The Folly of Anti-Discrimination Legislation

Laws grounded on the Bible do not attempt to save man or to usher in a brave new world, a great society, world peace, a poverty-free world, or any other such idea. The purpose of Biblical law, and all law grounded on a Biblical faith, is to punish and restrain evil, and to protect life and property, to provide justice for all people. It is not the purpose of the state and its law to change or reform men: this is a spiritual matter and a task for religion. Man can be changed only by the grace of God through the ministry of the word…

Only when we return to a Biblical foundation for law shall we again have a return to justice and order under law. ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain that build it.’ [1]

Lawmakers inevitably reveal what their religious beliefs are, by laws they enact.

How is that? A Christian view of law springs from a Christian view of man. The Bible teaches us that man is a sinner, since Adam and Eve rebelled in the garden of Eden. When people acknowledge this, they understand that law can only have a limited function in society. Yes, law is vital, but what is more important is that we do not expect law to do for us, what only the grace of God can do.

Laws restrain people’s behaviour. The knowledge that I will be pursued by the police and arrested if I harm someone, restrains me from committing criminal acts. Laws from this perspective, are important. What restrains me more as a Christian, is the knowledge that criminal acts are displeasing to God. I don’t wish to displease God, and so I don’t wish to commit criminal acts.

But humanistic socialists for instance, who refuse to believe in the power of the grace of God to change people, only have the power of law. They say, “when the right laws are passed, and when people are properly educated, we will really see healthy societies. We’ve just got to get the right mix.” Law becomes their solution to almost everything. “Got a problem? Our laws can fix it.”

This is a messianic view of government. Why? Because when people reject the real Messiah Jesus Christ, they have to come up with a substitute, because nature abhors a vacuum. Socialists refuse to acknowledge God, so they transfer their beliefs from God, to the institution they think is like God: an infallible, omnipotent, omnipresent State. “Hail Caesar!”

In the twentieth century, 130 million people died in Germany, Soviet Russia and Communist China, because their socialist, totalitarian government believed this.

…as Rushdoony argued, the modern state is messianic. Its defenders present it as the healing state, the saviour state. It has replaced God in the thinking of modern secular man.

A state that does not claim the ability to heal, the legal right to heal, and the moral responsibility to heal is a night-watchman state. It does not make comprehensive claims for delivering men, so it does not make comprehensive claims on the allegiance of men. It is limited government, precisely because it acknowledges that it cannot heal.[2]

Rather than accepting a limited role for government in the community, the government today has to be the great mover and shaker of society; individuals and the family are obliged to comply with the rules, and those rules might change rapidly. We saw this with the Do-Gooders’ alcohol prohibition laws in the US in the 1930’s. Yes, alcohol abuse causes serious problems for people in the community. But banning its production and use is utterly ridiculous.

The outcomes of these scenarios are always frightening for the community, and nowhere is this more evident than with anti-discrimination legislation, with us since the 1970’s.

A free society means free expression. Now of course, there are limits to what can be said and done in any community. Defamation of character is not permitted, and censorship is necessary. But these do not greatly restrict people from having their say in a free and robust society, where the clash of ideas and opinions is welcomed, and considered necessary.

Does this permit people to be discriminatory, bigoted, prejudiced and biased? Of course it does. Show me a society where these things haven’t been present, and I’ll show you a society that never existed.

Proponents of anti-discrimination legislation (and it’s evil step-sister, anti-vilification legislation), don’t believe in free speech. They say, “No, you can’t have that. You might discriminate against a religious, racial or community group, and that would be unfair. You can’t talk like that.”

As a boy, I heard that on Sunday afternoons in Sydney, people would gather at a place called The Domain, to hear speeches from various individuals on various social, cultural and political subjects. No one controlled what was said, or who was saying it.

Frequently, it would be claimed that the Prime Minister should be removed from office for his alleged sins, and there would be opinions given about who or what should replace him, what sort of country we ought to have, etc. No doubt there would be allegations made about racial and religious groups, and what should be done to, or about them.

I never went there, but no doubt there would be speeches made that would be at least provocative. People would go home I suppose, reflecting on speeches that were ridiculous, outrageous, funny or worthwhile. Could these comments be made today, under with our Anti-Discrimination legislation? I don’t think so. Not permitted.

Oliver Cromwell warned his fellow Englishmen in1649, that “it will be found an unwise and unjust jealousy, to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon a supposition he may abuse it.”

People are bigoted, prejudiced and biased. That’s people; that’s life. Can we do anything about it? Show me how, without resorting to absurd levels of hypocrisy. Human nature is what it is, and it is foolish for us to try and change it; only God can do that.

But freedom of speech is such a priceless commodity, it must not be constrained by government, lest we, dragged along by God-ignoring do-gooders in their stupid, fruitless search for a perfect society, finish up with one where we can’t even express ourselves freely without being dragged into some hypocrite’s court.

And that’s not a free society. That’s tyranny.

[1] R. J. Rushdoony, “Law and Liberty,” 1984, p.5-7.

[2] North, G., “When Government Safety Nets Break,” 6/4/2012.