Wednesday, September 9, 2015

My Take: Personal Beliefs vs. Public Duties

I have been watching with great interest the case of Kim Davis, the country clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Many are casting the situation to appear as if she was jailed for her religious beliefs. Some hailed her as a hero. I do not feel that way, however. She failed to perform her duties as a public servant and she was jailed because she defied a lawful order from a judge. Regardless of her motivation, a public servant she does not have the right to impose her individual beliefs above the law.

If she has a problem issuing the licenses, then she should have resigned. In America, there is separation of church and state; therefore, her personal religious beliefs should not have factored into the discharge of her public duties. It is not a religious matter. The state determines who qualifies to be married and the licensing process is a civil, not a religious, matter. In a larger sense it is a Constitutional matter.

She was engaging in civil disobedience similar to the war protesters; however, unlike them she took an oath to uphold the law and the Constitution. We cannot, nor should we, be allowed to determine which laws we want to follow else the fabric of society will tear. 

It does not matter about personal religious beliefs, if someone is a public servant they are sworn to uphold the law whether they agree or disagree. Corruption reigns in countries where local officials believe they can choose to uphold the laws or not. That is something that we do not have to worry about in the United States. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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