If people claimed that Christianity required them to engage in racial discrimination, then would Ted Cruz approve?
No, that isn’t a rhetorical question, because racial discrimination in the name of Christianity has taken place before. Indeed, Bob Jones University became infamous for its racist policies. A March 2000 article in Christianity Today describes that college’s racist history.
The southern school adopted its ban on interracial dating in the 1950s. Ironically, the policy was not instituted in response to concerns of white parents, but came after an Asian family threatened to sue the school when their son, who was a student at the school, nearly married a white girl. BJU did not admit black students until the 1970s. The school lost its tax-exempt status in 1983 after a 13-year battle with the Internal Revenue Service, which said the school’s policies violated federal law. The school had justified its ban on interracial dating by saying that God created people differently for a reason.
Did Christianity cause BJU to ban interracial dating? No, of course not, and plenty of American Christians knew it. The leaders of BJU had simply read into the Bible something that isn’t there.
Imagine what would have happened in 2000 if George W. Bush had defended BJU’s ban on interracial dating, citing religious liberty, saying that BJU’s leaders were just living according to their faith. If that had happened, then Al Gore would have beaten Bush.
Today, Ted Cruz is one of the GOP presidential candidates who is defending the civil disobedience of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who is now being held in contempt of court. Yet, Cruz and the other supporters of Kim Davis haven’t explained what standard they use to determine which religious beliefs justify civil disobedience.
Davis claims that Christianity is making her disobey a court order, but that claim is false. If anything, Davis is contradicting a biblical teaching. In Romans 13:1-2, the Apostle Paul 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. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”
There may be times when a Christian should defy the orders of an evil regime, but that is not what Davis has been doing. She and her defenders are under the delusion that a clerk’s name on a marriage license implies that the clerk approves of a particular marriage.
No, that is not what it means. Acting as an officer of the government, a county clerk gives recognition that two people have met the legal requirements for obtaining a marriage license and that the license is legally valid in the state in which it was issued. Nothing in the Bible prohibits a Christian from giving such recognition.
Thus, Kim Davis isn’t being persecuted for being a Christian. Instead, she has incurred the judgement that the Apostle Paul warned about.