Kim Davis And The Pope: Why Her Claims To “Religious Liberty” Are Bogus

Kim Davis and her lawyers from the Liberty Council are claiming that the homophobe and on-the-side Rowan County, KY clerk had a special, secret meeting with Pope Francis during his tour of America last week.

Davis claims that she received a phone call from a church official apparently inviting her to Washington D.C., where she then traveled to meet with Francis on September 24 at the Vatican Embassy. She also claims he hugged her, thanked her for her courage, and told her to “stay strong.”

That was a great encouragement. Just knowing that the pope is on track with what we’re doing, it kind of validates everything to have someone of that stature,” Davis said. The Vatican Press Office refused to confirm or deny that this meeting happened, and the D.C. Nunciature hasn’t commented on it.

Humor me a little bit while I explain how dumbfounding this is on Davis’s part: It’s been mentioned more times than necessary that Davis is an Apostolic Pentecostal. Apostolic Pentecostals believe that the Holy Trinity is not three different entities but just three different representations of Jesus; they believe in the laying-on of hands, speaking in tongues, the ability to be baptized more than once to remove sin, and eucharistic memorialism rather than transubstantiation (that the Eucharist is symbolic of the body and blood of Christ rather than actually being the body and blood of Christ, as Catholics believe).

These are not petty religious concerns: to a Catholic, laying hands is only done as a part of ordination, but the way it’s done in Apostolic Pentecostalism, it’d be heresy. Speaking in tongues is something like blasphemy to Catholics. In the Catholic Church, baptism can only be performed once, and any further baptisms are, again, heresy and sin. That and disagreements about the Eucharist are some of the foundational reasons why Protestants and Catholics have fought actual wars against each other, as, for example, in the Catholic persecution of the Huguenots under Louis XV, or in any of the various wars between France and England. Hard-line Protestants like Pentecostals believe that Mary worship and praying to saints makes Catholicism the same thing as paganism. Up until only two years ago, if you were in line for the British throne and you married a Catholic, you were immediately disqualified to reign. It’s a big deal.

But Davis seems all right with cherry-picking her support and her principles to fit whatever is going to get her the most press. If her beliefs really meant as much to her as she’s saying they do, she might not consider the Pope to be a person of stature, because he represents an entity that has persecuted people like her, and because, more importantly, if you took the doctrines of Apostolic Pentecostalism at face value, you’d have to interpret the Pope’s beliefs as not actually being Christian.

But to Davis, the strongest belief she seems to hold is that same-sex marriage is wrong. That is the one guiding principle of whatever religion she actually abides by, whether or not she disguises it in her Apostolic Pentecostalism. She’s willing to say that she’s denying people their rights –actively oppressing them! – because of her religious beliefs, but then she wants to align herself with the Pope and claim the support of Catholics who by all rights she should be considering un-Christian? No, ma’am; if you’re claiming that your faith is the very center and heart of your life and the reason you are sapping up the nation’s attention, you don’t get to cherry-pick which doctrines are important to you and which aren’t. That is, unless your faith is The Holy Order of Bigotry for the Purpose of Short-Lived Media Fame, which I have a hunch, for Davis, it is.

[ABC News]
[Apostolic Christian]

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Edit: The original article said that Davis practices Apostolic Christianity and linked to the web site of the Apostolic Christian Church of America. Davis, in fact, practices Apostolic Pentecostalism. The ACCA and Apostolic Pentecostalism are doctrinally similar in some ways and very different in others; the article has been updated to reflect the differences between Apostolic Pentecostalism and Catholicism rather than making references to the ACCA.