Christian and political leaders have praised a judge's decision to release Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis from jail, but warned that the battle for religious freedom isn't over, as the U.S. government clearly chooses to "accommodate the religious beliefs of all religions, but Christianity."
On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning ordered Davis' release from jail six days after she was was held in contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing her Christian faith. In a statement, the judge said he made the decision after he was satisfied that same-sex couples were no longer being denied marriage licenses.
Hours after Davis' release, Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, who held her hand as she walked free, took to Facebook to share his thoughts on the incident.
"Today, I was proud to stand with Kim Davis as she was released from jail. Kim Davis should have never been locked-up for being a Christian and for following her conscience and the law," he wrote.
"I am appalled at our government's willingness to accommodate the religious beliefs of all religions, but Christianity. Kim Davis sitting behind bars in an orange jumpsuit for six days leaves no doubt about the criminalization of Christianity in America. I refuse to sit silently as our Constitution is torched and the courts violate our fundamental rights. We did not fight a revolution against the tyranny of one unelected monarch so we could surrender our freedoms and abandon our Constitution to the tyranny of five unaccountable, unelected lawyers."
Huckabee concluded by stating that the "this shredding of the most fundamental civil rights of our citizens cannot stand."
Prominent evangelist Franklin Graham, who is the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, also weighed in, calling Davis' imprisonment a "real miscarriage of justice."
"I'm thankful to God for the release of Kim Davis and for all those who have prayed and stood with her as she was jailed for refusing to sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples as Clerk of Court in Rowan County, KY," he wrote in a Facebook post.
"I appreciate the fact that she stood firmly by her strong, heartfelt convictions. In a day when hardened criminals convicted of violent crimes are too often quickly released from jail, it is a real miscarriage of justice for someone like Kim Davis to be locked up because of her religious beliefs. Even though Kim has now been released, we need to realize that the battle for religious liberty in this country is in no way over," he continued.
Graham emphasized that while the Supreme Court may have legalized same-sex marriage, it has "not secured the religious freedom guaranteed to us by the First Amendment" and encourages Christians to continue praying for this "ongoing battle."
After emerging from the Carter County Detention Center, Davis told the cheering crowd, "I just want to give God the glory. His people have rallied, and you are a strong people. Just keep on pressing. Don't let down. Because he is here."
However, the New York Times reports that Davis' release came with a stern warning from Bunning, who, in a two-page order, wrote that he was setting her free because her office was "fulfilling its obligation to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples," but would that he respond to any further defiance.
"Defendant Davis shall not interfere in any way, directly or indirectly, with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples," he wrote. "If Defendant Davis should interfere in any way with their issuance, that will be considered a violation of this order and appropriate sanctions will be considered."
On Monday, Davis' supporters rallied Monday at two locations - outside Judge Bunning's home and outside the detention center where she's being held according to WMUR.
"Her spirits remain high," said Horatio Mihet one of Davis' attorneys. "She was brought to tears when she heard that so many people outside the jail and around the country are praying for her."
Mihet said she was "willing to stay in this jail as long as it takes in order for her to win back her constitutional rights, not just for her but for Americans of all faiths."