In high school, I had the privilege to read the book "Jesus Freaks" and have it count toward our class' weekly reading requirement.

Titled after Christian band dc Talk's 1995 song, the band teamed up with the human rights group The Voice of the Martyrs to compile stories of Christians through the centuries who have been persecuted for their beliefs. 

Chapter after chapter told of children in China, young men in predominantly Muslim nations, and even Soviet soldiers who were tortured, threatened with death, and sometimes even killed for refusing to forsake their belief in Jesus Christ.

They are true martyrs. The Christian Yazidi people in northern Iraq, run down by Islamic State fighters on a trail of death and destruction, they are true martyrs.

Kim Davis is not a martyr; not even close.

That's because Kim Davis is not being persecuted for her beliefs. She is being punished by the state for refusing to do her job for the state, and there is a distinct difference.

The fact that her husband, her lawyer, and protesters in Kentucky are making her out to be a martyr, someone on the same level as those who are truly persecuted, should make Christians uneasy.

When the Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment meant that states could not enforce bans on same-sex marriage over the summer, it presented Christians in America with a choice. They could accept the decision as law and, while still believing it to be sin, maintain an attitude open to all walks of life both in their personal journeys and churches. 

They could also rail against what they see as an injustice against God and fight the decision as if it were some sort of crusade to reclaim America.

Kim Davis chose the latter; unfortunately for her, the job she occupies as a part of the State of Kentucky does not allow this to happen through her position.

Like so many elected officials, Kim Davis took an oath when she took office. This oath includes allegiance to the Constitution and to the laws of the United States.

The Constitution denies the government, federal or state, from implementing laws or practices that either deny someone the ability to practice the religion of their choice or force a specific religious belief on citizens. This is the language of the First Amendment.

So the U.S. government cannot tell Kim Davis to believe that homosexuality is not a sin. It cannot prevent her from going to church, campaigning against same-sex marriage, nor can it stop her from praying that God lead the nation to reverse a ruling she finds immoral.

It can, however, punish her for not upholding the laws of the land as an elected official who swore to protect them. As an extension of the State of Kentucky, Kim Davis cannot let personal religious beliefs dictate what she does.

Romans 13:1 says, "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God."

Kim Davis can always believe that same-sex marriage is wrong. But so long as the state says it is legal, she must abide by the law in her work. This is why a judge held her in contempt of U.S. law, not the law of God.

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