Naming the sin

Celebrities and public figures who fall foul of the law are discovering at great personal cost the effects of broad-brush accusations and the folly of criminalising sin.

Cliff Richard, many before him, and now Alex Salmond are discovering the cost of a dumbed-down secular society.  The public is told that Salmond faces allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace, which covers a multitude of sins and leaves the public’s imagination to run wild.  The allegations relate to 2013 when he was the First Minister of Scotland.  A leading Scottish lawyer has spoken of the wide range of sexual misconduct in Holyrood generally.  Commentators have spoken in terms suggestive of the more serious end of the spectrum, but this illustrates the point.  Why not name the sin?  The effect of broad spectrum accusations and allegations is itself defamatory.

Salmond is taking the Scottish Government to a Judicial Review for being forbidden access to the witness statements and that he cannot speak to any current civil servants who may be valuable witnesses to him. He told the BBC: “I have not sexually harassed anyone and I have certainly not been engaged in criminality”. The problem for Salmond is that criminality is creeping into UK legislation retrospectively, following EU methodology.  The Judicial Review is interesting for highlighting the law against natural justice.

Legal definitions are usually very exact, but some categories of criminal behaviour are deliberately broad in order to be a catch-all for sinful human behaviour.  Christianity does not criminalise sin, but a secular society which does not believe in sin is trying to do so.  The broad spectrum of sinful human behaviour is difficult to replicate in criminal law, particularly when the secular thought police are legislating for thought crime, which Christianity handles by preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ – not by prosecuting sinners, fining them and locking them up.  Secular criminal law is categorising sinful human behaviour and inevitability these categories are too broad and inexact and are, in effect, defamatory.

This is one of the consequences of secularism substituting its false doctrines for Christian doctrine.

The media emotionalise and blur details by using broad spectrum terms, which helps them to sensationalise their stories to catch the attention of the prurient public.  A spit is reported as an attack, leaving the public to imagine what the attack might be; sexual harrassment covers a wide spectrum of behaviour and leaves the public to imagine the worst, which is unchristian, defamatory and does not serve the truth.

It will take our secular society some time to realise this, and many people will suffer in the process.  As the average person cannot afford a successful challenge against such injustice, it is only those who have the capacity to fight and expose injustice, such as celebrity and public figures, and who have the will to do so, motivated by when it comes ‘to their back yard‘, that corrections will be brought to bear upon injustice.  This will be a slow process because it is a costly business to take on the rich and powerful, as the BBC discovered to their cost with Cliff Richard.  The BBC has opted for the cheaper course of parliamentary review of legislation.

We cannot rely upon politicians to frame the law accurately because too many laws are made too quickly for good law to be framed.  Compounding this problem is the redefining of our very language, with words such as marriage being retrospectively adjusted through centuries of legislation with unintended consequences, unintended by the original framers and unnoticed by current revisers with their wrecking ball.  It makes a mockery of the parliamentary process that produced former legislation based upon a particular definition of a word, and it is unsafe to assume that applying a different definition will not have serious unintended and unforeseen consequences.  It also throws supporting and derived legislation into disarray.  Thus we find apologies being made to those formerly convicted of homosexual offences, but the public is no wiser if this includes apologizing to those convicted, for example, of loitering in and around toilets to the alarm of the public.   If it does include such convictions, why?

This illustrates how the deficiencies of hasty, ill-considered legislation is exposed at great cost to those whom they disadvantage.

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon encouraged and then the SNP Government introduced a new policy of ‘zero tolerance’ of sexual harassment in December 2017.

Zero tolerance sounds good but it can be unchristian.  Christian toleration is not the same as secular toleration.  So zero tolerance is not likely to be the same either.

In an era when words like marriage, race and sexual harassment are being redefined, the public has no certainty what some critical words mean.  So what does ‘zero’ mean in this context, and ‘tolerance’?  What does racism mean?  There is no such thing.  There is only one human race.

The nightmare that today’s behaviour will be punished by tomorrow’s legislation only illustrates the shifting goalposts of secular morality.  It is time to recover Christian common sense.

‘But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed one of another’ Gal 5:15.

Update:

29 Aug 2018: Alex Salmond joins the campaign for natural justice.

3 thoughts on “Naming the sin

    1. Donald

      David, the point of this blogpost is not to list sins but to highlight that generalising misbehaviour without being specific allows observers’ imagination to run wild what the misbehaviour might be. Thus ‘an attack’ could be anything but was, in fact, a spit; ‘inappropriate behaviour’ can be a whole range of things, and so on.

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