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Liberation and the Draft Discrimination Law

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”       Matthew 7: 12 [Jesus teaching his disciples and the crowds AD 30]

Jersey’s States Assembly will debate a new Draft Discrimination Law next Tuesday. Many voices have been raised in favour. How right they are.

Read the words of Jesus in bold above – spoken at the very beginning of his public service. His was a positive instruction. His commandment was to do everything to others that you would wish those others to do to you. One who follows Jesus will seek to apply the same standard to all with whom he or she has dealings – the standard of what he or she would wish to receive from others.

Look again at Jesus’ words. He added: this is the Law and the Prophets. The Law at that time in Israel was the Law given by Almighty God through Moses, including the Ten Commandments. It is on the Ten Commandments that form the most ancient basis of Jersey Law.
By “the Prophets” Jesus was referring to the later teachings of Prophets in Israel – now in our Bibles in the Old Testament. So Jesus’ commandment (“whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them”) is the basic Law of God. 
‘Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world.' (Francis Schaeffer, Christian philosopher, 1912-1984)

So..... Why does Jersey need a Discrimination Law? Is it because most are no longer followers of Jesus?

The Report attached to the Draft Law contains these key sentences. “The draft Law is an overarching law that provides a framework for protection against discrimination and it includes ‘race’ as the first protected characteristic.” “A person directly discriminates against another person if he or she treats that person less favourably than another person because of a particular characteristic.” A person indirectly discriminates against another person where they apply a provision, criterion or practice, which the person cannot show to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim, and that disadvantages people with a particular characteristic.”

Jersey has a good number of Portuguese, Polish, Romanian and other non-British folk living and working here. Let’s just take one example – say a couple from Romania living and working in Jersey on minimum wages.

As a country, Romania is in dire straits. Last year riots occurred because health service provision in the country had to be cut from an already seriously deficient level. During Communist rule from 1945 to 1990 over 2 million Romanians lost their lives without reason. Besides hundreds of thousands of Romanian Jews killed under Nazi policies during the war years.

Jersey folk who experienced the German Occupation of the Island during WW2 may well sympathise. But they never experienced Stalinism.......
‘Compassion is what makes a man feel pain when somebody else hurts.' (Anon.)

What shall we do with regard to this (illustrative only) Romanian couple?

Before we answer, it seems that Jesus would like me to ask myself another question. It’s this. “Immediately after the Occupation, what would Jersey folk wish that Britain and the victorious allies would do for them?” The answer you give is exactly what we should do to Romanian (and other) folk in Jersey.

In fact Jersey received a huge grant of money from Britain in 1945.... and much more....

Does Jesus care about this (fictitious but please go along with it) Romanian couple?

Yes – much more than we imagine. Jesus disclosed the heart of his Father Almighty when he taught his disciples [and the crowds] in AD 33. “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”      

His realm is the realm of “doing” and “giving” and those who live in his realm wish to “give” and "do." Why?

Because they see what Jesus “did” and “gave” – “did” and “gave” to and for his enemies. Oh that, one day, Christians may be more (and later totally) like him and his Father.

Richard Syvret

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