Kim Davis, gay marriage, and liberty of conscience

Freedom of Conscience Threatened

by Nathan Egbert  |  September 25, 2015

Written by Nathan Egbert 9/5/15 in response to current news events.

In the arena of social contention, two topics reign supreme: religion and politics. While subject matters do change over time, fodder for controversy is never lacking. When we turn on the evening news, we are greeted with, “Good evening,” and then immediately shown why it isn’t. An item of concern in the news is hardly news itself.

Christ has shown us what is soon to be, and He desires us to watch for what He has revealed. Those that view news through a prophetic lens are often aware of spiritual significance found in current events. God gives us insight into hidden dynamics behind the scenes that show the great controversy between Christ and Satan—a conflict that manifests itself in the thinking and actions of mankind. His people have recognized this controversy in current events for millennia. So when we read about a county clerk who is in trouble for refusing to endorse gay marriage licenses, should we be concerned?

News out of Kentucky this week shows Rowan County clerk Kim Davis is the latest focus in gay rights battles as they rage across our country—battles which increasingly reveal alarming disregard for freedom of conscience. This story has grabbed national attention, which is not surprising as it does involve both politics and religion. What is surprising is the overt nature of what is at stake and, more importantly, the reactions of various players involved.

On Thursday, September 3, U.S. District Judge David Bunning remanded Kim Davis into the custody of U.S. marshals for refusing to heed a U.S. Supreme Court order legalizing same-sex marriage. Bunning said she would remain in jail until she would comply with the ruling. This indefinite sentence came in spite of efforts by her defense attorney who argued Davis was acting on the dictates of her conscience and could not violate her loyalty to God by endorsing same-sex marriage licenses. In a public statement following the court’s decision, he said, “That is the reason why her conscience is so strong, she loves her Lord, she loves God, and she can’t disobey her conscience or be disobedient.”

We are told this story is representative of the trials encountered by God’s people in the closing scenes of earth’s history.

Spectators watching this display of power are under no illusion. The issue at stake is freedom of religion, rejected by a federal judge who essentially said, Bow to the law of the land or suffer absolute consequences.

In the book of Daniel, we read a similar story. Three men are confronted with the same choice: bow to the law of the land or stay true to conscience and suffer absolute consequences. We are told this story is representative of the trials encountered by God’s people in the closing scenes of earth’s history. Keep in mind, these three men did not object to the law, they objected to participating in it. No record is given that they attempted to interfere with the choice of others to follow the law.

Gay marriage is indeed the law of the land, and as such all who desire are entitled to participate in this new government sanctioned union. But here’s the thing: Kim Davis never opposed the law. As a matter of fact, she and her attorney offered several alternative solutions allowing marriage licenses to proceed unrestricted. Kim made clear to the judge she objected only to her own participation. She stated in no uncertain terms her objection went no farther than that she did not want her signature found on an endorsement of gay marriage.

As such, her sentence is not punishment for obstructing the issuance of licenses. She is, in effect, being punished for not personally endorsing gay marriage law. Very similar to those three men we read about in Daniel! Technically, Kim Davis was serving time in jail for contempt of Supreme Court recognition of same-sex marriage.

There’s more. Spearheading the prosecution of Kim Davis is a team of lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union. As per their mission statement, they organize “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” It is no surprise they are fighting against Kim Davis, because in spite of her defense also standing on rights granted by the Constitution, the ACLU has worked hard getting homosexuality recognized as a protected civil right. What I find most intriguing is the punishment they tried to impose on Kim Davis.

First though, in Revelation 13 we read a breakdown of closing events, including agendas and actions against those who stand for God. The sentence pronounced for those who refuse to participate in the beast agenda is that “no man might buy or sell.” That’s it. That is the beast’s answer to dealing with dissidents. Of course, careful students of Bible prophecy understand that context is important, so let’s notice the context:

“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads. And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark” (Revelation 13:16-17).

If we understand this mark as a symbol of authority to substitute a counterfeit Sabbath, and if we also understand that Satan’s assault is not against a day but rather against what God has ordained, then in context of last-day events the issue of counterfeit marriage becomes quite relevant—especially when we consider only two ordinances exist from before sin entered the world—the Sabbath and marriage.

Now back to the ACLU, as reported by CNN news: “American Civil liberties Union attorneys said they didn’t want her to be jailed as punishment, but rather, the attorneys asked the court to ‘impose financial penalties sufficiently serious and increasingly onerous’ to make her comply with the court order.”

Get that?

“. . . financial penalties sufficiently serious and increasingly onerous . . .”

So, am I concerned?

You bet I am, because while I do sympathize with Kim Davis in her persecution, I see public opinion strongly in favor of these burdensome punishments. Remember, we are told that end-time legislation targeting freedom of conscience is pushed by “we the people,” not politicians.

What once was seen as established law is now viewed as a customizable tool to violate the very rights it was written to protect.

Financial punishment is not an isolated concept in this war over marriage. In both Texas and South Carolina conservative lawmakers that are against gay marriage are targeting officials who favor same-sex marriage by sponsoring bills that would eliminate salaries for judges and county clerks as well as any other public official who grants marriage licenses to gay couples, or in any other way recognizes such unions while serving in public office.

Clearly, a precedent is being set: submit to a particular belief regarding an ordinance of God, or you cannot buy or sell. I believe the issue as described in Revelation 13 is more universal in scope and, as such, imposing outlandish fines or eliminating salaries only serves to show that men are, indeed, ready to set the stage for earth’s final showdown between our victorious King and the followers of His adversary.

It is also worth mentioning that both sides of this marriage conflict are looking to amend the Constitution as a means to enforce their beliefs on others, both on state and federal levels. The Constitution is our final defense against threats to liberty of conscience. What once was seen as established law is now viewed as a customizable tool to violate the very rights it was written to protect. We are told the final events will fall in rapid succession. At the rate such controversies are heating up, we can expect that the final events foretold in Revelation will unfold in rapid succession.

And yet, we can be confident in our victorious King. Friends, that is why I rest easy in spite of all this. My concern, while valid, holds no power when illuminated with the assurance of Him who will accomplish all He has said.

Stay wise, stay harmless, and keep your eyes high.

Nathan Egbert
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  • jschwirzer

    Thanks for laying out the issues clearly. All the hairsplitting over the law and whether or not Kim’s refusal to sign constituted a crime or not is, to me, illuminated by the fact that out of Christlike courtesy and inclusive principles, the US has historically made reasonable accommodations for faith. We’re becoming a culture that thrives on accusation and litigation. Particularly the homosexual lobby seems determined to route out and punish anyone who doesn’t cooperate with their goals. Even some homosexuals are disgusted by this.

  • Jonny Vliet

    Meanwhile, Phil Jackson is tweeting (9/26/15 9:55pm)
    “Reflection in the Pontiff’s message today : maybe it’s time to go back to Blue Laws to slow down our voracious consumerism…
    #sabbath”