CRE Form 4 Notes Topic 6: Christian Approaches to Law, Order and Justice

LESSON 1: 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.

1) 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.

2) 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

  1. Non – legal laws – no court action e.g. school rules
  2. Customary traditional laws – based on culture, social traditions. They have to agree with state laws.They are respected by state.
  3. Statutory laws / legal laws – laws made by local council or national government and citizens are expected to obey them.

 

Types of statutory laws

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

c) 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.

LESSON 2: IMPORTANCE OF LAW, ORDER AND JUSTICE

Importance of law, order and justice

a) They are essential to preserve harmony and protect people

b) Laws guide people and ensure people’s rights are protected.

c) They protect people’s property and enable people to live in harmony

d) They protect the consumer from exploitation

e) They safeguard religious freedom

f) Laws control power of those in authority and promote political stability

g) Provides stability, encouraging economic growth

h) Helps to control discontentment among people

i) Helps implementation of taxes effectively

j) Provides / help in maintenance of security

k) Ensures human rights are upheld

l) Enables the government to protect its citizens from internal or external threats.

m) International law regulates relations between countries.

LESSON 3: 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

1) Right to life – to live securely

2) Right to education

3) Right to liberty / freedom e.g. one should not be imprisoned, detained, without trial. One is innocent until proven guilty

4) Right to protection of property

5) Right to own a family – right to marry and raise a family

6) Right to health

7) Freedom of movement

8) Right to freedom of association

9) Right to freedom of assembly

10) Freedom of religion

11) Right to own property

12) Right to equality – non discrimination

13) 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)

1) Pay taxes to the government

2) Respect the flag and national anthem

3) Respect those in authority

4) Respect the laws of the land

5) Register as a voter and voter in national elections

6) Be responsible at work

7) Participate in national development

8) Promote peace and harmony in the society

9) Report errant members of the society to law enforcement agents

10) protect the environmental – clean, plant trees, avoid poaching etc

LESSON 4: TRADITIONAL AFRICAN PRACTICES THAT PROMOTE LAW, ORDER, JUSTICE

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

a) 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

b) Installation of rulers, kings, chiefs, elders

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

c) Administration of oaths

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

d) Making of covenants

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

e) Observing of taboos and customary law

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

f) The kinship system – defined how people related one to another

g) Rites of passage – ensured customs, laws were adhered to

h) Religious practices – such as praying, singing, sacrificing and giving of offerings had the effect of maintaining order.

LESSON 5: BIBLICAL TEACHING ON LAW, ORDER AND JUSTICE

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

LESSON 6: CAUSES OF SOCIAL DISORDER AND THEIR REMEDIES

Social disorder is a state of confusion or lack of order in the society

Causes

1) Discrimination

2) Inequitable distribution of wealth, resources

3) Crime

4) Racism

5) Tribalism

6) 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

  1. Culture
  2. Prejudice – bias original from opinions that have no known basis or supporting facts – stereotypes
  3. Ignorance e.g. on HIV /AIDS
  4. 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.

Causes of crime (Why people commit crime)

  1. Poverty
  2. Public mistrust for law enforces
  3. Lack of parental guidance
  4. Wide gap between the rich and the poor
  5. Greed for power, money
  6. Materialism
  7. 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

1) Rehabilitation for drugs users / abusers

2) 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

3) Equitable distribution of national resources

– Develop marginalized areas

– Create jobs

4) Campaign against drug abuse

5) The public to use hot lines to report crime to police

6) Preach against racism, tribalism, and preach equality, freedom and interaction with all people

7) People to be sensitized to appreciate and respect different ethnics groups

Promote national unity through education /cultural programmes

9) Creation of more national schools so as to have students from all backgrounds

10) Encourage domestic tourism

11) Enlighten women on their rights

12) Employment on merit

13) Rich countries to share wealth with the poor

LESSON 7: 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

a) 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)

b) 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)

c) 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

d) THE CHURCH – STATE RELATIONSHIP

The government and the church interact at various levels and in different areas

  1. Religious leaders give advice to the state
  2. The church speaks against corruption, robbery, rape, abortion, vices which the government is fighting
  3. The church is the conscience of the state
  4. Both educate the citizens on the constitution and their rights
  5. The church preaches peace, love, unity, order
  6. The state needs support of the church in mobilizing citizens to adopt government policies
  7. Both are involved in rehabilitation of prisoners
  8. The church builds schools and other institutions that supplement government institutions.
  9. The church is involved in formulation of educational curriculum.

However the church differs with government on various issues such as

  1. Use of condoms (Some churches opposed to this)
  2. Use of live bullets by the law enforces when curbing riots
  3. Fight on corruption a thorn to the church since state leaders are involved
  4. Issue of death penalty – church been fighting against death penalty to convicts
  5. The government lifted the death penalty as a form of punishment in the year 2009.

Revision questions

  1. State ways in which Christians can promote peace/unity in the society
  2. Why should Christians take part in voting?
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