Monday, October 5, 2015

Hugh Petrie's Letter about the Pope and Kim Davis--in the Denver POST

On Sept. 14, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis makes a statement to the media at the front door of the Rowan County Judicial Center in Morehead, Ky. On Oct. 2, the Vatican distanced Pope Francis from Davis, the focal point in the gay marriage debate in the U.S., saying she was one of dozens of people the pope greeted in the U.S. and that their Sept. 24 encounter at the Vatican’s embassy in Washington “should not be considered a form of support of her position.” (Timothy D. Easley, The Associated Press)
Re: “Vatican observers raise questions over clerk’s pope visit,” Oct. 1 news story.
Much has been made recently of Pope Francis’ endorsement of conscientious objection. Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis’ supporters seem to believe that the pope thinks she should keep her job. This represents a woefully deficient understanding of conscientious objection, which has a distinguished history, dating back at least to Socrates drinking the hemlock for corrupting Athenian youth.
Conscientious objection to some rule or law derives its force through getting us to focus on the morality of that law. But it derives its moral force only if the objector is willing to face the consequences of that law, as, for example, did Socrates.
Davis, however, is a consummate hypocrite, wishing to cloak herself in the moral mantle of conscientious objection, while violating the constitutional separation of church and state by maintaining her paid position and using that position to thwart the law to which she objects.
Hugh Petrie, Centennial
This letter was published in the Oct. 6 edition.

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