Kim Davis Is Not Being Persecuted, So I’m Not Going to #StandWithKim

September 9, 2015

With Kim Davis being jailed and released for contempt of court, my social media feed has been filled with affirmations of support.

"Persecution" in America, exhibit A.

“Persecution” in America, exhibit A.

#PrayforKimDavis, they say.

#StandWithKim, they urge.

Kim is being persecuted, they say, trampled on by the government, having her First Amendment rights taken away.

Of course, she is the Kentucky court clerk who has been refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Bloggers and presidential hopefuls have chimed in, urging Christians to stand behind Kim. Mike Huckabee has said that “God intervened,” to get Kim released from jail. But I don’t believe I will be standing with Kim.

Kim Davis won’t be in my prayers tonight.

Because Kim Davis is not being persecuted.

The Difference Between a Clerk and a Judge

I honestly don’t know how Christians believe that Kim Davis is being persecuted, except that it has been our cultural narrative for so long, that we believe everything we see is persecution – even when it is really the Christian who is acting out of line.

Our Supreme Court, like it or not, has made a ruling that has changed our cultural landscape. Before this, we decided a long time ago that if you are going to open a business to the public, then you have to serve the public.

Kim Davis is not just a business owner, she is a representative of the government. She collects her paycheck from the government, which is funded by taxpayers (including the gay ones.) Kim is not a judge. She is a clerk, and therefore, she does not get paid to decide which laws are just or unjust. When Kim Davis parks her car in front of the government courthouse, she doesn’t get to decide which laws she is going to participate in…

Well, she can. That’s called “civil disobedience.”

Civil Disobedience is a Right, But It Always Has Consequences

Civil disobedience has a long history in the United States, and I believe that is what Kim Davis has done. As a culture, we recognize that civil disobedience has its place…

…even though, by nature, you are breaking the law.

Kim Davis, as a proud American, can choose to civilly disobey the government. But doing so always has consequences. For Kim, it means being held in contempt of court and going to jail. That is her choice.

I think it’s incredibly tasteless to call the consequences that have befallen Kim “persecution.” Look back on the U.S., when the consequences for civil disobedience were not so civil. People have not only been arrested, they have been beaten. They have had fire hoses and dogs turned on them. 

All those people who marched and sat in diners a generation ago knew that there would be consequences too. They knew their consequences would be terrible and they took that risk anyway.

So no, when I see a woman being respectfully escorted, not dragged, away to eat a few taxpayer-funded meals in the confines of a safe, secure jail cell, with no bruises or cuts on her face, I don’t see a woman being persecuted.

Well, maybe this is how a white woman gets persecuted. 

I support her right to do so. But she was of sound mind when she did it. So I’m not going to be praying for her.

The Difference Between #FirstWorldPersecution and Real Persecution

I have actually read bloggers and church leaders who have had the audacity to actually put Kim Davis’ name in the same sentence as the Syrian refugees (which I know I just did), but to draw some kind of comparison, as if the two situations are at all alike.

Did you see that sign being held by a protester that read “Supreme Court = ISIS of America”?

Real Persecution, Exhibit B.

Real Persecution, Exhibit B.

What is happening in the Middle East, the destruction that is ISIS, only serves to prove that American Christians can be extremely small-minded at times. The persecution we have is #firstworldpersecution. Our “persecution” means that some people don’t like us very much. It’s nothing but a hashtag or a meme. It’s meaningless. 

No one in America is running for their lives. No one is fleeing the homeland from a brutal gang of rapists and murderers. Real persecution doesn’t give you a choice. It destroys you for being who you are.

To compare anything that is happening here to ISIS is so extraordinarily tasteless, selfish, ignorant and wrong, I cannot stand it. For anyone, including Governor Huckabee, who thinks “God intervened,” I ask why God had the time for Kim Davis, but not the little Syrian boy whose body washed up on the beach?

 

Kim Davis is only a distraction, an interesting bit of reality television that allows us to remain indifferent to the real plight of the world.

Americans, our gospel has been fundamentally shaped by the power structure we have enjoyed for so long here in the West. Our gospel so often is only intended to preserve our own security and power. The events of the world reveal this – that the true gospel is not to preserve our own security and power, but to strip it away in service to people who are truly oppressed.

