Kim Davis and Living in a Pluralistic Society

September 8, 2015

Categories: Values

Well, here is the latest in the debate between religious liberties and LGBT rights: Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses, was put in jail for five days because of a contempt of court ruling last week. She was released yesterday.

Irrespective of your opinion on gay marriage, I think the Kim Davis situation highlights a very important issue that Christians (and really, all individuals) need to wrestle with and think about.

How do we live in a pluralistic society?

A pluralistic society means that we live in a nation that has all sorts of different folks. The United States isn’t a Christian nation. It includes people from various religious, ethnic, racial, and political groups, and we have to do our best to make that work.

Having all these differences can cause problems and conflict. Different types of individuals and groups have different beliefs, values, and goals. Sometimes these beliefs, values, and goals don’t always agree or line up with each other. For the most part, we have the freedom to hold whatever personal beliefs, values, and goals we want. But we don’t always see our personal beliefs, values, and goals reflected in the broader society. And when we’re in public, we have to navigate that.

Kim Davis is struggling with something that we probably all deal with at one time or another. How do we navigate living in a pluralistic society? What do we do when our personal beliefs and values aren’t necessarily shared by the population at large?

I think my opinion on this matter is that Kim Davis needs to follow the law. When she took her job, she made a commitment to uphold the law. I don’t think she can decide what laws she wants to follow and what laws she doesn’t want to follow. That’s not how an organized society works.

Her personal beliefs are a different matter. She is free to hold whatever beliefs she wants. But in the public sphere, things are different. We live in a pluralistic society, and we need to be able to navigate those differences. If Kim Davis can’t navigate those differences, I think she probably should take a different job where there isn’t as much conflict between her personal beliefs and the requirements of her job.

Discussion: What do you think of the Kim Davis situation? How do you navigate holding your personal beliefs, values, and goals, while at the same time living in a pluralistic society?


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  1. COLLEEN CARRICO September 9, 2015 at 12:50 pm - Reply

    I agree 100% Josh. To me the Kim Davis situation is a no-brainer. If she can’t fulfill the duties of her job then she needs to resign. If she feels she is not being the follower of Jesus (in her mind) by signing off on gay marriage, then clearly the job isn’t for her.

    As far as living in a pluralistic society…………we need to be tolerant. We are never going to live in our own “perfect world” so we need to make room for everyone and their beliefs. I think we need to LISTEN to others’ thoughts and opinions and find what we have in common. And grace goes a long way.

    I guess I don’t have to navigate too far because I like diversity. I enjoy discussing others’ beliefs……religions…….lifestyles etc. If there is something I just absolutely can’t tolerate I avoid the situation.

    I’m just sad that so many people put Christians in the same boat of opinions all the time. I know MANY Christian people who are open, accepting, tolerant, and truly don’t feel that their way is the only way.

  2. Joshua Hook September 20, 2015 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing. I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about how it is difficult (but enriching also) to engage with difference.

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