Something in the Air: Kim Davis, Religious Freedom and a Christian Revolution
On September 8, 2015, I drove eight hours to stand with thousands of other Christians from across the confessional spectrum in support of Kim Davis, the Clerk of Court of Rowan County. Constitutional lawyer Mat Staver, my friend and the founder of Liberty Counsel, is defending Kim. I left at four in the morning because I knew I had to be there.
Those who know me have heard me use an expression quite often, “These may be difficult times, but they are our times, we were born and born again for these times. We are living in a new missionary age.”
My experience on Tuesday in Grayson, Kentucky, only added fuel to further fire that conviction.
I long ago stopped talking about our age as post-Christian. Instead, I propose to Christians across the confessional spectrum whenever I speak in public that we need to begin see ourselves as missionaries in a pre-Christian age. I regularly opine on the effort to silence Christians who live their faith outside of the walls of their church buildings. I do so because I do not think many Christians know just how serious this situation has truly become! We have to stand together to expose and oppose the growing anti-Christian efforts to silence the message of the Gospel and the work of the Church.
The kind of lifestyle Christianity which is really needed, which recognizes that being and doing cannot be separated, is what the opponents of the Gospel and the Church abhor. Make no mistake, their fury is growing. This was recently driven home to me in an article entitled Mordecai Will Not Bow written by by Dr Michael Brown. I recommend it to my readers.
Mat Staver and I recently wrote an article wherein we asked whether Christians would soon be precluded from serving as Judges in Ohio. Within days, an Oregon Circuit Court Judge named Vance Day, established a legal defense fund to deal with the challenges he has faced as a Christian. In a recent piece on Kim Davis I asked a rhetorical question, Is This the End of Religious Liberty?
I asked the following serious questions:
“Will faithful Christians soon be excluded from certain professions?
“Will fidelity to the Bible, the Natural Moral Law and the unbroken Christian tradition exclude Christians from government service?”
“How is that compatible with what was intended by this country’s founders when they gave us the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights?”
I write this article to offer what might be considered by some to be controversial insights. They were prompted by my personal experience at the “I’m With Kim Liberty Rally” on September 8, 2015. The context in which I share these insights also requires me to share some background with my readers which might also surprise some.
Something in the Air
In 1970, an obscure countercultural band named Thunderclap Newman released a song entitled “Something in the Air“. As I drew close to the Rally Site I remembered the lyrics and actually began singing the song in my car! The first verse and refrain areas follows:
“Call out the instigators, because there’s something in the air. We’ve got to get together sooner or later, because the revolution’s here, and you know it’s right. And you know that it’s right. We have got to get it together. We have got to get it together now.”
We are getting it together. We are beginning to stand together for religious freedom out of our love for the Lord and our love for this Nation. We come from across the Christian confessional spectrum. We are protestant,Catholic, evangelical and Orthodox Christians who all realize that only the Gospel message can heal the wounds caused by our rejection of the moral foundations of freedom. Our Nation needs God more than anything else.
We certainly disagree on matters of theological significance. Those differences matter. But we stand together as Christians in the One who is the highest common denominator among us, the Lord Jesus Christ. And we stand together as Americans, knowing that proclaiming His saving message, in both word and deed, is fully guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution.
Next to me in the stopped traffic was a row of men on motorcycles with beards, long hair, bandanas and American Flags. They could easily have come straight out of those times when I listened to that song I quoted above at decibel levels which have lingering effects on my sixty year old ears. They looked up at me and smiled. We knew where we were all headed and why. We were there to stand with Kim.
The crowds walking on the sidewalks were mostly smiling, even though they were sweltering in the heat and moving very slowly due to sheer volume. They were also intent on standing up for Kim and the First Freedom of Religious freedom. There really was something in the air.
I arrived very early but still had to park over a mile from the site. As I walked alongside of the swelling crowd, there were makeshift stands set up with people passing out cold water and posters. People who had never met one another now formed a wave of liberty, as they walked toward the Carter County Detention Center where Kim Davis had spent the last six days.
We came from different places geographically. We looked very different. Our accents were very different. But we served One Lord and Savior. We knew what was really at stake in Grayson, Kentucky was the Free Exercise of Religion. We had come to join together to lend our voice, and offer our prayer, in solidarity with Kim Davis. What became very apparent was that this was much more than a rally, this was a new freedom movement, a true Christian revolution.
