Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

Posts Tagged ‘law’

[Power of the Church] Power of the Government

Posted by Lex Fear on October 25, 2009

I’ve discussed before on this blog, what the differences are between America Churchianity and British Churchianity. I can’t think of a better example of why separation of church and state is a good thing, a thing invented by Christians than this little gem by the perspicacious Martin Turner:

“Richard Dawkins’s followers will no doubt be quick to claim this is another example of the heinous effect of ‘the God delusion’. But they would be wrong. Under charity law, the Church of England has to diligently pursue all of its debtors, and, coupled with the laws on ‘chancel repair liability’ which date back to Valor Ecclesiasticus in 1535, they have no choice.

<snip>

What lunatic changed the law in that way? (You know the answer to this one, but, in case you don’t, the legislation is the Land Registration Act 2002.)

Since the Church of England is powerless to extricate itself from a situation which bankrupts ordinary people and brings the church, and thus the entire Christian faith, into disrepute, the government ought to have intervened to simply cancel chancel liability. This would free the Church of England to pursue grants and even Lottery money. This is in fact what the Law Commission and the Church of England Synod recommended in the 1980s.”

At the time when this hit the headlines I was not aware of these facts. I’m glad I reserved my judgement.

Posted in Apologetics, Churchianity, Fact Erosion, Morals & Ethics, Property Market, Quoteyness, Warring Memes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

[Whodunnit Pt. 2] Let Him Have It…

Posted by Lex Fear on June 10, 2009

Back in February I had a long comment discussion with an atheist called Postsimian which started on a post at The Friendly Atheist, but went off topic so I brought it here.

Whilst not intended, this makes an excellent follow-up to that post – Killing In The Name Of…

The gist of the discussion was one of hermeneutics. Postsimian argued that ‘if’ there was a God, he was evil, because of the certain events and commands given by God in the Old Testament, taken literally. My argument was that, as well as the need for proper exegetical context, there is a need for a greater perspective on what is written in the OT, which relies heavily on if we deem the events real or made-up.

The crux of the matter was whether God, assumedly being good, could be capable of evil – i.e. killing seemingly innocent people. Postsimians study of the OT led him to conclude that even if God is good, he is capable of evil, whereas my study of the bible leads me to conclude that certain acts of God which seem wrong on the face of it, are not when understood in context.

It later occured to me that this argument is demonstrated aptly in a film I watched years ago based on the true story of Derek Bentley called Let Him Have It. The premise of the film is of a robbery which goes disasterously wrong. During the attempted arrest, brain-damaged Bentley yells out to his younger accomplice “Let him have it” – referring to the gun, and subsequently his accomplice, Christopher Craig, shoots the policeman. For those not in the know, “Let him have it” used to be a turn of phrase in the UK for giving the go-ahead to attack someone. The question is: Did Bentley order Craig to hand over the gun, or fire it at the copper?

The real-life case, in actual fact, did not hinge upon these words, but it does prove useful for this exercise. For the police, by yelling “let him have it” Bentley was giving the order to shoot, and was therefore intending evil, and rightly deserved the death penalty. For the defence, Bentley was ordering Craig to hand over the gun and surrender.

The fact is, without any supporting evidence apart from the reading of Bentleys words, your view of Bentleys guilt will be based on your own preconceptions and bias. If you were not British and raised in the time of the 50’s you may well think that Bentley ordered Craig to surrender. However, if you were around at the time, you may have thought differently.

By now you know what I’m getting at. This is nearly the same problem when it comes to reading biblical texts literally. No, God is not going around in the OT ordering people to shoot other people, but there are times when he has commanded specific instructions and left it for his people to interpret and then act, or intercede.

More and more, it seems to me that what is not written in the OT scriptures, is more important than what is actually written.

In the end, Postsimian may be right after all about one thing, in some cases it seems like it is a mere subtle nuance. However, I must counterbalance this with the truth that in every instance of the OT where God orders the destruction of human life, as the law required (just like the American justice system), when people either interceded or pleaded for mercy, they were shown mercy.

This is why if you are going to honestly critique the Old Testament, you cannot read it literally. You need to be prepared to study a bit of history and culture at the same time. It is also why I feel I cannot emphasise enough, that God is not looking for people to carry out judgement (under the law), but instead he is looking for people to intercede and carry out mercy and forgiveness (when the law has been broken).

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Posted in Apologetics, Justice & Mercy, Laymans Theology, Xianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

[Legalities] Ignorantia Juris Non Excusat

Posted by Lex Fear on February 27, 2009

Gavin Ayling thinks the law should be written in plain English. I’d like to expand on his post. I’ve always been amazed at this legal principle that underlines society.

Since there are so many laws and regulations to follows wouldn’t many of us be ignorant until pulled up on one?

And yet how many times have we come up against authorities themselves who play upon our ignorance and ignore the laws meant to keep them in check?

It seems to me laws have been crafted as to cover every tiny possibility and remove as much discretion as possible for a judge to employ. I think an efficient and humanitarian society should look to reducing laws and regulations as much as possible – wording them so that they cover a ‘multitude of sins’ rather than every single little possibility. This would then assure people of (a) their rights and (b) their responsibilities.

For example, what is the point of having a Racial and Religious Hatred Act, a Protection from Harrassment Act, a Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act, a Criminal Justice Act, an Anti-Social Behaviour Act, a Female Genital Mutilation Act (yes, there is one), a Sexual Offenses Act, a Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act, a Violent Crime Reduction Act, plus hundreds of others I cannot be bothered to reference (but you get the picture).

All of the above acts deal with or touch on violence of some sort. Obviously we could say most reasonable people are not the violent type so many of these rules won’t apply, but this is just an example.

What this tells me is at least one of the following reasons,

  • The lawmakers are too lazy, or braindead, to check if something is already covered in exsisting law
  • The existing law was not good enough
  • The law was created for political expediency, not for genuine practical reasons
  • There is money to be made in lawmaking

Is not violence or harrassment against a black person as bad it is against a white person? A gay person or straight person? A child or adult? An immigrant or local? A man or woman?

Does this also mean that any minority not covered by this existing legislation is at risk from lawful violence?

“Your honour, I would like to point out that the man my client attacked is a narcoleptic and is therefore not protected by any existing legislation. My client was therefore acting in a lawful manner and I would request this case is thrown out.”

Would it not be a better society if lawmakers actually tried to include the widest possible interpretation when crafting legislation? Then, leave it for the judges to interpret and decide if a law had actually been broken or not.

What’s wrong with, for example, a law that states “You shall not inflict violence upon another person”. It would then be for a judge and jury to distinguish between a bloody beheading or a playful punch and award compensation and punishments on a scale.

“To make laws that a man cannot, and will not obey, serves to bring all law into contempt.”
– Elizabeth Candy Stanton

People do not exist for laws, laws exist for people and politicians need to get it into their head that society cannot be controlled or coerced into being happy and nice to each other, but most of us are capable of telling right from wrong. No-one needs to consult various regulations and acts each day before leaving their house to ensure that they don’t commit an offence. It’s time for better laws, not more laws.

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Posted in Absolute Power, Bollotics, Doublethink, Justice & Mercy, Minitruth, Non-Compliance, Pharisees, Realpolitik, Tick-Box Culture | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »