At a Dec. 28 Lancaster County Commissioners meeting, local pastor Joel Saint addressed the county commissioners on the subject of justice, citing both the Amos Miller case and the FBI’s involvement with Twitter.
The pastor opened his public comments by saying that state officials are in the position of “dispensing justice.” Then he asked, “But what is justice?”
Saint then referenced the case of Amos Miller, a Lancaster County farmer who had been facing fines in excess of $300,000 for failing to follow federally approved meat regulations. As The Lancaster Patriot reported last month, Miller’s case reached a tentative conclusion with an agreement wherein Miller must pay two fines, totaling approximately $80,000, and follow certain regulations regarding his farm.
Saint asked the commissioners: “Was it justice when $300,000 was asked for, or demanded? Or is it justice at $80,000? What actually is justice? And how do we know what justice is?” He also referenced the FBI asking Twitter to silence Americans on the social media platform. “Is that justice?” he asked.
Saint went on to read from portions of the Old Testament book of Isaiah, including chapter 9, verse 7: “Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever.”
“When it comes to justice, if there is a God who has spoken, then we best listen to him,” Saint said. “There is no third way here. It’s either the word of man or the Word of God. We have it clearly stated that Christ is the source of justice and His Word. Otherwise, we’ll be like those who mutter, those who just search and search in the dark, trying to figure out what justice is. Is it $300,000? Is it $80,000…what is justice? We do have a source: it’s the eternal Word of God.”
None of the three county commissioners – Josh Parsons, Ray D’Agostino, and John Trescot – responded to Saint’s comments about justice, though there was some interaction with the pastor during an earlier portion of the same meeting.
During a discussion about government housing projects and initiatives, Parsons critiqued large government intervention but did maintain that government has a role in housing projects. Saint publicly expressed his disagreement: “I disagree with Commissioner Parsons who said government has a role…in housing. I would argue that government has no role whatsoever to take money away from the productive to give to the unproductive.”
D’Agostino responded, “That’s not true, because most people who are actually in affordable housing are productive, they have jobs.” D’Agostino added that “the government intervention that we seek should be the minimum required.”
Saint, who pastors Independence Reformed Bible Church and also serves as the Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Reformation Society, has been a regular attendee at the weekly county commissioner meetings, often quoting from the Bible during his public comments.