Almost exactly three years ago, on Sept. 14, 2012, I wrote a column on Maine’s then-pending vote on same-sex marriage.

I quoted a declaration signed that year by dozens of representatives of nearly all the largest Christian denominations and many interdenominational groups, as well as Orthodox Jews and even American Sikhs.

The statement was titled, “Marriage and Religious Freedom: Fundamental Goods that Stand or Fall Together.”

It said: “Altering the civil definition of marriage does not change one law but hundreds, even thousands, at once.” Government mandates “will apply to religious people and groups in the ordinary course of their many private or public occupations and ministries.”

And authorities will treat dissenters “as bigots, subjecting them to the full arsenal of government punishments and pressure.…”

With that in mind, I asked the rhetorical question, “Do you really want to approve a law that would treat your neighbors as if they were criminals?”

Well, a majority of Maine voters answered “yes,” and it provides no pleasure to see that these warnings were accurate.

Conservative columnist Kevin Williamson wrote on National Review Online Tuesday that the definition of “unconstitutional” is, “At odds with the conscience of Anthony Kennedy, depending on what he had for breakfast that day.”

The Kennedy-led Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision imposing same-sex marriage was described by Chief Justice John Roberts as being “an act of will, not legal judgment,” and by other justices as “indefensible,” “dangerous for the rule of law,” “demeaning to the democratic process,” “a naked judicial claim to legislative — indeed, super-legislative — power,” “pretentious,” “egotistic,” a “judicial Putsch,” “deeply misguided,” and a “usurp(ation of) the constitutional right of the people.”

And it has led to the recent, and perhaps future, jailing of Kim Davis, a humble county clerk in Kentucky who said her Christian beliefs barred her from lending her name to marriage licenses for same-sex couples.

If Davis belonged in jail, why was the mayor of San Francisco, whose support for unlawful “sanctuary city” policies led to the murder of an innocent tourist, not sitting beside her?

The left has piled on her hard, but criticism has also come from the right.

Exemplifying the latter, Peter Wehner, writing Sunday on the website of the conservative journal Commentary, said Davis’ action, if applied as a general rule, “is a prescription for chaos and lawlessness.” Instead, he said, she should have resigned.

But such critics don’t see that chaos and lawlessness are what we have now in marriage law, and how much more chaos will inevitably come because of this decision.

In truth, resignation isn’t compatible with how Davis and her supporters understand the controversy.

Davis was elected (as a Democrat) and took her oath of office at a time when the Kentucky Constitution, in an amendment approved by 75 percent of voters, restricted marriage to one man and one woman. In fact, that is still Kentucky’s law.

(In a revealing lapse, The New York Times initially identified Davis as a Republican. Apparently there’s no need to check such things when ideological priorities are involved.)

If she resigns, she concedes that a tiny group of lawyers swayed by popular movements holds control over something her Christian faith has always held to be established by divine decree and upheld by natural law, which says the very flesh of men and women displays the means by which they were designed to exercise their mutual love.

And she validates those who hold, as predicted above, that faithful Christians have no place in such public offices, even in a nation whose Constitution gives religious liberty first place in its list of civil rights, and mentions same-sex marriage not at all.

Indeed, Davis’ critics don’t seem to understand traditional Christianity.

First, a third of the world’s population is Christian. There is no chance that Roman Catholicism, most worldwide evangelical churches and Eastern Orthodoxy will ever change their Bible-based teachings supporting male-female marriage.

Second, critics on the left have virulently attacked Davis for her personal history of failed marriages and out-of-wedlock births — without noting the subsequent conversion that led her back to a former husband and a new life.

This classic Christian story of redemption serves to cement, not destroy, her credibility among believers.

Protesters may have chanted, “Love won! Love won!” as Davis was hauled off to jail, where murderers could make bail but she couldn’t.

However, Christianity teaches that God’s love, which is available to all, reaches its fruition in our obedience to what is true, good and right — the gifts that are best for us because they fulfill the purpose for which we were created.

True, she may yet be beaten down. Not everyone can be a hero, which is why heroism deserves such special honor. But so far, she has done well.

Which is why #IStandWithKimDavis.

M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a freelance writer and speaker. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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