Kim Davis: Freed but Not Free

Most of us haven’t spent a single night in jail. Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has spent five. The Kentucky Christian, now the face of a national firefight over religious liberty, is the first believer to test the theory that the government is willing to jail men and women of faith who disagree with the Supreme Court’s definition of marriage.

Judge David Bunning turned the prophecy into reality last week, when he ordered the bailiff to put Davis, a second generation clerk, behind bars for refusing to issue court-created same-sex marriage licenses. The mom of grown children spent the holiday weekend in a cell, while Americans shook their heads in astonishment at the hostile place our once-welcoming nation had become.

In editorials on her imprisonment that took up pages of last Sunday’s editions, many compared Davis to a modern Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King, Jr. “This is what the other side wants,” bemoaned one LGBT activist. “This a biblical story, to go to jail for your faith. We don’t want to make her a martyr to the people who are like her, who want to paint themselves as victims.”

After meeting with her this afternoon, I can tell you that Kim Davis isn’t a martyr — she’s a hero. What the Left is almost certainly afraid of is what is coming to pass: courage is breeding courage. And months from now, we may all look back and realize that she was the example that sparked a blaze of resistance across this country. When other people might have cowered in fear, Kim took a stand. And today, she is surrounded by hundreds of Americans who stand with her.

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A few hours before a rally in her defense, Judge Bunning (whom the American Bar Association accurately rated “not qualified” in 2001) decided that jailing Kim may not send the most helpful message — and freed her. Unfortunately, she and her fellow clerks haven’t been released from their ideological prison, which still demands that they violate their faith to do their jobs. “We’re back to Square One,” her attorney and Liberty Counsel President Mat Staver said. “She’s been released, but there’s been no resolution.”

Shortly after the latest development, I applauded Kim for her boldness. Standing with Governor Mike Huckabee, I told the rally , “When the arbitrary edits of man conflict with the explicit instructions of God, we cannot and must not submit — no matter the cost.” As I told the #ImWithKim crowd, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” He did not say, “Blessed are the pacifists.”

There’s a grave misconception in this country that religious liberty is simply the freedom to pick the church of your choice. The myth is that you have the ability to believe as you wish within the four walls of that church and between your two ears, as long as you don’t speak about it in public.

Think about that for a moment. Do you really think William Bradford and the Pilgrims were just trying to move their church membership? Weren’t there churches a little closer that that would not have resulted in nearly half of them dying that first winter in Plymouth? They came for what Kim Davis is standing for. They came for the ability to live their lives according to their Christian faith. And now it’s time for the government of this country to step back and let us.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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