Is Kim Davis Right to Refuse Marriage Licenses?
By John Piper
Welcome to this special weekend edition of the Ask Pastor John podcast. In the last week or so we have gotten about 50 emails from listeners about Kim Davis, a county clerk in the state of Kentucky. Here’s one such email from Sherry, one of our faithful podcast listeners, who simply asks, “Pastor John, is Kim Davis wrong for not signing same sex marriage licenses?”
I don’t know Kim Davis’s heart, so I can’t assess her motives. And I don’t know her theology. It is possible to do right actions for wrong reasons, and so be wrong in doing right. So I will just try to say something about her actions and what appear to be some of her convictions and perhaps touch on some wider implications.
First, I think she is right in rejecting so-called same sex marriage as contrary to God’s design for what marriage is. And she is right in assessing this departure from God’s will as massive, not marginal, and as personally and culturally deadly, not trivial. And therefore it’s not something that you can just go along with as if that were a loving thing to do.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 that the endorsement of same sex practice — which is what the approval of so-called same sex marriage does — endorses the destruction of persons (along with idolatry, greed, theft, drunkenness). Those who impenitently practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Calling such behaviors “legal” in no way removes the capital punishment that will follow in eternity. Therefore this judgment of the Supreme Court is massively evil and deadly for persons. Kim Davis is right if she believes that. It seems she does.
Second, I think she is morally right and probably legally right to refuse to put her name on the marriage license of two men or two women. She is morally right because God has given civil authorities to the world to reward the right and punish the evil. So when those authorities promote evil and punish good, those authorities may rightly be disobeyed for the sake of obeying God. Here are the two key texts…
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