What the Kim Davis Case Tells Us About America’s Long Middle Ages
Have you ever thought about the relationship between the words “clerk” and “clergy”? “Clerk” we associate with someone doing “clerical” work, like Kim Davis, the Rowan County Clerk who has now been jailed for contempt of court after refusing to issue marriage licences to same sex couples. County clerks are usually responsible for issuing various county licenses (marriage, motel, liquor, bingo), keeping records, issuing certificates of vital statistics (birth, death, marriage), computing tax extensions, and maintaining accurate county maps. “Clergy” we associate with any and all religious leaders, especially those ordained for religious duties in Christian denominations.
Linguistically, “clergy” and “clerk” are only distinguished by one letter, “g” instead of “k” (we can safely disregard the suffix “-y”), and these two letters are homorganic velar consonants, ….