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District Attorney Ignores the Rule of Law and God



The concept of the rule of law is an ancient one, this principle is even found in the works of Aristotle’s Politics, which defines the concept by saying “It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.” [1]


Even Aristotle was not the first recorded instance of the importance of the rule of law, this was pre-dated by the Ten Commandments given to Moses in Exodus 20. It is here that the Lord commanded the Israelites to obey His laws and His words. As it says in Matthew 5:18 “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”


In Romans 13:1-2 Christians are instructed to be “…subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.” They are further assured that “the authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”


Given our sacred duty to follow the law and the holy purpose of those who enforce the law, it is clear that the rule of law is enshrined as a Biblical principle.


Unfortunately, the rule of law is one of many concepts that are under attack in modern-day America. A recent decision on the part of the District Attorney of Portland, Oregon decreed that those who were found to have been rioting without causing “deliberate” damage would see their charges dropped. [2]


A statement by District Attorney Mike Schmidt declared, ”We will presumptively [emphasis added] decline to charge cases where the most serious offenses are city ordinance violations and crimes that do not involve deliberate property damage, theft, or the use or threat of force against another person.” [3]


This is a patent example of a sworn officer of the law determining himself to be above the laws that were enacted by the legitimate legislative processes of his state. Under Oregon Revised Statute 166.015, it plainly says “A person commits the crime of riot if while participating with five or more other persons the person engages in tumultuous and violent conduct and thereby intentionally or recklessly creates a grave risk of causing public alarm.” [4]


Violent demonstrators have ravaged Portland, Oregon, leaving many business owners reeling as they fight to protect their livelihoods from destruction; some have turned to applying a special coating to their windows to prevent the glass from breaking and others have personally sat guard until 3:00 AM in their stores. [5]


The idea that the scoundrels persecuting these business owners will be let off without due punishment under the law is offensive and concerning. Statutes should not be enforced arbitrarily.


In Isaiah 10:1-2 those in positions of power are warned of the consequences of behaving unjustly: “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.”


While it is possible that the district attorney means well, his actions have robbed many constituents of justice and reflect poorly on his respect for the ancient and Godly principle of the rule of law. This is yet another example of why Christians must enact their faith in cultural contexts and call out these morally unjust decisions before they become the norm. The rule of law is not just the law of Man, it is also the law of God.


Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.


[1] Aristotle, “Politics: Book Three,” The Internet Classics Archive (n.d.), http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/politics.3.three.html

[2] Maxine Bernstein, “Hundreds of Portland protesters will see their criminal cases dropped as DA announces plan to ‘recognize the right to speak',” OregonLive (August 11, 2020), https://www.oregonlive.com/crime/2020/08/hundreds-of-portland-protesters-will-see-their-criminal-cases-dropped-as-da-announces-plan-to-recognize-the-right-to-speak.html

[3] “Policy Regarding Protest Related Cases,” District Attorney Multnomah County (August 11, 2020), https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/7033865-DASCHMIDTpolicy-Regarding-Protest-Related-Cases.html

[4] “ORS 166.015 Riot,” OregonLaws.org (n.d.), https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/166.015

[5]Pat Dooris, “Empty sidewalks, boarded windows and upset business owners in downtown Portland,” KGW8 (July 20, 2020), https://www.kgw.com/article/money/business/portland-oregon-protests-businesses-downtown/283-c15afb81-e083-4fe6-bb3a-6c3222f7b17e

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Foundations of Truth hereby waive all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.