John Steward of Jesus
  The "Good News" (Gospel) > Archives > Other Writings 1979-1985 > Legal Tender

Legal Tender

(undated, probably in 1981)

The "legal tender" classification is merely an official recognition to save time in future disputes, similar to the classification of "registered stock" such as cows, pigs, or sheep.

An obligation to pay a registered sheep can be met by offering "registered stock", provided the stock offered is sheep.  So too, an obligation to pay five dollars of money can be met by offering five dollars of legal tender money, but not by offering legal tender of something else, such as worthless "notes".  Legal tender "dollar for dollar" means "unit for unit", implying that the units tendered must be the same units as those owed, as least on the face of the transaction.  Legal tender status in law is similar to ear tags in sheep and cattle which confirm that the stock is registered.  But nobody would claim a registered sheep could be substituted for a registered cow simply because both were "registered stock".  If one owes a registered sheep, his obligation is not merely to pay a unit of registered stock, but to pay a registered sheep.  So, too, an obligation to pay money is not a general obligation to offer any legal tender, but to offer a legal tender of money in the quantity owed.