Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.
Martin Luther King Letter from a Birmingham Jail 1963
I John Brown, am now quite certain that the sins of this nation can only be purged with blood.
John Brown in a note handed to his jailer as he was being led to his hanging 1859
A few days ago, just after her release from jail Kim Davis was given an offer that was…interesting.
In this video, Stewart Rhodes and some of the Oath Keepers national and local leadership discuss the real issues behind what is happening in Rowan County, Kentucky. We have had boots on the ground there since last week and will continue to have a presence. Stewart Rhodes reached out personally to Davis’s legal counsel to offer protection to Kim, to ensure that she will not be illegally detained again. We would like to stress in the strongest terms possible that we are doing this not because of her views on gay marriage, but because she is an elected public servant who has been illegally arrested and held without due process.
Even assuming the absolute best of intention on behalf of the Oath keepers accepting their offer would have been the absolutely worst decision that Kim Davis could have made.
Kim Davis’ actions, liberal protestations to the contrary not withstanding, are not only a classic example of civil disobedience but in the best traditions of the early saints who were willing to suffer for the sake of the word.
Consider her words upon unexpectedly being released from jail:
Regardless of the event (planned before anyone knew she was going to be released) with its political overtones (including using some good old-fashioned muscle employed by the Huckabee team to keep Ted Cruz off that stage with Davis) Kim’s Davis’ entire speech was about God and serving him and thanks and love for her supporters.
No critique of the judge, no anger over her imprisonment, no fancy words about the political irony of a bunch of Republicans defending an elected democrat. No talk about the likelihood of her being re-imprisoned. Everything completely consistent with the dignity of the stand she took for the sake of her soul and others.
Given her situation the offer of armed protection must have been attractive, she has been vilified and hated not only by the left for her principled stand but by some on the right objecting to her civil disobedience on law and order grounds. How easy would it have been for her to accept this offer of protection. How comforting might it have been to know people considered her so important they were willing to fight for her. How tempting.
I’m pleased to say she did not give into this temptation:
Oath Keepers has been contacted by Kim Davis’ legal team at Liberty Counsel, and they have, on her behalf, declined our offer of assistance in protecting her from a possible repeat incarceration by Federal District Court judge David Bunning. We will, of course, respect her wishes, and are hereby issuing a stand-down for our security volunteers who were planning on deploying to Morehead, Kentucky on Monday.
The taking of this officer would have been transformative. Suddenly instead of her being a Christian martyr for her soul and others she would have set up a possible armed confrontation between the Oath Keepers and federal marshals, a confrontation that would have ended badly and could have ended in bloodshed, and given the state of division in the country at this time, who knows what might happen next?
So given the choice to be John Brown or Martin Luther King she has chosen King. I think it was the right choice.