A lot of people are putting out a lot of spin trying to explain away, contextualize, minimize and otherwise dismiss Pope Francis’ meeting with Kim Davis. And guess what? It is all irrelevant. In fact, it’s downright shameful.
It really doesn’t matter how the meeting came about or what was said between them. It also doesn’t matter that her life is a hot mess, or that she has done plenty of damage in her own life against the sanctity of marriage. The real point is that, when asked on the flight home, Pope Francis publicly affirmed civil disobedience as a “basic human right.”
A person doesn’t have to be perfect, or even decent, to have the right to exercise his or her basic human rights. One doesn’t have to agree with Kim Davis to affirm her right to object to what she believes is an unjust law. As I argued previously, regardless of what you think of her, Kim Davis has a basic human right to refuse to resign and, instead, engage in civil disobedience if she is being asked to do things she finds to be morally objectionable.
Furthermore, all Christians, and indeed, all persons of good will, have a moral obligation to support her and anyone else who acts in accordance with their conscience, especially when that puts them in conflict with the law. That doesn’t mean that conscientious objectors can act consequence-free, but it does mean that they should be able to act without encountering the derision of others–especially people-of-faith.
Shame on anyone who would attempt to dismiss or minimize another person’s basic human rights because those rights were not to their political liking. Without an inconvenient right to conscientious objection, true religious liberty does not exist in any meaningful way. Religious people, of all people, ought to know better.