September 21, 2020

Pastoral Nuggets: Hate Crimes Legislation

June 15, 2020, Pastor Dennis Farr preached for the Troup Baptist Association’s Monday Morning Pastors’ Prayer Fellowship.

I got a takeaway line from his sermon as he spoke about the condition of America today.

He said, “The problem is, we have wicked men trying to tell other wicked men how to live a righteous life!”

He continued, “We don’t have a race problem in America; we have a sin problem!  In my opinion, he is right. You see, we cannot be right with Jesus while we are wrong with our brothers or sisters.

The murder of Mr. George Floyd was wrong and there is no way you can make it right. Now, that ought to be the end of my statement regarding Mr. Floyd.

However, because wicked people are trying to tell other wicked people how to live a righteous life, unfortunately, it is not!

A few days after Mr. Floyd’s murder, I was listening to the news as I drove to my office. The reporter stated that the Speaker of the House held a press conference where she announced that her legislative caucus would be introducing legislation to prevent future crimes of this nature.

I started talking to my radio. I said, “What? The last time I checked, it is already against the law to murder somebody in America! So, how is making more laws going to stop a criminal from breaking laws?” I do not get it! The problem is not the laws.

The problem has been, and continues to be, the equal enforcement of the law as outlined in the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. It granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States—including former slaves—and guaranteed all citizens “equal protection of the laws.”

So regardless of who you are, the law should be the law, period.  There should be one standard!  As Tony Baretta, of the 1970’s TV show, “Baretta,” used to say so eloquently, “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”

There is now a push for Georgia to pass some form of “Hate Crimes Legislation.” And while this looks and sounds good on the surface, we might be well advised to step back and take another look before we leap.

The intent of Hate Crimes Legislation is to protect those who are discriminated against, by creating a “special designation” that places them into a protected group, where if anybody commits a crime against them, as a member of a one of these special groups, the perpetrator will receive a harsher penalty than if they committed the same crime against someone not in the group.

Again, it looks and sounds good on the surface. But with every good intention, there is always the Law of Unintended Consequences.

I am a tall, fat preacher. I have preacher friends who are short and skinny. But just suppose I get picked on for being tall and fat. Consequently, a Hate Crimes Law is passed making tall, fat preachers a protected group.

One day I am in public with one of my short, skinny preacher friends. Somebody, who hates all preachers, shoots, and kills both of us. Now, because I am in a protected class, the shooter will get a harsher penalty for killing me than he will for killing my friend.

Here is the truth: You cannot increase the value of my life without devaluing the life of my friend. And that, my friend is how slavery was justified and Hitler got the people of Germany to sit passively by as he exterminated millions of Jews.

Therefore, if we value one segment of society over another, we are, by default, devaluing the other.  And as with slavery and Hitler, the results will be devastating!

The 14th Amendment already guarantees equal justice under the law. What we need is for the law to be enforced equally, guaranteeing equal justice for everybody. And we need for wicked people to stop trying to tell other wicked people how to live a righteous life.

We need to get back to the basics of the Bible and back to doing the work of Jesus through His church!

I close with these two Biblical passages:  “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” 1 John 4: 20-21 (KJV) 

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22: 37-40 (KJV)

Again, we do not have a race problem in America; we have a sin problem! That being, wicked people trying to tell other wicked people how to live a righteous life! Repentance and regeneration are what we need!

Brother Aaron

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