Thursday, December 31, 2009

Equity and Equality

"Say among the nations, 'The Lord reigns,'
the world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
He will judge the peoples with equity."
Psalm 96:10

In the dreary nether-time between Christmas and New Year's, during the dim dusk of the end of the year when normalcy halts and schedules are confused to the point of nausea... God's Word still stands firm. Hallelujah for that!

So I was trying to get my bearings after eating a little too much baklava, and I started perusing the Psalms, where I came across the term "equity", which is the way the Bible says the Lord will judge.

And I wondered, "What exactly is the difference between equity and equality?"

So I checked out

Equity: the quality of being fair or impartial; fairness; impartiality
Equality: the state or quality of being equal; correspondence in quantity, degree, value, rank, or ability

They are related, however, and the Latin root "equi-", which is the beginning of "equity", actually means equal.

I think equity has to do with understanding and discerning that flat out equality is not always fair. For instance, if there is a six month old baby and a 16 year old boy, and one hamburger and one bottle of milk, the best way to divide up the food is not to give each one a half of a hamburger and a half a bottle of milk. That would be equal, but to be equitable, you would give the bottle of milk to the baby and the hamburger to the teenage boy.

It would be a very good thing if the American governing forces (which I fear have more to do with the mafia machine that runs Chicago than with voter preference) could learn to discern the differences between dividing up the resources of our country equally and dividing them equitably. (Disclaimer--this is not to say that I think they even have equal distribution figured out, let alone equitable.)

We may well not get it right at any time in this life, which is why we should be so thankful for the life to come in eternity, where God's justice, truth and equity will reign supreme.

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