Heaven, Hell, Homosexuals & Kim Davis: The Pandora’s Box of Political Religion

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Kim Davis Greeting Supporters (above) Her Pastor Below

kim davis pastor

Friends of Padre Steve’s World

Kim Davis, the recalcitrant County Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky has now decided that the reason that she cannot issue marriage licenses to Gays is that it is a heaven or hell decision, in other words, if she complies with the court order she will quite possibly go to hell. Actually as a theologian and historian I find this fascinating, and regardless of what happens next in this sorry saga, we must remember the words of Captain Jean Luc Picard “But she, or someone like her, will always be with us. Waiting for the right climate in which to flourish, spreading fear in the name of righteousness….”

Davis, who was elected to the office last November, following her mother who held the office for the 37 years prior, makes $80,000 a year to serve as the Country Clerk and one of her big duties is issuing marriage licenses to citizens of the county. The only problem is that Marriage Equality is the law and gays are entitled to the full rights of all citizens based on a Supreme Court ruling which said that based on the 14th Amendment that Gays, like all other American Citizens were legally entitled to the same rights as all other citizens. Likewise it appealed to the Civil Rights Act of 1965. By refusing the recalcitrant County Clerk of Rowan County Kentucky is in violation of the law. However, because she is an elected official she cannot be fired. She can only be impeached by a state legislature whose members need the votes of her supporters in the state. 

Mrs. Davis is an Apostolic Pentecostal Christian. Her Church, Morehead First Apostolic Church belongs to the United Pentecostal Church International. This denomination is one of the early Pentecostal denominations in the United States, founded in 1905 during the Pentecostal Awakening. It split from another Pentecostal denomination, the Assemblies of God over the issue of the Godhead. The United Pentecostals reject the traditional understanding of Trinitarian Christianity. Their theology is Monotheistic and they interpret the references to Father, Son and Holy as modes in which God reveals himself. In other words, God was the Father, and then the Son, and then the Holy Spirit.

According to mainstream Christianity since the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. the theology of the United Pentecostals was considered heretical, by all Eastern and Western branches of Christianity. This means, and I hate to be a theological hard ass here, but technically, they are not Christian, because they worship a different God. Now personally, I am not such a hard ass and believe that God forgives a lot of bad theology, even my own; but the United Pentecostals don’t, and here is where it gets really interesting.

The United Pentecostal Church believes that in order for a person to be “saved” that they must first repent of their sins. No problem there, I think repentance is a good thing. Next one must be baptized, and here is where it gets tricky. If you are not baptized “In Jesus’ Name” your baptism doesn’t count. Sorry all you folks that were baptized “in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit” you may have repented but you are not saved and yes you are heading for that eternal vacation on the Lake of Fire, so don’t forget your asbestos water skis.

But that’s not all my friends; to Kim Davis and the United Pentecostals you must also be baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of Speaking in Tongues. If not, by their doctrine you are going to hell, and don’t forget to go to bathroom first because it is “damnation without relief” and if you do not go it will be a very uncomfortable eternity. But wait there’s still more…. Even if you a member of these churches, like Kim Davis is and you make it through those first three gates, you can still go to hell; you have to Persevere to the End, that means that she must wear those frumpy clothes, no makeup or jewelry, and avoid doing sinful things and that is kind of tricky because there are so many ways to screw up. No wonder she is afraid of going to hell for doing the duties required by the law.

I find it fascinating that Mrs. Davis and her supporters are so hell bent on making sure that homosexuals cannot get married, or enjoy the same rights as other citizens and condemn homosexuals all to hell based on their interpretation of the Bible. Interestingly enough many of her big supporters are Trinitarian Evangelicals and other Conservative Christians, who by doctrine Kim Davis and the United Pentecostal Church does not consider Christians.

This is the fascinating part. Her biggest defenders and her lawyers are all Trinitarian Christians who Kim Davis and her church believe are going to hell, at least which is what their doctrine says, and these wonderful Trinitarian Christians are so full of animosity to homosexuals that they will defend a person who believes that they too are going to hell with those horrible homosexuals. Imagine, if Kim Davis and her church are right, Mat Staver, lawyer from Liberty Counsel will be sunning himself on the banks of the Lake of Fire with the homosexual that he so loathes, and I hope he takes some tanning oil. The irony is rich, but I digress….

