September 8, 2015

Dr. King Speaks on Behalf of Kim Davis

Dr. King Speaks on Behalf of Kim Davis

I would not argue that the legal case of Kim Davis is strong. She is, or appears to be, breaking the law. But I would also argue that just because she is breaking the law doesn’t mean she is wrong, or that she is undermining the rule of law. She is exercising civil disobedience in a profound and honorable way. If you doubt my assertion, I commend to you Martin Luther King. He is well-known for his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” but he is less well-known for this letter from an Albany, Georgia, jail. Police arrested King and others during a peaceful protest there. He had the choice of paying a $178 fine or spending 45 days in jail. He could well afford the fine, but he chose the jail time. He wrote this in response to his critics: “Some of our critics complain that our non-violent method fosters disrespect for the law and encourages ‘lawlessness.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. Civil disobedience concludes that the non-violent resistor in the face of unjust and/or immoral law cannot in all good conscience obey that law. His decision to break that law and willingly pay the penalty evidences the highest respect for the law. … Thus it is, when the non-violent resistor refuses to cooperate with a law that is out of harmony with the laws of God and the laws of morality, he must break the law—but in so doing, he practices civil disobedience and accepts the penalty, thereby practicing moral obedience and transforms the jail into a haven of liberty and freedom.” To Dr. King, I say, “Amen.” To Kim Davis, I say, “May God bless and keep you safe during this time of trial. And may God use you to awaken the moral imagination of our nation.”

[Warren Cole Smith, Vice President, WORLD Magazine]


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