Start here

Confirmation Bias in the courtroom, in the media, and in the churches

64

Jerald Finney © March 23, 2014

This brief article will look at the human trait of “confirmation bias,” the main cause for the evil in America and in the churches in America. First, the article explains the term; then it touches on its significance in the courtroom, in the news media, and finally in churches. Finally, the article speaks of those believers who overcome their “confirmation bias” tendencies to one degree or another.

Anyone who is politically, economically, socially, and/or spiritually active and alert in American society will learn that many interpret all facts to confirm to what they already believe. I began to learn about this tendency in high school when I saw the mainstream media selectively quoting Republican candidate Barry Goldwater in their attempt to assure his defeat. My education on this matter continued, and by the time I entered law school in 1990, I understood the bias and employed that knowledge in jury trials, including my first jury trial. Psychologists call this prejudice “confirmation bias,” a term to which I was recently introduced at a Robert R. Swafford seminar. Mr. Swafford, an attorney and jury selection expert, founded “Strike for Cause Jury Consultants,” and he teaches other lawyers how to get rid of those on the jury panel in a given case who will see only the punches made by the opposing side which support the juror’s preconceived prejudices. A trial lawyer wants jurors who will only see his punches. Any truly good lawyer knows that he does not want a “fair and impartial jury;” indeed, a fair and impartial jury is something which is unattainable because of, among other things, confirmation bias.

When a juror has a confirmation bias contrary to that which a lawyer desires, the lawyer must realize that he is not going to change that bias by education or persuasion, especially in the short amount of time he has to deal with a panel of many potential jurors. He must be able to spot undesirable jurors and eliminate them for cause in a very short frame. Why? Because giving such persons more facts does no good. Giving them more facts does not change their mind, but gets them more entrenched since it challenges their world view. So trying to disrupt someone’s world view is not going to help. What one believes to be “truth” is one’s reality, so one acts exactly as he thinks the world is.

lawyerArguingToJurySo how does the lawyer get rid of undesirable jurors? First, he must identify the hot-button issues (issues that create an emotional response). Jurors do not make up their mind rationally. They make up their mind based upon emotion, then go back and nonsensically justify their verdict. Second, ask questions which elicit biased responses into the record so that a challenge for cause (a challenge presented to the judge which unquestionably shows a bias of a juror which will cause the juror to decide the case on something other than the facts as applied to the law). That way, in case of a negative verdict, if other procedural requirements are met which support a challenge for cause, a judge’s error in admitting the unqualified juror can be presented on appeal as a basis for a new trial.

5Confirmation bias occurs not only in the courtroom. Every news reporter has confirmation bias to one degree or another. The bias of liberal media is so obvious to this writer that he simply has not consumed news from some sources for many years; for example, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, The Austin American Statesman and most other newspapers, Time Magazine, Newsweek Magazine, etc. He no longer wastes his time listening to sources which he once listened to often: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and others. He had enough information to know not to listen to Glen Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Howard Stern (of course!), and others, and he has never listened to them. Certainly, one can get some facts (along with a lot of inaccuracies) from those sources, but the facts are selected, slanted, denied, and lied about, all with the goal of supporting the bias of the source.

Sadly, the author has discovered that confirmation bias is also rampant among most pastors and other members of churches with whom he has dealt. Usually, the pastor transfers his bias to the church members through his preaching and because of his position; but influential church members (most significantly those with money) sometimes coerce the pastor to accept their bias. That this occurs in churches is tragic because, of all places in the world, the head of the church, Jesus Christ, makes clear in His word that truth is of utmost importance for believers. Only the knowledge of the truth will make us free (John 8.32; all Bible verses referred to are from the King James Bible). God’s word is truth (John 17.17, Colossians 1.5, 1 Thessalonians 2.13). God desires that the believer be guided by the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom gained from the truths found in his Word (2 Peter 1.1-14; Hosea 4; for more on this go to the following link: After Salvation Page of “Separation of Church and State Law” blog).

8One area of church matters which almost all “fundamental Baptist pastors” have a severe confirmation bias is in the area of church organization. Their religion has trained them to simply accept the tradition of their church affiliation that local churches should become a legal entity such as an incorporated 501(c)(3) religious organization. The false reasons given for church incorporation are thoroughly analyzed in the Separation of Church and State/ God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities? (Click here to go to the PDF of the book) and in Section VI of the book God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application which are available free in PDF and in online form (Click here to go to the PDF of the book. Click here to go to the online version of both books. Click here to go to ordering information for the books.).

Truth teaches that a church grieves the Lord when they become any type of legal entity and when they get the Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) status. The writings of this author prove that a principle in the Bible is separation of church and state and that church legal entity status (incorporation, unincorporated association status, charitable trust status, Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) status, etc.) violate that principle and grieve the Lord. However, many born again pastors, lawyers, and other believers are guided by another “truth,” a truth advanced by their adversary, which is kinder (they believe) to their earthly security and well-being. As a result, even when such a church member will address the issue of incorporation and 501(c)(3) status for a church, he employs all the anti-biblical, anti-truthful, and anti-factual techniques and arguments he can muster up in order to justify his preconceived position.

A good example of confirmation bias by a Baptist education leader, the Executive Vice-President of Landmark Baptist College, is given in the article “Spurious rationale for church corporate-501c3 status: One’s convictions.” That article analyzes the simplistic and totally false reasoning of  Dr. Charles Brown, the president of a Baptist College, someone from whom one would expect at least a semblance of scholarship on the issue. The article is a great example of how far some Baptists will go in order to justify a tradition of their religion as they speak according to their confirmation bias.

But thankfully, there is always a remnant. Elijah learned this. Elijah complained, “I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away” (1 Kings 19:10). God replied, “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18; for more on the remnant go to “Topical Index” and scroll down to “Remnant.”).

During the captivities of Israel, the remnant appears in Jews like Ezekiel, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, Esther, and Mordecai. At the end of the 70 years of Babylonian captivity it was the remnant which returned under Ezra and Nehemiah. At the first advent of our Lord, John the Baptist, Simeon, and Anna who “spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (Luke 2.38) were among the remnant. During the church-age the remnant is composed of believing Jews and Gentiles. Many of these have, do, and will undergo martyrdom. Many of the Psalms express, prophetically, the joys and sorrows of the tribulation remnant.

God always calls men who will be true to him and who will preach the truth. Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi were prophets to the restored remnant in Israel after the exile. Likewise, many men of God have taken up the cause of preaching the truth in the church age; those include the apostles, many of the early church members and preachers, and martyrs and true believers since the beginning of the New Testament churches.

1The remnant will stand for and suffer for truth. “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God” (Zechariah 12.8-9). The Lord of the remnant is God, not the state, not the federal government, not their wallets or bank accounts, not their businesses, not any other person or thing.

You see, the remnant has no confirmation bias. The remnant responds to and acts on truth. When a true believer becomes discouraged when scorned and even persecuted by the religious crowd, he has the promises of God to comfort and console him. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9. 1 Thessalonians 2.13 and the whole of 1 Corinthians 2 is included in Endnote below.)

Endnote:

Thessalonians 2:13: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe”.

1 Corinthians 2: “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:  That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.  Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.  For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

C.I. Scofield’s “true church” doctrine

Jerald C. Finney © February, 2014

C.I. Scofield

C.I. Scofield

The notes in the C.I. Scofield Study Bible comment on a multitude of matters. Some churches use the Scofield Bible exclusively to the extent that the pastor, when preaching, will reference the page numbers he wishes the other church members to turn to. Scofield’s notes are not inspired by God. His commentaries are not the word of God. The word of God itself is totally true; and one must be careful to compare everything a Bible teacher says to the word of God. Some of Scofield’s teachings are true; some are false. He gave a lot of good and accurate insights to the Bible. However, his study Bible is flawed; and many of his margin notes, headnotes, and footnotes are inaccurate. Some of the fallacies that he taught (along with other deceived “Bible believers”) have had serious negative effects in the spiritual warfare that the Bible tells the believer, as a soldier of the Lord, to fight.

This brief article will address one of the serious fallacies promoted by the Scofield Study Notes, give some examples of both his incorrect (Headnote to Ephesians) and correct (Headnote to Titus and Note 1 to Acts 15.13, page 1169) teachings, and conclude with his complete line of verses linked by his margin notes on what he calls the “true church.”

Scofield’s headnotes to each book of the Bible, footnotes, and margin notes reference many subjects. The margin notes are listed in alphabetical order in the middle of each two column page; and, according to Scofield, lead the reader from the first clear mention of a great truth to the last. The subject is the first word(s) in the margin note. Following that is the verse (or verses) where the subject is at that particular place. The next verse(s) is/are the next reference in the chain, and the references in parenthesis are the first and last.

The author, when beginning his studies of the biblical doctrine of the church, followed, among other things, Scofield’s footnotes and margin notes which dealt with the doctrine of the church to include his so-called “true church” doctrine. After years of intense Bible study, the author concluded that the “true church” or universal church doctrine is totally unsound, according to the word of God. It seems that some Bible students simply did not understand what God was saying when He referred to “the church” or “my church” in the His Word; so they invented a doctrine that makes absolutely no sense when considered in light of Bible teaching. Of course, when a religious organization such as the Catholic church decides that that institution is the authority, it can propose that it is the universal church. Other churches have also incorporated the idea of a true or universal church (visible or invisible) into their theology.

Many Bible believers even in so-called Bible believing churches in America teach a universal church doctrine even though they also correctly organize into local churches with no earthly authority over them (except the federal goverment if they choose to violate the Bible principle and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution by becoming a legal entity such as an incorporated and/or Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) religious organization). The spiritual implications are enormous. For example, in soul-winning, lost people are told, “We are not concerned about which church you attend. We just want to explain to you what the Bible teaches about how to be saved. We want you to know that you will go to heaven when you die.” They follow that with their sales pitch to try to lead the person to saying a prayer. In the author’s experience, almost all the people who say the prayer never show any change in lifestyle. If they go to a “church” such as the Roman Catholic religious organization or cult, they stay there. Whether or not they become a member of a church, many die and go to hell because their so-called “fire insurance” was worthless.

Click the following to access teaching of the correct doctrine of the church: “The Biblical Doctrine Of The Church.” One can also reference “Biblical principles concerning the institution of the church and local autonomous churches” (From Jerald Finney’s Bible Study Notes”) which have been organized and also revised by correcting Scofield’s errors in most of his notes on “true church” doctrine. Understanding the doctrine of the church is very important for a believer since “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Ep. 5:25-27. The believer who does not correctly understand this doctrine cannot understand other important principles and doctrines in the Bible. Of course, the believer should examine, with the Bible as his standard, what anyone says, including what this author writes, concerning any biblical doctrine.

Scofield’s Headnote to Ephesians says in relevant part:

1“DATE. … Ephesians is the most impersonal of Paul’s letters. Indeed the words, ‘to the Ephesians,’ are not in the best manuscripts. Col 4:16 mentions an epistle to the Laodiceans. It has been conjectured that the letter known to us as Ephesians is really the Laodicean letter. Probably it was sent to Ephesus and Laodicea without being addressed to any church. The letter would then be ‘to the saints and the faithful in Christ Jesus’ anywhere.

