The Sinister Forces Behind Judge Bunning's Persecution of Kim Davis

Kentucky Clerk of Courts Kim Davis was locked away in jail without bail by U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning. She was only released after hundreds of Christians rallied at the jail for her release, and dozens descended upon the judge’s neighborhood distributing leaflets and holding signs and banners, calling upon the sheriff to arrest the judge and liberate this law-abiding Christian woman. Her crime, according to Judge Bunning? Enforcing heretofore unamended Kentucky law and the Kentucky Constitution and disregarding the Supreme Court’s lawless attempt to overthrow it.

There are sinister forces behind Judge Bunning’s persecution of Kim Davis, but to exposed these forces and prove to you that they are at the heart of this increasingly public contention, let me first demonstrate what the issue is not about.

It is not about the people of Kentucky.

As his justification for incarcerating Kim Davis, Judge Bunning cites the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision, wherein the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage a constitutional right. This decision grievously overrules the will of the people of Kentucky. Indeed, it overruled the majority of the states, as most states had democratically popular bipartisan laws upholding natural marriage. Kentucky’s law is a good law, mandating a $500 to $1,000 fine and removal from office of any magistrate who dared to marry two people of the same sex. The Kentucky Marriage Amendment, passed with 75% of the vote, reads, “Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky.”

However, a democratic consensus is not a good basis from which to right a national wrong. Haven’t democratic majorities been wrong before? Indeed, right here in Kentucky! Once upon a time, most Kentucky voters wanted slavery legal. Who can condemn Lincoln’s urgent passage of the Thirteenth Amendment banning slavery, even though it undemocratically defied “states rights” and Kentucky traditions? Christian leaders may appeal to the democratic consensus of Kentucky to uphold natural marriage between one man and one woman, or to discriminate against un-physiological, artificial “marriage”, but the democratic consensus of Kentucky is insufficient grounds for authority on this (or any) subject.

It is not about the U.S. Constitution or the Supreme Court.

Not enough of the public debate surrounding Kim Davis’ resistance focuses on the lawfulness of the Supreme Court’s decision. After all, it is a persuasive legal argument. The duty to comply with the Supreme Court decision rests on the lawfulness of the Court’s decision, does it not? Far too-many professed conservatives capitulate on this subject, pretending every single decision from the High Court is lawful, even as they vehemently castigate it. Referring to same-sex marriage, Fox News’ Megan Kelly opined, “It’s the law of the land now.” But is it? Is it the law of the land, or the lawlessness of the land? Does the Supreme Court really have the right to overthrow state law on marriage?

The very notion that the Supreme Court can create any law at all is unconstitutional on its face. Article 1, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution says, “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.” If Congress has “all” the law-making power, what is left? None! When the Supreme Court creates law, they violate the very Constitution which gives them their power in the first place, rendering their decision unlawful and non-binding.

The 9th and 10th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution limit the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, as well as the other two branches of the federal government, to specifically enumerated powers. Any right not explicitly granted to the federal government is forbidden it, and belongs to “the states, or the people.” There’s a process for amending the Constitution, but it involves a majority of the states, not the courts. You don’t amend the Constitution by violating it.

However, a man-made constitution is limited in its ability to form a firm foundation from which to energize an effective moral movement in society. After all, haven’t constitutions been wrong before, requiring amendment? Even Christian opponents of same-sex marriage would have no problem at all with the Supreme Court intervening to keep marriage between one man and one woman, even if it was outside their lawful jurisdiction. Therefore, the constitutional jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, by itself, is not the heart of this contention. Christian conservatives appeal to it because it is winsome and convenient, but not because it is central to the debate.

It is not about enforcing equality.

The left has been very effective at convincing the public that equality is at the very heart of this debate. When my family was in Kentucky outside the federal courthouse on September 4, where Kim Davis was shockingly led away in cuffs, we were amazed at the tremendous support she had in the community. Nine out of 10 folks who received our pamphlets and saw our “FREE KIM DAVIS” banners were supportive. However, the other 1/10th were viciously against her. “Bigot!” “Hateful!” “Homophobe!” Those were the kind of railings directed toward her and her supporters, accompanied by liberal use of the middle finger. “I’m glad the b-tch’s in jail!” a 20-year-old woman squealed. “Let her rot there!” It’s as if Kim Davis was proposing to execute gays! I couldn’t believe the animosity that this small segment of the population had toward her. Why were they so hateful and intolerant? I think they really do believe it is about equality. They believe that she is a hateful bigot who uses her government authority to persecute homosexuals and prevent them from enjoying equal rights.

It is easy to demonstrate, however, that gays are not treated unequally or unjust when it comes to marriage. There is no law, for example, forbidding a gay man from marrying a gay woman. None! Same-sex couples could marry before the Obergefell decision! They just could not marry someone of the same sex. The same thing forbidden heterosexuals is forbidden homosexuals. A heterosexual man cannot marry a second wife, his mother, or his pet or his corporation for a tax break. Heterosexuals and homosexuals alike are equally allowed to marry, and equally forbidden to redefine marriage. Two men have no more right to a “marriage” license with each other than they do to a pilot’s license or a physician’s license if they aren’t qualified. This is the testimony of jurisprudence for three hundred years of American history. Right here in a federal court in Kentucky, in 1973, the court declared that homosexuals were disqualified to marry “by their own inability of entering into a marriage as that term is defined.” They aren’t qualified!

