Author, radio broadcaster, and seminary professor, Steve Brown, writes in his book Scandalous Freedom,
Do you want to know what God is like? Then look at Jesus. If you want to know how God reacts to people, look at how Jesus reacted to people.
How do you think Jesus would react to this meme?
The apostle John records how Jesus, a Jew, arouses shock from onlookers when He has a long, intimate conversation with a Samaritan woman. In that day and age, Jewish men didn’t have conversations with Samaritan women. Jesus knows the woman is a religious law-breaker, repeatedly divorced and remarried and currently with a guy who isn’t her husband, yet He doesn’t condemn her.
But that’s just half what you need to know about this meme or the story of the Samaritan woman. It’s the half that is popular among believers like President and founder of Cowger Nation Media Network, Caiden Cowger, who also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Cowger Nation. Christian supporters of Davis are quick to come to her defense when commentators label her a Christian hypocrite in light of the fact that she’s been married multiple times and had children out of wedlock. Cowger writes in his article, TRUTH: Kim Davis divorced husbands BEFORE she became a Christian,
Perhaps some of her divorces were over sexual immorality. We do not know the situation; therefore, we are in no place to judge. Quite frankly, it is none of our business; she has repented and has been forgiven.
The truth is that while Mrs. Davis has been divorced three times, she did not become a Christian until 2011, three years after her last divorce. While Davis has been married four times, she is presently married to her second husband, whom she remarried in 2009.
We can compare the Kim Davis of four years ago to the Samaritan woman, because she had a history, and that history didn’t stop Jesus Christ from giving her a do-over. Davis says,
All I can say to them is if they have a sordid past like what I had, they too can receive the cleansing and renewing, and they can start a fresh life, and they can be different. They don’t have to remain in their sin, there’s hope for tomorrow.
Kim Davis’ past doesn’t matter any more. Because Jesus.
Unfortunately, people have a hard time wrapping their brains around the idea that Davis’ past doesn’t matter any more. And guess whose fault that is?
Yep, you guessed it. Kim Davis’. Keep reading and you’ll discover why she only has herself to blame for the shit-storm of negative media attention.
Scriptures on marriage laws are abundant. Yet, for some reason, Davis has latched on to scriptures that address homosexuality and ignored scriptures that address marriage. For example, Luke 16:18 says,
Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.
If Kim Davis systematically refused to sign the marriage licenses of people who had been previously married, will someone please call the press? Perhaps her deeply held convictions will be taken more seriously. Does she ask people who apply for a marriage license whether they have ever lusted over someone? If they have, then according to her own views, she ought to refuse to sign her name. And I can’t help but wonder why, with all the media attention, Davis hasn’t taken the opportunity to point out that according to scriptures, being gay is punishable by death.
Suppose you are a vegetarian looking for a job. You come from a family of culinary artists, and you hope to carry on the tradition in your own career choice. A local restaurant with a vegetarian-only menu enthusiastically hires you. Every day, you look forward to going to work. You take pride in serving delicious vegetarian meals. Your conscience is clear, because you don’t have any part in animal cruelty or slaughter. But as the years pass, locals begin complaining about the lack of meat on the menu. At first, the owner ignores them. As business begins to suffer, and an increasing number of customers request meat, the owner eventually relents, and adds meat to the menu. Most of the employees are fine with serving meat. A few cook and serve meat but have a hard time sleeping at night. You refuse to serve meat. This would be a more accurate analogy than the above meme.
Kim Davis believes if she were to sign the marriage license of a homosexual couple, she is taking part in something that will contribute to the unraveling of the moral fabric of society. Well, that’s just stupid, some people say. Perhaps it is a stupid belief. Perhaps it isn’t. The point here is not whether people agree with Davis’ beliefs, the point is whether we are ready, as a nation, to put people in jail for non-violent offenses that are entirely based on religious or deeply held moral convictions. We value checks and balances between the three branches of government. Why can’t we also value checks and balances between the government and its employees? It’s not as if homosexual people CAN NEVER EVER get married in Rowan County as long as Davis holds her current position. Should we throw her in the slammer and/or find a way to oust her from her elected position when there are several less heavy-handed options for resolution available?
How we respond to this situation sets a precedent for the future. Do we want government employees to comply with government policy, even when government policy is dead wrong? Orwellian compliance may be convenient when the government isn’t inherently or thoroughly corrupt, but what happens if (when?) that changes? We should not be so quick to accustom ourselves to a future in which elected officials have absolutely no regard for their own religious or deeply held moral convictions. Some of the greatest social advances have taken place because people have spoken and behaved in accordance with their consciences in an environment where doing so meant the loss of livelihood, liberty, or even their lives.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not equating Davis with MLK. I think her worldview is a product of the fear-based interpretation of scripture and traditions of the Pentecostal church, whereas MLK’s worldview was a product of the greatest commandment, “Love one another.” The only reason I would even dare to mention them both in the same sentence is to say that if we trample and spit on the Kim Davises of this world, we also inadvertently trample and spit on the MLKs.
Memes often set up false dichotomies. To me, this meme sets up an us-vs-them scenario. If you think Davis is brave, you are one of us. If you think Jenner is brave, you are one of them. We are right. They are wrong. But in reality, both of these people made similar decisions. Both faced fear of consequences head-on. Both decided to speak and behave in accordance with their beliefs, knowing full well that doing so would result in a thorny overabundance of both praise and disapproval from people who are shocked when someone is so uncomfortably transparent. Both of them said to themselves, I am going to be who I was created to be. To hell with my past. To hell with everyone’s expectations.
You might say, “Well, God created Jenner to be a man.” Or you might say, “Well God created Davis to be a public servant who upholds the Constitution.” And your disapproval is the reason I can call them brave.
History demonstrates that of the people who opposed slavery and civil rights and interracial marriages, many of them recognized their error decades later, when the world didn’t come to an end after all. Fear of the future, fear of change, and fear of God’s judgment (which brings righteousness) complicate the human experience and our ultimate purpose in this world — to love God and love one another. Davis admittedly acts in fear of divine retribution. Decades from now, or perhaps on the other side of the grave, when God is all in all, Davis, homosexual couples, the Supreme Court justices, Jenner, the media, blog readers, and the entire human race will look back on all this strife and confusion and say, “None of that matters any more. Because Jesus.”