According to the teachings of Jesus, Kim Davis is an adulteress and hypocrite right now. Not just in her past.
I’m not a Christian. I’m not trying to convert anybody, one way or the other. However, as a sometime scholar of the Bible (for actual grades!), I do think it bears mentioning that Kim Davis is also not a Christian. At least, not a very good one.
Ms. Davis came to our attention when she refused to submit to the authority of the Supreme Court, and stood in the way of issuing marriage licenses to couples who were perfectly well qualified for legal, secular marriage under the secular laws of our secular country.
Critics have eagerly pointed out that Ms. Davis has been married four times, and that her twins were fathered by future Husband #3 while she was still married to Husband #2. The Daily Mail has a handy summary of the whole convoluted thing. Ms. Davis, they say, is a hypocrite and an adulteress.
To those accusations, Ms. Davis’ response is to dismiss her past as irrelevant: “No. I’m forgiven. Washed clean.”
Okay… first of all, it’s pretty damned presumptuous and arrogant to conclude that a deity has forgiven you and “washed you clean.” (I have always felt my hackles go up when someone tells me they are “saved.”)
Second and more important, for those who study the Bible, Kim Davis is still an adulteress at this very moment, and is therefore a hypocrite to deny legal, secular marriage to others who fail her Biblical standard, while her own house is still decidedly out of order according to the exact same standard.
Let’s look at the adultery first. Didn’t Jesus protect and forgive the adulteress in the Gospel of John? He saved her from stoning with the admonition, “Let he among you who is without sin, cast the first stone,” and then tells the adulteress simply, “Go, and sin no more.” This is a fine story of forgiveness for the repentant (although, curiously, it was not part of John’s original manuscript). But is Kim Davis repentant? I think not, because according to the teaching of Jesus, she is an adulteress at this very moment.
On marriage, Jesus is very, very clear: no divorce, except in cases of sexual immorality. Your first spouse is joined to you through God, you become one flesh, and what God has joined together, let no one put asunder. Check out Mark 10:11-12:
“Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”
Hmmm, that’s pretty clear. There are similar quotes by Jesus at Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:9, and Luke 16:18. The Apostle Paul reiterates that teaching in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11:
“To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.”
There you have it. According to Christian teaching, from the word of Jesus himself, Ms. Davis is actually still and forever married to her first husband until death parts them. She may choose to live apart, but she can never marry another, live with another, or have sex with another. And yet… that is exactly what she is doing right now, day after day: she is married to and lives with Husband #2/4. Ms. Davis is living in a union that Jesus himself would not have blessed.
That is what makes her a flaming hypocrite. Hypocrisy, by the way, is another one of Jesus’ peeves, heavily mentioned in the Gospels, particularly in Matthew. And some of that condemnation of hypocrisy involves Jesus’ disapproval of public self-aggrandizement on religious matters:
Matthew 6:1: “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”
And yet… we see Ms. Davis smiling triumphantly on stage with the likes of Presidential candidates. She has appeared on Good Morning America. And the latest has her lawyers apparently embellishing and playing up her meeting with the Pope (who, it turns out, was likely caught unaware). These are the same lawyers who are even going so far as to make up crap about pro-Davis rallies in foreign countries. One can try to argue that Davis is being taken for a ride by the Liberty Counsel, but… well, those big ol’ grins she sports at these media events tell me that she is just eating it up. I invite Ms. Davis to read Matthew 6:1 again.
One final thought on hypocrisy: Ms. Davis and others would have us believe that she is a poor oppressed Christian whose freedom of religion is being trampled by others who would force her to do things against her conscience. The facts are exactly the opposite: her freedom is intact. She is free to resign from the job that she has no intention of carrying out.
It is Ms. Davis who is impinging on others’ freedom of religion. It is she who imposes her religion upon others, it is she who denies the services of her secular office to those who are fully legally qualified to receive them. Davis says she’s not the one making these decisions; that would be God. Well, we live in a secular country, and it is not up to her to enforce God’s law. She is supposed to enforce US law.
So… yeah. The critics are right on this one.