Jesus said that in the new Kingdom, the last will be first and the first will be last. Have we ever been taught to see ourselves as the ones Jesus is identifying as the first? I look ahead to the time when I will meet Jesus and know that there will be masses of people ahead of me, because they had to run and hide in this life while I enjoyed relative security.

No, I’m not going to pray for Kim Davis, because to do so is really only to pray for myself and my own sense of security.

I’m not going to waste the Lord’s time on such prayers. I’m going to be praying for Christians who are actually in need of them.

4 responses to Kim Davis Is Not Being Persecuted, So I’m Not Going to #StandWithKim

  1. Matt, thank you for this. As always your words hit home and ring true with what I’m thinking, but you say it so much better.

    Kim Davis is entitled to her personal opinions, but if she exercises those views in a way that interferes with the function of her government-funded job, any consequences are just.
    KC recently posted..5 Reasons Dads Can Get Excited About the iPhone 6s Without Feeling Guilty

  2. I have avoided, to the best that I can, the whole Kim thing. Ugh. From the glimpses I’ve seen — and what you mention here — I’m not a fan at all. But your note about “fire hoses and dogs” reminded me of a fascinating section in Malcolm Gladwell’s “David and Goliath” … turns out both those photos, in particular, are very different than what they seem. Give it a read!

    ~Luke
    Luke Holzmann recently posted..1st Day of Kindergarten!

  3. Well Matt, I am horrified at your callous remarks!

    You’re not going to “waste the Lord’s time….[to pray]” for this “white woman,” really??? I find this so offensive, I must speak out!

    I suppose you have the liberty to choose to pray or not to pray for anyone you choose. We do still have that much religious liberty left in this land. Make no mistake, the story of Kim Davis is indeed about religious liberty and we will all face our day of reckoning in which we will be asked to choose to stand for our faith or cave to the politically correct view. Apparently your day has not yet come, but if you had the unfortunate job that she has, would you stand or cave? Do you have a job which asks you to choose to stand? Would you stand on God’s Word even if it meant going to jail?

    You are surely correct when you assert that the troubles that Kim Davis is experiencing does not rise to the level of the Syrian refugees or persecuted Christians elsewhere. I’m sure that is not the point. Maybe you are just disgusted by all the talking heads, news and blogs filled with inane comments. If so, put that aside and consider the merits of this case only. Feel free to write another blog about that issue. In the meantime, she did not ask to be nor does she deserve to be compared to those other situations.

    She is a fellow sister in Christ imprisoned purely for her faith; the Scriptures command us to pray for such as these. Yes, it is civil disobedience and she could have chosen to cave to the fickle establishment position and the newly-discovered “right to marry.” She decided, however, that her name affixed to a legal document affirming the “marriage” of homosexual pairs would violate her Lord’s law which she holds above the brand-new law of the land, never mind that this right has never existed in the past, and a mere five justices were pompous enough to simply declare it so. Are we all to simply reject God’s Word because these five have discovered a new reality opposed to the entirety of human history.

    Kim Davis follows in a line of brave souls who choose to stand against corrupt law and follow as conscience dictates. Are you suggesting that we forego praying for those pursuing civil disobedience? There are so many whom we revere for doing such from Dietrich Bonhoeffer to Martin Luther all the way back to the Apostles Peter and Paul not to forget Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego. All chose to pursue actions upholding their faith (civil disobedience) which caused them persecution, imprisonment and even death. Peter says “we must obey God rather than man.” (Acts 5:29) We are obligated to obey authority until the point that it conflicts with God’s Word and truth.

    Rather than affirming Kim Davis, you choose to belittle her for her faith, which makes her all the more admirable and sadly, casts a dark shadow upon you. I am sure that many other clerks are indeed going along with it, although their consciences are similarly opposed. Likewise, she could have remained silent and conceded, surely you would not advocate that. Should she not in her small way stand for her faith and for truth? Just because we are not burning her at the stake or pouring hot oil over her does not mean she has not suffered. I have read that there have been threats made against her and her family.

    Would you consider someone threatening your children or having your wife in jail simply an inconvenience?

    Maybe this does not rise to the level that you would feel inclined to include her in your prayers, but maybe you should consider where you personally might ever be in need of prayer and whether others, using your own criteria, would consider you worthy of it. As you seem to indicate, our comfortable lifestyles do not allow us to have any need which rises to the level of persecution. Does that mean we are not in need of prayer?
    Enjoy your “relative security” while it lasts, it may not last long if you and others like you will not stand for truth.