The Bible Prohibits Affirmative Action!
Posted by Job on September 10, 2008
I have been writing way too much about politics lately … I promise to work to make the site more balanced in the future. The Bible verse that explicitly prohibits affirmative action in my estimation is Proverb 11:1. “The LORD abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.” That is the NIV. The ESV gives it as follows: “A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight.”
Making it as simple as possible, many colleges evaluate candidates for admission and workplaces for hiring and promotion based on a points system. For instance, a numerical representation is made of a person’s qualifications. So a candidate for college admissions would acquire some points based on a combination of his grade point average and standardized test scores, for hiring based on his education and work experience, to make use of a crude example. Then that person’s numbers are compared against all of the other candidates, and people are accepted or rejected largely based on it. Those who practice affirmative action and other preference systems add points based on a person’s race or sex.
This point system is, in every respect, a scale. It is used to weigh or measure a person in the same way that, in the literal context of this verse, a person in a marketplace would measure the weight of produce or other merchandise in order to determine its financial worth. Of course, reflecting the fallen nature of mankind, dishonest vendors would rig the scales to force customers to pay more for his merchandise than they were worth. You might protest that this is an unfair comparison, for the measure of a person’s worth cannot be correctly gauged using numbers. That is true. It is also true that the supermarket scale that determines how much you will pay for your tomatoes according to their weight will not tell you how fresh the tomatoes are, what kind of tomatoes they are, or how good they will taste.
The point is that if a system of measurement is going to be used, then it must be used evenly and fairly. If such is done, then it is a just weight that the Lord loves. If it is not done, then it is a cheating scale that the Lord hates. If the Lord hates something, what is it? A sin. God loves mercy, fairness, and equity and demands that we treat each other in that fashion.
So, the religious left demands that we accept and practice affirmative action. In doing so, they promote sin, promote people to accept and embrace sin. By calling opponents of affirmative action racist and sexist, they violate Isaiah 5:20, which pronounces death upon those who call good evil and evil good, and they also coerce and intimidate people into sinning – or to be silent in the face of sin – that otherwise would not.
However, the religious right is not totally off the hook. Why not? They criticize race based affirmative action while actually praising and defending legacy preferences! In doing this, they A) commit the same sin as the religious right with affirmative action, B) add to that the sin of hypocrisy, and C) add to that still the sin of favoring the rich and powerful – as legacies tend to be – over the poor and powerless, which James 2:1-13 calls the sin of partiality. Although when you ponder it a bit, partiality can be considered just another type of cheating scale, especially when you consider that universities openly admit that they practice legacy admissions because it helps fundraising from wealthy donors, and that it creates “a sense of community” (elitism).
Now I am certain that there are some that would seek to introduce more variables, such as how colleges in particular factor in such values as favoring students from certain high schools (a form of elitism since these high schools are generally high income) and from certain areas of the country. I will concede this point, but only to a degree. We should agree that rigging scales by race and sex and favoring the rich in our current context are especially problematic, and as such should not be advocated or defended by any Christian.