“THEME. The doctrine of the Epistle confirms this view. It contains the highest church truth, but has nothing about church order. The church here is the true church, ‘His body,’ not the local church, as in Philippians, Corinthians, etc. Essentially, three lines of truth make up this Epistle: the believer’s exalted position through grace; the truth concerning the body of Christ; and a walk in accordance with that position.”

This short article cannot explain the error in the false conclusions he makes concerning the “true church, ‘His body’.” The teachings linked to above will explain what the Bible really teaches on the subject. Scofield’s conclusions on the “true church” do not withstand biblical scrutiny. Of course, any book of the Bible is written to “to the saints and the faithful in Christ Jesus” anywhere. However, when taken in the immediate and overall context, Ephesians certainly does not teach a “true church” as conceived by Scofield.

Notice that Scofield not only makes a false statement concerning the “true church,” but also discredits the King James Bible in a few of his notes. Sadly, many Christians have blindly followed Scofield or other teachers without checking out what they say against the authority – the word of God. I strongly disagree with Scofield’s assertion that the King James Bible was not based upon the best manuscripts. Although that is not the subject of this article, the subject is so important that it cannot go unmentioned.

When the Lord, in the Bible, speaks of “the church” or “my church” He is speaking of the institution of the church, not a “true church” or “universal church.” The only verse that can rationally refer to a “true or universal church” is the last in Scofield’s line of verses on the “true church,” Hebrews 12.23 (see below). Again, for a more thorough explanation of the doctrine of the church see “The Biblical Doctrine Of The Church” and “Biblical principles concerning the institution of the church and local autonomous churches” (From Jerald Finney’s Bible Study Notes”).

Scofield gets it right in some of his notes concerning some aspects of the doctrine of the church:

Headnote to Titus: “Titus has much in common with First Timothy. Both Epistles are concerned with the due order of the churches. The distinction is that in First Timothy sound doctrine is more prominent (1Tim. 1:3-10), in Titus the divine order for the local churches (Tit. 1:5). The permanent use of these Epistles lies in this twofold application, on the one hand to churches grown careless as to the truth of God, on the other, to churches careless as to the order of God’s house. The importance of this order is made solemnly emphatic in that the tests by which true elders and deacons may be known are repeated (1Tim. 3:1-7; Tit. 1:6-9). There are two divisions: I. The qualifications and functions of elders, 1.1-16. II. The pastoral work of the true elder, 2.1-3, 15.”

Note 1 to Acts 15.13, page 1169: “Dispensationally, [Acts 15.13 et. seq.] is the most important passage in the NT. It gives the divine purpose for this age, and for the beginning of the next.  (1) The taking out from among the Gentiles of a people for His name, the distinctive work of the present, or church-age. The church is the ecclesia—the “called-out assembly.” [Here correctly explained what the church is for this age - a called out assembly. Such a thing cannot be universal, but must be local. As explained in Hebrews 12.22-24 (see below)]

Onc can study theses matters further by analyzing Biblical principles concerning the institution of the church and local autonomous churches” (From Jerald Finney’s Bible Study Notes”).

Below are Scofield’s complete line of verses linked by his margin notes on what he calls the “true church.”
To put these in context with other Bible verses dealing with the doctrine of the church, click the following link:
“Biblical principles concerning the institution of the church and local autonomous churches” (From Jerald Finney’s Bible Study Notes”)

Mt. 16.18: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Acts 2:47: “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

1. Co. 12:12-28 “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.   For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.  For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.  And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”

2 Co. 11:2-3: “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

Ep. 1.22-23: “22 And hat put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.”

Ep. 2.:19-22: “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

Ep. 3.1-10: “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,  Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,”

Ep. 5:23, 25-27, 29-32: “(23) For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. (24) Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. (25) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (26) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. (27) That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (29) For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: (30) For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. (31) For this cause  shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. (32) This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”

Col. 1:18, 24: “(18) And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence…. (24) Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church.”

He. 2:12: “Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.”

1 Thes. 4.16-17: 1 “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

He. 12:23 which is the end of the line for Scofield’s sloppy “true church” doctrine: “To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,” [He. 12:22-24 says: “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,  And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” Conclusion: The universal visible church spoken of here will come into existence in the heavenly Jerusalem.]

 

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Force Is All Around Us – Even in Our Courtrooms

Jerald Finney © February 2014

Click Image To Go To Teachings On Spiritual Warfare

Click Image To Go To Teachings On Spiritual Warfare

Where do the judicial system and its lawyers and judges go to seek wisdom? To the Bible or to the movies? “Judges, of course, strive to be perceived as wise, so what better way to add a little Jedi wisdom to an opinion than by invoking Yoda, the Jedi Master himself?” (“A Long Time Ago, in a Courtroom Far, Far Away: There’s no denying that the Force is all around us,” 77 Texas Bar Journal, February, 2014). Do not mention the Lord Jesus Christ or his book as authority in litigation because to do so will violate the satanic version of “separation of church and state,” but it is very appropriate to “look at how George Lucas’s ‘galaxy far, far away’ openly provides insights for judges and lawyers in the resolution of cases.” In myriad ways “pop culture, in the form of Star Wars, has seeped into our legal culture. Do a quick Westlaw search for ‘Star Wars’ and you’ll find everthing from references to strategies that the ill-fated energy giant Enron code-named as ‘JEDI’ AND ‘Death Star’ to a county prosecutor in Michigan named Luke Skywalker.” (Id.). Click the following links to go to relevant articles from the Texas Bar Journal:

A Long Time Ago, in a Courtroom Far, Far Away,” by John G. Browning (77 Texas Bar Journal, February 2014, 158-161).
To Boldly Go Where Few Judges Have Gone before: How the Bench Is Using a Pop-Culture Sci-Fi Classic to Explain Its Decisions,” by John G. Browning (76 Texas Bar Journal, September 2013, 765-767).

Most of the lawyers, judges, and other personnel within the system are nice, good, decent, hardworking people when viewed from a secular perspective. However, the system is now, like the rest of society, proceeding according to the principles of the god of this world. The above two law review articles make clear that this is true, and the state of the legal system corresponds to condition of individuals, families, churches, civil governments including the state and federal governments of the United States, and the world. The Bible tells us what has happened, is happening, and will happen.

Of course one expects the world to go the way of the devil; but tragically, very few members of fundamental Baptist churches (including pastors), much less members of other so-called “churches,” are equipped for the spiritual warfare God has called believers to fight. Few can explain biblical teaching concerning the God-given motivation and goal of a believer; the doctrines,  practices, and order of a New Testament church;  the doctrine of government; the doctrine of separation of church and state; what the Bible teaches about repentance and salvation (not what they learned from a workbook on “soul-winning”); spiritual warfare; history; the relationship between church and state; the distinctions between God’s dealings with Israel and God’s dealings with Gentile nations, etc. Few have as much as a rudimentary understanding of the origin, goals, and dangers of Hollywood, movies, Disney, country music, rock and roll music, contemporary “Christian” music, the sports industry, etc. As a result, most churches and church members have succumbed to the doctrines and practices of the world.

The desertion from church by young people after they become so-called adults is a prime example of the results of this unlearned, unwise church membership. As children, parents never understood biblical doctrines (never knew that biblical doctrines even existed). Thus, they never understood the evils of, for example, rock and roll music; country music; contemporary “Christian” music;” drinking; watching movies; television; getting caught up in following sports;  making heroes of sports stars; dancing, and much more. They were never taught by their parents, the ones to whom God gave the responsibility. “Christian” parents, being spiritually ignorant and maybe even lost, depend upon unbiblical “youth programs,” “Christian” schools, and Sunday schools to ground their children in the faith. And of course church youth programs and Sunday schools do not do that delegated job. Instead, these church “ministries” have done much more harm than good, especially when viewed in light of the metamorphosis of those programs to their present condition and effect.

The great majority of youth who are brought up in “church” leave the church for the world when they grow up. They become doctors, lawyers, janitors, plumbers, carpenters, authors, etc. who believe and practice the principles of the god of this world. They are marching in step with unlearned, unwise members of the “churches” that remain to implement Satan’s agenda which includes a one world government working with a one world church, a new world order.

Ps.46.10The solution available for any person is (1) repent and trust Christ for eternal salvation; (2) get into a biblically ordered church where the pastor and members believe and preach the whole word of God; (3) remain faithful to that church in fellowship and attendance; (3) begin an intense study of the Bible; (4) follow God as he leads; (5) remember:

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;  Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.  The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.  Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.” (Psalms 46:1-11).

December 22, 2013: Lawless Police Officer Attacks Street Preaching In Northfield, Minnesota

Relevant Facts And Relevant Laws, From Highest To Lowest,
concerning  Northfield, Minnesota cop’s attack on Street Preachers who were acting in conformity with 
(1) God’s instructions while behaving according to the grace of God (thereby doing good to and benefitting their neighbors) and (2) the law of man.

Note. This article will be supplemented if and as the attack continues
Left click here to go to OPBC Street Preaching Page

Brother Paul Pearson

Brother Paul Pearson

Pastor Jason Cooley

Pastor Jason Cooley

Contents:

I. Relevant Facts (including link to audio of actual events)

II. Highest Law (God’s Law)
III. United States Constitution and relevant cases
IV. Constitution of the State of Minnesota
V. Northfield, Minnesota Code of Ordinances and Charter

Click here to see the briefs, final decision, etc. of a case handled by Attorney Jerald Finney which involved the issue of free speech in a public forum.

I. Relevant Facts

Bridge Square Park

Bridge Square Park

Pastor Jason Cooley and some other men were street-preaching in Bridge Square Park in Northfield, Minnesota on December 22, 2013.

Bridge Square Park is a city park in Northfield  and is therefore, for speech purposes, a free speech area according to the Highest Law as well as the United States Constitution. (To verify this, see http://www.ci.northfield.mn.us/Index.aspx?NID=284; see also, Northfield, Minnesota, Code of Ordinances >> PART II – NORTHFIELD CODE >> Chapter 50 – OFFENSES AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS >> ARTICLE V. OFFENSES INVOLVING PUBLIC MORALS >> Sec. 50-116. Curfew for minors…. Public parks and walkways includes Sechler Park; Odd Fellows Park; Central Park; Babcock Park; Way Park; Riverside Park; Cherry Park; Sibley Marsh; Sibley Swale; Bridge Square; Riverwalkway from Second Street to Fifth Street; River Pedestrian Bridge; and any park, playground or walkway maintained by the city [Emphasis mine]. (Relevant Northfield ordinances, including this one, are reproduced below. See also, the case excerpts below which interpret the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as to speech in a public forum.))

Hear the unconstitutional actions following the above mentioned street preaching of a police officer in Northfield, Minnesota on December 22, 2013: https://www.facebook.com/pastor.cooley/posts/698685866832971?comment_id=109052570&offset=0&total_comments=9.

Hear the rest of the facts in the following message on sermonaudio.com: “Christmass Is Not About The Truth” or on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGLagkbzvJc.

