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Equality Is Not Sameness 05/29/2009

Sonia Sotomayor

Supreme Court nominee
Sonia Sotomayor.

 

It seems that the American justice system is all for equal rights until it produces results that those in power don't like. Consider the case of Ricci v. DeStefano, which is set to go before the Supreme Court. In short, 77 firefighters in New Haven, Connecticut, were given an exam to determine who was eligible for 15 lieutenant and captain promotions. Nineteen of the firefighters were African-American. None of them scored high enough on the exam to make the cut, so the results were promptly thrown out and nobody was promoted. They all took the same exam and they all had the same opportunity to advance, but equal opportunity did not lead to equal results, which is a problem for the "progressive" crowd that is currently in power.

Through the years, there has been much misapplication of that great phrase in the Declaration of Independence: "All men are created equal." Our nation's founders defined what they meant by "equality" when they said we are all "endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights." They declared that all Americans should have equal rights under the law, not equal outcomes for every individual.

It only takes a miniscule amount of common sense to grasp this concept. I have played golf much of my life, but never like Tiger Woods. I went to college, but I am not Albert Einstein. Most of us live in comfort, but none of us have Donald Trump's wealth. Where is the equality in that?

All men are not created equal when it comes to interests, abilities, strengths, weaknesses or privileges -- nor would we want them to be. It takes all kinds to make our world such a beautiful, diverse and interesting place. If any of us wanted to captain our own yacht, we could take the courses, work to save the money, shop to find the right boat and dock it somewhere on the coast. In America, we all have that opportunity, but that doesn't mean we all get a yacht.

The same was true for firemen Frank Ricci. He had the opportunity to earn a promotion, even though he was at a natural disadvantage. Ricci is dyslexic, so he spent more than $1,000 to pay an acquaintance to make recordings of the educational materials needed to master and pass the test. Unfortunately for him, he is a white male. Had he been black, he and the others would have received the promotions. This is a gross misapplication of "equality" in America.

This is important right now because the judge who upheld the decision to deny Ricci his hard-earned promotion was Sonia Sotomayor. She is President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court. Apparently, she fails to grasp the unalterable differences between people and the unequal distribution of ability and motivation. No matter how hard the courts try, they can never truly "level the playing field." You can put a Texas Rangers uniform on us and send us out to the plate with a Louisville Slugger in our hands, but few will ever hit the ball like Josh Hamilton.

As a nation, we should do everything we can to remove barriers that unfairly hold people back, but it will always be the responsibility of the individual to make the most of his or her opportunities. There will always be obstacles to freedom, success and advancement, but therein lies the challenge -- and the opportunity. Happiness is not a guarantee or a right, even though we should have the opportunity to pursue it. It is this pursuit that should be protected, not the outcome.

When it comes to protection, we have to wonder what rights Sotomayor will give the unborn. In defending her pro-abortion stance, the president's administration has made it clear that she will not grant the unborn equal access to life. If there is any opportunity that should be given to everyone, regardless of race, gender or any other characteristic, it is the most basic right -- that of life itself. Without the right to be born, no other right matters.

Our nation has become very "progressive" in judicial matters, but it has come at the sacrifice of the foundational principles that made our country strong. Equal opportunity is not the sameness of outcome. Until we return to this absolute truth, we will continue to suffer the arbitrary oppression of judges like Sonia Sotomayor; even, it appears, in the highest court of the land.


Author: James Robison

Editor: Randy Robison

Word Count: 741

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Soul of a Nation, The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net . Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.