LAW 501-001 – Foundations of Law I

Equality


Application of Equality Principle
  1. Ask whether law selects a certain group for differential treatment?
  2. If it does, the law is presumed to violate the Equality Principle.
  3. But can the law be justified on some ground consistent with the character of God?
    • Law where only justification is special privilege for favored classes violate Equality Principle.
    • Law respecting the special abilities or skills of a group of persons may be permissible. (E.g. Gov’t can hire best policemen) (Licensing laws?)
    • Law that makes racial distinctions violates Equality Principle.
    • Law that makes distinctions based on citizenship may be permissible if limited to the basic political integrity of the nation. I.e. ruling, voting.
    • Law that makes sex distinctions may be permissible if based upon inherent differences b/t men and women recognized in the Bible.
    • Laws that make distinctions based on choices are permissible. I.e. 14th Amendment protects right to vote except “for participation in rebellion or other crime.”

If a law selects a certain group for differential treatment, it is presumed to violate the equality principle.

The foundational principle of equality is found in the character of God.

  • Deuteronomy 10:17
    For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:

God judges without partiality as He has only one standard of justice.

  • All are equally condemned by the law of sin and death
    • Romans 3:23
      For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
    • Romans 6:23
      For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • All are equally declared innocent by the law of the Spirit of life.
    • Galatians 3:27–28
      For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
      28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.Lord.
    • Romans 8:2
      For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
  • All are equally invited to be saved.
    • John 3:16
      For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    • 1 Timothy 2:4
      Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
    • 2 Peter 3:9
      The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

We are made in His image, so, the civil government must also judge without partiality.

  • Deuteronomy 1:17
    Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.
  • Deuteronomy 16:19
    Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.

Partiality violates the principle of equality when it concerns:

  • Economic status
    • Leviticus 19:15
      Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.
  • Power
    • Leviticus 19:15
      Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.
    • Deuteronomy 1:17
      Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.
  • Appearance
    • John 7:24
      Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
  • Family ties
    • Romans 8:32
      He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

God does respect choices.

  • Colossians 3:25
    But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
  • Romans 6:23
    For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

God does give different people different abilities.

  • 1 Corinthians 4:7
    For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
  • 1 Kings 4:29–30
    And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore.
    30 And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.
  • Exodus 31:1–5
    • Bezaleel was a master artisan

Equality does not mean equality of participation; rather, it means equality of opportunity for God's justice.

The antithesis of this equality principle is special privileges for favored classes.

The Declaration of Independence says "all men are created equal".

Slavery

The seminal events in both the Old Testament and the New Testament warrant against slavery.

In the Old Testament, God redeemed the Hebrew people who were slaves in Egypt.

  • Exodus 13:14
    And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the Lord brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage:
  • Exodus 20:2
    I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

In the New Testament, Christ's death on the cross redeems sinners from slavery to sin.

  • Exodus 13:14
    And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the Lord brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage:
  • Galatians 5:1
    Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Mosaic law punished slave trading with the death penalty.

  • Exodus 21:16
    And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

Mosaic law instructed Hebrews not return a slave to his master.

  • Deuteronomy 23:15–16
    Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee:
    16 He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.

Paul includes kidnapping among the list of sins committed by the ungodly.

  • 1 Timothy 1:9–10
    Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
    10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
Race

There is only one race.

  • Acts 17:26
    And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

Male and female are both fully human.

  • Genesis 5:2
    Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.

Man is made in God's image and thus has inherent value.

  • Genesis 1:26–27
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
    27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.created.

Man has no authority to rule another man.

  • Genesis 1:26
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Citizenship

Unlike with race, God does recognize that there are different nations.

  • Genesis 10:32
    These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.
  • Acts 17:26
    And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
  • Exodus 22:21
    Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
  • Exodus 22:21
    One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
  • Deuteronomy 17:15
    Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.

Law that makes distinctions based on citizenship may be permissible if limited to preserving the basic identity/integrity of the nation.

Sex
  • Genesis 2:18
    And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
  • Colossians 3:18
    Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
  • Genesis 3:16, 21
    Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
    21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
  • Judges 4
    • Deborah was a wife and a judge.
  • Proverbs 31
    • Virtuous woman sells merchandise and clothing and runs her own business.
Affirmative Action
Race

There is only one race.

  • Acts 17:26
    And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

Everyone should bear their own guilt. The government cannot punish the innocent.

  • Deuteronomy 24:16
    The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
  • Ezekiel 18:20
    The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
  • Jeremiah 31:27–30
    Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.
    28 And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the Lord.
    29 In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge.
    30 But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.
  • Romans 2:6
    Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

Official race discrimination has produced intolerable injustices in society that beg for a remedy.

Remedies must comport with the LONANG. Any proposed remedy, therefore, must not punish innocent victims, for that is unjust.

Esther 8 seems to permit state to issue race distinctive measures to counteract previous state-inflicted injuries upon a particular race

Remedy’s against the state itself would bypass concern that the sons are punished for the sins of their fathers.

For those wrongs that the civil government cannot address, we trust that God will repay each person according to what they have done. Romans 2:6.