Links to other relevant sermons preached by Pastor Jason Cooley follow:

Submission To God In Trials (122913)-(Click here to listen to Youtube version)
Reasons For Submission To God In Trials (122913)-(Click here to listen to longer Youtube version which includes other matters)
Readings From The Lives Of Virginia Baptist Ministers (122913)(Regarding persecuted ministers in the colony of Virginia prior to the adoption of the United States Constitution)

Listen to this situation discussed on blog talk radio by clicking here.

5Ac.5.29bII. Highest Law (God’s Law)

“We ought to obey God rather than men.”

For more detailed information on this see the “Separation of Church and State Law” (jeraldfinney.wordpress.com). Particularly important entries on that website include”:

1. Laws Protecting New Testament Churches in the United States: Read Them for Yourself (http://jeraldfinney.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/laws-protecting-new-testament-churches-in-the-united-states-read-them-for-yourself/) (Article).

2. The book, God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application (Covers the biblical doctrines of church, state, and separation of church and state, the history of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Supreme Court Religion Clause Jurisprudence, and Union of Church and State in America which betrays God.)
a. Online version at: http://jeraldfinney.wordpress.com/contents/online-version-of-the-book-god-betrayed/
b. PDF at: http://jeraldfinney.wordpress.com/contents/books/god-betrayedseparation-of-church-and-state-the-biblical-principles-and-the-american-application/3812-2/

DSCN12283. Render Unto God the Things that Are His: A Systematic Study of Romans 13 and Related Verses:
a. Available in online form at http://jeraldfinney.wordpress.com/contents/books/render-unto-god-the-things-that-are-his-a-systematic-study-of-romans-13-and-related-verses/
b. and PDF form at http://jeraldfinney.wordpress.com/contents/books/render-unto-god-the-things-that-are-his-a-systematic-study-of-romans-13-and-related-verses/render-unto-god-the-things-that-are-his-a-systematic-study-of-romans-13-and-related-verses/)(Covers Romans 13, 1 Peter 2.13, and other verses often cited out of context by both religious and secular heretics and apostates in order to justify giving unto Caesar the things that are God’s.).

III. United States Constitution

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Fortunately, the highest law of the land is a statement of God’s law concerning freedom of religion (or soul liberty, or separation of church and state), freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. For a complete explanation of this matter, see the resources above. Two resources on the above mentioned website cover the history of the First Amendment:

1. An Abridged History of the First Amendment (http://jeraldfinney.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/an-abridged-history-of-the-first-amendment/)

2. “History of Religious Freedom in America,” (http://jeraldfinney.wordpress.com/contents/online-version-of-the-book-god-betrayed/the-history-of-the-first-amendment/)

First Amendment to the United States Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

14thAm.Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution:

SECTION 1.All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

***

“SECTION 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”

Cases:

Everson

Satan Is The God Of This World
Satan Is The God Of This World

1. Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1, 67 S. Ct. 504, 91 L. Ed. 711, 1947 U.S. LEXIS 2959; 168 A.L.R. 1392 (1947). “In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and State.’ Reynolds v. United Statessupra at 164…” (Ibid., pp. 15-16). [Emphasis mine.]

Everson stated the original purpose of the religion clause—separation of church and state (not separation of God and state)—but added a twist that has been used to do something the First Amendment never intended and that is to remove God from all civil government matters (separating God and state), thereby creating a pluralistic state that is run to a great degree by the principles of the god of this world. However, the First Amendment and those believers in Christ who wish to engage the public through speech by preaching the Gospel in the public square stand in the way of total dominance by the forces of evil.

 2. … The freedom of speech and press are among the fundamental personal rights and liberties which are secured to all persons by the Fourteenth Amendment against abridgment by the state. Thornhill v. Alabama, 310 U.S. 88, 95, 60 S.Ct. 736, 740, 84 L.ED. 1093 (1940).

3. Freedom of speech includes not only the spoken word, but also speech-related conduct, such as picketing, the wearing of arm bands and, in some recent highly publicized cases, flag burning as a type of political protest. Virginia State Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, Inc., 425 U.S. 748, 756.

Thornhill4. “Whenever the title of streets and parks may rest, they have immemorially been held in trust for the use of the public and, time out of mind, have been used for purposes of assembly, communicating thoughts between citizens, and discussing public questions. Such use of the streets and public places has, from ancient times, been a part of the privileges, immunities, rights, and liberties of citizens. The privilege of a citizen of the United States to use the streets and parks for communication of views on national questions may be regulated in the interest of all; it is not absolute, but relative, and must be exercised in subordination to the general comfort and convenience, and in consonance with peace and good order; but it must not, in the guise of regulation, be abridged or denied.’ Hague v. C.I.O., 307 U.S. 496, 515-516, 59 S.Ct. 954, 964, 83 L.Ed. 1423 (opinion of Mr. Justice Roberts, joined by Mr. Justice Black).  Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, Ala., 394 U.S. 147, 152, 89 S.Ct. 935, 22 L.Ed.2d 162 (1969).”

Cornelius5. [Government control of access to its property, public forums, littering] The extent to which the government can control access to its property for expressive purposes depends on the nature of the forums. Reed v. State, 762 S.W.2d 640, 643 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 1988, pet. Ref’d) citing Cornelius v. NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, 473 U.S. 788, 105 S.Ct. 3489, 87 L.Ed. 567 (1985); Olvera v. State, 806 S.W.2d 546 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991). Public forums are those areas which traditionally have been devoted to assembly and public debate, such as public streets, sidewalks, and parks. Id. “[The] Streets are natural and proper places for the dissemination of information and opinion; and one is not to have the exercise of his liberty of expression in appropriate places abridged on the plea that it may be exercised in some other place.” Thornhill v. Alabama, 310 U.S. 88, 97-98, 102, 105-106, 60 S.Ct. 736, 741-742, 744, 746, 84 L.Ed. 1093 (1940).

SCtAlthough a municipality may enact regulations in the interest of the public safety, health, welfare, or convenience, these may not abridge the individual liberties secured by the constitution to those who wish to speak, write, print, or circulate information or opinion. Schneider v. State, 308 U.S. 147, 60 S.Ct. 146, 84 L.Ed. 155 (1939). In Schneider, one appellant was charged with violating a law criminalizing the circulation and distribution of handbills designed, the city said, to prevent littering of the streets even though he did not litter himself—those to whom he handed the literature threw it down. The court said that the city could achieve the same thing without violating appellant’s freedom of speech by punishing those who threw the literature into the streets.

Thornton v. Alabama, 310 U.S. 88, 97-98, 102, 105-106, 60 S.Ct. 736, 741-742, 744, 746, 84 L.Ed. 1093 (1940):

“A threat … is inherent in a penal statute … which does not aim specifically at evils within the allowable area of State control but, on the contrary, sweeps within its ambit other activities that in ordinary circumstances constitute an exercise of freedom of speech or of the press. The existence of such a statute, which readily lends itself to harsh and discriminatory enforcement by local prosecuting officials, against particular groups deemed to merit their displeasure, results in a continuous and pervasive restraining on all freedom of discussion that might reasonably be regarded as within its purview….

“Freedom of discussion, if it would fulfill its historic function in this nation, must embrace all issues about which information is needed or appropriate to enable the members of society to cope with the exigencies of their period….

5SCt“[The] streets are natural and proper places for the dissemination of information and opinion; and one is not to have the exercise of his liberty of expression in appropriate places abridged on the plea that it may be exercised in some other place.”

6. [Evils within allowable are of state control]

Terminiello v. Chicago, 337 U.S. 1; 69 S. Ct. 894; 93 L. Ed. 1131; 1949 U.S. LEXIS 2400 (1949):

“Freedom of speech, though not absolute, is protected against censorship or punishment, unless shown likely to produce a clear and present danger of a serious substantive evil that rises far above public inconvenience, annoyance, or unrest.

“The vitality of civil and political institutions in our society depends on free discussion. As Chief Justice Hughes wrote in De Jonge v. Oregon, 299 U.S. 353, 365, it is only through free debate and free exchange of ideas that government remains responsive to the will of the people and peaceful change is effected. The right to speak freely and to promote diversity of ideas and programs is therefore one of the chief distinctions that sets us apart from totalitarian regimes.

“Accordingly a function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it presses for acceptance of an idea. That is why freedom of speech, though not absolute, Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, supra, pp. 571-572, is nevertheless protected against censorship or punishment, unless shown likely to produce a clear and present danger of a serious substantive evil that rises far above public inconvenience, annoyance, or unrest. See Bridges v. California, 314 U.S. 252, 262; Craig v. Harney, 331 U.S. 367, 373. There is no room under our Constitution for a more restrictive view. For the alternative would lead to standardization of ideas either by legislatures, courts, or dominant political or community groups.

“The ordinance as construed by the trial court seriously invaded this province. It permitted conviction of petitioner if his speech stirred people to anger, invited public dispute, or brought about a condition of unrest. A conviction resting on any of those grounds may not stand.”

Substantive evils within the allowable are of state control are obstructing or unreasonable interfering with ingress to and egress for enumerated public places, blocking sidewalks, obstructing traffic, littering streets, committing assaults, and engaging in countless other forms of anti-social conduct. Olvera v. State, 806 S.W.2d 546, 548-549 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991) citing Coates v. Cincinnati, 402 U.S. 611, 91, S.Ct. 1686, 29 L.Ed.2d 214 (1971) and Cameron v. Johnson, 390 U.S. 611, 88 S.Ct. 1335, 20 L.Ed.2d 182 (1968). Evil within allowable areas of state control include molestation or interference with person and vehicles, obstruction of pedestrians and automobiles, threatening or intimidating or coercing anyone, making loud noises, unpeaceful and disorderly conduct, acts of violence, and breaches of the peace. See, e.g.Carlson v. California, 310 U.S. 106, 60 S.Ct. 746, 84 L.Ed. 1104 (1940), Thornhill v. State of Alabama, 310 U.S. 88, 60 S.Ct. 736 (1940), Olvera v. State, 806 S.W. 2d 546 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991). See p. 25 of brief.

Liberty

Municipal legislation meant to keep community streets open and available for movement of people and property is constitutional so long as the legislation does not abridge constitutional liberty of one to impart information through speech and distribution of literature. Schneider v. State, 308 U.S. 147, 160, 60 S.Ct. 146, 150, 84 L.Ed. 155 (1939). Crimes may be punished by law, but the freedom of speech and the press may not be abridged in the guise of regulations by the governing entity to prevent littering, fraud, or to promote the public health, welfare, or convenience. Id. While declaring laws unconstitutional which infringe upon first amendment rights, the Court has made clear what a city may do to punish evils within the allowable areas of state control: “[A] city is free to prevent people from blocking sidewalks, obstructing traffic, littering streets, committing assaults, or engaging in countless other forms of anti-social conduct. It can do so through the enactment and enforcement of ordinances directed with reasonable specificity toward the conduct to be prohibited.” Coates v. Cincinnati, 402 U.S. 611, 91, S.Ct. 1686, 29 L.Ed.2d 214 (1971).

