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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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/