The animosity we saw toward Kim is the fruit of a very effective propaganda campaign that is based upon a lie, and easily refutable. An objective media would at least give this simple refutation of the equality argument a fair hearing, but they’ve been co-opted, and thus their objectivity is feigned and insincere.

It’s not about conscience or religious liberty.

Those on the Christian right who appear on talk shows to defend Kim Davis focus on this argument. However, it is a mistake to try to make this solely about religious liberty. Some Kim Davis supporters - like Madonna’s gay brother - actually support same-sex marriage, they just prefer to tolerate this lone county clerk among the 120 county clerks in Kentucky following her tender conscience. They do not approve of exploiting government force to coerce her compliance in a fascist manner. Republican candidate for Kentucky governor, Matt Bevin, proposed an online form whereby couples could register for a marriage license, bypassing the county clerk’s office. Some conservatives in Kentucky have argued for an extra county clerk - a 121st clerk office - in order to provide a means whereby same-sex couples could get their marriage license if their local county clerk filed a religious objection.

Even Judge David Bunning, it appeared, tried to respect Kim Davis’ religious liberty to some extent. In order to defer to her conscience, Judge David Bunning offered her the option of letting her resign; that way she wouldn’t have a hand in anything the Rowan County clerk’s office did. She refused. He offered her the option of letting her deputies issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in her stead. It was her refusal to permit her deputies to do what her conscience forbade her to do that prompted Judge Bunning to incarcerate her.

What kind of conscience would you have anyway if you secured your own right not to promote wickedness by facilitating the means whereby others could commit that wickedness? What would we think of a doctor who claimed to be pro-life and didn’t want to do abortions, but he made an appointment for a patient at the nearest abortion clinic?

When cross-examined, those arguing for Kim Davis’ religious liberty have to leave their belief in objective truth at the door, and put the lie on a level playing field with the truth. But how far will we take it? Who would dare to justify polygamy or having sex with underage girls on the basis of the religious liberty of Muslims? Who would justify drug abuse or infant sacrifice if someone cited religious liberty as a justification? No, even personal religious preference must be subject to a higher standard. So why be ashamed of that standard? The religious liberty argument too quickly abandons the point of contention for a vacuous victory. It concedes too much to the father of lies. It fails to hold back the tide of evil spreading across our land, content to conserve instead of take back the land the devil has stolen. In exchange for the enemy’s retreat on a small battlefield, it consents to surrendering the war.

So what is the heart of this debate over Kim Davis’ refusal to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples?

“Why won’t you give us a marriage license?” the sodomite demanded her, as the nation’s cameras zoomed close. “By whose authority do you refuse to give us a marriage license?”

Kim Davis answered with two words.

“God’s authority.”

There you have it. At the very root of this contention is who is Lord. Who is sovereign? The motive behind Judge Bunning and those seeking to incarcerate Kim Davis is to tear down God’s authority and establish a counterfeit. It is the same innocent-sounding question Satan asked Eve in the Garden of Eden, “Hath God said?” - and it originated from the same fallen mind. 

If there is a God and if the Bible is His standard for morality and justice, then the democratic majority, the U.S. Constitution, the Kentucky Marriage Amendment, Kentucky law, personal liberty, and even religious preference are irrelevant. No President, no court, no majority, no conscientious objector has any more right to violate His law than they do to oust Him from His throne and put Satan there in His stead.

But the Bible does more than condemn homosexual acts as “sin” and “unnatural” and “perverse.” (Romans 1, I Corinthians 6). It also says it is a crime, like adultery. It is a crime that can bring the wrath of God upon entire cities, as in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. For three hundred years of American history, homosexual acts and adultery were both criminal acts, not just personal sins. Possessing pornography would get you a prison sentence. The authority of God’s Word was a well-accepted standard for morality and justice. People understood that it secured their freedom just as it curtailed the wicked’s indiscretions. Our culture abandoned this standard so gradually that even the best of us don’t realize that we no longer stand on the sure foundation of God’s Word, but on the quicksands of religious liberty, personal preference, democratic consensus, and the ever-changing constitutions and laws of men. It’s right where the devil wants us.

Of all the spiritual weapons bequeathed to us from our heavenly Father, there is only one offensive weapon. “The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6). That is the weapon that will secure our victory. Everything else in the passage is defensive – only the sword is offensive. Let us unsheathe it and we will see the Lord’s promise fulfilled: “the gates of hell will not prevail.” Let us open our mouths and speak God’s Word without apology, and we’ll see national sins like sodomy and abortion be wholly swept away like slavery into the dustbin of American history.