Gooding v. Wilson7. [Disorderly conduct] In Gooding v. Wilson, 405 U.S. 518, 92 S. Ct. 1103, 31 L. Ed. 2d 408, a defendant was found guilty of using opprobrious words and abusive language in violation of a Georgia statute. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals declared the statute unconstitutionally vague and broad and set aside defendant’s conviction. “The constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech forbid the States to punish the use of words or  [*522] language not within “narrowly limited classes of speech.” Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568, 571 (1942).Even as to such a class, however, because “the line between speech unconditionally guaranteed and speech which may legitimately be regulated, suppressed, or punished is finely drawn,” Speiser v. Randall, 357 U.S. 513, 525 (1958), “in every case the power to regulate must be so exercised as not, in attaining a permissible end, unduly to infringe the protected freedom,” Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296, 304 (1940).” Government may pass laws which punish “fighting words. In Chaplinsky, we sustained a conviction under Chapter 378, § 2, of the Public Laws of New Hampshire, which provided: “No person shall address any offensive, derisive or annoying word to any other person who is lawfully in any street or other public place, nor call him by any offensive or derisive name . . . . ‘Chaplinsky was convicted for addressing to another on a public sidewalk the words, ‘You are a _ _ _ damned racketeer,’ and ‘a damned Fascist and the whole government of Rochester are Fascists or agents of Fascists.’ Chaplinsky challenged the constitutionality of the statute as inhibiting freedom of expression because it was vague and indefinite. The Supreme Court of New Hampshire, however, ‘long before  [*523]  the words for which Chaplinsky was convicted,’ sharply limited the statutory language ‘offensive, derisive or annoying word’ to ‘fighting” words:

“No words were forbidden except such as have a direct tendency to cause acts of violence by the person to whom, individually, the remark is addressed. . . .

“The test is what men of common intelligence would understand would be words likely to cause an average addressee to fight. . . . Derisive and annoying words can be taken as coming within the purview of the statute . . . only when they have this characteristic of plainly tending to excite the addressee to a breach of the peace. . . .

“The dictionary definitions of ‘opprobrious’ and ‘abusive’ give them greater reach than “fighting” words. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (1961) defined ‘opprobrious’ as ‘conveying or intended to convey disgrace,’ and ‘abusive’ as including ‘harsh insulting language.’ Georgia appellate decisions have construed § 26-6303 to apply to utterances that, although within these definitions, are not ‘fighting’ words as Chaplinsky defines them.”

Cox8. The state of Louisiana both directly [see Cox v. State of Louisiana, 379 U.S. 559, 574, 85 S.Ct. 476, 486 (1965)] and indirectly [see Cox] attempted unsuccessfully to deny freedom of speech to picketers. The United States Supreme Court ruled against the state in both cases. Louisiana indirectly tried to abridge appellant’s freedom of speech and assembly by charging him with violation of “disturbing the peach” and “obstructing a public passage” penal statutes. 379 U.S. 536, 85 S.Ct. 453 (1965).

As to the “breach of the peace” charge, the Court stated that its independent examination of the record, which it is required to make, shows no conduct which the state had a right to prohibit as a breach of the peace. Id. At 545, 85 S.Ct. at 459. In addressing the “obstructing a public passage” conviction, the Court addressed the issue of the “right of a State or municipality to regulate the use of city streets and other facilities to assure the safety and convenience of the people in their use and concomitant right of the people of free speech and assembly.” Id. At 554, 85 S.Ct. at 464.  There was no doubt that the sidewalk was obstructed by the picketers. Id. At 553, 85 S.Ct. at 464. The Court said that the statute, as applied, violated the appellant’s Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and assembly. Id. At 558, 85 S.Ct. at 466.

Carlson8. [As to when a governmental entity seeks to take away one’s freedom to display signs and banners in conjunction with his protected speech.] A municipality in Carlson v. People of State of California, 310 U.S. 106, 60 S.Ct. 746, 84 L.Ed. 1104 (1940) sought to enforce an ordinance which directly infringed on appellant’s freedom of speech. Carlson declared unconstitutional a municipal ordinance which declared it unlawful for any person, in or upon any public street, highway, sidewalk, alley or other public place … to carry or display any sign or banner in the vicinity of any place of business for the purpose of inducing or attempting to induce an person to refrain from purchasing merchandise or performing services or labor. Id. (emphasis mine).

SpenceSpence v. Washington, 418 U.S. 405, 94 S.Ct. 2727, 41 L.Ed. 2d. 842 (1974).: Appellant had displayed an American flag upside down out of his apartment window with a peace symbol attached. at 405-406. The Court noted, and the state conceded, that appellant engaged in a form of communication. at 409, 94 S.Ct. at 2729-2730.

To apply an ordinance to prevent the display of banners or signs in conjunction with protected speech activity violates the speaker’s right to freedom of speech and the rights of the people to whom the speech was directed. (see p. 23-24 of brief).

1a“An assertion that ‘Jesus Saves,’ that ‘Abortion is Murder,’ that every woman has the ‘right to Choose,’ or that ‘Alcohol Kills,’ may have a claim to constitutional exemption from the ordinance [which prohibited certain political campaign signs] that is just as strong as ‘Roland Vincent—City Council.’ To create an exception for … political speech and not these other types of speech might create a risk of engaging in constitutionally forbidden content discrimination.” Members of City Council v. Taxpayers for Vincent, 466 U.S. 789, 104 S.Ct. 2118, 80 L.Ed. 772.

1Under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, not to mention the First Amendment itself, government may not grant the use of a forum to people whose views it finds acceptable, but deny use to those wishing to express less favored or more controversial views. Police Department of City of Chicago v. Mosley, 408 U.S. 92, 96, 92 S.Ct. 2286, 2290, 33 L.Ed. 212 (1972)(Holding a Chicago ordinance unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in a case where the equal protection claim was closely intertwined with First Amendment interests)(p 27 of brief). Once a forum is opened up to assembly or speaking by some groups, government may not prohibit others from assembling or speaking on the basis of what they intend to say. Id. Selective exclusions from a public forum may not be based on content alone, and may not be justified by reference to content alone. Id. Mr. Justice Black called an attempt by a government to pick and choose among the views it is willing to have discussed in picketing activities “censorship in its most odious form, unconstitutional under both the First and Fourteenth Amendments.” Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 536, 85 S. Ct. 453, 13 L.Ed. 2d 471 (1965) cited in 408 U.S. 92, 98-99, 92 S.Ct. 2291; Carey v. Brown, 477 U.S. 455, 100 S.Ct. 2286, 65 L.Ed. 263 (1980) reaffirmed Mosley.

1aEven if the purpose of an ordinance does not specifically aim at protected speech, it may indicectly attempt to deny freedom of speech. (see p. 34 of brief). Even if the purpose of [an ordinance such as a sign ordinance] is to keep community streets open and available for movement of people and property or to prevent littering, fraud,  to promote the public health, welfare, or convenience, to prevent breaches of the peace or other crimes, it is constitutional only so long as it does  not abridge constitutional liberty or one to impart information through speech and the distribution of literature. See Schneider v. State, 308 U.S. 147, 60 S.Ct. 146, 84 L.Ed. 155 (1939); Coates v. Cincinnati, 402 U.S. 611, 91 S.Ct. 1686, 29 L.Ed. 2d 214 (1971); Cox v. State of Louisiana,  379 U.S. 536, 85 S.Ct. 453 (1965).

MinnesotaConstMinnesotaIV. Constitution of the state of Minnesota

Preamble: “We, the people of the state of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings and secure the same to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution.”

Article I. Bill of Rights:

Sec. 2. Rights and privileges.

No member of this state shall be disfranchised or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to any citizen thereof, unless by the law of the land or the judgment of his peers. There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the state otherwise than as punishment for a crime of which the party 1has been convicted.

Sec. 3. Liberty of the press.

The liberty of the press shall forever remain inviolate, and all persons may freely speak, write and publish their sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of such right.

Sec. 4. Trial by jury.

The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate, and shall extend to all cases at law without regard to the amount in controversy. A jury trial may be waived by the parties in all cases in the manner prescribed by law. The legislature may provide that the agreement of five-sixths of a jury in a civil action or proceeding, after not less than six hours’ deliberation, is a sufficient verdict. The legislature may provide for the number of jurors in a civil action or proceeding, provided that a jury have at least six members. [Amended, November 8, 1988]

Sec. 5. No excessive bail or unusual punishments. …

Sec. 6. Rights of accused in criminal prosecutions. …

Sec. 7. Due process; prosecutions; double jeopardy; self-incrimination; bail; habeas corpus. …

Sec. 8. Redress of injuries or wrongs.

Every person is entitled to a certain remedy in the laws for all injuries or wrongs which he may receive to his person, property or character, and to obtain justice freely and without purchase, completely and without denial, promptly and without delay, conformable to the laws.

Sec. 9. Treason defined. …

Sec. 10. Unreasonable searches and seizures prohibited. …

Sec. 11. Attainders, ex post facto laws and laws impairing contracts prohibited. …

Sec. 12. Imprisonment for debt; property exemption. …

Sec. 13. Private property for public use. …

Sec. 14. Military power subordinate. …

Sec. 15. Lands allodial; void agricultural leases. …

imagesSec. 16. Freedom of conscience; no preference to be given to any religious establishment or mode of worship. The enumeration of rights in this constitution shall not deny or impair others retained by and inherent in the people. The right of every man to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience shall never be infringed; nor shall any man be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship, or to maintain any religious or ecclesiastical ministry, against his consent; nor shall any control of or interference with the rights of conscience be permitted, or any preference be given by law to any religious establishment or mode of worship; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of the state, nor shall any money be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious societies or religious or theological seminaries.

Sec. 17. Religious tests and property qualifications prohibited. No religious test or amount of property shall be required as a qualification for any office of public trust in the state. No religious test or amount of property shall be required as a qualification of any voter at any election in this state; nor shall any person be rendered incompetent to give evidence in any court of law or equity in consequence of his opinion upon the subject of religion.

Cases: To be added.

V. Northfield, Minnesota Code of Ordinances and Charter

1OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANorthfield, Minnesota, Code of Ordinances >> Part 1 Northfield City Charter >> CHAPTER ONE.

Section 1.1. Preamble.

One of our nation’s most cherished qualities is freedom. There can be no freedom, however, without responsibility and order. Written documents governing our nation and state governments clearly declare the right of all persons to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Accompanying statements spell out the responsibilities and order that make freedom possible. It is proper that cities also spell out the freedoms and responsibilities of their citizens that make for good order.

Be it hereby declared that no person in the City of Northfield shall, on the grounds of age, race, color, creed, sex, religion, national origin, marital status or status with regard to public assistance or disability be subjected to discrimination in any form. Human freedom and human rights are indivisible. If anyone is denied equality, no one is free. The following charter is a declaration of the public policy of the City of Northfield to fulfill its responsibility to treat all of its citizens equally and with good order.

Bridge Square Park

Bridge Square Park

Ames Park

Ames Park

Northfield, Minnesota, Code of Ordinances >> PART I – NORTHFIELD CITY CHARTER >> CHAPTER TWO. NAME, BOUNDARIES, POWER AND GENERAL PROVISIONS >>

Section 2.2. Powers of the City.

