Should you stick to your morals whatever the cost?

We all have a moral code that we live by, but should you stick to your morals whatever the circumstances, whatever the cost? Or should you see the bigger picture and be prepared to bend your ideas of right and wrong?

When I first read the story of the Kentucky County Clerk, Kim Davis, who went to jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses, I really didn’t “get it”.

She’s a county clerk and part of her job is to issue marriage licenses to people who want to get married.

She had stopped issuing all licenses as a protest against same-sex couples having the right to marry under the U.S. Constitution, citing her beliefs as an Apostolic Christian. She was sticking to her moral code and was a conscientious objector.

Rowan’s refusal to issue licenses won’t stop gay people getting married, another clerk will simply issue the paper work and they will still be wed. She will change nothing, except her own circumstances. After a full day of court hearings she is now sitting in a Kentucky jail, and gay people in Kentucky are still saying “I do” despite her two-month legal fight over a U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding same-sex marriage.

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I didn’t understand Rowan, I thought she was old fashioned and inflexible, until I thought back to my time as a nurse. As part of my duties I cared for women who were having pregnancies aborted. I would happily care for the women before the procedure and after the abortion, but I refused to assist in the operating theatre.

I have no moral objection to abortion, but I would not be a party to taking a life. I was a conscientious objector. My objection changed nothing, nor did I want it to, but I couldn’t go against my values, I’d rather have lost my career. It’s when I remembered my experience as a nurse that I “got it.” Rowan would rather go to jail than break her moral code, it’s easier for her to live with a prison sentence than with the knowledge that she’s not lived up to her values.

Should you always stick to your morals and be a conscientious objector or are there circumstances when you’d should put your moral values aside?