Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Yet another problem caused by failing to define God's property rights

A North Carolina judge quoted Scripture that refers to the Lord’s 'vengeance' in sentencing three men to de facto life prison terms for a robbery [of a church service] that netted less than $3,000. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case Tuesday.
- CS Monitor

In all our nation's legal history and battles, we've somehow failed to explicitly define property rights for divine beings.  What is God's property?  We all have opinions, but there is no clear legal standard.  Some say everything.  Others say nothing.  I can see that some property has been given to God by private citizens, but it is managed by individuals, so there still needs to be some definition of powers.

It seems reasonable that the stolen property is God's.  What are the implications of that?  The judge thinks that theft from God mandates greater penalties than from others.  That's clearly not right.  Neither the Constitution nor any laws define deities as a special class of citizens, entitled to greater protection of their property or greater punishment for those who take it.

This judge gave an excessive sentence.  Worse, his justification, that God is entitled to special treatment, is entirely without legal backing.

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