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  • Who Does Kim Davis Think She Is?
  • Who Does Kim Davis Think She Is?

    Posted in ,
    September 14, 2015

    Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who has refused to issue marriage licenses since the Supreme Court decision in favor of same sex marriage, has been sent to and released from jail. I watched as the video of her latest interaction with a same sex couple requesting a marriage license went viral and all sorts of emotions coursed through me, a pit of dread opening up in my stomach.

    The words that have been on repeat in my head ever since are a question posed to Mrs. Davis at least twice, “How many times have YOU been married, Kim?”  The way it’s asked, you can tell the member of the same sex couple who poses it already knows that the answer is four.  He’s asking because in his mind, the answer invalidates any moral ground she might be standing on in denying him and his partner access to an institution he feels she apparently doesn’t hold in that high regard herself.

    The reason this opened up a well of ache in me is simple (though not so simple if you get into the particulars). I am the owner of my own divorce papers, proof of my own participation in the spectacular failure of a marriage that exists no more.  I am blessed to be a member in a church where I have received love, support, and hard truth when needed.  I have had encouragement, and fellowship in mourning over my situation.  But I also know well that, in the eyes of a world at war about marriage and what it actually is, the validity of voices like mine in support of Biblical marriage is compromised.

    On any number of levels this hurts.  And let’s be frank.  Divorce hurts.  It’s a tearing apart that’s hard to understand unless you’ve been through it yourself, no matter how well you hear it described.  The events leading up to divorce hurt.  Seeing your kids and your family and your friends hurt makes you hurt.  And yes, the judgments about your moral failings by even the well-meaning hurts, especially when they’re accurate.

    In any given situation where I have an opinion about a moral issue, I’d ask you to trust me when I say I’m the first one to throw the words, “Who are YOU to judge?!” at myself, even if it’s only in my own head.

    So I sit and I watch Kim Davis refuse to issue marriage licenses, and refuse to answer the question about how many times she’s been married herself.  I watch her weep in pictures on my screen as people support her on one side and revile her on the other.  I watch Christians and non-Christians alike ask the question explicitly and implicitly all over social media and mass media, “Who is SHE to judge??”

    Well, if Kim Davis is my sister in Christ as she professes to be I think she’d agree with me when I say, “She’s no one.  Just like me.”

    Does that raise an eyebrow? Are you convinced that anyone who would dare say that they will not support the marriage of same sex couples must be judgmental and must be hateful?  Do you assume that we feel morally superior and it is out of our position on top of the ivory tower that our bigotry stems?

    Or, are you a Christian who actually does feel superior, so you’re cringing at the clear moral inferiority, (at least with regard to marriage) of this woman who represents “your side”?  Are you tempted to sweep the ugliness of repeated divorce aside and respond with a defensive, “Yeah, but that’s not as bad as a marriage between two men!”

    What I want to say to both groups is this:  in this issue of what marriage is, if our own personal morality were the ground on which any of us was trying to stand, we’d all fall down immediately.  Our personal morality, or lack thereof, has absolutely nothing to do with it.

    The point is something different altogether.  The point is that God, because he is good and because he is perfectly loving, gave us distinctions and parameters within which to live.  He gave them so that we could know him, draw close to him, and be saved from ourselves.   One of the most important of those distinctions is gender, the complementary difference between men and women who are then brought together in a unique kind of union that was designed to tell us something about who He is.

    Bear with me here, even if you don’t buy that truth claim – you don’t have to to track with what I’m saying (though I pray you would).  Just know that we, Biblical Christians, buy it.  Even if you disagree, take a moment to really know something about why some of us who oppose you on same sex marriage do.

    In Genesis 1 we are told that God “created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”  There are real theologians (I am not one) who can delve into this far beyond what I can.  But, clearly, the wholeness of the image God was creating of himself included his creation of male and female.  And we know that Eve was created for Adam.  She completed him in a way that none of the other creatures around him could do.  She was human and therefore like him, but also different. In her special difference she was his delight and exactly the complement he needed to his masculinity.

    In Ephesians 5, Paul begins to give commands to married couples telling wives to submit to their husbands and telling husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, “[giving] himself up for her, that he might sanctify her”.  He goes on to say that Christ did this “so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she (the church) might be holy and without blemish.”

    Do you see that?  Christ, God incarnate, wants his people with him!  And somehow that coming together of a husband and wife, explicitly portrayed as the different and complimentary male and female joined in marriage, is a picture of the process of his doing just that.  Even Paul says that “this mystery is profound” but he says, nonetheless “let each one of you (men) love his wife as himself, and let the wife (woman) see that she respects her husband.

    None of us can do it perfectly.  My divorce papers are painful proof of that in my own life.  My marriage ended, breaking what was there of that picture, even though it was between a man and a (very flawed) woman.

    I have no moral ground to stand on to say anything to you about marriage.

    What I do have is love.  I have the love of God, who chose to forgive me, live perfection out for me because I couldn’t do it myself, pay with his own blood for me — and to do it all knowing every single way I would fail and betray him.  It is within the context of this undeserved love that I have begun to be allowed to know him, to draw close to him.  In my own sin and selfishness I have found that the rules by which he asks each of us to live are good because they are good for us.  And that doesn’t mean I like all the rules all the time.  There are times when what he asks of me seems to require that I deny myself of things I want down in the very core of who I am.

    But I’m not always the very best judge of what’s good for me.  I’ve proven that to myself time and again — just as an alcoholic proves to himself over and over again that though he doesn’t think he can live another minute without a drink, the drink isn’t good for him.

    God, who was before all things, created all things, and is above all things has said that marriage is an institution between a man and a woman. He has ordained this not as a punitive measure to deny us what we really want.  He has said so because it is objectively good for us and for families and society because it protects us and it tells us something about Him.  And if something is objectively good for us then to go against that thing is objectively bad for us.

    It is for this reason and this reason alone that any of us has room to say, “Though you want me to approve of this thing, I cannot.”  Any other reason we have falls apart just as all that moral ground we wish we had slides out from under our feet when we look at who we really are before a God as good as this.

    So really, who does Kim Davis think she is to judge?  That isn’t the point.  She’s no one.  I recognize her because I’m no one, too.