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Judge jails Kentucky clerk for refusing marriage licenses. Two police get shot in the back of the head but this is the headliner.

ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) — A federal judge ordered a defiant county clerk to jail for contempt Thursday after she insisted that it would violate her conscience to follow court orders to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis and her deputy clerks were summoned to appear before U.S. District Judge David Bunning after she repeatedly denied them marriage licenses, cited her religious beliefs and "God's authority."

"You can't be separated from something that's in your heart and in your soul," Davis told the judge as she explained how the Supreme Court's ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide conflicts with the vows she made when she became a born-again Christian.

"I promised to love Him with all my heart, mind and soul because I wanted to make heaven my home," Davis said.

The judge said she left him with no alternative but to jail her, since fines alone would not serve to change her mind. She was escorted out of his courtroom by a deputy, although not in handcuffs, to be turned over to the custody of federal marshals.

The judge also told all five of her deputy clerks that they are free to issue licenses to all applicants, and also face fines or jail if they refuse to comply. He gave them a chance to meet with lawyers before returning to his courtroom to reveal their decisions.

The lawyer for Davis, whose defense is funded by the Liberty Counsel, a religious freedom group, argued that the deputy clerks can only issue licenses under Davis' authority, but the judge overrulled this objection.

Hundreds of people chanted and screamed, "Love won! Love won!" as word of these decisions reached the crowds outside the federal courthouse.

Kim Davis testified about 20 minutes and was very emotional. She described how she became a Christian and said she is unable to believe anything else.

April Miller, one of the women trying to obtain a license, also testified. She said she voted for Kim Davis in the election and that this was only about getting her license, not about trying to change Davis' beliefs.

In front of the federal courthouse, demonstrators shouted at each other, sang hymns and waved signs, which ranged from the violent — turn to Jesus or burn — to simple statements of support. A small plane flew over the courthouse, carrying a banner that said: "Stand Firm Kim."

Davis stopped issuing licenses to all couples in June after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage. Despite rulings against her, she's turned away couples again and again.

The couples who originally sued in the case asked Bunning to punish Davis with fines but not jail time.

Davis, an Apostolic Christian, said earlier this week she never imagined this day would come.

"I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God's word," her statement said.

Her critics mock this moral stand, noting that Davis is on her fourth husband after being divorced three times.

Davis served as her mother's deputy in the clerk's office for 27 years before she was elected as a Democrat to succeed her mother in November. Davis' own son is on the staff.

As an elected official, she can be removed only if the Legislature impeaches her, which is unlikely in a deeply conservative state.

Judge Bunning is the son of Jim Bunning, the Hall of Fame pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies who served two terms as Kentucky's junior U.S. Senator. Former Republican President George W. Bush nominated David Bunning for a lifetime position as a federal judge in 2001 when he was just 35 years old, halfway through his dad's first term in the Senate.

But Bunning has been anything but a sure thing for conservative causes. In 2007, he was part of a three-judge panel on a federal appeals court that overturned Michigan's ban on partial-birth abortion. The panel ruled the state's law was too broad and would outlaw other legal forms of abortion.

In 2003, Bunning ordered the Boyd County School District to allow the student club Gay-Straight Alliance to meet on campus.

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Your analysis is not balanced. You should have compared the one giving the certificate with the doctor performing the abortion... There could be two bus drivers each taking the sinner to their destination but there is no culpability in this. 

Still not there Jason,

The lady in Kentucky is more like the medical board that licenses the performing the abortion.  The Doctor is sinning, not the Board.

Over all yes God is against homosexuality and yes persecution will come to those who keep God’s commandments.  However we are to be law abiding citizens.   If the law goes against our moral codes then we are to leave.  The Bible instructs that when persecution comes in one town we are to leave and go elsewhere.  When persecution reaches its peak God will hide us in the rocks and caves.  Nowhere are we instructed to defy the law.


Look at what Ellen White says we should do when Sunday Laws are passed:

   Sanitarium, California, August 17, 1902.

