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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Eminent Domain Is Ungodly

BIZNETDAILY COMMENTARYWhen a divine right goes morally wrong
Posted: July 20, 20051:00 a.m. EasternIan Hodge is a regular columnist for Business Reform Magazine, the leading Christian business magazine with over 100,000 readers. Each issue of Business Reform features practical advice on operating successfully in business while glorifying God.
By Ian Hodge© 2005 Business Reform
Just when you think the economy is bad enough, forcing people out of work, a new danger emerges forcing people not only from their jobs, but in some cases from their houses as well.
It has become an accepted belief around the world that the government--local, state and federal--can do whatever it likes. Unfortunately, it is not just a belief, but it happens in practice as well.
As a result people have been served condemnation notices on their properties in order that the properties might become available to other businesses in the community. Under the guise of better planning, people have had to give up the right to their land and home, and often their livelihood, as the law has been used to evict them off their property in order to make way for someone else.
Under the mistaken notion of eminent domain, authorities around the world treat property as if it were their own, thus making the idea of property ownership a mistaken goal for many.
What is not often realized, however, is that the concept of eminent domain is an exercise of divine right by the political order. This ancient religious belief has returned after centuries of being held in check. What some people don’t like to admit is that it was held in check by another religion, Christianity, which asserted that divine right was an attribute of God not the political order.
Wherever we turn in our world today we are faced with the claims of eminent domain by the political order. We are not free to use our property any way we choose; we need permits and approvals before we can open our doors, often at high cost.
Increasingly we are not free to enter certain professions without state approval. While the ostensibly good reasons of protecting everyone sound plausible, they are in fact a continuation of the claim of divine right by the political order. In this case, it is attempting to save people from some harm they might do to themselves if left to their own devices.
No people can be free when eminent domain is claimed by the political order. To speak of freedom in such an environment is an oxymoron. But because we turn our backs on the Christian concept of divinity we have no way of redressing the pain and agony faced by many as the state exercises its version of eminent domain.
If we want to find out what’s wrong with our economy we have to look beyond the mismanagement of the economy by those in authority. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Below the surface, something else is going on. We need to find out what is driving this manifestation of eminent domain that is causing pain to many.
“The earth us the Lord’s,” said the Psalmist. This is the belief that denied the divine right of kings, parliaments and congresses. It is also the belief that gave real protection to property ownership, and thus denied the political order the power of eminent domain. A man’s home is his castle, but this is only true if he is protected by the law, not seen as a tenant of the state who can be removed at will.
Its return in our midst is a sign of real danger to individual freedom, property rights (without which freedom disappears), and the ability of the economy to build a sound and lasting future. The challenge is, what are we going to do about it?
Ian Hodge and Business Reform are able to offer a range of services that will educate business owners in all aspects of management, services that include our very own do-it-at-home (or at the office) study material. The first series of lessons on finance is now available. For further information, send an email to Learn to develop and maintain management practices that will give your


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