The separation of church and state

Selena McPherson/The NewsSelena McPherson/The News

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

Selena McPherson/The News

Selena McPherson/The News

Edward Abbey once said, “Society is like a stew. If you don’t stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top.”

Despite the Supreme Court of the United State’s best efforts to stir society up with the same sex marriage ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, Kim Davis rose to the top.

That’s enough to make many Americans in support of the Obergefell ruling feel uneasy.

The key ingredient to this good ol’ American stew of ours is supposed to be the separation of church and state. Historically, this has proven to be a hard concept to grasp for some of our nation’s elected leaders.

To that regard, Davis apparently had no idea what she was getting into when she took the position of Rowan County clerk.

The oath of office she took states, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and be faithful and true to the Commonwealth of Kentucky so long as I continue a citizen thereof …”

When Davis faced jail time for contempt of court, she said she was prepared to go to jail because, “this is about upholding the word of God.”

No – no it is not. That is quite literally not what this is about at all.

She didn’t get elected by the people, for the people to only do her job for some of the people. She was elected to uphold the word of the law.

Baristas can’t refuse to make lattes because they’re lactose intolerant.

Don’t take an elective class on diversity and then refuse to do the homework because you have a “superior race” mindset.

If you have such firm religious beliefs that you would defy court ruling and go to jail for them, maybe don’t vow to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.”

Did Davis think same-sex marriage would be legalized when she took her oath? Probably not. But if a job evolves faster than your beliefs, it’s time to step down.

She is not being persecuted for her religion – she is simply being told to do her job, which she gets paid $80,000 a year for, according to NBC News. The rest is a mess she created out of direct defiance of her duties to the law.

Davis needs to accept the fact that she is nothing more than a civil servant during business hours.

All of Rowan County does not share the same religious beliefs Davis does. The office of the Rowan County clerk falls under the dictation of the highest court in our nation, which ruled on June 26, 2015 that same-sex couples can legally get married.

As such, her job isn’t to personally sanction and bless each marriage license that comes across her desk. 

Davis, herself, posted a letter on the Rowan County Clerk website which includes the following promises:

“Our office is here to serve the public in a friendly, professional and efficient manner. We are constantly striving to upgrade our services in order to better serve you.”

Upgrade your services, Mrs. Davis. Serve the public. Be a woman of your word.

She can detest same-sex marriages all she wants when she’s off the clock, but not while she’s at work.

Davis was arrested on Sept. 3 and was released five days later, on Sept. 8.

She still refuses to approve same-sex marriages or resign.

We’ll see how long her freedom lasts while she directly hinders the freedom of others.