Counting the cost of convictions

Published 10:14 am Wednesday, September 16, 2015

According to the mug shot taken as she was being booked into her local detention center, Kim Davis stands at a solid five foot, four inches. Davis, you may recall, is the Rowan County, Kentucky clerk who was recently incarcerated for refusing to issue a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

The same week her photo surfaced, a shot of another woman of nearly the same height was also circulating through the media. Its megapixels depicted presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton showing off her dance moves on “The Ellen Degeneres Show.”

Odd, isn’t it, that one person can act according to standards held for all ages and go to jail for it, while another can compromise national security by the irresponsible use of private email and become a top contender for the highest office in the land.

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I suppose it’s no more surprising than what happened to Colorado store owner Jack Phillips. He told a homosexual couple he’d gladly sell them anything in his bakery but a wedding cake, and they didn’t take it so well. Nor did a judge with Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission, who promptly ordered Phillips to “cease and desist from discriminating” or face stiff penalties for standing up for his religious convictions. Phillips appealed, but just last month a higher court upheld the earlier rulings that said his refusal to bake on demand went against Colorado law. Philipps, who is apparently more concerned about going against God’s law, no longer makes wedding cakes.

And then there’s the bus driver in Canada, Jesse Rau. Rau said he would quit his job if forced to drive a rainbow-colored transit bus during “Ride with Pride” week. No matter. He was fired over the controversy.

Just across the border, Barbara Davis could feel Rau’s pain. She got in trouble at Penn State for disagreeing with a co-worker during a discussion of gay marriage – and daring to do it right after attending a “diversity event.” She now cleans houses for a living.

Another victim of the silence mandate is David Wells, a 13-year volunteer prison minister.  He was informed in July by the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice that he would no longer be permitted to serve at the juvenile detention center in Bowling Green because he refused to sign a document, per state policy, promising not to call homosexuality a sin.

Paul Chitwood, a Baptist leader in that state, made a good point when he wrote this concerning Wells’ situation: “The great irony is that the very belief system that has motivated us to volunteer our time for the betterment of our state and society is the belief system our state and society most fears.”

And misunderstands.

Take on-air personality (and Mississippi native) Shepard Smith’s comments last week, for example. “Haters are going to hate,” he observed as Fox News aired live footage of Kim Davis being released from jail. As if that wasn’t enough, Smith also broke in during a pro-Davis rally to compare the situation to Muslims promoting Sharia law. (Shame on you, Shepard.)

But at least there’s been one bright spot in religious liberty litigation lately. Wesley Modder, chaplain to SEAL Team Six in Afghanistan, came under fire here on home soil and survived. His commanding officer sought to dismiss him because the 20-year-veteran had the nerve to express his Christian beliefs on issues of sexuality, marriage and homosexuality during counseling sessions with sailors. (Imagine that.) Surprisingly, the Navy exonerated Modder, who is back at his post.

But that’s how it goes. By God’s design there will occasionally be the Shadrachs, Meshachs and Abednegos who do not bow the knee and come out of the furnace unscathed. More often, however, there will be the Elijahs, Pauls and John the Baptists who speak out and suffer because of it. So Christians these days, whether in the public spotlight or conversing around their cubicle, must do as Christians have always done when swimming against the current of culture — count the cost of their convictions. That, and prepare for the consequences.


Wesson resident Kim Henderson is a freelance writer who writes for The Daily Leader. Contact her at