17 Sep 2015

Billy Budd and the Lesser Magistrates

A Counter-Narrative In the unfolding controversy over Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis’ refusal to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, an old Calvinist doctrine appears to have entered the public debate. This “doctrine of the lesser magistrates” suggests that public servants ought not comply with laws that violate their consciences, stemming from the general adage that “an unjust law is no law at all.” Other thinkers have critiqued the inherent epistemic fragmentation in this doctrine

John Ehrett 3