“Eye of the Tiger” was my high school’s theme song. At every football game, every pep rally, every assembly–that darn song played. It’s a good song, don’t get me wrong, but after half a million times of hearing it and cheering to it it’s just as easy to quote and re-sing as the birthday song to me. The hardcore champion song has it’s place–like in high school gyms or the start of the Super bowl.
“It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight. Risin’ up to the challenge of our rivals.”
That’s the song that Kim Davis walked out to at a support rally in Kentucky today.
Crazy enough, it wasn’t a boxing match or the end of a Friday night game. It was because she openly and knowingly broke the laws of the land and said she did it in the name of the Lord. And everyone applauded and some cried out for her to run for president and others spouted off hate-filled cracks toward gays. And in my opinion this is exactly what it looks like–boloney.
If you haven’t heard of Kim Davis, she was a county clerk in Kentucky who denied a same-sex couple their right to a marriage license, even after she was asked several times. You can watch the video here. After spending some time behind bars, she is now being heralded as a hero for Christ–a saint who stood up to the “rivals”. And that just twists my stomach into a million knots.
I share Kim Davis’ faith in God. I share many of her opinions, most likely. But where we differ is in how we stand for it.
First of all, as Christians, “Risin’ up to the challenge of our rivals” doesn’t mean rising up against our fellow brothers and sisters in unkindness, disobeying the laws of the land, or making a spectacle of yourself in a crowd of uplifted crosses, homophobes, and cheering Sadducees. It doesn’t mean forcing your beliefs on others and crucifying them when they prove to be different. That doesn’t make you a winner for Christ. That makes you a symbol of all the things that are wrong in some parts of the Christian culture. It makes you the reason so many people turn away from all the good that we do in our churches and all the people who are truly loving and faithful followers of Christ. It makes you a laughing stock who did nothing more than make a same-sex couple feel judged and hurt and who is the reason that thousands of people clicking play on computer screens all over the world are shaking their heads and changing their minds about religion.
After watching the video of this rally where Kim raises her hands to Heaven as a mismatched, awkward backdrop of “They stack the odds, still we take to the street, for the kill with the skill to survive” plays in the background, I felt extremely prompted to apologize on behalf of those, who like me, feel sickened by this display.
“His people have rallied–and you are a strong people!” she yelled into a loud crowd at the rally. But what are we rallying for? To go against laws at our place of employment? To ostracize those who think differently? To mask yourself as a martyr for a cause?
Those who love God love their brothers and sisters too. They don’t gain attention as modern-day crusaders. This isn’t love–and this certainly doesn’t reflect a perfect Creator.
I understand the need and desire to stand up for what you believe in.
In a world that preaches so much of what is wrong, we’re called to be the light that fills up those dark corners. We’re called to be examples. But Kim Davis worked as a COUNTY CLERK. Her main job, alongside other tasks, is to sign marriage licenses. She didn’t have the right to deny the right that is now lawfully given to same-sex couples. If she doesn’t feel comfortable doing that, fine. Then change your day job. I can’t imagine the horror I would have if a homosexual clerk denied me the right to marry my husband. Opinions ASIDE. Standing up for what is right is a lot less extravagant than what some people tend to think nowadays. So many people feel the need to flash their banners and wave their flags and stand on the pedestals of “Thank God there is someone like me”. That’s where we’ve got it SO wrong.
All the while, far from the chaos and the Pharisees of our generation, Christ is standing amongst the widows and the prostitutes and the sinners and the neglected and the addicts and he’s comforting and loving and ministering to those who stand in food stamp lines and cancer wards and mental health facilities and in the lonely homes of those who wrestle with demons. He’s holding the depressed and he’s forgiving the teenage runaway and he’s helping and talking with the Christians who defend him by being kind and generous and bold in how they LOVE and use their hands for good.
We live in a day where men’s hearts will fail them. When we hear that scripture I think that so many of us think of those who are unbelievers. But I feel that if we aren’t careful and honest in our beliefs, we can be the ones to fail. We can be the ones to grow hard and calloused to those around us who are different or part of different cultures. And I don’t want to see that happen. The beliefs that Kim holds dear can be used for good. What if she talked to those young men as she wrote out their marriage license that day, asking them about their lives, laughing with them a bit, leaving them a little happier–a little better–than the way she found them? Isn’t that more of the world we want to create?
As I have loved you, Christ said so earnestly during his earthly ministry, love one another.
Think of your darkest moment–He loved you through that. Our job is to pass it on. Nothing more–nothing less.
Kim Davis does not represent Christianity by her recent actions. But Christ does.
That is the only way in this world. There is no Eye of the Tiger playing to the beat of hate. And we aren’t called to rise up against those we want on our side.
Let us be better.