In order to promote and protect the health, safety, morals, comfort, convenience, and welfare of the inhabitants of the city, the city shall have all powers which may now or hereafter be possible for a municipal corporation in this state to exercise in harmony with the constitutions of this state and of the United States. It is the intention of this Charter to confer upon the city every power which it would have if it were specifically mentioned. Unless granted to some other officer or body, all powers are vested in the city council. [Emphasis mine. Note: The city would be subject to state and federal constitutions whether this were in the municipal code or not. This is because city law is subject to the higher laws.]

Aspen Park

Aspen Park

Babcock Park

Babcock Park

Northfield, Minnesota, Code of Ordinances >> PART I – NORTHFIELD CITY CHARTER >> CHAPTER THREE. FORM OF GOVERNMENT >>

Section 3.7. Investigation of City Affairs.

The council or an officer or officers formally authorized by the council may make investigations into the city’s affairs. The council may provide for an examination or audit of the accounts of an officer or department of the city government. The council may conduct surveys or research studies of subjects of municipal concern.

Campostella Park

Campostella Park

Central Park

Central Park

Section 4.4. Hearing of the Public.

At each regular meeting of the council a time shall be set aside for the hearing of citizens.

Northfield, Minnesota, Code of Ordinances >> PART II – NORTHFIELD CODE >> Chapter 1 GENERAL PROVISIONS >>

Sec. 1-1. Designation and citation of Code.

The ordinances embraced in this and the following chapters shall constitute and be
Char Carlson Park

Char Carlson Park

Cherry Park

Cherry Park

designated the “Northfield, Minnesota, City Code” and may be so cited. Such ordinances may also be cited as the “Northfield Code.”

Sec. 1-2. Definitions and rules of construction.

The following definitions and rules of construction shall apply to this Code and to all ordinances and resolutions unless the context requires otherwise:

Dresden Park

Dresden Park

G. A. Rysgaard Park

G. A. Rysgaard Park

City. The term “city” means the City of Northfield, Minnesota.

City council and council. The terms “city council” and “council” mean the council of the City of Northfield, Minnesota.

Code. The term “Code” means the Northfield, Minnesota, City Code, as designated in section 1-1.

Delegation of authority. A provision that authorizes or requires a city officer or city employee to perform an act or make a decision authorizes such officer or employee to act or make a decision through subordinates.

Grant Park

Grant Park

Hauberg Woods Park

Hauberg Woods Park

Minn. Stat. The abbreviation “Minn. Stat.” means the Minnesota Statutes, as amended.

Owner. The term “owner,” as applied to property, includes any part owner, joint owner, tenant in common, tenant in partnership, joint tenant or tenant by the entirety of the whole or part of such property.

Person. The term “person” means any human being; any governmental or political subdivision or public agency; any public or private corporation; any partnership; any firm, association or other organization; any receiver, trustee, assignee, agent, or other legal representative of any of the foregoing; or any other legal entity.

Heritage Park

Heritage Park

Heywood Park

Heywood Park

Personal property. The term “personal property” means any property other than real property.

Premises. The term “premises,” as applied to real property, includes land and structures.

Property. The term “property” includes real property, personal property and mixed property.

Real property, real estate and land. The terms “real property,” “real estate,” and “land” include lands, buildings, tenements and hereditaments and all rights and interests therein, except chattel interests.

Hidden Valley Park

Hidden Valley Park

Jefferson Park

Jefferson Park

Sidewalk. The term “sidewalk” means that portion of a street between the curbline, or the lateral lines of a roadway where there is no curb, and the adjacent property line, intended for the use of pedestrians. If there is no public area between the lateral lines of the roadway and the abutting property line, the area immediately abutting the street line shall be construed as the sidewalk.

State. The term “state” means the State of Minnesota.

John North Park

John North Park

Lashbrook Park

Lashbrook Park

Street. The term “street” means any alley, avenue, boulevard, highway, road, lane, viaduct, bridge and the approach thereto, and any other public thoroughfare in the city. The term “street” also means the entire width thereof between abutting property lines. The term “street” includes a sidewalk or footpath.

(c) Unless specified otherwise, all references to chapters or sections are to chapters or sections of this Code.

Sec. 1-8. General penalty; continuing violations.
Liberty Park

Liberty Park

Odd Fellows

Odd Fellows

(a) In this section the phrase “violation of this Code” means any of the following:

(1) Doing an act that is prohibited or made or declared unlawful, an offense, a violation or a misdemeanor by ordinance or by rule or regulation authorized by ordinance.

(2) Failure to perform an act that is required to be performed by ordinance or by rule or regulation authorized by ordinance.

(3) Failure to perform an act if the failure is prohibited or is made or declared unlawful, an offense, a violation or a misdemeanor by ordinance or by rule or regulation authorized by ordinance.

Old Memorial Field

Old Memorial Field

Par Meadow Park

Par Meadow Park

(4) Counseling, aiding or abetting a violation of this Code as defined in this subsection.

(b) In this section the phrase “violation of this Code” does not include the failure of a city officer or city employee to perform an official duty unless it is specifically provided that the failure to perform the duty is to be punished as provided in this section.

(c) Except as otherwise provided by law or ordinance:

(1) A person convicted of a violation of this Code that is not a petty misdemeanor shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000.00, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days, or any combination thereof.

Prairie Hills Park

Prairie Hills Park

Riverside Lions Park

Riverside Lions Park

(2) A person convicted of a violation of this Code that is a petty misdemeanor shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $300.00.

(d) In any case a person convicted of a violation of this Code shall pay the costs of prosecution. Except as otherwise provided by law or ordinance:

(1) With respect to violations of this Code that are continuous with respect to time, each day that the violation continues is a separate offense.

(2) With respect to other violations, each act constitutes a separate offense.

(e) The imposition of a penalty does not prevent suspension or revocation of a license, permit or franchise or other administrative sanctions.

Roosevelt Park

Roosevelt Park

Sechlar Park

Sechlar Park

(f) Violations of this Code that are continuous with respect to time are a public nuisance and may be abated by injunctive or other equitable relief. The

imposition of a penalty does not prevent injunctive relief.

(Code 1986, § 960:00)

State law reference— Authorized penalty for ordinance violations, Minn. Stat. §§ 410.33, 412.231, 609.0332, 609.034.

Sec. 1-11. Code does not affect prior offenses or rights.

Spring Creek Park

Spring Creek Park

Sibley Swale Park

Sibley Swale Park

a) Nothing in this Code or the ordinance adopting this Code affects any offense or act committed or done, any penalty or forfeiture incurred, or any contract or right established before the effective date of this Code.

Northfield, Minnesota, Code of Ordinances >> PART II – NORTHFIELD CODE >> Chapter 46 NUISANCES >>

Sec. 46-4. Obstruction of public way.

Tyler Park

Tyler Park

Truman Park

Truman Park

No person shall encumber the city streets, sidewalks, alleys, lanes or public grounds with carriages, carts, wagons, sleighs or other vehicles or with boxes, lumber, firewood, posts, awnings, paper, ashes, refuse, offal, dirt, garbage, stones or other material or obstruction of any kind.

Northfield, Minnesota, Code of Ordinances >> PART II – NORTHFIELD CODE >>

 Chapter 50 – OFFENSES AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS >> ARTICLE II. OFFENSES INVOLVING PROPERTY RIGHTS >>

Sec. 50-26. Criminal trespass.

Way Park

Way Park

No person shall:

Washington Park

Washington Park

(1)   Intentionally enter upon the property of another and, without claim of right, refuse to depart therefrom on demand of the owner, lawful possessor or person with authority to control access to the property;

(2) Intentionally enter upon the property of another without express consent of the owner, lawful possessor or person with authority to control access to the property in the following situations:

  1. After such person has been given written notice by the owner, lawful possessor or person with authority to control access to the property directing that such person not enter upon the property; the written notice may be given to the person by certified mail or by service as provided for civil process; or

b. After the property has been conspicuously posted with a notice directing that no person or no person other than persons included in a named classification enter upon the property at any time or at specifically stated times; or

34(3) Intentionally enter a building or structure of any kind without the consent, express or implied, of the owner, lawful possessor or person with authority to control access to the building or structure. Whoever enters a building or structure while open to the general public does so with consent, unless consent is withdrawn by giving notice to such person directing that such person not enter the building or structure; the written notice may be given to the person by certified mail or by service as provided for civil process.

(Code 1986, § 955:00)

State law reference— Trespass, Minn. Stat. § 609.605.

56Sec. 50-27. Defacing sidewalks or public structures.

No person shall write, print, stick, post, or place any bill, placard or sign of any description upon the sidewalks or other public structure of the city.

Northfield, Minnesota, Code of Ordinances >> PART II – NORTHFIELD CODE >> Chapter 50 – OFFENSES AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS >> ARTICLE IV. OFFENSES INVOLVING PUBLIC PEACE AND ORDER >>

Sec. 50-86. Disorderly conduct.

78Sec. 50-87. Noisy parties or assemblies.

Sec. 50-88. Social host.

Secs. 50-89—50-115. Reserved.

Sec. 50-86. Disorderly conduct.

No person shall:

910(1) Commit any assault;

(2) Engage in brawling or fighting;

(3) Disturb an assembly or meeting, not unlawful in its character;

(4) Spit upon any sidewalk or crosswalk;

1112(5) Appear in public or any exposed place in a state of nudity or in any indecent or lewd dress;

(6) Annoy, disturb, interfere with, obstruct or be offensive to others to a degree whereby a breach of peace may be or is likely to be occasioned;

(7) Fail or refuse to obey a police officer’s lawful order; or

(8) Be guilty of any indecent or obscene acts or any lewd, indecent or obscene conduct, language, or behavior.

Sec. 50-87. Noisy parties or assemblies.

1314(a) Any person who participates in any party or assembly of two or more people from which noise emanates of a sufficient volume or of sufficient nature to disturb the peace, quiet or repose of another person is guilty of a misdemeanor. Any owner or tenant of the place at which a disturbance is occurring, who has knowledge of the disturbance and fails to immediately abate the disturbance, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(b) A police officer may order all persons present at a noisy party or assembly prohibited in subsection (a) of this section, other than the owners or tenants of the place at which the disturbance is occurring, to immediately disburse. Any person who shall refuse to leave after being so ordered to do so by a police officer shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Sec. 50-88. Social host. …

1516Northfield, Minnesota, Code of Ordinances >> PART II – NORTHFIELD CODE >> Chapter 50 – OFFENSES AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS >> ARTICLE V. OFFENSES INVOLVING PUBLIC MORALS >>

Sec. 50-116. Curfew for minors.

(a) The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this section, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this subsection, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

Public parks and walkways includes Sechler Park; Odd Fellows Park; Central Park; Babcock Park; Way Park; Riverside Park; Cherry Park; Sibley Marsh; Sibley Swale; Bridge Square; Riverwalkway from Second Street to Fifth Street; River Pedestrian Bridge; and any park, playground or walkway maintained by the city. [Emphasis mine]

1718Public places includes public streets, parking lots, highways, roads, alleys, public buildings and grounds; places of amusement, refreshment or entertainment; vacant lots; or other unsupported places. [Emphasis mine]

Responsible adult includes a parent, legal guardian, or his/her adult designee, having care and custody of a minor under the age of 18 or any adult having responsibility for a supervised activity.

