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12. November 2011

Reexamining the laws of assault

Filed under: natural law and rights,sex,Theology — admin @ 16:51

In modern American society, though men and women oftentimes pretend to support equal rights for both genders, they in actuality support systems which favor one sex over the other.

This inequality is highlighted particularly vividly by laws pertaining to assault; for a woman merely needs go to the police station with a bruise, and her husband or lover can be immediately jailed without hope of a fair trial.  But though this tendency is especially glaring when pertaining to courts of law, it is not restricted to them.  If a woman and her husband go shopping while she has a black eye, nearly everyone who sees them will immediately question whether or not he has been beating her.  If a man goes shopping with his wife and he has a black eye, the bruise is unlikely to be blamed on her misbehavior.

This is not to say that the instinct to defend women is itself wrong; quite the opposite should be our conclusion.  As the Creator Himself has bestowed said instinct upon men, we must assume that it is intended, therefore, to serve an ultimately good purpose when employed within its proper boundaries.  But when men have an instinctive tendency toward the protection of women, it is not unfair to question whether this tendency toward blaming the male, whether or not he has actually committed an offense, leaves men in a position of legal subjection.  So, if Americans are to concern themselves with proper rights for both men and women, it is of utmost importance for them to consider whether a balance can be struck between protecting women from physical abuse, and ensuring that men are not treated as criminals without fair trial.

For such an answer, it is imperative that one look to the Scriptures.  According to Biblical Law, physical assault was not a prosecutable offense unless it had caused disfigurement, because anything less than disfigurement places the defendant in a judicially indefensible position (supposing that serious injury occurred, though, the one who inflicted the injury would have the same done to him, and he would be forced to pay the other’s medical bills and lost wages).  Though oftentimes misunderstood by modern man, Jesus did not require His followers to neglect their Biblical rights when He commanded them to turn the other cheek, since petty assault was never actually prohibited by Law.  He did not advocate anarchy or pacifism, nor did He require that murderers run free, or that someone who steals be permitted to continue stealing.  He was simply stating that a strike on the cheek, a legal gesture of intense disrespect, was to be borne and responded to with love.

Of course, this raises many questions, the first of which concerns whether men, who are more inclined to physical violence, should be allowed to fight in the streets and to strike their wives, supposing no serious disfigurement should result.   Perhaps it might be argued that the more vulnerable sex should be granted greater protection; but should a society concern itself with the protection of women from minor physical assault, it must be considered that in doing so, the law grants women the authority to wield state violence against men both guilty and innocent, oftentimes without evidence.  And it must be asked which is more offensive, the minor violence of men against women (meaning, that which does not disfigure), or the far more harmful violence of the state against innocent men, under oftentimes unprovable allegations.  While it is oftentimes said by Americans that it is better for ten guilty men to go free than for one innocent man to suffer, this philosophy is nowhere more reversed than in the cases of male-female relations.

But this refusal to wield state violence against aggressive men does not leave the woman defenseless.  Rarely considered by those who reject such a Biblical law, it must be reminded that if a man is granted the right to petty assault, others are granted that right against him.  Supposing a man were to strike his wife, and other men (say, her brothers, friends, etc) were to discover such an offense, those men would be entitled by law to bring justice to his doorstep.

This justice would have limits, of course.  Once again, the Bible requires that every disfiguring blow would be matched by the state, so all those engaging in such behavior would take extra precaution in their actions, knowing very well that any tooth they dislodge will eventually be their own, and any medical bills acquired be theirs to pay.  But this liberty of personal defense clearly displays that although legalization of simple assault may at first appear cruel to women, a practical approval of domestic violence, it can only be insofar as the men in her society are cowardly enough to refuse her defense.  Thus, a restoration of rights does not simply excuse men from responsibility and honor: it requires their active participation in them.

There is a second Biblical law pertaining to male-female relations and violence, of which all should take note.  In said circumstance, a woman who interjects herself into a fight between two men, striking one of them in the gonads, is sentenced to the loss of a hand.  The punishment is gruesome, as I believe all agree; the penalty itself is not what this writer is proposing men reinstate.  But like all other severe punishments in the Bible, the severity is a tool used not solely to end a specific behavior, but an artistic display of God’s disgust, relative to the importance of a principle transgressed.  As such, it is of utmost importance that men consider what exactly, in essence, is being prohibited.

As noted above, it is entirely unlikely that a man would attack his neighbor with a deadly weapon, as every blow of disfigurement would be applied to his person by his neighbors (unless his life was clearly threatened), and every medical bill charged directly to his account. But while this statute at once levels the playing field between man and man, it leaves a great imbalance between man and woman.  For the woman, most likely being of inferior muscular build, cannot rely on the use of weaponry to enter a fight.  She will not likely use a cooking pan, nor will she use a bottle, or other tool to attack her neighbor, if by their use she risks her own disfigurement.

This at once leaves her with a single advantage: a crippling strike to the gonads.  But there must be noted here a necessary specification, that being the circumstances of the fight itself.  The law does not prohibit a woman from striking a man in the gonads in general, an omission which grants her liberty to oppose her aggressors wherever they may appear.  Judaism is not Islam; Yahweh does not condone abuse by husbands, and leave wives without defense.  But He does prohibit a woman from entering a non-life-threatening tussle between two men, and employing a devious and unrefined tactic at the expense of fairness and her partner’s honor.

This at once displays two important principles.  First, that men should be allowed to defend their honor and the honor of women with non-disfiguring blows, in an attempt to restore civility to society in all the ways in which law cannot.   Second, it is that women, though given the option to enter fights, should at most times remain out of them. She has no natural advantage, and she was not intended by God to have one. She must not cheat.  She should stay out of the fight, and leave it to the men, a principle dear to every man who cherishes the delicate and beautiful nature of the fairer sex.

In conclusion, men have been endowed by their Creator with certain instincts for certain purposes; the urge to fight in the name of justice and civilization is no different.  When men are forced into submission, by laws founded not upon Biblical principles, but upon humanistic philosophy, they are often led toward suppression of these instincts in areas which require their use, and in other times toward use in areas which require their suppression.  Wisdom itself is not the cessation of feeling, but rather its proper application toward the highest good, the establishment of civilized society. And as shown above, its development requires exercise within the boundaries of proper Biblical rights, or a true system of rights will not be had.

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