Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you? ’Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ (Matthew 25: 44-45 NRSV)
Have you seen this picture yet? If you hadn’t seen it before you clicked onto this entry, you would have most likely seen it on the news or on social media by morning. This is Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky that had been in jail for being in contempt of the federal courts for refusing to provide marriage licenses for same sex couples. Today, the judge ordered her released on the condition that she not interfere with the deputy clerks in her office that are issuing same sex licenses. Whether she follows that order or not remains to be seen.
I have been loathe to post anything about this woman. I have nothing but contempt for her refusing legal, secular, government services to eligible individuals. I have even more contempt for the way that she has represented Christianity as a whole and Christ himself. She is seen here raising her arms in triumph in what I’m sure she believes is her own personal Paul and Silas moment, but let’s face it, this woman and her ilk (including “Pastor”/Governor turned stooge Mike Huckabee) have set Christianity in America back at least 5 years. There are so many of us, myself included, who are out trying to truly love others and change people’s perceptions of Christians, trying to show that we’re not all a bunch of judgmental hypocrites, but we seem powerless when you see images like this.
Davis hasn’t actually won anything tangible. Her office has been issuing same sex licenses since she was jailed, and in all likelihood that will continue, but the damage has been done. This photo op was exactly what she wanted. It’s exactly what her lawyers wanted. Those same lawyers will now reap the benefits as they continue to collect donations in order to “fight the good fight.” She may not have won the battle over marriage equality, but she won the propaganda war, and that will have consequences.
So the world is treating Kim Davis pretty good today. How’s it treating you? Where are you at in your life, in your walk with God? Is this a big victory as far as you’re concerned? Is this what you think Christ wants his church in the most prosperous country in the world to focus on?
Let’s take a look at another picture you have probably seen recently.
No really, look at it. Don’t turn away. Look at his face. Look at his tiny hands, look at his little shoes. Can you see Christ in this picture? Can you see face the of Jesus in this poor boy’s lifeless face? If you can spare a glance at a triumphant Kim Davis, you can spare a glance for this young boy and his family. If you can care so much about two gay people getting or not getting a marriage license, you can care about the plight of these millions of people fleeing the conflict in Syria. You can also care about the people fleeing violence in Latin America, violence that’s fueled by money from our drug obsession, violence that’s committed by people wielding weapons that are manufactured and sold within our borders.
How’s the world treating you? These people are having a hell of a time.
Meanwhile, we do NOTHING. Christians in the United States are way more worried about what two dudes do in the privacy of their bedroom. Christians in the United States are way more worried about getting their own candidate back in the White House. Christians in the United States are way more worried about prayer in school. Christians in the United States are way more worried about Planned Parenthood videos that the people who made them have admitted are heavily edited and misleading.
How much longer are we going to wait? How much longer before the light is totally out, before we have lost the last bit of our saltiness? Gay marriage or dead kids washing up on a beach? Which REALLY is the more pressing issue? Which do you think Jesus cares most about?
The answer to that question should be obvious to anyone who has read his teachings.
“…for I was hungry, and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you did not welcome me…Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.”
How’s the world treating you? Probably good enough that we can pat ourselves on the back and take a “victory lap” over the release of a divisive, contemptible figure from jail. Probably good enough that most of us will continue to sit in our pews every Sunday, whitened sepulchers wasting away while listening to the dulcet sounds of our local praise band, drifting further and further into irrelevancy. Probably good enough that the American church will continue to sit on her ass without lifting nary a finger to help these poor people.
May God have mercy on us, mercy we refuse to extend to others.
Please check out Benjamin Corey’s article on this same subject here. His words finally helped crystallize my thoughts on this. I was going to write about something else today, but after reading Ben’s thoughts, I could not. So often we criticize others for not “standing up and speaking out” on something that I felt like I needed to add my voice to this cause, despite the fact that it’s a pretty small voice. We need to get the word out, and we need to help these poor people. As presented on Ben Corey’s site, the site We Welcome Refugees is a good place to start. Won’t you take a few minutes and check it out?
“Dear Lord, be with your people tonight. Not just your people here, safe and secure at our computers or on our phones, but all your people, especially those fleeing violence in the Middle East and elsewhere. Give us hearts, minds, and talents to reach out and touch these people, to offer them homes, security, and peace: a port in the storm of this sad and broken world. May your Spirit be a light and comfort to all.
In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ,