A lie doesn’t become truth, a wrong doesn’t become right, and evil doesn’t become good just because it’s accepted by a majority: said Booker T Washington.
Whether bias and prejudice are based on religion, race, colour or identity the evil and injustice of it is profoundly wrong.
If my law school knowledge of criminal law remains current, to prove criminality there must be present both actus reus (wrongful act) and mens rea (guilty mind).
An accused may have committed an appalling crime but if whilst insane (no mens rea) s/he would be adjudged unfit to plead or stand trial being not guilty but insane and incarcerated during Her Majesty’s pleasure, generally meaning for life.
An example from yesteryear
A drug-crazed young mother took her tiny baby by the hands and alternately dunked her in a tub of boiling water and another of freezing water to drive out the devil. The baby’s skin peeled off and mercifully she died of heart failure.
That mother is in a mental asylum for the criminally insane having been declared unfit to stand trial. And the baby? In heaven in the safe presence of her heavenly Father.
The powerful Oscar winning movie Green Book portrayed the horrible racial prejudice that plagued the American deep south in the 1960s. One of the finest classical pianist of his time, the principal character was frowned upon because of his African skin colour even though underneath we’re identical.
He was barred from eating in white man’s restaurants, was accorded grossly inferior tiny dressing rooms in which to change and was ushered to grubby substandard toilets down the backyard rather than the Gentleman’s Convenience in the opulent residences where recitals took place before hundreds of white guests.
The Green Book recorded the negro quarters in southern cities where lodgings for these ‘substandard’ people were located.
And yet white people came in their hundreds to listen to him play spellbinding classical music always only on Steinway grand pianos. This God-gifted man suffered demeaning, hurtful, evil racism at every turn.
During His short 33 year earthly life Jesus never committed actus reus and never had mens rea. Despite His many accusers He could confidently plead: Can any of you prove Me guilty of sin? (John chapter 8 verse 46).
Yet He suffered diabolically at the hands of jealous selfish religious leaders whose sole concern was preserving their privileged positions, He having trod on their patch.
Although said of David the following words more painfully apply to Jesus: they hate Me without reason…many are My enemies without cause who seek to destroy Me. (Psalm 69 verse 4)
A farce in which the power of the religious elite triumphed: where the sole issue was neither a wrongful act nor a guilty mind but His identity. Jesus never responded to false accusations of wrongdoing: only to false allegations about who He was.
The council of elders asked Him: are you then the Son of God? He replied: you are right in saying I am. Then they said: why do we need any more testimony? So the whole assembly took him to the Roman governor and: began to accuse him saying: We have found this man subverting our nation. He…claims to be Christ a king. (Luke chapter 22 verse 70 - chapter 23 verse 2).
It could never be more alien to any fair-minded person, especially to a lawyer schooled in the British legal tradition that the sole issue was the accused’s identity.
The judge (Pilate) could find no guilt in Him but to satisfy the hysterical screech of the crowd, in his damning act of cowardice handed Jesus over to suffer the most gruesome humiliating execution.
His Green Book
During earthly life, ever since and endlessly into the future Jesus has had (and will have) undeserved opposition stacked against Him solely because of His identity. But a time is coming when, in His sovereignty and righteousness, King Jesus will triumphantly reign for evermore and bias and prejudice will be banished.
It’s not fair
If someone had lived a wretched life of persecution and deep hurt caused by bias and bigotry wouldn’t it be unfair of God if upon death that sufferer didn’t go to heaven? But we wouldn’t know, it’s none of our business and that’s not the ‘basis’ for entry anyway. No-one deserves their place in heaven including because of experience. It is by grace [unmerited favour] you have been saved…it is the gift of God”. (Ephesians chapter 2 verse 8).
The good news (gospel) of eternal salvation is stated thus:
It saves you if you hold firmly to belief that:-
(1) Christ died for your sins;
(2) was buried;
(3) was raised on the 3rd day. (1 Corinthians chapter 15 verses 3-6).
At its simplest God’s stated ‘ground’ for graciously saving anyone to His heaven is that: if you confess with your mouth Jesus is LORD and believe in your heart that God the Father raised Him from the dead you will be saved. (Romans chapter 10 verse 9). It’s all about Jesus and how we respond to Him.
Death of death
God explains why Jesus’ resurrection is critically important: If Christ has not been raised your faith is futile; you are still in your sins…If only for this life we have hope in Christ we are to be pitied more than all men. (chapter 15 verses 17 & 19). By rising to indestructible life sinless Jesus defeated for us the last enemy of life: death.
He says: “the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke chapter 17 verse 21). His kingdom is not of territory or lands but of human hearts and minds. Every citizen of that kingdom is heaven-bound.
Gavin Lawrie is a retired Barrister and Solicitor from Tweed Heads NSW Australia and author of the book: 'THE EVIDENCE OF EVOLUTION: Uncovering The Faulty Science Of Dawkins' Attack On Creationism'. He is married to Jan with two adult children and they are grandparents.
Gavin Lawrie's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/gavin-lawrie.html