     “Dear Brother: I will try to answer your question as to what you should do in the case of Sunday laws being enforced.  {9T 232.1} 

    The light given me by the Lord at a time when we were expecting just such a crisis as you seem to be approaching, was that when the people were moved by a power from beneath to enforce Sunday observance, Seventh-day Adventists were to show their wisdom by refraining from their ordinary work on that day, devoting it to missionary effort.  {9T 232.2} 

     To defy the Sunday laws will but strengthen in their persecution
the religious zealots who are seeking to enforce them. Give them no occasion to call you lawbreakers. If they are left to rein up men who fear neither God nor man, the reining up will soon lose its novelty for them, and they will see that it is not consistent nor convenient for them to be strict in regard to the observance of Sunday. Keep right on with your missionary work, with your Bibles in your hands, and the enemy will see that he has worsted his own cause. One does not receive the mark of the beast because he shows that he realizes the wisdom of keeping the peace by refraining from work that gives offense, doing at the same time a work of the highest importance.  {9T 232.3} 

    When we devote Sunday to missionary work, the whip will be taken out of the hands of the arbitrary zealots who would be well pleased to humiliate Seventh-day Adventists. When they see that we employ ourselves on Sunday in visiting the people and opening the Scriptures to them, they will know that it is useless for them to try to hinder our work by making Sunday laws.”  {9T 232.4} 

We are called to not be law breakers, to give no occasion to persecution, to use wisdom.  Never are we called to take the law into our own hands.

Hello Noel,


It does make sense in some cases, especially extreme situations, to step down.  But on the other hand, it shouldn't be a knee-jerk reaction to just quickly step down as soon as a law comes along that you can't keep because that might be the same as refusing to stand up against the evil.   This lady took her job in good faith and was already serving the people for many years before they suddenly came up with this corrupt law that she was being forced to keep.


We do have the example of Daniel, which seems like a similar situation.  He had a very high position in the Babylonian government and those who were jealous of him created a law against the practice of his religion so that he would get in trouble and they could take his position. He didn't comply with the law or step down - he remained firm in his position and continued to practice his religion.  He was thrown in jail for it - with the lions (death penalty), but God prevailed to grant him deliverance, which brought glory to the God of heaven before a pagan nation. 


The same is true for the 3 who were thrown into the firey furnace for disobeying the law of the land.  So we do have examples from the Bible of disobedience to corrupt laws made by secular governments which go against Biblical values, even of those who work in government positions.


Another thing about this matter is that rather than stepping down quickly, Seventh-day Adventists have gone to great lengths to fight for legal protections for the right to work in the US and practice their beliefs.   Sabbath is one, but also labor union membership.  The Religious Liberty department of the SDA church is set up to protect members legally and give them resources. They have all kinds of things on their websites about how you can get out of having to belong to a labor union, legal information about civil rights, etc. - allow you to print out forms to have your pastor sign, etc.  We don't typically take the stance that we should just step down rather than fighting for the freedom to practice religion.


Especially since this question is going to effect lots of different organizations.  Just as a couple other people here have said - soon it may be that pastors will be thrown in jail for refusing to marry homosexuals, etc.  This is not a problem that's just going to "go away" if we run from it - because soon there's going to be no where else you could go to get a job, no where you can run to.

Sister White said this about the laws of man vs. laws of God;


"I saw that it is our duty in every case to obey the laws of our land, unless they conflict with the higher law which God spoke with an audible voice from Sinai, and afterward engraved on stone with His own finger. “I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people.” He who has God’s law written in the heart will obey God rather than men, and will sooner disobey all men than deviate in the least from the commandment of God. God’s people, taught by the inspiration of truth, and led by a good conscience to live by every word of God, will take His law, written in their hearts, as the only authority which they can acknowledge or consent to obey. The wisdom and authority of the divine law are supreme." 565 {CCh 314.3}

Martin Luther stood up to the Pope - who was one of the strongest governmental authorities of his time.  I do agree with you that there may be times to avoid involvement in controversy and just bow out. but I don't think we should do that to quickly, and there are times when it's better to fight for the issue in question for the sake of thousands of other people who could get into the exact same situation you are in.


Right now, evil is taking over the world.  It's a very sad day in America when gay "marriage" is legalized and those who don't agree with or promote it are persecuted.


I saw a comment from someone who brought up questions about whether it was even legal to imprison her in this situation - because it's possibly not even legal for them to do that.


There is also the question that Brother Raymond mentioned which I have been wondering about - why does the state hold the power for marriage licenses to begin with?  Is that really something that should be in the hands of the state?  With the way they have taken things it makes you wonder if that was Satan's sinister plan all along - to get everyone to accept the idea that marriages are only legal if the government recognizes them and the state holds the power to grant marriages - then it could be turned into gay marriage, polygamy, etc. etc.


May the Lord bless His people during the hour of darkness - to prepare for His soon coming. 

The situation with Daniel is different, he was being asked to sin by worshiping another God and did not comply.  In this case it is the gay couple that is sinning, not the county that issues a license.

