A story by Ralph Haulk
Several years ago, I decided to challenge an “illegal muffler” charge in court, since I had bought the truck with the illegal muffler and had no awareness that it was illegal. Actually, I got the case thrown out of court simply by appealing and requesting a jury trial, but that’s not the point of the story.
Editors note: I believe that the bible is the old laws in storie from. There for I follow the lessons and leave the stories for the next one who comes to learn.
During the first trial, I questioned the officer who gave me the ticket, presented my own witness, and was asked to take the witness stand. In my eagerness to get on with it, I walked straight to the stand and sat down. Nothing happened! The judge said nothing, the prosecutor said nothing. Both simply sat and stared at each other for several uneasy seconds until finally the bailiff spoke: “Uh…Mr. Haulk, you didn’t take the oath”.
I stepped down, took the oath, and was found guilty even though I had proven my innocence of any knowledge of the muffler. But this hesitation to question me without the oath was intriguing, so I decided to look into it.
I learned that the Supreme Court recognized what we call our 5th Amendment right against self incrimination, the right to refuse to testify against ourselves, as having its analogue in the bible. In Miranda vs Arizona, the Supreme Court, footnote 27, stated that Maimonides “found an analogue to the privilege grounded in the bible”.
Does the bible grant such immunity against self incrimination? According to Talmudic law, it comes from Deuteronomy 17:6 and 19:15, the “two witness rule”, which ensures that no defendant can be convicted for any reason with less than two witnesses.
It was held, by Talmudic interpretation, that even if the defendant confessed, his confession would not be held against him as evidence. In that respect, Jewish interpretations exceeded the protection of our own 5th Amendment.
Actually the Old Testament provides more protection than that, as we see in Isaiah 50:8. This group of scriptures are said to refer to Christ, but if so, do they refer to Jesus alone?
“He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? Let us stand together: who is mine adversary? Let him come near to me?”
You see from this that we are not only allowed the right against self incrimination, but also the right to face our accusers if we are brought to trial. That is also guaranteed in our 6th Amendment.
But are these rights, today, only part of that which was given to Jesus? Not at all. Isaiah 54:17:
”…Every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgement thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.”
So we see clearly here not only the right against self incrimination, but the right to face our accuser, and the right of the presumption of innocence, all guaranteed by those who seek to serve God!
All fifty states recognize the sovereignty of God in some form!
So why do they ask you to take the oath in order to testify? because, by taking the oath, you are actually waiving your 5th Amendment protections!
The law says you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. When I was asked to take the witness stand, neither the judge nor prosecutor could proceed to ask me questions. Why? Because I had not waived my right against self incrimination!
You cannot be compelled to testify against yourself in any way! Many read Jesus’ command not to swear at all in Matthew 5, and also the prohibition in the book of James. But they then assume that they are required to “affirm” their testimony as true. They can not be required to either swear or affirm, since either one will waive their right against self incrimination.
But if the court already has a witness against you, can’t they use that testimony to convict you? For this, we go right back to Deuteronomy 19:15:
“One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established”.
You cannot be convicted by less than two witnesses! Remember Isaiah 54:17? “Their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord”.
Your full protection against self incrimination comes from the bible! whatever, God has decreed as true, the state is bound to recognize it as a sovereign power.
We must conclude, then, that if you swear to tell the truth, or if you affirm your testimony, you have provided the second witness allowing the court to convict you!
In my state, North Carolina, the state recognizes the sovereignty of God over nations. That means,If you are asked to swear on the bible and use God as your witness, shouldn’t you be able to open the bible and actually do it?
The judge is already bound by oath, as is the police officer and prosecutor. Why shouldn’t you also hold them to their oaths?
Think about this: When you walk into traffic court, you are facing a plaintiff or accuser who works for the state, a prosecutor who works for the state, and a judge who has sworn to uphold the power of the state. Who, then is your defender? Since all fifty states recognize God as sovereign, you only have to point to Isaiah 54:17. Can they ignore this, or that the accused has a right against self incrimination? The Supreme Court has already recognized this right as having its analogue, if not its beginning, in the bible itself!