You see this is the problem when you decide to let theologically and historically ignorant religious fanatics run government. But that is the morass that conservative Christians in the United States have created for themselves. Ever since the 1970s when Jerry Falwell began the charge the situation has got increasingly stickier with every passing year. Odd alliances are made by groups who all believe that they have to only way to salvation and that all others are going to hell. The problem is that this alliance cannot hold. Should the Religious Right ever get control they will start persecuting each other in the areas that they are strongest, because it is an alliance of convenience and in their hearts they despise each other almost as much as they do the gays. It will Balkanize and fracture our society beyond belief; but then who cares so long as our religion wins.

Robert Heinlien observed, “Almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.” That is what Davis and her backers want, if they cannot stop the law they want legal authority to disobey it while getting paid to administer it as government officials.

Is it no wonder that James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and others of our founding fathers were so adamant about separating church and state? Madison said why this is so necessary, “The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries.” And why Conservative Atheist Christopher Hitchens remarked “How dismal it is to see present day Americans yearning for the very orthodoxy that their country was founded to escape.”

Mrs. Davis can hold whatever religious views that she desires, and she can chose to worship the God of her choice and take her chances on landing in hell or heaven. However, her duties as an officer of the government require her to carry out the law. If she cannot carry out the law her choice is to resign. She has no right to be paid by the government and then substitute her religious beliefs for law she is to carry out, and thereby sabotage the law, which is meant for all citizens. Since she is unlikely to resign, cannot be fired, and most likely will not be impeached, there is no remedy for the citizens of Rowan County, none of who are able to get a marriage license. It reminds me of the days when White officials in the South defied Congress and the Courts to defend Jim Crow Laws in the 1959s and 1960s. 

Let’s turn this around for a second and put Mrs. Davis standing at the counter trying to get a marriage license following one of her three divorces. Imagine how Mrs. Davis would have felt if some hard-assed Trinitarian Catholic Christian denied her application for a marriage license due to her three divorces, and his belief that divorce was a mortal sin and that to issue a marriage license violated his religious beliefs.

That my friends is the path that Mrs. Davis and her supporters are taking us down. It is the path where a personal belief trumps the law, and one’s duty as an officer of the government to carry out that law.

Mrs. Davis needs to resign, or face the consequences. She will be considered a martyr for a cause by people who she, if she actually believes the teachings of her church, are going to go to hell alongside of the homosexuals that they are defending her from. I love that irony, and since Davis and many of her supporters would probably beleive that I am going to be damned for my support of the civil rights of Gays then I will have to agree with Captain Jean Luc Picard who once said “If we’re going to be damned, let’s be damned for what we really are.”

Make it so…

Peace

Padre Steve+

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19 Comments

Filed under christian life, civil rights, ethics, faith, History, LGBT issues, News and current events, Political Commentary, Religion

19 responses to “Heaven, Hell, Homosexuals & Kim Davis: The Pandora’s Box of Political Religion

  1. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    … a Pandora’s box indeed!!

  2. I didn’t know all this about her specific church (didn’t even know her church to be honest) but… isn’t she already set for that fire lake with her divorces to begin with (not to mention all the “rules” in Matthew 25 30-46 she is breaking)

    Just curious as I never have been reading Heinlein in English, is that quote from Number of the beast? which has nothing to do with the devil btw

    excellent article, reblogging 🙂

  3. Reblogged this on Mavadelo's mindscape and commented:
    excellent article

  4. Thanks, I needed that – for a reference for my blog tomorrow. I was trying to find her church membership. That helps, much. Too bad none of these yahoos seem to remember the Greatest Commandment. Like the Beatles sang, all you need is love.

  5. Padre,

    Thank you for clarifying the issue for me personally. I thought she was a court clerk meaning that she was a civil servant and employee of the state of Kentucky. Since she is an elected official then the only recourse is her resigning her position. Of course, if she is convicted of defying a federal law, then she will be a felon and may serve out her term in the Fed prison system.