I disagree Shannon, it's the same type of scenario.

Thank you Shannon.


This lady does serve the people, as an elected official she serves all the people.  She cannot choose what laws or people she will serve in this post, she must serve all the people regardless of creed or race.  This not at all like Daniel. This does not impede upon this person religious rights, she on the other hand, is using her religion to impede on the rights of citizens, rights given to them by the State.

Right now, evil is taking over the world.  It's a very sad day in America when gay "marriage" is legalized and those who don't agree with or promote it are persecuted.

The operative word here is legalized, one may not agree with it, but until the law is changed it is the law.

I don’t believe she is in prison for her religious views, she’s in prison for contempt of court; she disobeyed the judge’s order to carry out her duties as county clerk.  The judge is not requiring her to change her religious views, but he is requiring here to change her stance on violating the law and not performing her duties.  I see these as separate, you may not. If she cannot do her duties under the law, she should step aside.

So did the Prophet Daniel

Hello Vicky. 

Let me be clear. I am not nor do I believe the others who disagree with Ms. Davis are saying that immediately when a disagreement comes up we are to turn tail and run.  No.  Yes we have the Religious Liberty Office which regularly fights for our rights in government.

But note the right to a fair trial, a hearing, freedom of speech are rights given to us by the law.  Therefore when Religious Liberty goes to court they are using their given rights as citizens to defend themselves.  Everything they are doing is legal.  When an Adventist is fired unjustly for refusing to work on the Sabbath when there is no official documentation demanding that they work on the Sabbath, Religious Liberty takes those cases to court.


And Ellen White said we should defend ourselves in court on the Sunday issue and the temperance issue as another example. 


However the Religious Liberty Department can only go as far as they are legally approved.  They cannot break the law and expect to get their way.


Consider Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal.  He tried his best through the law to delay or avoid giving gay marriage certififcates  as stated by Huffington Post.
“Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell (R) meanwhile said that because the Supreme Court's June 26 ruling did not directly order states to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, "there is not yet a legal requirement for officials to issue marriage licenses or perform marriages for same-sex couples in Louisiana." Local court clerks were instructed to hold off for 25 days. Clerks across Louisiana issued licenses anyway, except in New Orleans. In the state's largest city, a state agency, which reports to Jindal, has control over marriage licenses.

Jindal argued that he wanted to wait until a lower court applied the Supreme Court's decision to Louisiana. On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuitformally overturned Louisiana's gay marriage ban, seemingly giving Jindal the go-ahead.

But the governor persisted in his stall, releasing a statement indicating that he would wait for a ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. When that court said this means you on Thursday, Jindal had no choice but to give up his resistance.


You can also check the CNN Video on this.  I would prefer you check this link as huffington post has often inappropriate links on their site.

I think even in Texas other worked through the law to find a way to make things work.    Ms Davis in contrast refuses to give the licenses and she refuses to allow her deputies to give the licenses.  She is defying the law.  No Religious Liberty Law organization has ever done that in a legal matter.  That is why she was held in contempt and thrown in jail.

Let’s look at Daniel, the Hebrew boys and other Christians during times of persecution.

First let us note that Joseph, Daniel and the Hebrew boys, and Esther were all high ranking officials in pagan courts.  First let us note that none enforced their views on others. 

Joseph as prime minister of Egypt:  Note his counsel to his family on talking with Pharoah

Genesis 46:33-34 “And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation? 34 That ye shall say, Thy servants' trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.”

Joseph is showing respect to the Egyptians disregard for shepherds.  Therefore he instructs his family to ask for a separate area to dwell in.

In Babylon Daniel and the three Hebrew boys did not defy the Babylonians when their name was changed

Daniel 1:6,7 “Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.”  Note these name changes referred to paganism but they did not defy them because they knew what their real names were regardless of what the Babylonians called them.

If one wants to disagree consider Daniel 2,14; and 4:8,9,18,19

Daniel 2:14“Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?”


Daniel 4:8,9,18,19

“But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my God, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying, O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof. 18 This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee. 19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.

Note, this is after the Hebrew boys have passed their exams and proven themselves the wisest.

On the issue of the king’s meat not Daniel did not outright refuse the king’s meat he requested to be given a different diet. 

Daniel 1:8,12-14 “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. 13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. 14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.

