Thursday, 17 September 2015

Some curious thoughts about Kim Davis

If fame is only supposed to last fifteen minutes, Kim Davis seems to have stayed slightly longer in the limelight than is necessary. The Kentucky clerk jailed for refusing marriage licenses to gay couples has now been with us for that number of days and the media interest is only just beginning to wane. 

I have found her case interesting for a number of reasons. She is not a neat poster girl for her cause. Married four times, a life-long and highly committed Democrat, she may not be the religious right's ideal standard bearer in their fight. 

But one issue particularly strikes me, in terms of "Christian culture." Davis is a fairly recent convert to her church - about four years - and it is the nature of that church which fascinates. 

She is a member of Solid Rock Apostolic Church. Splitting from other Pentecostal groupings back near the beginnings of the movement, this particular "apostolic church" does not believe in the Trinity and regards speaking in tongues as necessary to salvation. On both those grounds it is clearly not a Christian church - although, as with other confused and heretical groups, it is not our place to assess the possibility or probability of personal faith among its members. 

What intrigues me is the speed with which some Christians have identified with this "Christian" lady. Would support have been as swift if she had been a denier of the trinity who went to the Kingdom Hall and thought that evangelistic door knocking was essential for salvation? Would the evangelical right have been as warm if she had denied the trinity, worn a burkha and just come back from the hajj? 

And the support from like-minded Christians has been uniform in taking Kim Davis to be one of them. In an era of instant reactions, of shallow knee-jerking, of single-issue blinkeredness, of lack of theological awareness, haven't we been reduced to the point where doctrinal definition is irrelevant? If a woman is white and doesn't like gay marriage, she must be sound, right? 

I'm not commenting on Kim Davis' conscience. Nor the rights and wrongs of her specific concern - not to have her name on those certificates. Nor the fact that she (inadvertently, and because of media spin, perhaps) seems to have done more to spur on public acceptance of SSM in the U.S. than any other single individual. I'm just saying that her case highlights the low point we have reached in understanding our own faith. When the choice is between bright and loving but fuzzy liberals, and unattractive evangelicals who have lost touch with the basic contours of their own faith, no wonder it is the atheists and the Moslems who are laughing. 

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