Separating Church from State

By Yvonne Curry Staff Writer

Emphatically, one would believe if an individual holds a position in government whether it’s federal, state or county, they would have the moral judgement of following the law and not their own personal religious beliefs. This did not ring true for Kimberly Jean Bailey Davis, a county clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky. In 2015, Davis achieved international scrutiny after ignoring a federal court order requiring that she issue marriage licenses following the U.S. Supreme Court decision that the right to marriage is guaranteed to same-sex couples by the Fourteenth Amendment. “Government officials are free to disagree with the law, but not disobey it,” U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey said in a statement to CNN.

As a result of the media sensation regarding this story, I did some sole searching. I too am a Christian, and has always viewed marriage for one man and one women. My opinion is divulged from the religious beliefs of the Bible, and my limited exposure concerning same sex relations prior to the last 10 years. In lieu of much recent exposure, and new found friends, all I feel is love and compassion for those that are in love, even with my strong religious background. With that said, what would happen if everyone decideded to disagree with the laws of this great nation based on personal religious beliefs?

Davis was jailed for contempt of court, then released five days later. In the interim, CNN covered the story of large crowds, leaning mostly in support of Davis, gathered outside the courthouse before the hearing, many carrying signs. “Jesus Saves” read one, “Homo Sex is sin,” read another, while one sign pointed passers-by to the Bible’s Acts 5:29, which quotes Peter and other Apostles saying, “We must obey God rather than human beings!” But there wasn’t one sign that read, “Yee that have sinned not, cast the first stone.”

The media sensation surrounded Davis, but I often wondered if anyone thought of the hurt and humiliation the two individuals felt as they were denied their quest for love, legally. I would imagine they walked into the clerk’s office in Rowan County with some sort of dignity they never thought was possible, feeling as though they were told theoretically, “No! You’re not worthy to love one another because you’re different and quite frankly it’s against my religion to issue you a marriage license, so goodbye and have a nice day.”

I have a heavy heart for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. As an African American, my ancestors were treated this way, and essentially worse, to be candid. There are those that will say this is LGBT’s civil rights movement, and there are those that say the LGBT community have a choice to be who they are, but African Americans had no choice. There have been clinical studies stating gay and lesbian human beings are born that way, and there are theologians such as James R. Aist of The Christian Post that will state, “Why would God tell you to come out of homosexuality if you were born that way? Wouldn’t God know?”

Here is what I know; one of the greatest gifts ever given to humankind is the gift of love. If we spend the rest of eternity finding a way to love one another regardless of who we are or what we believe in, we will find a common goal. While that sounds lovely, it may never happen. And that’s why we must, if we decide to serve as government officials, separate church from state.

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