Yes, Daniel and the Hebrew boys did defy the order to worship or pray to pagan gods.  However note, they defied the laws only directly affecting their personal lives and were willing to die themselves but they never included others in their stance.   Also note since they were in pagan courts the systems were still pagan and as high ranking officials they had to work with people following pagan practices.

Note Daniel 4:9 “O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof.”  Nebuchadnezzar still was a worshiper of pagan gods at the time of this encounter hence he said holy gods, not God.

Note Esther when the Jews lives were in dangered she followed the law and and had to get the king’s approval to speak to him. 

Jump to Jesus, Paul and the apostles.  It is a historic fact that Rome was both pagan and pro homosexuality.  Yet there is not one verse in the New Testament that says that they forced others to live as Christians. 

Consider Acts 17:30 when Paul spoke to the Greeks he said, “ And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:”  The gospel message is a call to repentance.

The apsotles were peace makers, pacifists.  They would speak and defend themselves but they would not force others.

When persecution would go to the point of threatening life they would move on.

Now looking at Martin Luther, Wycliffe and the Reformers you will see the same pattern.  Martin Luther, John Wycliffe, Jerome and Huss were all originally catholics if I’m not mistaken.  When they learnt of the apostasies of Rome they spoke against it but they never forced others to do as they did.  Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis on the Wittenberg Church and spoke against the indulgences sold by Tetzel but never did he force others to stop buying indulgences or acting out penances.

Even when it came to the Roman councils that called all the Reformers, the reformers did not defy kings or popes they worked within the counsels of their laws.  When the reformers stood before the councils they presented their belief in the Bible alone as sovereign.    But these men were using their given freedom of speech, religious liberty.

They all were willing and some did die for their beliefs but none forced their beliefs on others or abused their office.

We are to defend ourselves as far as we can legally and if the law is determined to undermine our beliefs then the only thing to do then is leave.

But once again yes we try all our legal option in defending ourselves. 
And when it comes to obedience or prison or death, we choose death.

On the issue of marriage and the government check my response to Raymond’s questions.

 God bless these are my last statements on this topic.  I think it best to make one’s point then leave things alone.   Forgive me for my long replies.  I try to make sure my points are clear and proven not from be but from God and resources.

Hello Noel,


I feel that you are sincere in your efforts to seek truth, but it also seems clear that with this type of reasoning the truth is getting lost in the details.


If you listen to what you are saying it sounds like you think that every clerk in America should have immediately complied with the order to begin granting marriage licenses to homosexuals all over the US.  So someone could ask "who's side are you really on?"  It really sounds like you are arguing for the side of evil in making comments like this - or at least arguing in agreement with cowardly Christians who don't believe in risking their own necks for the sake of anything.  I'm sure that you mean well, but perhaps deep inside you are afraid of the thought of facing persecution?


It is true that we should obey human laws only as long as they don't conflict with the laws of God, but there are multiple clear examples of those who have stood for truth in defiance of laws and orders that conflicted with their values, even in regard to the apostles who continued to preach in open defiance of commands and orders that they stop doing it.   To try to argue with all kinds of theoretical contortions that they were not really disobeying any laws is getting into twisted reasoning for the sake of trying to make something fit a cherished theory.


Christianity requires heroic courage sometimes, especially at this time in Earths history. We should not be man-pleasers but be willing to stand up for what's right.  I believe it is perfectly appropriate and admirable for a citizen of the United States, who believes in what this country stands for and has the vision to understand that the corrupt laws about homosexuality actually represent great sin in God's eyes, to act according to their conscience and refuse to comply with the law. 


Something this horrible certainly should be protested by Christians who care about it- every Christian who is in any kind of position to refuse it should stand up against it in defiance to try to stop such a horrible thing.  If Christians stand by idly, shrugging our shoulders while we watch our country crash and burn without doing what is within our power to stand up against the evil - we don't truly love it.


Man should never put himself or his laws above principles of truth and righteousness.  When mankind makes a law that is grossly unreasonable and inappropriate it should not be complied with, even if we have to go to jail or face death for it.


In our day and age the very worst sort of laws are being made- including promoting murder of unborn babies, homosexual marriage, etc.  If we don’t see these issues any big deal it’s because we don’t understand the importance of eternal truths or the value of human life.    I believe that we are to stay out of politics, generally, because that’s not where the cure is - but what I’m saying is that when put into a position where you must chose between obeying a law that conflicts with the Law of God or facing persecution we must still stand firm for the Law of God.


I have much to do this week and can’t continue to be involved in this discussion much for times sake.  I pray the Lord will bless you as you study and pray about this question!


Take care,



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