I Contain Multitudes

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
~ from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”

Dang it, dang it, dang it. In a post I wrote a few days ago, I said Kim Davis is a person of worth and courage and integrity. And now I’m wishing I’d just kept quiet.

But, because I have an intense fear of being disliked, I don’t want any of my more conservative friends thinking I’m all “Down with Davis.” So I’ll reiterate: She does have worth. (We all do.) She seems courageous, given her defiance of a court order. (Courage and stupidity: two sides of the same coin.) And if you define integrity as sticking to your moral standards, she certainly has that going on.

But (again with the fear of being disliked) I don’t want any of my progressive friends thinking I’m all “Hooray for Davis.” Which seems to contradict what I just wrote.

Here’s what’s going on in my head: Yesterday, I watched this video of her, and for the teeniest moment, I wanted to retract the kinder things I’ve said about her. And then I wanted to throw something at her. (It’s not as violent as it sounds; I’d very likely miss.)

It was this declaration that got me:

“I just want to give God the glory; his people have rallied, and you are a strong people.”

I am a “God’s people,” and I’m a “strong people,” and I’d really rather not be lumped in together with Mr. Huckabee and Mrs. Davis and the throngs of people cheering her on while waving white crosses on sticks (What in the world?) and the people who are saying she’s a victim of religious persecution and Mr. Graham, who says Mrs. Davis “has shown the world how true Christians should stand up for their convictions.”

I am a “true Christian” (I’m trying to be anyway, and it’s stupid difficult and, to be honest, a little irritating—and I’m thankful that Jesus loves me even though I just said that out loud). I’ve stood up for my convictions. Except my convictions and the Huckabee-Davis-Graham convictions don’t exactly jive. So, what is the world supposed to make of that?

It’s really no wonder Christians have such terrible street cred.

Except Mrs. Davis’ arrest really had nothing to do with her convictions. She was jailed because she was in contempt of court. Mrs. Davis was not jailed because of her Christian beliefs. She made a decision based on her beliefs—which landed her in jail. The end.

And yet, I feel a little sympathy for her. This isn’t what she signed up for. She’d been in the clerk’s office for longer than two decades before she became County Clerk in January 2015. She took an oath to discharge the duties of her office before said duties were in violation of her religious beliefs. (Except I’m still turning that one around in my mind, because she would’ve given marriage licenses to people getting remarried, and her religious beliefs should be in opposition to that, too. So I’m confused.)

I also feel sympathy for her because the media has put her personal life on display—largely, it seems, for the purpose of stirring the pot. She’s on her fourth husband and there’s a bit of paternity scandal, and that’s caused people to cry, “Hypocrite!” Except she didn’t decide to follow Christ until 2011, long after all that was going on, so that’s not fair.

Also not fair—or legal: Denying a marriage license to a same-sex couple.

I’m not pro-Kim Davis. But I’m not anti-Kim Davis, either. It’s messy. Maybe that’s wishy-washy of me, but that’s what happens when you throw human beings in the mix; I have a terrible time trying to be either fully for or fully against people. (Even Trump. God help me.)

“Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes.”

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