Property Rights For Me but not for Thee

The Eighth of the Ten Commandments is, “Thou shalt not steal” (Ex. 20:15; 21:16; Lev. 9:13; Matt. 19:18; Rom. 13:9). The law regarding stealing in Leviticus 19:11 is interesting: “You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.” The “deal falsely” prohibition caught my attention since our modern courts have been doing a consistent job of it by applying the law falsely, that is, without equity, when it comes to property rights issues.

If the courts can redefine property rights in one area; then it can redefine property rights in any area. What is yours can never be said to be yours if the State keeps changing the law and applying it in a discriminatory way as it has been over same-sex marriage legislation.

Jesus confronts this common practice in one of the most misquoted passages in all the Bible:

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you” (Matt. 7:1-2).

Consistency in judgment is the requirement. The law should apply to everybody equally. Something can’t be a criminal wrong for me but not a criminal wrong for you.

This consistency in judgment is illustrated in economic terms:

“You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a large and a small. You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small” (Deut. 25:13-14).

Then there’s this example:

“Iron pins are a common and useful means of identifying property corners and they and other similar monuments serve a useful purpose. The installation and maintenance of permanent monuments identifying land corners even preserves the good order of society itself. From earliest times the law not only authorized but protected landmarks. Interference with landmarks of another was a violation of the Mosaic law. See Deuteronomy 19:14; 27:17; Job 24:2; Proverbs 22:28; 23:10. (256 Ga. 54, International Paper Realty Company v. Bethune. No. 43092. Supreme Court of Georgia, June 10, 1986).”

The above was part of a Supreme Court of Georgia ruling. It makes perfect sense. Some would say that it’s part of the “Natural Law.” But when the new science tells us that we live in an evolved cosmos, it shouldn’t surprise us that we are getting an evolved law.

This is all basic stuff that every child should have learned on the playground, but it’s been lost on our courts.

Consider the following from William Norman Grigg:

“New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez was a regular customer of Santa Fe hair stylist Antonio Darden. About two years ago, Darden decided that he would no longer accept the Governor as a client because of her public support for the conventional definition of marriage as a monogamous, heterosexual arrangement. This was a perfectly legitimate exercise of Daren’s absolute property right as the owner of his business.

“Six years earlier, New Mexico resident Elaine Huguenin, who runs a photography business, declined a request to photograph a commitment ceremony between two women. In doing so, Mrs. Huguenin broke no contract, violated no promise, and didn’t defraud anybody.

“Like Darden, Mrs. Huguenin exercised her absolute property right as a business owner, which includes the unqualified freedom to accept or reject clients at her sole discretion. Darden was publicly praised for his decision. Huguenin was prosecuted.

“Rather than simply finding another photographer willing to take their business, the aggrieved women who had contacted Huguenin filed a complaint with a bureaucratic body calling itself the Human Rights Commission, which is more accurately described as the state’s Social Relations Soviet. The agency ruled that Huguenin had committed an act of “sexual orientation discrimination” and imposed a fine of nearly $7,000. Part of that sum went to the plaintiffs. By then they had who found another photographer willing to make a record of their ceremony, which was performed by a female cleric in Taos.

“The material outcome of that ruling – which was upheld by the New Mexico State Supreme Court – was not only to punish Mrs. Huguenin for peacefully exercising exactly the same right that Mr. Darden had invoked, but to force her to pay for a ceremony that embodied a religious view she does not share. As Thomas Jefferson would summarize the affair, Mrs. Huguenin and her husband (and business partner) were compelled ‘to furnish contributions of money to pay for the propagation of opinions’ that violated their principles, an official action Jefferson described as ‘sinful and tyrannical.’”

To read the rest of the article go to Lew

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