Kim Davis, welcome to Babylon

Religious Liberty
by Marvin Olasky

Posted on Saturday, September 5, 2015, at 9:12 am

Over the past decade, many U.S. officials from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on down have spoken about freedom of worship rather than the freedom of religion long guaranteed by the First Amendment. The difference between those two has now placed Rowan County, Ky., clerk Kim Davis in jail.

The Old Testament book of Daniel shows how 2,600 years ago King Nebuchadnezzar set up in Babylon a 90-foot-high golden idol. He ordered all his satraps, prefects, governors, counselors, treasurers, justices, magistrates, and provincial officials to bow to it. They were perfectly free to worship their own gods as long as they bowed to the idol.

Kim Davis is free to worship God in her church on Sunday mornings as long as she bows to the idol of same-sex marriage. Otherwise, she stays in jail until she’s worn down or a judge’s heart changes. We have other national idols, such as political correctness and the welfare state, but this is the one in the spotlight now, and her refusal to bow is a big story.

Many accommodations could allow Davis to remain a clerk while same-sex couples attain marriage licenses. Or, Kentucky has a process that would remove her from office. Nebuchadnezzar could have made accommodations for the three dissident officials—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—who chose a fiery furnace rather than a bow. But bringing up that option misses the point: All must obey.

No, footnote that: Some must obey. In 2004, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom extra-legally instructed city officials to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. His punishment: He is now California’s lieutenant governor. Today, officials in more than 100 communities flout federal immigration law by creating “sanctuary cities.” Judges do not send them to jail. Nebuchadnezzar was consistent in his brutality. Today’s kings are not.

Chapter 3 of the book of Daniel ends with a shocked Nebuchadnezzar praising “the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.” Let’s pray that the Davis case leads us to preserve the freedom to serve God and not only worship Him.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. His latest book is Reforming Journalism. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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