Let’s look at the privileges and immunities clause of the 14th Amendment. It says that no state shall make or enforce any law that abridges the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, and below that, no person shall be deprive of life. liberty, or property, without due process of law.
What is “due process”? Due process refers to any judicial proceeding or court proceeding. You cannot be deprived of life, liberty, or property, unless you have provided your side of the story. But if the accuser, prosecutor, and judge are all sworn to the authority of the state, how in the world can your side be heard? If you swear to tell the truth, you are placing yourself at the mercy of the state, and since the judge is sworn to uphold the laws of the state, he must rule against you!
What is the original definition of due process? Justice Joseph Story, who served on the Supreme Court from 1811 to 1845, was a recognized authority in original interpretation of various Constitutional phrases. Why? because he knew Hamilton, Jefferson, Washington, and probably all the founders. Justice Story writes in his book “A Familiar Exposition of The Constitution of the United States”, due process comes from Magna Carta: “Neither will we pass upon him, or condemn him, but by the lawful judgement of his peers, or by the law of the land”.
Actually, Justice Story based his statement on the earlier conclusions of Edward Coke, who had been the Lord Chief Justice of England’s courts Coke had written that “law of the land” meant due presentment and indictment, and being brought in to answer by due process of the common law. Justice Story concludes that “due process” affirms the right of trial, according to the process and proceedings of the common law.
You are guaranteed the right of trial if your life, liberty, or property is threatened by any power! No state shall make or enforce any law to abridge these privileges and immunities!
As Justice Story writes, “Indeed, in a free government, almost all other rights would become utterly worthless, if the government possessed an uncontrollable power over the private fortune of every citizen”.
When you walk into traffic court, that is exactly what you face, an uncontrollable power, especially if you go ahead and admit to guilt or even agree to swear or affirm your testimony!
Actually, traffic court is not based on the premises of the common law as trial by jury, but is part of a process called in Justice Story’s time indictment by information, or simply “information”.
Due indictment or presentment, as Justice Story describes it, is “an accusation, made by a grand Jury of its own mere motion, of an offence upon its own observation or knowledge, or upon evidence before it…An indictment is a written accusation of an offence preferred to, and presented upon oath, as true, by a Grand Jury, at the suit of the government. ”
That is considered due process, due presentment, and due indictment. An indictment by information, however, is a charge brought by the prosecutor, on his oath of office, to prosecute according to “information” presented by another officer of the state, the police officer! That is NOT due process! Justice Story has already defined due process as “lawful judgement by peers” or law of the land.
It was the opinion of the founders that the citizen is the master of his government, not its subject. A more recent Justice, Abe Fortas, who took part in the “Miranda” decision, had this to say about rights against self incrimination:
“The principle that a man is not obliged to furnish the state with ammunition to use against him is basic to this conception.… [The state] has no right to compel the sovereign individual to surrender or impair his right of self defense.…Mea culpa (confession of guilt) belongs to a man and his God. It is a plea that cannot be exacted from men by human authority. To require it is to insist that the state is the superior of the individuals who compose it, instead of their instrument”.
Powerful words from a recent Supreme Court Justice!
But what about “indictment by information”? This is very similar to something practiced by the British before the Revolutionary War, called “Admiralty Courts”. In Admiralty Courts, the British government brought charges against the defendant based only on information provided by an officer of the government! Sound familiar? The colonists hated this process, and denounced it. James Otis, in a famous case decrying “Writs of Assistance” by the British stated that Admiralty procedures “savour more of…Rome and the Inquisition than of the Common law of England and the constitution of Great Britain”.
Pulitzer Prize winning author Leonard Levy, in his book “Origins of the Fifth Amendment”, quotes another colonial statement that Admiralty Courts are similar to “high commission and Star Chamber courts”.
In defense of John Hancock, according to Levy, John Adams argued that such admiralty proceedings were a violation of Magna Carta. Levy writes “the statue authorizing admiralty court procedure in cases involving penalties and forfeiture violated the English constitution”, which was based on the principles of Magna Carta.
