JIM CREES: Paying the piper. Nothing more.
I’m sure everyone, absolutely everyone, has heard about Kim Davis.
If for some odd reason you haven’t, Davis is a county clerk down in Rowan County, Kentucky, who has been jailed for contempt of court after refusing a court order to begin issuing marriage licenses to couples in her service district — without regard to their sexual orientation.
Since the United States Supreme Court ruling some time back determining states could not infringe on or block a couple’s civil right to get married, Davis has steadfastly refused to issue marriage licenses out of her office to some couples (read: gay) because it offends her religious sensibilities.
After being ordered by a U.S. District Court judge last week to issue marriage license to ALL couples requesting the same, she responded she would continue to refuse to do so since such an issuance on her part would violate her Christian convictions.
She was jailed for contempt of court ... AND THE CROWD WENT WILD!!!!
Almost immediately, Davis became a martyr figure - held up as an example of a person being persecuted for her Christian faith.
“Having Kim Davis in federal custody removes all doubt of the criminalization of Christianity in our country,” said GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee. “We must defend religious liberty and never surrender to judicial tyranny.”
“Those who are persecuting Kim Davis believe that Christians should not serve in public office,” cried Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. “... I call upon every believer, every Constitutionalist, every lover of liberty to stand with Kim Davis. Stop the persecution now!”
OK, boys and girls. Allow me to point out a little something.
Davis IS NOT being persecuted.
She has been jailed because she broke the law. It has NOTHING to do with her Christianity. She broke the law.
Now ... you might say she is practicing civil disobedience. This I understand. (Been there. Done that!) I appreciate her willingness to walk her walk, (while I disagree with her cause.)
You might say Davis has decided to take a stand opposed to the Law of the Land. I appreciate people standing up for what they believe — and who are willing to pay the consequences. (Suggested reading: St. Franz Jagerstatter.)
But Davis is not being persecuted.
She broke the law (however admirably or not) and she is paying the price.
This IS NOT persecution. The U.S. District Court judge is not wildy persecuting Christians, nor — despite the fervent belief of far too many — is there ANY criminalization of Christianity in this country.
Davis is sitting in the slammer in Rowen County. She gets three square meals a day, and sleeps on a mattress, (however uncomfortable) in a heated and/or cooled building, and gets to watch TV and read her Bible freely. She does probably need to wear jailhouse orange. (That’s cruel. Not many people really look good in orange!)
But she is not persecuted.
Persecuted — verb (used with object), persecuted, persecuting.
1.to pursue with harassing or oppressive treatment, especially because of religious or political beliefs, ethnic or racial origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
By this definition, Davis is actually the persecutor, not the persecuted!
So we’re talking about Christian persecution. Let’s take a look at a few examples.
Polish and German Christians were regularly persecuted by the Nazis. In one camp alone — the Dachau concentration camp — more than 2,600 Catholic priests from 24 different countries were brutally executed.
Not only the “right wing” were persecutors of Christians. During the Spanish Civil War individual clergymen and entire religious communities were executed by leftists. The death toll of the clergy included 13 bishops, 4,172 priests and seminarians, 2,364 and 283 nuns, for a total of 6,832 clerical victims. And that says nothing of the tens of thousands of lay Christians killed as well.
More than 12,000 Jehovah Witnesses were sent to the concentration camps solely because of their religious beliefs. Some 5,000 died in the Holocaust.
More recently, Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, noted in a report to a U.N. human rights commission: “Credible research has reached the shocking conclusion that an estimate of more than 100,000 Christians are violently killed because of some relation to their faith every year.
“Other Christians and other believers are subjected to forced displacement, to the destruction of their places of worship, to rape and to the abduction of their leaders -as it recently happened in the case of Bishops Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yaziji, in Aleppo (Syria).”
And on ... and on ... and on...
So, gentle reader, while you may be supportive of Kim Davis’s stand down in Kentucky; while you may approve of her civil disobedience; while you may endorse her action in diminishing the civil rights of people in her service community, please keep in mind.
DAVIS IS NOT BEING PERSECUTED!
She is a long way from being persecuted. As is so often noted, if you want to dance the dance, you need to pay the piper.