By Robert Stitt
In the Biblical book of Acts, the Apostles Peter and John were commanded by the civil courts to stop preaching in the name of Jesus. Peter and John did not pay attention to the courts and continued to preach anyway. When brought in to face the court again, Peter answered, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge.”
Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky is making the same sort of argument for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Peter and John were beaten. Davis was held in contempt of court and thrown in jail. Peter and John gave praise to God once released. When Davis was set free from prison this last week she said, “I just want to give God the glory. His people have rallied, and you are a strong people.”
While in prison, Davis’s deputies issued the gay marriage certificates. Those hoping to see the whole situation just go away are praying that Davis will leave things as they are now so life can just go on. It is still unclear what will happen if Davis hinders her deputies from issuing the licenses or challenges the authenticity of the licenses they already issued since they do not have her signature.
While Davis made front page news because the LGBT lobby is quite powerful, many people are not aware that another woman from a different belief system has found herself in a similar situation. Cheree Stanley, a muslim flight attendant for ExpressJet refused to serve alcohol to customers saying that it is against her religious beliefs. She was reported by a co-worker who said Stanley “wasn’t fulfilling her duties” and that made extra work for everyone else. Stanley says she shouldn’t have to choose “between properly practicing my religion and earning a living.”
Stanley says she should not be compared to Davis. Stanley says that serving alcohol is not an important part of her job and describes it as a “non-essential function.” Davis, Stanley and her lawyer say, is an elected official that will deny a segment of society equal access if she does not agree to give the marriage licenses. Stanley, her lawyer argues, should be given the opportunity to have accommodations made for her. Somebody else can do the part of the job she cannot do herself.
Stanley’s situation has split commentators. Some argue that all religions must be accommodated if any are, and others say that you know what your beliefs are when you take a job. If you can’t do the job because of your beliefs, get another one.
Ask yourself, do you favor one belief over the other? Does one view bother you more than the other? Does one situation being Christian and one being Muslim influence your opinion? What if someone from a less mainstream religion asked for accommodations that were quite offensive, perhaps not serving blacks, or Jews, etc? Just something to think about.