    I wonder how many marriage licenses she approved for known adulterers, atheists, wiccans, pagans, and other less desirable men and women?

    The real shame of this is that she is probably a pawn of the “Trinitarian Catholic Christian Coalition” and she will get the privilege of doing the time so they can promote their agenda.

    Thank you for the information.

  6. Pingback: Giving Christians a Bad Name | The Pink Flamingo

  7. Joseph

    Nice article but a few things are erroneous. It is a known fact that before the Council of Nicea…many Christian churches baptized in Jesus name” Acts 2;38. In fact the Presbyterian Church USA recently did a study on the trinity and pointed this same thing out, and the are a Trinitarian non Pentecostal mainline denomination. Also these frumpy clothes you talk about..ha ha ha..The United Pentecostal Church are Holiness Pentecostals and have dress standards just as other Holiness Churches do. But I guarantee you, if you were to go to a service or Conference , none of these girls look frumpy. They do not adorn themselves with tons of makeup or jewels..however they do wear wedding rings and some woman wear foundation make up..but they look like no Jezebel.

    Take a look at one of the most famous UPCI Church Choirs from their Bible Schools..do they dress frumpy???

    http://search.tb.ask.com/search/video.jhtml?p2=%5EUX%5Exdm868%5ES10992%5Eus&n=780CC587&ss=sub&st=hp&ptb=DE0C141B-E7F7-4CF2-A7F4-E17413098D70&si=XXXXXXXXXX&tpr=sbt&searchfor=indiana+bible+college&pn=2&pToken=CAoQAA&ots=1441338388094

    http://search.tb.ask.com/search/video.jhtml?p2=%5EUX%5Exdm868%5ES10992%5Eus&n=780CC587&ss=sub&st=hp&ptb=DE0C141B-E7F7-4CF2-A7F4-E17413098D70&si=XXXXXXXXXX&tpr=sbt&searchfor=indiana+bible+college&pn=2&pToken=CAoQAA&ots=1441338388094

    • padresteve

      Joseph,

      Thank you for your comments but you missed the whole point of the article. The comments about Mrs. Davis and the UCPI were background meant to make a point. The fact is that while some churches before Nicaea did baptize in Jesus name but they were a minority and the practice faded away, mostly before Nicaea only to be revived in by the UCPI and other Jesus only Pentecostals. This is something that any decent church historian knows. You also might want to learn how to spell Nicaea. Having been once ordained in a Pentecostal denomination with ties to the Swedish Pentecostal movement, I know something about Pentecostal history.

      As far as church history and Pentecostal history I am pretty sharp, and you don’t need to lecture me about the Holiness movement and other Apostolic churches that the UPCI split from, over the Trinity, not dress or other outward conduct. The battles between the competing Pentecostal denominations in the early 1900s were brutal and the Trinitarian denominations like the AOG and COG Cleveland condemned the non-Trinitarians who responded in kind. As to the dress and outward modesty of Mrs. Davis that is not the issue either, and frumpy is a descriptive term, not pejorative at all. In fact I wish more people would be a bit more conservative in their dress and show less of their bodies. For their effort to show modesty, I think the UCPI, other apostolic groups and the Moslems should be commended. My issue for Mrs. Davis is that for her it is nor just a personal choice it could impact her salvation if she doesn’t do it.

      Finally, in your effort to defend the UCPI you missed the whole point of the article. Would you want a Catholic county clerk denying a thrice divorced UCPI Christian like Mrs. Davis a marriage license because of they felt it would violate their religious beliefs?

      That was the point of the article. Mrs. Davis just happens to be UCPI, that was used as an example. The fact is that if you allow her to do this it opens a Pandora’s Box for anyone to deny the civil and legal rights of others in the name of their religion.

      So please, in your snarky, condescending zeal, at least take the time to look at the main issue before launching into such jibber-jabber.

      Again, thank you for your comment.

