Why judges are better than kings

Published 5:34 pm Sunday, August 5, 2018

As I write this, I am reeling from the news of Judge David Fowler passing away. Judges don’t always get the credit in America, in history or religion.

But in a study my Sunday School class last year revealed how judges are better than kings, then and today.

Growing up, and reading the Bible a lot, I would come across tales of “Judges,” who were the real heroes of the Israelites, like Gideon, Samson, Deborah and Samuel. Nearly every judge is honored in the Bible. There were some good kings like David, Solomon and Josiah. But I would read about Israeli and Judean Kings who “did evil in the sight of the Lord.”

Over last summer, a guest speaker taught about how, despite concerns by God and Samuel, the people demanded a King. So, Saul was picked. He was big, tough and good-looking, but also vain, quick-tempered, jealous and insecure, and tried to kill David.

Of the 40 Israeli and Judean kings between David and the exile of the Jewish people, 75 percent were evil. The Assyrians made off with the tribes of Israeli, who disappeared completely. The Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem, and dragged off the Jews in chains into exile.

Later, there were Herod kings, butchering babies in Bethlehem or mocking Jesus before allowing his death.

Throughout history, we’ve seen kings and emperors of all types, most of them as wicked as those of Biblical days. Thankfully, American patriots decided we didn’t need a king — we could make our own political and economic decisions, and we would have a Judicial Branch.

Judges today are different than kings, because they get involved in the community, volunteering for civic service, interacting with the people, making a difference on the bench and in the boardroom as well as in the public.

Kings look down upon the “common folk” and don’t dare mingle with such “low-born” individuals.

Judge Fowler knew and respected the law, as well as his students at LaGrange College. They, in turn, repeatedly emailed me or messaged me to tell me what I already knew — how much he was a mentor to them, and encouraged so many to aspire to a career in law. Like their Biblical counterparts, it is our American judges who work hard to assure our freedoms, more than the modern-day authoritarians who flatter their audiences but govern in a most arbitrary fashion.