I came dressed in my clerical collar and black suit. As a Catholic clergyman, a deacon, I wanted my fellow Christians to know my solidarity. Though we stood in separate places in the divided Body of Christ, we stand together in the Head of that Body, Jesus Christ. I also wanted to send a signal that we stand together in defending the fundamental right to the Free Exercise of Religion.
Robert Moynihan, the Catholic Editor of Inside the Vatican recently wrote an article entitled Letter #34, Prison. It is a defense of Kim Davis and her heroic act of civil resistance. He explains it from within the Catholic tradition on the Natural Moral Law. I sent that article to my evangelical protestant friend Mat Staver, Kim’s lawyer, in order to encourage him in his important legal representation.
As I drew closer to the site, I knew that he was in a jail cell, visiting with Kim. He and his legal team had been fighting all weekend to gain her freedom. Mat and I coauthored the Pledge in Solidarity to Defend Marriage prior to the Supreme Court’s issuance of the abysmal Obergefell opinion which purported to change the definition of marriage. It brought together thousands of Christians, from across the confessional spectrum, in a pledge to stand against any effort to redefine marriage. It was placed as a full page ad in both the Washington Post and USA Today.
A True Counter Culture
The reason the lyrics from Something in the Air came to my mind on Tuesday, September 8, 2015, is because I am a product of the counterculture of the 1960’s and 1970’s. My rejection of the emptiness of that age led me to the foot of the Cross of Jesus Christ. My journey also led me home to the Catholic Church in which I was baptized. I know, some of my “conservative” readers may be surprised to hear this about my past.
Encountering Jesus Christ as a teenage hippie was what finally began to fill the insatiable hunger for truth and freedom within my heart. I still sometimes say among friends that I am “just an old hippie trying to get to heaven.” However, that movement which swept so many young people in the sixties and seventies was not a true counterculture. It quickly collapsed and was corrupted because it had no real core. Only Christianity is a true counterculture, in every age. And on Tuesday, September 8, 2015, I experienced the seeds of a new movement, a spiritual revolution which can turn the tide in this nation.
I have never been comfortable with the political labels of this age. If anyone told me I would be called a “conservative” at sixty years old, I would have grimaced. I call myself a reluctant republican. I had to leave the political party of my blue collar family past when the lunatics took over the asylum.
However, I reject the establishment of the Republican Party as well. I am first, last and all in between, a Christian. A political party will never be able to turn back the tide which threatens the West. Only the conversion of hearts and lives can do that. We need Jesus Christ.
We Need a Christian Revolution
We do not need a “conservative revolution” we need a Christian revolution. It was the Christian Church which gave us the understanding of the dignity of every human person as created in the Image of God. From that foundation came the core conviction that we all possess fundamental human rights which were endowed upon us by the God who created us. They must be recognized by Civil Government or it will devolve into an unjust government.
The American founders carried this vision into the experiment in ordered liberty called the United States of America. However, they did not come up with this ennobling and enabling vision on their own. They received it from the treasury of Western civilization found in Christendom.
It is the Jewish and Christian vision of the human person, the primacy of marriage and the family founded upon it, and the acknowledgement of the existence of normative, fundamental moral truths, which guarantees the future of Western civilization. That is what is at risk in this hour.
I was further encouraged by that column I referenced above by these words from Dr. Michael Brown: “History has a way of surprising us, does it not? For years I have been saying that, as surely as there was a civil rights movement in America, there will be a gospel-based moral and cultural revolution.”
He continued, “I still believe, as surely as God is God, that unless Jesus returns to earth first, the tide will turn in America and there will be a holy pushback, a Spirit-empowered counterculture revolution”
I believe that Dr Michael Bown is correct. We do need a spirit empowered counterculture revolution. This is a pre-Christian age and it is time for the Gospel to do what the Gospel has done for over two thousand years. ,
What I saw in Grayson, Kentucky was a seed of a coming Christian revolution. It is a spiritual revolution and it is growing. By the grace of God which was released by fervent prayer, and with courageous, good lawyering by Mat Staver and Liberty Counsel, Kim Davis was released from that jail cell during the Rally. She was able to come onto the platform and greet the crowd. The cheers and payers rose like a crescendo. The moment was truly electric.
I also sensed that it was only the beginning. There’s something in the air. The revolution’s here – and you know that it’s right.
First published at Catholic Online
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