In “The Essential Christian Heritage” Eric D. Butler (1971) reminded his readers that “Western civilisation (was) correctly described as a Christian civilisation… it was the Christian teaching that man is a special creature made in God’s image, which gave the human person a significance unknown outside Western Europe. Now man saw himself as part of a type of cosmic spiritual drama and felt he had the power to shape history…”
BUT “… The modern concept of the Rule of Law is far removed from the concept of English Common Law… first we must ask “whose law?” Like every other human system, a system of law must, if the Christian view of reality is to be accepted, serve the individual, to ensure that his natural rights are protected, that his sovereignty as a free and responsible individual is ensured…
“… The suggestion that the world can be subordinated to a rigid Rule of Law implies the relationship of every individual in the world to the Law must be exactly the same. William Blake, the English poet and mystic grasped the necessity of any system of law being related as far as possible to reality when he said that “one law for the lion and the lamb is oppression”.
Shakespeare also understood this issue. Justice as seen by Shylock demonstrates the unsuitability of the strict legal process to anything but a purely static situation. There can be a vast difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law, a difference which Christ attempted to demonstrate to the Pharisees of His day…”
I was reminded of Eric’s words after reading Andrew Bolt’s Blog (15 March 2017) and his quotes from Paul Kelly’s tribute to the late Bill Leak,
“How Leak Discovered Civilisation”:
“It is an attack on the idea of common humanity and equality in law and administration ....”
“… Bill’s cartoons provoked a backlash from two groups that shared a strange common bond: the Islamist militants and potential terrorists who threatened his life, forced him to move home and became a psychological cross he carried; and the warriors of the progressive Left who denounced him, campaigned against him, tried to break him, branded him a racist and triggered the section 18C provisions against him...”
I think the question must be asked: “Which Law?” are these people referring to and what do they understand by that term ‘Equal before the Law’? It is certainly not ‘the Law’ as once understood by Englishmen of old – upon which, and out of which, grew Western civilisation.
As Eric noted:
“Rightness in politics and economics will not be achieved until the scope, function and authority of human law is resolved… An eminent lawyer, Professor R. W. Chambers has succinctly stated the issue:
“Upon that difference – whether or not we place Divine Law in the last resort above the law of the State – depends the whole future of the world.”
Andrew Bolt, Paul Kelly, gentlemen, may I suggest you both have a good hard look around you and point out just where is the peace and security one would expect to find in this ‘civilised’ nation? And what do you understand is the basis for our laws?