Why man's laws are error prone
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-06-10
The impeachment trial of former Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice (CJ) Renato Corona demonstrated how laws crafted by human minds are prone to either committing injustice or failing to render justice. Many factors make man-made laws prone to failure.

One major factor is the limitation of language. Reading from the same law, you can get ten legal interpretations from ten lawyers. Different appreciation of the language of the law could easily lead to various interpretations and that’s giving the lawyers the benefit of doubt that their interpretation isn’t influenced by personal interest.

Another factor is the rise of unanticipated situations that could lead to the impracticality of a man-made law. Take the case of the technology boom of the last three decades. Up to the 1970s, the film business was mainly focused in distributing to cinema, television and cable markets. The technology boom had turned Hollywood upside down with the birth of the Internet and other forms of distribution like DVDs. Music distribution was simply confined to cassette (later DVDs) sales but the birth of MP3 reshaped distribution norms.

The oddity of man-made laws is that the more society tries to anticipate situations, the more complicated and error prone the law becomes. Look at how US laws have become so complicated. Over here, our laws are simpler except that the rich can have a more favorable interpretation of the law and thus get away with bloody murder.

The big difference between perceived God’s laws and those of man is that God’s laws delve on man’s conscience and moral character. Man’s laws are generally pegged on output — whether a person’s deed is legal or illegal. Of course conscience and moral conviction can always justify a person’s actions as in the case of a father who steals bread so that his children will not starve to death. Murder is illegal but many times nations have sent their sons, brothers and fathers to fight a war — justifying murder as an act of high honor for one’s family.

The Golden Rule — do unto others what you want others to do unto you - is a good summation of God’s laws. Many religions preach the Golden Rule. It is founded on a realistic human frailty - to want to escape inconvenience, shame, unnecessary penalties such as jail term and so forth. Every individual can easily empathize with the Golden Rule simply because the norm of conduct is pegged on a person’s concept of what is good and desirable. The Golden Rule also proves that the simpler the law, the more likely that it will be followed.

When Jesus Christ taught, He used parables to make his lessons easier for the common man to comprehend and remember. The great commandment of Jesus Christ is a classic variation of the Golden Rule — whatsoever you do for the least of your brethren, you do unto Me. The love and respect for the other person has been likened to love and respect for Jesus Christ.

What went wrong with the Roman Catholic Church is that following God’s laws became more complicated — quite unlike what Christ taught - as soon as men dipped their dirty fingers into it. The Roman Catholic Church deviated from its center of gravity and became prone to political intrigues and human vices such as sex, gambling, unmitigated greed and so forth. The peddling of indulgences by the Pope spurred the birth of Lutheran doctrine. The biggest threat to the Catholic Church ceased to be other non-Christian religions but fellow Christians.
The crafting and promulgation of man-made laws cannot be stopped. But it will make a society a much better and safer place if people placed the simplest laws of God in their heart of hearts and allowed this to guide their choice of actions. When the rich follow the great Christ commandment to love the least as they would love God — that will avoid the wealth gaps that have been the root cause of so much turmoil in the world.

However, instead of maximizing the usefulness of religious creed in the promotion of law and order — we saw instead some efforts by certain societies to expel God from public premises. The US is a classic example. The quest for freedom of religion (or not have a religion) has led to virtually legislating God’s expulsion from American public places.

Following God’s laws is not to be confused with promoting religion based forms of government like what we see in some Islamic countries. Well and good if the laws of God are faithfully followed. Complications set in when this leads to bigotry, extremism and intolerance, which run counter to the law of God.

Huffington Post Religion Editor Paul Brandeis Rauchenbush quoted US Senator John Danforth as having said: “The language of politics is different than the language of religion — politics is not religion. The language of religion is based on creedal affirmation, while the language of politics, when it works, is the language of compromise. To confuse politics for religion results in gridlock from the political perspective. To confuse politics for religion from the religious perspective is idolatry.”

Christ was spot on when He preached: “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” Too bad some Popes of the Roman Catholic Church junked that wisdom from Christ and decided to dominate both the spiritual as well as temporal needs of man. Those were the darkest chapters of Roman Catholic Church history.

The most publicized of these dark chapters of Roman Catholic Church history were the Papacies of the Borgia Popes. There was Alfons de Borgia and he reigned as Pope Calixtus III from 1455 to 1458. The second Borgia Pope was even more notorious. This was Rodrigo Lanzol de Borgia who reigned as Pope Alexander VI from 1492-1503.

Crimes that have been associated with the Borgia Popes could make sociopaths look like boy scouts. Consider adultery, simony, theft, bribery, incest, rape and murder and you’d hardly think these are crimes that are linked with a Catholic Pope.

Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”

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