Jesse Rau, Kim Davis, and The King’s Shilling.


There’s an old saying: “If you take the King’s Shilling, you do the King’s bidding.” Essentially, if you work for the king, if he pays your salary, you do what he says.

There’s been a lot of chatter online about a certain county clerk in Kentucky. Much has been said about Kim Davis on in the last few days. I think the best two articles (one from each side) are this one from Bethany Jenkins over at Gospel Coalition and this one from Zack Hunt. I wasn’t planning to weigh in on the whole issue of bakers and photographers and clerks (oh my!) and gay weddings mostly because I’m Canadian and I prefer to focus on things that are at least related to a Canadian context. American constitutional law is outside my pay grade.

But then Jesse Rau happened.

If you’re unfamiliar, Jesse Rau is a Calgary Transit bus driver who refuses to drive the “pride bus” which is a Calgary transit bus that has been wrapped in rainbow advertisements for Calgary Pride week. It’s not that Rau won’t drive that bus during the parade when it’s used as a float, rather, he won’t drive that particular bus regardless of what route it’s on. Many have commented on Davis, Rau and others who have refused service to gay couples because of “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

I’ll say one thing about this before I move on to what I actually want to talk about…

I agree with Zack Hunt who says:

“Now, I have no doubt that no words of mine will change Ms. Davis’ mind or the minds of her constituents, but like the Christian baker or florist or party supply owner, she would do well to also remember that she is no more endorsing her same-sex neighbors’ “sin” then Holiday Inn is endorsing adultery because one of their hotel rooms might be used by someone having an affair.”

When Ms. Davis and Mr. Rau are doing their jobs, they are functioning as agents of the state. In their cases two government agencies who have both decided to affirm, accept, and endorse gay relationships and marriages. These agencies pay their wages and: “When you take the King’s Shilling…”

But enough about that.

My concern comes more in the damage that their attitudes do to not just their witness for the Gospel, but all of ours as well. We are called to one purpose as Christians. That is to be good witnesses for Jesus and to make disciples as the Great Commission commands us. Squabbling about our rights, throwing temper tantrums and refusing to do a secular thing for a secular employer sets back our witness and does damage to our testimony. There’s no other way to say it.

Jesse, please, for the sake of the Gospel and your own witness, drive the bus. Click To Tweet

There’s another expression I rather like: “Is that a hill you want to die on?” Is this important enough of an issue for you to raise such a ruckus? Is THIS the issue on which you stand your ground, plant your flag and say: “This far, NO FARTHER!”? Driving a bus? Filling out a form? Taking a picture? Baking a cake? Brothers and sisters, friends, none of these things are what Jesus or any of the Apostles expected of us. Our job as citizens, and as Christians is to live in peace with those around us and be good witnesses to the Gospel, to the Good News that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross saves us from our sin and ourselves. Mrs. Davis was arrested and jailed for failing to comply with the order to issue marriage licenses and up here the Jesse Rau saga continues.

We are dying on the wrong hills while people are dying thinking Christians are bigots. Does that seem right to you? Ought we not rather be championing things that matter? Like the fact that the Gospel saves us no matter what sin we’re guilty of? Wouldn’t that be a better use of our time?

You might believe that a marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman, but your (and my) government believe it’s a contract between two people regardless of gender. This is a place where being intolerant is not called for, this is a place where we are called to love our neighbours, and serve them. So Jesse, please, for the sake of the Gospel and your own witness, don’t become Canada’s Kim Davis, drive the bus.

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