight for religious expression stands the tension between church and state. Emphasizing the basic American ideal of the separation of church and state, Robertson argues that whatever the religious beliefs that Davis holds, they cannot influence her performance as a government employed county clerk. The crux of the issue for Robertson lies in the fact that Davis is employed by the government. Regardless of her religion, Davis’s job as a county clerk is not to force her Christian faith upon others, but to exercise the duties tasked before her by the county.

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