Supervised activity includes events sponsored and supervised by schools, churches or civic groups or events where a responsible adult is present.

(b) No minor under the age of 16 shall loiter, loaf or be idle in a public place or public park or walkway between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. of the following day unless in the company of a responsible adult or going to, attending, or returning from a supervised activity.

1920(c) No minor under the age of 18 and over the age of 15 shall loiter, loaf or be idle in a public place or park or walkway between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 5:00 a.m. the following day unless in the company of a responsible adult or going to, attending, or returning from a supervised event.

(d) No parent, legal guardian or other adult having the care and custody of a minor under the age of 18 shall knowingly permit such minor to violate subsection (b) or (c) of this section.

(e) No person operating or in charge of any place of amusement, entertainment, or refreshment shall knowingly permit any minor under the age of 18 to loiter, loaf or be idle in such place during the hours prohibited by this section. This subsection shall not apply when the minor is accompanied by his/her parents, legal guardian, or other adult having the care and custody of the minor.

2122(f) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the minor was:

(1) On an errand at the direction of the minor’s parent or guardian, without any detour or stop;

(2) In a motor vehicle involved in interstate travel;

(3) Engaged in an employment activity, or going to or returning home from an employment activity, without any detour or stop;

(4) Involved in an emergency;

(5) On the sidewalk abutting the minor’s residence or abutting the residence of a next-door neighbor if the neighbor did not complain to the police department about the 2324minor’s presence;

(6) Attending an official school, religious, or other recreational activity supervised by adults and sponsored by the school district, a civic organization, or another similar entity that takes responsibility for the minor; or going to or returning home from, without any detour or stop, an official school, religious, or other recreational activity supervised by adults and sponsored by the city, a civic organization, or another similar entity that takes responsibility for the minor; or

(7) Exercising First Amendment rights protected by the United States Constitution, such as the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and the right of assembly. [Emphasis mine]

2526(g) Any person violating any provision of this section shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor and punished by a fine of not more than $100.00.

(Code 1986, §§ 930:00—930:20)

Northfield, Minnesota, Code of Ordinances >> PART II – NORTHFIELD CODE >> Chapter 54 – PARKS AND RECREATION >> ARTICLE II. PARK AND RECREATION ADVISORY BOARD >>
Sec. 54-61. Closing hours of parks.

All city parks as defined in section 50-116(a) shall be closed between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. the following day. Any person found in the parks after closing hours shall be in violation of this section. Exceptions to this section shall include annual Defeat of Jesse James Days events, any person or groups granted special permission by city officials or city staff, or any person or groups wanting to camp overnight, after first obtaining permission from the police department. All permissions or special permissions referenced in this section shall be granted upon a showing that there will be compliance with all laws and ordinances and a showing that the proposed activity will not endanger park property, the public peace or the public safety.

2728Northfield, Minnesota, Code of Ordinances >> PART II – NORTHFIELD CODE >> Chapter 58 – PEDDLERS, SOLICITORS AND TRANSIENT MERCHANTS >> ARTICLE I. IN GENERAL >> (IN case needed for future reference)

Sec. 58-1. Definitions.

The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

Peddler means any person who goes from house to house, place to place or from street to street conveying or transporting goods, wares or merchandise or offering or exposing the goods, wares or merchandise for sale, or making sales and delivering articles to purchasers. The term “peddler” does not include vendors of milk, bakery products, groceries, food products or ice, who distribute their products to regular customers on established routes.

2930Solicitor means any person who goes from house to house, place to place, or street to street, soliciting or taking or attempting to take orders for sale of goods, wares or merchandise, including magazines, books, periodicals or personal property of any nature for future delivery, or for service to be performed in the future, whether or not such individual has, carries or exposes for sale a sample of the subject of such order or whether or not advance payments on such orders are collected. The term “solicitor” includes any person who, for himself/herself or another, hires, leases, uses or occupies any building, motor vehicle, trailer, structure, tent, railroad boxcar, boat, hotel room, lodginghouse, apartment, shop or other place within the city for the primary purpose of exhibiting samples and taking orders for future delivery.

Transient merchant means any person, whether as owner, agent, consignee or employee, who engages in a temporary business of selling and delivering goods, wares and merchandise within the city and who, in furtherance of such purposes, hires, leases, uses or occupies any building, structure, motor vehicle, trailer, tent, railroad boxcar, boat, public room in a hotel, lodginghouse, apartment, shop or any street, alley or other place within the city for the exhibition and sale of such goods, wares and merchandise, either privately or at public auction, provided that the term “transient merchant” shall not be construed to include any person who, while occupying such temporary location, does not sell from stock, but exhibits samples for the purpose of securing orders for future delivery only.

3132Sec. 58-3. Religious and charitable organizations.

(a)   Any organization, society, association or corporation (“organization”) desiring to solicit or to have solicited in its name money, donations of money or property, or financial assistance of any kind or desiring to sell or distribute any item of literature or merchandise for which a fee is charged or solicited from persons other than members of such organization upon the streets, in office or business buildings, by house-to-house canvas, or in public places for a charitable, religious, patriotic or philanthropic purpose is exempt from article II of this chapter, provided there is filed a sworn application in writing on a form to be furnished by the finance director/city clerk which contains the following information:

(1)   The organization’s name and the specific cause for which exemption is sought;

(2)   Names and addresses of the officers and directors of the organization;

3334(3)   The period during which solicitation is to be carried on; and

(4)   Whether or not any commission, fee, wage or emolument is to be expended in connection with such solicitation and the amount thereof.

(b)   Upon being satisfied that such an organization is a religious, charitable, patriotic or philanthropic organization, the finance director/city clerk shall issue a license without a fee to such organization. Such organization shall furnish all of its members, agents or representatives conducting solicitation credentials in writing stating the name of the organization, the name of the agent and the purpose of the solicitation.

3536

Sec. 58-7. Penalty.

Any person convicted of violating any provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor. Each violation shall constitute a separate offense.

A Critique of Pastor Steve Anderson’s YouTube Comments on Church Incorporation and Church 501c3 Status

Jerald Finney
Copyright © October 14, 2013

Pastor Steven AndersonSomeone recently referred me to a YouTube excerpt from one of Pastor Steven Anderson’s sermons dealing with the issue of church Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0l2EkAZwB8&feature=youtu.be. A brief review of his ridiculous tirade is in order since Pastor Anderson’s teaching in that blurb is published for the world and since it deals with the institution which Christ loved and gave Himself for. The author offers a cursory analysis in this article, but one can educate himself biblically, historically, and legally on these matters by going to the Separation of Church and State Law blog. Pastor Anderson’s statements, usually in parentheses, are followed by the author’s comments.

The author will address some of Anderson’s points in the order or his presentation:

(1) “I don’t go to church because all the churches are 501c3. You didn’t get that from reading the Bible….”
-
The Bible is a book of many principles. One such principle is separation of church and state. 501c3 churches have at least partially submitted themselves to a head other than the Lord Jesus Christ who desires to be the only head of the local New Testament church. This is explained in much detail in the materials on the above website. For specific information on 501c3 go to the following articles: Federal government control of churches through 501(c)(3) tax exemption and The church incorporation-501(c)(3) control scheme. By the way, all churches are not 501c3.

(2)  “You got that off the internet, off some website…. ”
-
How does he know where they got it? The author got it from studying the Bible and 501c3 to see if 501c3 displeases our Lord. That is where the author’s pastor got it. The truth about the matter is undeniable by any knowledgeable believer. Of course, one must first understand the Biblical principles of church, government, and separation of church and state before he can fully understand some more advanced matters, but the above articles will easily be comprehended by the believer who has done some study of the Bible. One can study the Biblical principles of church, government, and separation of church and state by going to sections 1-3 (A-C) of the book God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application. The book is available free in both PDF and online form. Or one can order this and other books by Jerald Finney by going to Order information for books by Jerald Finney.
-

(3)  He then swerves into an explanation of the meaning of incorporation.

To understand incorporation, go to Church Corporate-501c3 Status, and especially to the Incorporation of Churches chapter. You will discover that he does not know what he is talking about. He is out of his field of expertise.

He states that the vehicle outside belongs to “the church” and that for the church to own it, the church has to be its own entity.
-
He is right about that. However, a church can take advantage of the use of a vehicle or the use of a building, for example without owning it. To own anything, a church must become a legal entity, as opposed to a spiritual entity. The Biblical principle is that God desires all His churches to remain spiritual entities only. Study the free materials above to understand this. The book, Separation of Church and State/God’s Churches: Spiritual or Legal Entities, is a short book for a pastor or believer who already has a basic knowledge of Biblical principles. Pastor Anderson does not meet that condition. The book is available in both PDF and online form, or can be ordered (see the link above).
-

(4)  He then abruptly asks, “Who thinks we should get rid of driver’s licenses, … birth certificates, … not carry I.d…?
-
That has nothing to do with church incorporation and 501c3. Those things involve the individual, not the church. This author has a driver’s license, birth certificate, and carries an I.D. Anderson, not knowing what he is talking about, resorts to “straw men,” and attacks the straw men. Those who are not studied in these matters may be convinced.
-

(5)  He says, “Running a church legally is really complicated. I spend days ….”
-
He is incorrect. His church is run illegally and it takes so much time and effort to run his religious organization that he does not have the time to also pastor a First Amendment (New Testament) church. Maybe that is why he is so ignorant about these matters. He does not have the time to do the studying a pastor is instructed by the Bible to do. He does not have time to be a pastor because his religious organization is a legal entity (not a church or a spiritual entity) and the non-profit corporation law requirements of the sovereign under whose laws that entity was organized (the state)  overwhelm the pastor, the trustees, and the corporate offices in legal red tape. The incorporated religious organization, a legal entity, is illegally organized according to the Highest Law (God’s Law) and man’s law (The First Amendment to the United States Constitution). According to the First Amendment, the civil government may make no law respecting an establishment of religion or preventing the free exercise thereof. Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) is a law which was made by Congress which, when applied to churches, violates the First Amendment which is a statement of the Biblical principle of separation of church and state (not separation of God and state). Even though many religious organizations run down to get their illegal 501c3 status, the First Amendment guarantees churches the freedom to do things God’s way. Again, see the website for more information on this – the following articles give a quick look at the issues: Does God and/or Civil Government Require Churches to Get 501(c)(3) Status, and Christians Who Call Evil Good and Good Evil.

