Carly Fiorina Wrong on Kim Davis

Kim Davis, the defiant Kentucky county clerk that refuses to issue marriage licenses, is helping to separate the Presidential wannabees into sheep and goats.

Davis is exactly the type of person that we should rally around. Why, exactly because she is an elected official.

Carly Fiorina revealed her lack of understanding of Western (Christian) Culture when she uttered this non-sense yesterday.

“And, while I disagree with this court’s decision, their actions are clear. And so I think in this particular case, this woman now needs to make a decision that’s conscious — is she prepared to continue to work for the government, be paid for by the government, in which case she needs to execute the government’s will, or does she feel so strongly about this that she wants to sever her employment with the government and go seek employment elsewhere where her religious liberties would be paramount over her duties as a government employee,” Fiorina declared.

I have met Carly before and have a great deal of respect for her but she is just plain wrong on this issue. The two main reasons are: Federalism and “the doctrine of the lesser magistrate.”

Federalism means that both the States and the national government have their proper roles. Since the national government is a creature of the States, states retain their sovereignty.

Point number one is that this is a state issue. Under Kentucky law, Kim Davis is right. Kentucky law (as is California’s) is that marriage is between one man and one woman. This provision is in accord with thousands of years of human history. Kentucky’s law is valid because it agrees with Scripture; any law contrary to Scripture is illegitimate.

Point two is that religious values have an integral role to play in the public square. Modern humanists have tried to redefine freedom of religion into freedom from religion. They contend that religion has no place in the establishment of public policy. However, this is an ignorant position to claim when all law is inherently religious.

Point three, the US Supreme Court is only a legitimate body when it abides by the boundaries of the Constitution. The biggest problem with the Court is that its function is poorly defined by the Constitution and they often will not confine themselves to matters properly within their jurisdiction.

All power that the Court has was given to it by the Court. This is the problem with the Court. Together the President and Congress have the power to limit the Court to matters specifically given to it by the Constitution but they rarely ever act to limit the judiciary. The Constitution doesn’t even give the Court the power to declare a law “unconstitutional”, the Court took this power upon themselves very early in the Republic.

Congress is intended to have the most say in the National government. Co-equal branches and checks and balances don’t work quite like the Founders envisioned. The concept that the Court is the final word in all its decisions is just political laziness. Only in cases and controversies where they have original jurisdiction is the Court the final word. Congress can strip the court of jurisdiction of any other matters with a simple majority vote. Yep, they can strip the Court of the power to decide marriage, abortion, and lots of other issues any time they want too.

The issues of federalism and limited government have been written about extensively by many others so nothing I’ve said should be news to my readers. However, it appears to be news to folks like Carly Fiorina and Michael Reagan. Yeah, Reagan is reportedly sounding the same call as Carly. michael-reagan-jailed-christian-clerk-should-quit-her-job


The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrate

The doctrine of the lesser magistrate is a concept in Protestant thought. A lesser magistrate is a ruler such as a prince who is under a greater ruler such as an emperor. According to many figures of the Reformation and Post-Reformation eras, the lesser magistrate has the authority to rebel against the tyranny of a supreme ruler.

The doctrine of the lesser magistrate finds its origin in John Calvin, who wrote that whereas private Christians must submit to the ruling authorities, there are “popular magistrates” who have “been appointed to curb the tyranny of kings”. When these magistrates “connive at kings when they tyrannise and insult over the humbler of the people” they “fraudulently betray the liberty of the people” when God has appointed them guardians of that liberty.

The lesser magistrate is prominent in the Lutheran Magdeburg Confession of 1550, which argued that the “subordinate powers” in a state, faced with the situation where the “supreme power” is working to destroy true religion, may go further than non-cooperation with the supreme power and assist the faithful to resist.

The doctrine of the lesser magistrate became important for the justification of the Dutch Revolt. According to Johannes Althusius in 1603 work, Politica, resistance to a supreme magistrate by lesser magistrates is justified in the case of tyranny. Althusius argued that the provincial authorities of the United Provinces were in this situation.
Description Lesser Magistrate

Kim Davis is not issuing marriage licenses to anyone—gay or straight—but few media reports will tell you that. Some folks disagree with this position. Lesser Magistrate Blog

Let’s go back to Carly’s quote.
“…this woman now needs to make a decision that’s conscious — is she prepared to continue to work for the government, be paid for by the government, in which case she needs to execute the government’s will…”

Carly talks of the government as a monolithic structure that must be obeyed because the Court has spoken.

Where is the federalism?

More importantly, where is the stand against tyranny?

Kim Davis is trying to do the right thing and the fact that so many weak-kneed politicians are hiding behind five un-elected people in black robes is really sad. Kim won’t be the last Christian sent to jail for her beliefs, she is among the first of many.

This case is a challenge to all of us to decide where to draw the line where we say “this far and no further”.  As a California resident, I know my turn is coming soon.