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Christian IssuesConstitutionHistoryOpinionPhilosophyPoliticsSupreme Court

THE WAR ON CONSCIENCE: What Can You Do When Your Duty Can’t Be Done?

Kim Davis is the tip of the spear.

In June, the Supreme Court used its amazing imagination to find words that weren’t in the Fourteenth Amendment, clicked its heels and declared “there is same-sex marriage, there is same-sex marriage….”

Somehow, they thought it possible that the same people whose spiritual ancestors faced water-cannons and burning crosses in America, and gladiators and man-eating lions in Rome would simply accept their decree and cause no further trouble.

They were wrong.

When the Obergefell case was in oral argument before the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Donald Verelli was asked whether, if the Court found a right to same-sex marriage, there might be some question about the legality of people and institutions of faith following their faith. Pretending to have thought this amazing thought for only the first time that very minute, the SG admitted that it…might.

He was right.

In the Obergefell majority opinion, Justice Kennedy tried to head off the minority at the pass, lying:

“Finally, it must be emphasized that religions and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.”

Translation: religious people are free to argue their point. However, in practice, the Court’s decision means that they must always lose the argument.

“The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protections as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.”

Translation: religious people and groups can’t be stopped from teaching their faith and they are allowed to have traditional marriages. However, in practice, society will teach their children that their faith is wrong, and they are not allowed to celebrate the fact that their marriage is traditional.

Note the Court’s assurance that the religious are allowed to “continue the family structure they have long revered.”

How magnanimous.

Our founding Document, The Declaration of Independence, makes the argument to the King that we—all people—have “inalienable rights,” which come from our “Creator.” The purpose of government is to “secure these rights.” Among those rights are “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” To put it bluntly: our nation is founded on the notion that our rights of conscience (the meaning of “Liberty” to the Founders) not only pre-exist our government—they are the only valid justification for its existence.

Kim Davis is an elected official. She was hired by the voters, and she works for them. They voted not only for her, but–by 75 to 25 percent—to recognize marriage only between a man and a woman. In fact, she won her election by only 23 votes, so one might say that the public would rather have the law the Court voided than Kim Davis in office. If they don’t like the way she does her job, they can remove her.

But she is also an American. Her rights of conscience are explicitly protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1996 and exist even without such protections simply because she is a human being given those rights by her Creator. Make no mistake: she is not trying to block people from having same-sex marriages—though, without an accommodation of some kind, that is the effect. Rather, she is trying to avoid engaging in acts that violate her conscience.

Like photographers, wedding planners, bakers, and florists across this nation, she is trapped in a box the Supreme Court built. For those who protest that as a government official, she cannot act in keeping with her conscience and must obey the orders of the state, no matter how immoral she finds them to be, I would ask you to think about the kind of government you are asking for. Do you really want a government in which people of conscience are barred from being virtuous? A government in which every order, no matter the moral content, must be obeyed?

That’s been tried; it did not go well.

To sign her name to a document that avers a same-sex marriage can exist is to deny a central tenet of her faith. Because she does not believe that such a union is legitimate, it would also be perjury. She does not want to commit perjury. She does not want to violate her faith. Governmental authorities insist that she do these things. Our fundamental founding documents both protect her from doing so and justify her claim of conscience to resist the demand.

But the Declaration and the Constitution be damned. The black-robed masters who have declared themselves our Leviathan have peered intently into the entrails of the Constitution and have seen the outworkings of their own dreams and visions. It’s as though we are ruled by a gaggle of Burning Man acolytes smoking peyote on a vision quest. We don’t see it—but they do. And “it” is amazing, man.

The courts now decree that people of conscience must leave their God when they enter the stream of commerce. They will bake those cakes, take those pictures, and arrange those flowers.

Kim Davis is the living embodiment of the Founders’ argument. As others join her in resistance, we shall see if we, as a people, still believe those founding principles are true.


Share if you think the Kim Davis question isn’t going away anytime soon.

Dr. Mom

Dr. Mom is a married mother of three boys and the author of Souls, Bodies, Spirits: The Drive to Abolish Abortion Since 1973. The hills she chooses to die on are the Bible and the Constitution, in that order. In addition to her American Studies doctorate, she also holds a Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology and is, therefore, perfectly equipped to interpret the current Administration. She also tweets as DrKC4.