-

(6)  Then he says “Same thing with my business. Running a business is even worse than running a church…. [It takes me days and weeks to figure out my taxes].”
-
He runs his church like he runs his business! Exactly. Are you getting the picture? Of course, when one runs a church like he runs a business, he is grieving our Lord, according to the Bible. No wonder this man is so utterly ignorant about these matters. Here he is, running his business and running a church according to the same principles. In addition, he leaves absolutely no significant time to study, prepare his sermons, and serve as a pastor.
-

(7)  “That is the way you have to do it in America to be legal in America, like you have to drive with a driver’s license…. I know a pastor in town … he has no driver’s license, he has no vehicle registration, he never files taxes, his church is totally off the grid, I mean he doesn’t report anything….. He even says to me, ‘Don’t do this’…. His church is much smaller than ours…. All of these people jumping up and screaming, ‘I don’t want to go to any church that’s incorporated,’ … you’d think he’d have 5000 people in his service this morning…. That’s shows me that these people are all just talk. They just have an excuse for not going to church…. ”
-
There are plenty of non-incorporated non-501c3 churches. Refer to the author’s comments under (4) and (5) above for more relevant information. No more time will be expended to explain the obvious about these ludicrous remarks.
-

(8)  “There’s all this disinformation and lies out there claiming that any church that’s incorporated is of the devil, and that it’s worshiping Satan, and the head of the IRS actually runs the church….”
-
See Separation of Church and State Law blog, for biblically, historically, and legally reasoned and reliable teaching on these matters. Perhaps Anderson is offering his spurious diatribe as justification for his own presumptuous, willful, or ignorant sin.

-

(9)  “None of it’s Biblical, none of it came from studying of the word of God, none of it came from the Holy Spirit.”

Those assertions are applicable to his arguments.
-

(10)                   “There are different levels of going off the grid against government…. [Gets back into straw men arguments as “Driver’s License.”] I render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars.”
-
He renders unto Caesar the things that are God’s when he incorporates a church. The church the author is a member of (Old Paths Baptist Church of Northfield, Minnesota), the pastor (Pastor Jason Cooley), and the members thereof render unto God the things that are His and unto Caesar the things that are Caesars. See Render unto God the Things that Are His/A Systematic Study or Romans 13 and Related Verses, available in both PDF and online form.
-

(11)                   I’ m not going to prison…. If anyone goes to prison because of the way offerings are taken and the way the bank account is, I’m the one that’s gonna go to prison. Pastor Anderson, the money that you make pastoring, I don’t think you should pay taxes on that. You need to be off the grid, our church needs to be totally off the grid. I church needs to do everything in cash. I’m the one that’s gonna go to prison and you’re just gonna disappear off into the sunset.”
-
Anderson speaks like a businessman or the CEO or a corporate religious organization. He speaks in secular, not Biblical terms. A religious organization pays its pastor. The members of a First Amendment (New Testament) church provide for the pastor and his family.
-
The church the author is a member of is a First Amendment (New Testament) church (Old Paths Baptist Church of Northfield, Minnesota) which means it is non-incorporated and non-501c3. The pastor (Pastor Jason Cooley) pays income tax on the money given by the church body to provide for him and his family. Tithes, offerings, and gifts which are administered through a bank account (which is not in the name of the church but which is held in accordance with the law) are given to God, not to a religious organization or a corporation (as is the case with the incorporated and/or 501c3 religious organization), and used for Biblically acceptable purposes. If any pastor or church member commits a crime and is charged and convicted, he will be punished according to the prescriptions of his state (or the federal) penal code. That is true no matter how one’s church is organized. If one commits a tort, he is subject to suit in civil court, no matter how his church is organized. See Separation of Church and State Law and resources thereon for much more on this. See the website to learn who is more subject to liability – the member of the incorporated and/or 501c3 church or the member of a church which is not a legal entity.
-

(12)                   “Most churches are 501c3 and to say they’re wicked, you’re wicked.”

His misleading and false arguments and attacks would be funny if the subject matter were not so important. Sadly, many so called “Doctors” who are pastors, presidents of Bible Colleges, etc. are as lacking in substance and reasoning ability as this man as they argue before their “herd” and before the world, thereby not only hurting the cause of Christ as they mislead the members of their corporation while giving the world a good laugh as they are turned off to what they perceive to be a ridiculous religion. If one is going to invoke the ire of the world, why not do it in a manner which honors God – that is, with knowledge, understanding, and wisdom – the way the apostles did it and the way the Lord instructs us to do it in his word.

The author chooses to stop there with the analysis. The reader has access to enough information in the links above to check the matter out for himself. He can also get the same information by studying the Bible, law, and history. “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:2). “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27). The incorporated churches and the 501c3 churches have taken on another lover for worldly approval, help, direction, control, power and financial gain. If a church is both incorporated and 501c3, that church has taken on two other lovers and is doubly the adulteress. These actions grieve our Lord, the Bridegroom, Husband, and Head of the church. Ultimately, these actions result in the death of the adulterous, heretical, and apostate churches.

Jury Nullification: Article, Brief, and Requested Jury Instruction

Jerald Finney
Copyright © July 21, 2013

Jury nullification has been an issue near and dear to my heart since the time in the 1980s when the Lord was dealing with me about going to law school. After attending the University of Texas School of Law and getting my license to practice law in 1993, I attended a Fully Informed Jury Association seminar and pursued the issue in selected cases. I drafted a brief to present to the court and a Requested Jury Instruction on the issue. The judges became very antagonistic when presented with the brief and the instruction. I will not bore you with the entire battle, but present this article to you so that, by reading the brief and requested instruction you may gain some understanding of the issue. Since I have not been allowed to argue nullification in any of my Texas cases where I attempted to do so, I have come up with a few tactics devised to try to get the jury to apply their right to nullify. Visit the Fully Informed Jury Association by clicking the blue colored link. Following the brief below is a copy of the requested instruction. Note: This website will not allow me to correctly format the headings to the brief and requested instruction (some of the entries in the headings are not centered).

No. ______________

 STATE OF TEXAS               §              IN [Name of Court]
§
     VS.                       §              OF              
§
                                     [NAME OF DEFENDANT]            §                [Name of county] COUNTY, TEXAS                

BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF ALLOWING DEFENDANT, THROUGH HIS ATTORNEY, TO ARGUE JURY NULLIFICATION, AND ASKING THE COURT TO INCLUDE A JURY NULLIFICATION INSTRUCTION IN THE CHARGE

Defendant, by and through his attorney, respectfully shows the court as follows:

Jury nullification is a positive force in a civilized society. Only the jury is in a position to balance compassion against the letter of the law and assure justice in a proper case.  [T]he jury stands as a bulwark against laws which it deems unjust or excessively harsh.”  Mouton v. State, 923 S.W.2d 219, 222 (Tex. App.–Houston [14th Dist.] 1996, no pet. history).  It is undisputed that a jury has the power of nullification.” Id. at 221.  “[J]ury nullification is a recognized aspect of our jury system.” Id.   The court in United States v. Burkhart, 501 F2d 993, 997 (6th Cir. 1974) noted that the law of jury nullification “allows a defense attorney “some leeway in persuading the jury to acquit out of considerations of mercy or obedience to a higher law.” Mouton at 221-22.

The majority in Sparf et al. v. United States, 156 U.S. 51 (1895), which was cited in Mouton, “suggested no way of eliminating the power of juries, sua sponte, to nullify the law. CLAY S. CONRAD, JURY NULLIFICATION 106 (Carolina Academic Press 1998).  “The case determined only that federal judges were not obligated to inform jurors of their power to bring in a verdict based on the juror’s own judgment of the law.” Id.  “The case did not hold that federal judges could not give jurors [a nullification] instruction, or that they must disingenuously inform jurors that they were bound to follow the courts instructions.” Id. (emphasis mine).  “The case determined only that federal judges were not obligated to inform jurors of their power to bring in a verdict based on the juror’s own judgment of the law.” Id. “The case did not hold that federal judges could not give jurors such [a jury nullification] instruction.” Id. at 108.

The criminal justice system which allows the defense attorney to argue jury nullification and the judge to tell the jury that it has the right to nullify the law is a better system. And there are good reasons for a jury to be told that they have the right to nullify the law.  Jurors may not be aware of their power to render a verdict according to conscience, or that they are immune from prosecution if they do so–particularly if they are under the impression that their oath binds them to enforcing the law as given in the court’s instructions. JURY NULLIFICATION at 126.  “Counting on jurors to come to  Court aware of their hidden powers runs counter to what little empirical evidence exists.” Id. at 133.  “Furthermore, psychological studies indicate that a juror may be willing to convict and impose a cruel sentence if the legal system supports and applauds his actions, because judicial instructions have deprived him of any personal moral responsibility for his verdict.” Id.

Judge Jack B. Weinstein believes that “[n]ullification is but one legitimate result in an appropriate constitutional process safeguarded by judges and the judicial system. When juries refuse to convict on the basis of what they think are unjust laws, they are performing their duty as jurors.” Id. at 145-146 citing HON. Jack B. Weinstein, Considering Jury “Nullification”: When May and Should a Jury Reject the Law to do Justice?, 30 AM. CRIM. L. REV. 239, 240 (1993).  He wrote:

“When jurors return with a “nullification” verdict, then, they have not in reality “nullified” anything: they have done their job. . . Juries are charged not with the task of blindly and mechanically applying the law, but of doing justice in light of the law, the evidence presented at trial, and their own knowledge of society and the world.  To decide some outcomes are just and some are not is not possible without drawing upon personal views.” Id. at

District Court Judge Thomas Wiseman, in the Middle District of Tennessee, wrote:

 “Argument against allowing the jury to hear information that might lead to nullification evinces a fear that the jury might actually serve its primary purpose, that is, it evinces a fear that the community might in fact think a law unjust.  The government, whose duty it is to seek justice and not merely conviction, should not shy away from having a jury know the full facts and law of a case.  Argument equating jury nullification with anarchy misses the point that in our criminal justice system the law as stated by the judge is secondary to the justice as meted out by a jury of the defendant’s peers.  We have established the jury as the final arbiter of truth and justice in our criminal justice system…” United States v. Datcher, 830 F.Supp. 411, 412 (M.D. Tenn. 1993), discussed in Kristen K. Sauer, Informed Conviction: Instructing the Jury About Mandatory Sentencing Consequences, 95 COL. L.REV. (1995) and cited in JURY NULLICICATION at 146-147.

 A Brief History of “Jury Nullification”

History demonstrates that the advent and practice of jury nullification has been a positive and compassionate force in the development and operation of our criminal justice system. “Although the use of the jury in criminal trials in England was encouraged by the Assize of Clarendon in 1166, it was not until 1215 that juries were routinely used in the trial of criminal cases.”  JURY NULLIFICATION at 17 citing SIR PATRICK DEVLIN, TRIAL BY JURY, 9 (3d ed. 1966)(Reprinted 1988).  This was the result two events: the Pope’s condemnation of the entire system of trials by ordeal and his prohibition of clerics from participating in them and the Magna Charta.  JURY NULLIFICATION at 17.

“Although originally juries which returned ‘incorrect verdicts’ were treated very harshly, the power of juries to correct oppressive or unjust laws was beginning to be recognized by the mid-seventeenth century.  Id. at 23-28.  Bushell’s Case in 1670 ushered in what has been called the heroic age of the English jury.”  Id. at 24-28.

“In Bushell’s Case, jurors acquitted the Quakers William Penn and William Mead of the capital offenses of unlawful and tumultuous assembly, disturbance of the peace and riot.  They were charged because they preached to their congregation in the street after the police locked them out of their church because the Quaker religion was illegal.  After the evidence, the court told the jurors to convict.  They did not.  They were threatened with starvation, they were held three days without food, drink, or toilet facilities, but acquitted anyway.  They were all fined a considerable sum.  Eight paid the fine, but four were imprisoned for refusing to pay.  One of those made out what was called a writ of Habeas Corpus ad Subjiciendum, which was decided 2 1/2 months later in their favor.  The opinion in  Bushell’s Case held no more than that a juror could never be punished for his verdict unless he delivered it in bad faith.” Id.

