Clerk jailed; Separation of church and state is paramount

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(THE PICKET) – Same-sex couples and supporters cheered Thursday, Sept. 3, after the ruling was issued holding a county clerk in Kentucky in contempt of court and she was taken into custody by U.S. marshals.

Kimberly Davis remained steadfast in her belief that same-sex marriage was wrong and that as an Apostolic Christian it went against her beliefs. Davis would not issue licenses and advised her staff, including her son, to not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This was in violation of a federal law that was endorsed by the U.S. Supreme in June.

“Marriage is between one man and one woman,” Davis said as she was questioned on the witness stand Sept. 3.

The bottom line is law is law. As an elected official Davis should have to enforce the laws and should not be allowed to choose which ones she follows.

Davis, a Democrat who took office in 2014, should understand the difference and be able to separate her work from her private life. Any person in a position of authority, such as Davis, who can’t make separation between an elected position and private life should be willing to step down. As she is not the model Christian, she knows that god will forgive her…if that is what she needs. He has already forgiven her for other “sins” she has made over her lifetime. She is not the judge and jury and the court recognized that.

Separating church and state is not a new concept to Americans, as we have been doing it for hundreds of years…when it is convenient.

In 1802, U.S. President Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”

The separation between church and state is vital for fair treatment in America. Without that separation, discrimination would be out of control and likely funding would be allotted for religious schools and organizations when it should be directed toward other issues.

Nearly 55 years to the day, on Sept. 12, 1960, during a speech, then presidential candidate, and later President John F. Kennedy said, “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute—where no Catholic prelate would tell the President how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote—where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference—and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him. I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish—where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source. I do not speak for my church on public matters—and the church does not speak for me. When my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do the same.”

Davis should take the advice of the late President Kennedy and resign.

Davis, or the government in general should have no say in who can marry. A marriage is a union between two people- whether these two people be man and woman, man and man or woman and woman.

The New York Times reported Friday, Sept. 4 that after seeing Davis jailed, most of Davis’s deputy clerks said they were willing to break from her demands and comply with the judge’s order to begin granting same-sex marriage licenses. Davis’s son continued to refuse to issue marriage license. No action was taken against him.

Reluctant deputy clerks working with Davis began issuing licenses Friday, Sept. 4, to same-sex couples without Davis’s signature. These clerks should evaluate their own lives and their specific beliefs and not allow a hypocrite, soulless human to dictate to them their duties.

As a gay male and raised in a Christian home, my parents taught me many things about life…including abiding by the laws set in place by the government.

Having the right to marry is a huge accomplishment in the LGBT community, and Davis singlehandedly should not have the right to stop these men and women from doing so in her county.

Todd Bowman is a staff writer for The Picket. He can be reached at tbowma04@rams.shepherd.edu or on Twitter @todd_bowman87.