Kim Davis meets the Pope

Pope Francis met when he was here with Kim Davis, the county clerk who went to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  It’s strange to think of an Apostolic Pentecostal Christian, which Kim Davis is, holding much store with the Pope of Rome.  But that the Pope met with her puts flesh and blood to his rather vague statements on religious liberty.

He also made a point of meeting with the Little Sisters of the Poor, who have been fighting in court for the right not to comply with Obamacare contraception requirements.

The media emphasized the Pope’s liberal pronouncements, but not so much his conservative ones.  But his actions show that he supports religious accommodations for those whose conscience cannot accept culture war laws. [Read more...]

Kim Davis solution?

Kim Davis has returned to work as a county clerk after serving time in jail for refusing to obey a court order to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.  Here is how they worked things out:  She will not issue the marriage licenses, but her deputies will.  She will not sign them and her name will not appear on the documents.  Rather, they will contain the notation that they were issued under the order of U.S. District Judge David Bunning.

Is this a good solution, or does it just set up technicalities that can assuage a conscience while ignoring the larger issue?  If it is a good solution, can it be a model for other religious liberty cases?

Meanwhile, other officials from other states are following Mrs. Davis’s example in refusing to be complicit in gay marriages.

P.S.:  You also need to read this about Kim Davis, in light of all of the mockery for her “hypocrisy” for what she did before she converted to Christianity a few years ago.

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Clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses to gays is jailed

Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was found to be in contempt of court and put in jail.

I can see her losing her job if she won’t do what the state requires.  Actually, if she can’t do that job in good conscience, she should resign.  But putting her in jail?  Does this amount to criminalizing her Christian faith, which she says motivates her refusal?

UPDATE:  I see that she is an elected official and can only be removed by impeachment, which the conservative state legislature is considered unlikely to do.

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ACLU gets Catholic hospital to sterlize a woman

The ACLU threatened to sue a Catholic hospital for refusing to perform a sterilization procedure requested by a woman.  So it gave in, violating Catholic teachings.

I suspect the hospital could have won that legal battle.  But now not only lawsuits but the threat of lawsuits–with their huge financial toll even in a winning case–have become cudgels to extort compliance with ACLU demands.  I know of small towns that have removed religious imagery from their logos for similar threats.

Honest question:  Doesn’t the American Civil Liberties Union consider religion to be a civil liberty? [Read more...]

Boy Scouts will no longer ban gay leaders

The Boy Scouts of America will now allow gay leaders, a decision made by its Executive Board led by former Defense Secretary, now BSA president, Robert Gates.  The action applies to corporate employees.  Local troops, many of which are sponsored by churches, can make their own decisions.  But churches are worried that this just kicks the liabilities and possible discrimination charges down to their level.

Read the news report after the jump.  Then read the Family Policy Institute of Washington post entitled “New Boy Scout Policy Makes Host Churches Liable?”.   The group offers this legal guide: The Legal Ramifications to Churches of BSA’s New Membership Policy.

Some churches are apparently considering dropping their Scouting programs.  Here is a statement from the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, which is convening a meeting in August to consider the issue.  (Hey, maybe this could be the catalyst for a rapprochement between the LCMS and the Wisconsin Synod, which has never approved of Boy Scouts!) [Read more...]

The “free exercise” of religion

Justice Kennedy, in his opinion establishing gay marriage, did affirm the right of religious people to disagree with same sex unions.  But the dissenting justices warned that this ruling could cause conflicts with religious liberty.  The Constitution protects not just religious beliefs privately held, they observe, but the “free exercise” of religion.  That is, what religious people do because of their religion.

The words of these opinions are likely to be parsed closely in the days to come, and the nature of religious liberty in this country is likely to be determined by legal wrangles about what the words “free exercise” mean.  [Read more...]