Monday, December 1, 2008

Are Christians Exempt New Smacking Laws?

This is Korean pastor Moon Hong Min outside court in Christchurch.

He’s looking rather pleased with himself, which is hardly surprising given the fact he escaped conviction after striking his 15 year old niece with a leather belt eight times around her legs, torso, and shoulders.

His guilty plea & the evidence above should have been enough one would have thought, to distinguish the pastors actions from a simple case of over-zealous chastisement, to one involving petulant violence against a minor in his care.

The thrashing came as a result of his niece spending too much time on her cell-phone.

The defence told the judge a conviction would see his work visa cancelled and deprive the Korean Christian community in Christchurch, his attributes as a pastor.

Whilst the judge indicating the crime was of a serious nature, the judge imposed only a fine ($2,5000) & the pastor walked from Court and back to ministering his flock.

Thus, all the smiles above.

Those that are pushing for the referendum on child discipline are asking for consistency in law and clear legal guidelines for parents – well now they have it.

New Zealanders now have the legal precedent & guidelines they were after, and boy will the Christian based anti-smacking campaigners, be applauding this landmark decision.

The message is there for all of us to ponder.

Moons defence was founded on his “character” and his own beliefs of traditional discipline ‘old testament style’, plus the ramifications a conviction would have on his ability to stay in New Zealand.

The Judge agreed these were enough grounds for Pastor Moon to escape conviction, and he receive the lighter punishment.

If he had have been ‘Joe Bloggs the Atheist from over the fence’ or ‘The Head of The Hells Angels chapter’ in court under identical circumstances, it’s doubtful the court would have been so lenient in imposing just a fine.

The decision in this case will be picked-up by lawyers up & down the country and the precedent created here will doubtless be repeated in similar cases.

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