September 10, 2020

Faith, Reason, Justice

By Glenn

The Gospel that I learned as a child centered on the Gold Rule.  Jesus said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”  The principle is found in cultures around the world.

Immanuel Kant, coming at the end of the Eighteenth Century European Enlightenment, called it the categorical imperative.   Human reason could teach us to “Act as if the maxims of your action were to become through your will a universal law of nature.”

We all go to sleep every night.  In America we expect to sleep securely.  Most states have even passed “Castle” and “Stand your Ground” laws to prevent wrongful prosecution of Americans in their home.

Imagine one night, you go to sleep.  In the middle of the night you hear a crash.  It’s dark.  Strangers are in your home.  Your loved one reaches for a gun to defend your home.  The strangers shoot.  Moments later, you are dead.

How would the Golden Rule apply here?  Should your family have submitted to the home invasion?  Should your family have had more fire power to defend itself?  Should the defenders be punished? These are not hypothetical questions.  These are real questions in modern America.

On March 13, 2020 three plain clothed police knocked down the apartment door of Breonna Taylor.  The officers did not present a warrant.  They did not identify themselves.  Breonna’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, defended her castle and stood his ground.

After a brief gunfight, Taylor lay dead and Walker was in police custody.  The officers raided a home with no criminal activity.  The police walked free.  Was this justice? Was this right?

The Black Lives Matter movement does not think it was justice.  Do you agree with them?  Did you agree with them until you heard it was a Black Lives Matters spotlight event?  

What if this were in Grayson County?  Or your hometown? Would the behavior of the police be justified if it had happened in your home?  Would the behavior of the police be justified if it had happened to your family?  Would you have defended your home? Would you have died?

Both the Golden Rule and the Categorical imperative help us clarify right and wrong.  Long before the night of March 13, elected lawmakers told us that we have a right to defend our castle from home invasions.  The Founding Fathers enshrined into America’s Constitution the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

Was the killing of Breonna Taylor reasonable? What is more fundamental than the right to sleep peacefully in our home?  If you dismiss Black Lives Matter, arguing this could happen to anyone, why would it be OK?  Does the government have the authority to execute you while you sleep peacefully? 

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