Joseph Addison in The Guardian once said, "There is no virtue so truly great and godlike as justice." But today the great question is: How is justice defined?
Progressives or liberals have essentially identified justice with material equality. Thus, a "just" society is one where wealth is equally distributed and everyone has access to life's basic needs. This approach, however desirable it may be, cannot possibly be defined as justice. It is at best unrealistically utopian. Material equality can never be achieved, not even in the basics of life, and efforts to produce it only result in the worst forms of injustice, where eventually private property is seized and distributed through acts of tyranny.
This philosophical approach to a "just" culture is exactly what has produced a multi-trillion dollar debt and a crushing tax burden on our nation. Moreover, government assistance has an insatiable appetite for more that can never be satisfied. There's always a call for stimulating the economy in order to generate a stronger tax base for providing health care, housing, education, etc.
Last week, in a sharply divided 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court demonstrated how a "progressive" understanding of "justice" currently prevails in American culture. In the case of Kelo v. the City of New London, four liberal justices (Bader-Ginsburg, Stevens, Souter, Breyer) and one moderate justice (Kennedy) ruled that state and local governments can seize private property to make room for development as long as it creates economic benefits and increases the government's tax receipts.
Make no mistake about it: the High Court's ruling was an act of tyranny -- a form of legal plunder! Stephen Crampton, chief counsel for the American Family Association's Center for Law & Policy said: "In effect, the Supreme Court has written over City Hall: 'The government giveth, and the government taketh away.'" (See related story) What Cramption said was right, and without question, the ultimate end of "progressive" politics.
This must change! But it won't unless Americans once again discover what the Bible says about the proper role of government. Does the Holy Scripture authorize the government to take by force private property in support of something it believes is good? Absolutely not! For example, the state has no more right to take money through taxes to give to those who are poor than I have to hold a gun to my neighbor's head and demand he relieve that poverty. Does God ordain government with the sovereign right to target private property to give to those who will pay higher taxes for it? Quite the contrary, God commands governments as well as individuals, "Thou shalt not steal."
According to the Bible, government has a limited responsibility. The apostle Paul says the state "is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil. Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing." (Rom.13: 4-6) In other words, it is the government's role, more than anything else, if not to the exclusion of everything else, to bear the sword in suppressing evil doers. Government is to secure justice by protecting the life, liberty and property of its citizenry. It may tax for these reasons, but when it goes beyond such parameters it has the potential to create more problems than it solves.
Today government has grown out of control. As we have given it responsibility for more and more, it has become huge and powerful, supplanting God-given rights with rights granted only by the state. No longer do the people or the Constitution rule, but an unelected "super-Congress" -- the U.S. Supreme Court. Those with more "progressive" leanings dominate the Court, not conservatives who would interpret the Constitution according to the framer's original intent, which was strictly Judeo-Christian. Moreover, addicted to the opiate of public assistance, we have become bond slaves of the state and unwilling to do anything about our plight.
Don't think me to be too melodramatic, but we have not made real progress. Instead we have returned to the dark days when a lord took your land and gave it to someone he thought more deserving. The government can now take your castle for what it perceives to be an opportunity for economic development and to strengthen its hand. It can also confiscate churches, temples, synagogues and mosques, arguing "eminent domain" because they don't generate tax revenues and it deems the property could be better used to that end. Nothing is safe anymore!
Justice? Whose justice?
Progressive thought ultimately ends with injustice.
Rev. Mark H. Creech (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc.