CHRISTIAN APPROACHES TO LAW, ORDER AND JUSTICE - CRE FORM 4 Notes

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Definition of Terms

Introduction

  • Law, order, justice are essential for the survival of any society
  • Following laws leads to order and justice lack of following leads to disorder and injustice laws of Kenya are laid down in the constitution.

Law

  • Established rules by an authority to regulate human behavior in the community Schools laws, religious laws, factory laws, hospital laws etc.
  • laws differ from society to society.
  • Laws are dynamic.
  • Laws cover all Aspects of life.

Order

  • Condition brought about by obedience to set rules or laws.
  • Order leads to peaceful co–existence in the society.
  • Where there is order, things are done systematically.
  • The opposite of order is disorder.

Types of Laws

  • Non – legal laws – no court action e.g. school rules
  • Customary traditional laws – based on culture, social traditions. They have to agree with state laws.
  • They are respected by state.

Statutory laws / legal laws

  • laws made by local council or national government and citizens are expected to obey them.

Types of statutory laws

  • Civil laws – made by parliament on issues such as taxes, labor, divorce etc
  • Criminal law – on crime / punishment
  • Constitutional law – matters of state and governance
  • Company law
  • Religious laws e.g. Islamic law ‘sharia’

Justice

  • Treating others the way they deserve in relation to the law.
  • It’s administration of rightful dealings in a fair manner according to their actions.
  • A just society follows rules and administers legal action to those who offend others or disobey rules.
  • Justice means treating people the same way without discrimination.

Importance of Law, Order and Justice

  • Importance of law, order and justice
    • They are essential to preserve harmony and protect people
    • Laws guide people and ensure people’s rights are protected.
    • They protect people’s property and enable people to live in harmony
    • They protect the consumer from exploitation
    • They safeguard religious freedom
    • Laws control power of those in authority and promote political stability
    • Provides stability, encouraging economic growth
    • Helps to control discontentment among people
    • Helps implementation of taxes effectively
    • Provides / help in maintenance of security
    • Ensures human rights are upheld
    • Enables the government to protect its citizens from internal or external threats.
    • International law regulates relations between countries.

 

Rights and Duties of Citizens

  • Citizen – person who is a member of a state, kingdom, empire. A person who has full rights as a member of a country by birth, decent, registration, naturalization.
  • Rights – legal claims that one is entitled to from the government
  • Duty – ones responsibility to the government.

Rights

  • Right to life – to live securely
  • Right to education
  • Right to liberty / freedom e.g. one should not be imprisoned, detained, without trial. One is innocent until proven guilty
  • Right to protection of property
  • Right to own a family – right to marry and raise a family
  • Right to health
  • Freedom of movement
  • Right to freedom of association
  • Right to freedom of assembly
  • Freedom of religion
  • Right to own property
  • Right to equality – non discrimination
  • Protection of freedom of expression and speech (own opinions, ideas)
  • Children have rights e.g. Right to life, education, parental care, health, protection from exploitation, right to identity etc.

Duties of Citizens (responsibilities )

  • Pay taxes to the government
  • Respect the flag and national anthem
  • Respect those in authority
  • Respect the laws of the land
  • Register as a voter and voter in national elections
  • Be responsible at work
  • Participate in national development
  • Promote peace and harmony in the society
  • Report errant members of the society to law enforcement agents
  •  protect the environmental – clean, plant trees, avoid poaching etc

Traditional African Practices that Promote Law, Order, Justice

  • Some of the practices that promote law, order and justice are:

Punishment of Offenders

  • People who committed offences such as stealing, murder, witchcraft were punished through death, curses, paying heavy fines etc.
  • this promoted law, order, justice

Installation of Rules, Kings, Chiefs, Elders

  • They were installed to maintain law, order and to execute justice in their areas of jurisdiction

Administration of Oaths

  • Administered by specialists and are used as a method of establishing and maintaining law and order

Making of Covenants

  • Covenants were made if there was a conflict between two communities.
  • They would promise to live in peace and harmony.

Observing of Taboos and Customary Law

  • Taboos were prohibitions. Those who went against taboos were severely punished

The Kinship System

  • defined how people related one to another

Rites of passage

  • ensured customs, laws were adhered to

Religious practices

  • such as praying, singing, sacrificing and giving of offerings had the effect of maintaining order.


Biblical Teaching on Law, Order and Justice

  • God initiated Law, order, and justice.
    • God’s creation is orderly. God desires order
    • Man was created with a conscience to know right from wrong sin has consequences or punishment. God does punish disobedience i.e. justice
    • God instituted the laws as part of his plan for salvation e.g. law of circumcision, Torah (10 commandments), circumcision of the heart, laws on what to eat etc.
    • God’s law governed kingship in Israel. National prosperity depended on a king’s ruler ship. Kings were to ensure law and order
    • In the New Testament John the Baptist urged people to observe the law (social justice).
    • Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is based on law, order and justice. There should be fair treatment for all people
    • Jesus said that the Law of Moses was given to guide people
    • Christians should obey the law of the land and respect those in authority
    • The apostolic teachings stress the need for law, order, justice (1 Cro.14: 33)
    • Christians should be orderly.
    • The birth of Jesus was orderly. His ministry was also orderly hence should Christians.

Causes of Social Disorder and their Remedies

  • Social disorder is a state of confusion or lack of order in the society
  • Causes
    • Discrimination
    • Inequitable distribution of wealth, resources
    • Crime
    • Racism
    • Tribalism
    • Sexism

Discrimination

  • Discrimination is unfair treatment. Discrimination is on basis of
    • Race
    • Tribe
    • Sex / gender
  • People or a particular person is singled out and treated with disfavor or distaste.
  • It is showing bias or prejudice.

Causes of discrimination

  • Culture
  • Prejudice – bias original from opinions that have no known basis or supporting facts – stereotypes
  • Ignorance e.g. on HIV /AIDS
  • Social status – ones position in a society, Inequitable distribution of wealth and resources.
    • This is when riches of family, community, and nation are not fairly shared out due to Selfishness or poor planning. Some areas are marginalized.

Racism

  • unfair treatment of people because of their race

Tribalism

  • discrimination on basis of ethnic group

Crime

  • an offence against state, normally settled in court. It’s antisocial behavior causing disorder caused by:
    • Poverty
    • Public mistrust for law enforces
    • Lack of parental guidance
    • Wide gap between the rich and the poor
    • Greed for power, money
    • Materialism
    • Drug and substance abuse

Sexism

  • Discrimination against people because of gender
  • Women are discriminated in areas such as jobs, no promotion for women, oppression of women at home, cultural values demeaning the status of women, wife beating / men beating, female genital mutilation (FGM) early children marriages etc.

Remedies to Social Disorder

  • Rehabilitation for drugs users / abusers
  • Punishment for offenders of crime. Forms of punishment:
    • Imprisonment
    • Payment of fines
    • Corporal punishment
    • Probation
    • Being assigned community work
    • Being placed under house arrest
    • Learning in approved schools, Juvenile homes
  • Equitable distribution of national resources
    • Develop marginalized areas
    • Create jobs
  • Campaign against drug abuse
  • The public to use hot lines to report crime to police
  • Preach against racism, tribalism, and preach equality, freedom and interaction with all people
  • People to be sensitized to appreciate and respect different ethnics groups. Promote national unity through education /cultural programmes
  • Creation of more national schools so as to have students from all backgrounds
  • Encourage domestic tourism
  • Enlighten women on their rights
  • Employment on merit
  • Rich countries to share wealth with the poor

Role of Christians in Transforming the Social, Economic, Political Life of the Society

  • Transformation is to completely change the attitude, character, and well being of the society

Christian Participation in the Social Life

  • Christians are involved in the preaching of the gospel in many places in the country. They use print and electronic media to spread the gospel.
  • Christians have shown concern for the destitute and victims of violence in the society by building homes for them and providing them with food and clothing.
  • Christians run schools, vocational institutions, and universities providing educational services
  • Christians offer medical services to the society
  • They speak openly against sexual immorality, murder, bribery, corruption, abortion etc.
  • They show compassion to those in need the poor, HIV / AIDS orphans, widows, widowers, aged etc.
  • They offer guidance and counseling to dysfunctional families (the pastors, those trained to do counseling – almost all pastors get a training in guidance and counseling)

Christians Participation in the Political Life

  • Christians participate in the political life by advocating for fair distribution of wealth
  • They offer prayers for government, political leaders
  • They exercise their right by voting
  • They also participating in the political life by standing up for elections (Vying for elections)

Christian Participation in Economic Life

  • Christians participate in economic life by paying taxes to the government
  • By contributing in collection of funds for construction of churches, schools, hospitals
  • They invest in business that promotes their own development as well as the development of the country.
  • They provide financial resources in order to assist others to start economic activities or self employment
  • They discourage business practices such as using faulty scales, hiking of prices cheating in business etc and encourage proper acquisition of wealth

The Church - State Relationship

  • The government and the church interact at various levels and in different areas
    • Religious leaders give advice to the state
    • The church speaks against corruption, robbery, rape, abortion, vices which the government is fighting
    • The church is the conscience of the state
    • Both educate the citizens on the constitution and their rights
    • The church preaches peace, love, unity, order
    • The state needs support of the church in mobilizing citizens to adopt government policies
    • Both are involved in rehabilitation of prisoners
    • The church builds schools and other institutions that supplement government institutions.
    • The church is involved in formulation of educational curriculum.
  • However the church differs with government on various issues such as
    • Use of condoms (Some churches opposed to this)
    • Use of live bullets by the law enforces when curbing riots
    • Fight on corruption a thorn to the church since state leaders are involved
    • Issue of death penalty – church been fighting against death penalty to convicts. The government lifted the death penalty as a form of punishment in the year 2009.

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