It was precisely this type of trial without juries that prompted the founders to insure that right not only in the main body of the Constitution under Article III, but also in the 6th Amendment. This right was included for all criminal proceedings! Adams and the founders denounced such trial by information!
The simple fact is, all state constitutions recognize the sovereignty of God, and all states are forbidden to make or enforce any law that abridges rights belonging to citizens. The sovereignty of God protects all who seek to serve and obey Him!
But what does the New Testament say about this? In Matthew 5, his great exposition on the law, Jesus said that we can settle matters of trespass “out of court”. This was actually an extension of the “spirit” of Exodus 22:9: “For all manner of trespass, whether it be for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing, which another challengeth to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges; and whom the judges shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbor”.
So Jesus clearly said that two people could settle matter among themselves out of court to save money. If you look at Matthew 18:15 – 18, you will see that Jesus expanded on this idea, using the “two witness rule” of Deuteronomy 17:6 and 19:15. All that was required was agreement of two or more and “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.…”(Matt 18:18).
If your adversary refuses to accept this, take it before the people or the church. If he still refuses, Jesus said to treat him as a “gentile or tax collector”.(verse 17). Apparently Jesus had no use for settlements paid by taxes!
When you think about it, this sounds remarkably similar to the “due process’ idea established in Magna Carta. Lawful judgement of peers came before law of the land!
What did Paul say about it? In 1 Corinthians chapter 6, Paul clearly advocated a form of “trial by jury” in which the least of the church members are allowed to judge. In chapter 5, Paul writes of delivering a person to Satan. How is that to be done? If you look at Matthew 4 and Luke 4, you see that Satan says he is given power over the governments of the world. Both Jesus and Paul advocated settlement of trespass outside of such legal powers! “Lawful judgement of peers…”.
But what of Romans 13? Paul said be subject to the higher powers. But if you’ll notice, Paul limited the authority of those higher powers! The chapter before, in Romans 12: 19. Paul quotes from the Old testament: “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord”.
And what is the responsibility of the Christian? “If thine enemy hunger, feed, him, if he thirst, give him drink…be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Jesus himself advocated a “separation of church and state” when he referred to the “eye for an eye” law. In Old testament times, penalties were accepted upon testimony of two witnesses, who were then responsible for casting the first stone. Jesus took that away from his followers, and Paul specifically limited vengeance, “eye for an eye”, to “higher powers”.
But you will notice from both the teachings of Paul and of Jesus that there were two forms: “lawful judgement of peers”, and “law of the land”. The rights and innocence of any individual was to be protected by the judgement of the community!
As a consequence of the teachings of both Paul and Jesus, the person was to be judged mercifully by the community, and then delivered to “Satan”, who had authority over governments!
Paul stated clearly that the governments are “the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil…”
So, for what reason are we to pay taxes or tribute? “For this cause pay ye tribute also, for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing”.
What “thing”? vengeance, AFTER power had been given to them by the people! This corresponds exactly to the “due process” clauses of both the 5th and 14th Amendments and Magna Carta!
The 1st Amendment grants this as the rights of the people!
About the author:
As for background, I left the WCG in 1974, following Ernest Martin in the “big split” from the South Carolina church (Charlotte-Greenville). Joined the marines (big mistake) at the urging of a neighbor, spent two years at a local community college, where I was on the Dean’s List, and during the late 80’s I was the organizing editor/publisher of a worldwide economics forum by “snail mail” called the Economics “M2M” (Many to Many, a forerunner of today’s internet forums.) I encouraged at least three books from different authors on economic history and alternative economics that seek to by-pass the Federal Reserve and restore power to communities, and became a friend of Tom Greco, helping to promote his first book, “Money And Debt — A Solution To the Global Crisis”. Tom recently finished a book on community based economic systems called “The End of Money And the Future of Civilization.” His web page is http://www.reinventingmoney.com/
or visit his active site BeyondMoney.net
For more from this author, read “Godel’s Theorem”