The liberal news media is jumping on Rand Paul for his comment about the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He is saying that he opposes the portion of the bill which forbids business owners from refusing to do business with people on the basis of race, though he himself is against such racial discrimination, has no plans to introduce legislation to repeal it, and supports the other portions of it banning discrimination by the government. So what’s the deal with this? Is he right or wrong? What does the Constitution say? What does the Bible say? Does this it give American more or less freedoms? Has this well-intended legislation caused more harm than good?
The Bible teaches that governments are instituted by God among men to punish evil. But there is clear evidence from the Scriptures and in practice that it is impossible to punish every evil act. One would find it hard to find a definitive set of Biblical rules that would distinguish those acts which should be punished in way that would include racial discrimination.
The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution clearly indicates that Congress has only powers which have been delegated to it by the Constitution. Why have a 14th amendment, then? Why say in the 14th amendment that Congress has the “power to enforce the provisions of this article” if they could enforce it without that language being added? Why not just pass it as a federal law in Congress? Why try to pass an Equal Rights Amendment if this already what the Constitution says??? Liberals like Chris Matthews of Hardball understand this, but they believe it is impractical to follow the Constitution that closely. (Yet some liberals like Rachel Maddow take this position and then complain about the government violating the Constitution in other instances.)
Though there are a lot of amendments which give Congress the authority to act in matters of civil rights, there is clearly is no place in the Constitution which grants the Congress to make anti-discriminatory laws against private citizens. Unlike Rand Paul, I would go further and say that they don’t even have the authority to ban racial discrimination by state and local governments*, though I would favor a Constitutional amendment which would ban this practice.
The portion of the Civil Rights Act which applies to the citizens has clearly done more harm than good. If you knew that a business owner was a racist, why would you want to patronize his establishment anyway? If it were not for this law, you could easily boycott businesses owned by racists, because you would know it before you walk through the door. But because of this law, you don’t always know. The liberals put less faith in the people to convince their fellow citizens to repent of such behavior, than in civil government. What should be done with these racists? Put them in jail? Do you think that that is really going to do anybody any good? The government’s definition of what is “equal treatment” has been extended to absurdity, forbidding barbers from having male customers only or charging them less.
Ever since he was beaten up by some black kids as a kid, my now deceased uncle hated black people. He was a landlord and rented only to whites. After the Civil Rights Act passed, he was forced to rent to blacks. This made him even more embittered and it seemed harder to change his mind. He never repented. Since the Bible teaches that he who hates his brother is a murderer, and that murderers will be tormented in hell forever, it seems unlikely to me that my uncle will escape this judgment.
*Section 1 of the 14th amendment prohibits a state from “deny[ing] to any person within its jurisdiction equal protection of the laws.” This would, I suppose, prohibit states from passing laws which would deny blacks from being able to go to a certain school, drink from a certain drinking fountain, or getting a certain job. (Even though it was dumb, I don’t see why they wouldn’t be allowed to have “separate but equal” accommodations under this language.) Section 5 would give Congress the right to enforce “equal protection” against the states. Even though I agree with the “equal protection” principle (and I oppose the “separate but equal position”), I don’t believe that Congress should be given the authority to enforce it on the states in this way (to see a better way click here), and I don’t believe that 14th amendment was properly ratified. Also keep in mind that the original constitution prohibited both the states and the Congress from passing bills of attainder, i.e., laws which punish a a certain person or certain group of people.