      Peace

      Padre Steve+

  8. Pingback: Asking the Wrong Question: Kim Davis, the AP Church, Political Spectical, and Abuse | A Time to Speak Up

  9. pat

    great article – only one quibble, a spelling error two sentences up from the bottom (beleive instead of believe) – THANK YOU and sharing

  10. AnApostolicPentecostal

    I am of the Apostolic Pentecostal faith. This article is a bunch of hogwash. Apostolics do not believe all other Christians are going to hell. We feel compelled to teach and preach according to the way we interpret the Bible just as most other Christian denominations do. The oneness theology is also explained wrong in this article. We believe that Jesus was the son of God, but did not exist as the son before being born as a man (“holy trinity”). God came to earth as a man to become the sacrifice for our sins. We believe the development of the trinitarian doctrine is a misinterpretation of the Bible. We disagree with the idea that there are three separate co-equal and co-eternal persons, and if you understand the oneness theology it actually makes more sense. I do not know the answer to the dillemma in Kentucky, but I do not feel that she has broken any laws. They should accommodate her religious convictions, and split the job up to allow another individual to process the licenses that she disagrees with. By drawing all of this attention to this case and turning it into a circus is unfortunate for not only people of the Apostolic faith, but also people who are homosexual, and those who are trying to get married under the new supreme court ruling. The hatred shown by a small number of people supporting her is unneccessary. Please rise above making hateful signs, condemning people to hell, namecalling, etc. That is the wrong way to fight this battle of religious freedom, and contradicts the word of God. God loves everyone, and so many people have been raised differently. We should only show love while continuing to stand for our personal beliefs. It is not our place to judge, but she shouldn’t be forced to go against her religious beliefs either.

    • padresteve

      Thank you for your comment, but it is the last you will make here. I set a policy today, which I just published which said I will no longer approve such ignorant rants. In fairness to you I allowed this because you commented just a hour before the policy went into effect.

      Now as to the substance of you comments.. I have no beef with Apostolic Christians whatsoever. I did not condemn anyone to hell, I simply pointed out that historically there were Trinitarian Christians who had state churches who first by doctrine refused to consider people who believed as Apostolic Christians do as heretics who were going to hell, and that many of these Christians put heretics to death because they controlled the government. Please do not be so ignorant to confuse history with my personal feeling or regard for people who do not believe like me.

      My beef is with a public official, Kim Davis who refuses to do the job that she was elected to do and protect the legal rights of all the people in her county based on her religious beliefs. She happens to be an Apostolic Christian, but if she was any other religion I would feel the same way and make the same comments, except that i would use different historical examples of persecution to make the case.

      As for who is going to heaven and hell, I don’t make that call. I believe in my heart that God loves all, cares for all and judges people justly because he knows their hearts. But that is not the issue in this case.

      As en elected official Kim Davis has choices. She made the wrong choices, she could follow the law; find a reasonable accommodation that would allow her to function in the office without compromise, or resign the office. Instead she followed the bad advice of supposedly Christian lawyers who are using her to make money for their political cause. They will abandon her as soon as the cash stops flowing and she will still have the same choices.

      I bear no ill will to her or any Apostolic Christian. As a military chaplain I have guarded and protected the rights, cared for and made accommodation for them; I have even given them communion in express defiance of my old denomination which said that I couldn’t. Likewise I also gave communion during that time to homosexual Christians. I decided that caring for the people under my care, and trusting the love, grace and mercy of God was more important than obeying the denomination’s rules. I take that chance because I believe in a God who loves people.

      I feel bad for Kim Davis because she is being used.

      If you want to continue to engage me in this, please carefully read what I say; there is a lot of nuance in it, a lot of references to history, theology, law, often mixed in with some occasionally snarky comments and questionable humor.

      Have a great day, and please, you are welcome to comment again. You seem to be a person who misunderstood me but actually does care about people. And I do appreciate that.

      Peace

      Padre Steve

  11. Russ

    You know Padre, everyone’s looking for answers. Sometimes a perspective is better than an answer. Thanks for the insight.

  12. pastor yohannes h/michael

    thanks…dear servant…..i’m from Ethiopian remote area…and planting churches ……
    can you work with us?? or can you tell us about those who support the church in remote area??

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