As a result, courts began to use “special verdicts.”  Id. at 28.  Nonetheless, juries insisted on returning general verdicts, especially in seditious libel cases where the law said that the fact of publication was the only element of a libel prosecution that concerned the jury.  Id. at 29.  Many pamphlets were published and distributed informing jurors of their right to judge the law. Id.  More conventional academic and legal treatise writers also began to accept and promulgate the doctrine of jury independence.  Id. at 30.

Alexander Hamilton argued “jury nullification” in Rex v. Zenger, How. St. Tr. 17:675 (1731). Id. at 32-35.  John Peter Zenger was accused of seditious libel in New York. Id. The jury acquitted Zinger after only brief deliberations. Id. at 36.  The reverberations of Hamilton’s arguments continued both in England and America for many years and prosecutions for seditious libel began to falter with increasing consistency. Id. at 36-38.  As a result, the English Parliament in 1791 passed Fox’s Libel Act which re-established the right of juries to render a general verdict in libel cases as in all other criminal cases. Id. at 41-43.  “Juries, by exercising the power implicit in the delivery of the general verdict, had demanded and received official recognition of their right to judge whether an alleged libel was in fact false, malicious and intentional.” Id. at 44.

“The founders of this country were in agreement as to the value of the trial by jury as an essential means of preventing oppression by the government. Their primary concern was more with the radical true law-finding power of the jury than with the jury’s power of amelioration.” Id. at 47-48.  Many prominent founders such as Theophilus Parsons, a member of the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention and Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton argued for the rights of jurors to judge the law.  “The right of early American jurors to deliver a general verdict according to conscience was not a controversial issue during the early years of this country.” Id. at 52. Chief Justice John Jay, in a rare jury trial in front of the Supreme Court, instructed the jurors of their right to judge the law in the instructions he gave to the jury in Georgia v. Brailsford, 3 U.S. (3 Dall.) 1 (1794).  Id. at 52-53.  Other cases from the same period expressed the same conception of the role of the jury. Id. at 53.

That federal law continued to recognize the right of jury nullification is shown in Justice Van Ness’ instruction to the jury in United States v. Poyllon, 27 F.Cas. 608, 611 (D.C.D.N.Y. 1812), and by Chief Justice John Marshall’s instructions to the jury in United States v. Hastings, 26 F.Cas. 440, 442 (C.C.D.Vir. 1812): “That the jury in a capital case were judges, as well of the law as the fact, and were bound to acquit where either was doubtful.” Id. at 60-61.  For almost five decades following the adoption of the Bill of Rights, the right of jurors to judge both law and fact was uncontroversially accepted.  Id. at 60-63.

By the mid-nineteenth century, for several reasons, the prevalence of jury instructions charging jurors with the responsibility for reviewing both law and fact began to give way to increasingly constrained instructions.  Id. at 65.  For one thing, reducing the power of the jury to determine the law gave trial judges greater control in determining case outcome. Id.  Another factor was reduced perception of a need for jury independence. Id. Americans no longer had unjust laws foisted on them by a foreign power across the sea. Id.  Furthermore, most Americans were aware of their power to judge the law. Id.  Jury independence was rarely used “and most Americans thought it should only be used to curtail gross excrescences of the criminal sanction.” Id. at 66-67.

“The laws establishing and protecting the institution of slavery and punishing those who aided fugitive slaves struck many Americans–including substantial numbers of Southerners–as cruel, unjust and fundamentally un-American.” Id. at 75.  Juries in Massachusetts began ending slavery by finding in favor of slaves who sued for freedom. Id. at 75. In one case, the fate of Quock Walker, a “runaway slave,” was debated in a series of civil jury trials, culminating in a decision that “The said Quock Walker is a free man and not the property slave of the defendant,” and Mr. Walker was awarded damages for injuries suffered when his former master, Nathaniel Jennison caught and beat him. Id. at 75-76.  Then, Jennison was found guilty of assaulting Mr. Walker and fined forty shillings in the case of Commonwealth v. JennisonId. at 76.

Chief Justice William Cushing, in his charge to the jury, instructed them that:

“As to the doctrine of slavery and the right of Christians to hold Africans in perpetual servitude, and sell and treat them as we do our horses and cattle, that (it is true) has been heretofore countenanced by the Province Laws formerly, but nowhere is it expressly enacted or established…  But whatever sentiments have formerly prevailed in this particular or slid in upon us by the example of others, a different idea had taken place with the people of America, more favorable to the natural rights of mankind, and to that natural innate desire of Liberty, with which Heaven (without regard to color, complexion, or shape of noses–features) has inspired all the human race. And upon this ground our Constitution of Government, by which the people of this Commonwealth have solemnly bound themselves, sets out with declaring that all men are born free and equal–and that every subject is entitled to liberty, and to have it guarded by the laws, as well as life and property–and in short is totally repugnant to the idea of being born slaves.  This being the case, I think the idea of slavery is inconsistent with our conduct and Constitution; and there can be no such thing as perpetual servitude of a rational creature, unless his liberty is forfeited by some criminal conduct or given up by personal consent or contract…” Id. at 76 citing ALBERT P. BLAUSTEIN & ROBERT L. ZANGRANDO, CIVIL RIGHTS AND AFRICAN AMERICANS, 45-46 (1991).  “The jury of white male landowners freely chose to convict, heralding the end of slavery in Massachusetts and delivering a fatal blow to the institution throughout the Northeast.” Id. at 77.

Although slavery continued in the South, The Unconstitutionality of Slavery, by Lysander Spooner, which argued the illegality and unconstitutionality of slavery, was widely disseminated both in print and by orators such as Frederick Douglass and lead to one of the most thorough jury revolts in history. Id. at 77-78.  The Fugitive Slave Act which was passed in 1850, one of the most infamous pieces of legislation ever passed by any United States legislature provided that a person accused of being a fugitive slave could, without due process of law, be brought before a quasi-judicial commissioner for a summary hearing without a jury. Id. at 79. The commissioner, if convinced of the claimant’s veracity, could return the slave to bondage. Id. The commissioner was paid ten dollars if the slave were returned, but only five dollars if the claim was rejected. Id.  The Fugitive Slave Act also provided imprisonment of up to six months and a fine of up to one thousand dollars for anyone convicted of interfering with the recovery of fugitive slaves, or who rescued or harbored fugitives. Id.  Any person with black skin could be seized as an escaped slave wholly on ex  parte testimony. Id.  The Act deprived those arrested under its auspices of the writ of Habeas Corpus. Id.

It is clear that, for whatever reason, jurors frequently refused to convict those who harbored or assisted fugitive slaves. Id. at 80.  In one case, twenty-four men helped a captured slave named Fredrick Jenkins (alias Shadrack) escape. Id. at 81. Prosecution of the participants in Shadrack’s rescue was dropped by the government after two acquittals and several hung juries. Id.  The second defendant, a black lawyer named Robert Morris, a descendant of slaves, was acquitted by a jury of twelve white men of assisting in the escape of a fugitive slave. Id. at 81-82.  According to one authority, “[h]is lawyer told the jury that they should judge the law as well as the facts, and that if any of them conscientiously believed that the Fugitive Slave Law was unconstitutional, they should disregard any instructions by the judge to the contrary.” Id. at 81.

Other evidence that jurors were freely granted the power to deliver an independent verdict during the nineteenth century include jury independence provisions inserted into several state constitutions and state statutes granting jurors the power to judge the law. Id. at 88.  Some of those survive until this day in one form or another, but in some states, courts restricted the role of jurors during the latter half of the nineteenth century, “often striking down or limiting earlier precedents and statutes.” Id. at 88-92.

In a sense, the United States Supreme Court rejected jury independence in Sparf et al. v. United States, 156 U.S. 51 (1895).  Id. at 99-108.  But the majority in Sparf “suggested no way of eliminating the power of juries, sua sponte, to nullify the law. Id. The case determined only that federal judges were not obligated to inform jurors of their power to bring in a verdict based on the juror’s own judgment of the law. Id. The case did not hold that federal judges could not give jurors such an instruction.” Id. at 108.

In spite of Sparf, during the closing decade of the nineteenth century, the prosecution found it increasingly difficult to prevail in labor cases. Id. at 106-108.

“Jury independence is a snapshot in the law, appropriately flaring up when the criminal law exceeds the limits of social consensus, dying away when the law has been reformed, only to flare up anew when the legislative ambition [and now judicial ambition] again overtakes its legitimate bounds.”  Id. at 108.  It is not debated that the laws which prohibited alcohol manufacture, sale, and consumption were routinely rejected by independent American juries. Id. at 108-115.  In some areas of the country as many as sixty percent of alcohol-related prosecutions ended in acquittals. Id. at 109.  “Prohibition has been described as a ‘crime category in which the jury was totally at war with the law.’” Id.  “Jury independence . . . was still a strong aspect of American culture and many jurors were aware of their powers and willing to exercise them when appropriate.” Id.  “Where juries did convict, they often delivered ‘compromise verdicts’ which resulted in reduced sentences for the accused.’” Id. at 111.

“During prohibition, John Henry Wigmore defended trial by jury on several grounds: that it prevented unpopular distrust of official justice, provided necessary flexibility in legal rules, educated the citizens of the country about the administration of the laws and improved verdicts by requiring that, even after the decision in Sparf et al., juries were deciding cases based both on judicial instructions and their own views of equity:

“Law and justice are from time to time in conflict.  That is because law is a general rule (even the stated exceptions to the rules are general exceptions); while justice is the fairness of this precise case under all its circumstances.  And as a rule of law only takes account of broadly typical conditions, and is aimed on average results, law and justice every so often do not coincide. * * *

“The jury, in the privacy of its retirement, adjusts the general rule of law to the  justice of the particular case.  Thus the odium of inflexible rules of law is avoided, and popular satisfaction is preserved.

“That is what the jury trial does.  It supplies that flexibility of legal rules which is essential to justice and popular contentment.”

Id. at 112 citing John H. Wigmore, A Program for the Trial of Jury Trial, 12 J. AM. JUD. SOC. 166, 169-171 (1929).

Clarence Darrow, America’s most famous criminal defense lawyer of the period and a great opponent of Prohibition and supporter of jury nullification, stated, “Since men began making laws, the favorite form of repeal is by non-observance.  It was in this way that Christianity conquered the Roman Empire.  If Christians had obeyed the laws of Rome their religion would have died at its birth.” Id. at 114 citing DARROW, THE STORY OF MY LIFE, 293, 294 (1931).

“By the early twentieth century, it seemed that jury independence had become a doctrine of the past, anachronistically surviving in a few isolated jurisdictions and watered down and disparaged where it remained.  Rejected by the federal courts and most state courts, it served as interesting fodder for an occasional law review article.  Jury independence was not advocated openly, nor had it been a particularly lively topic of discussion since the demise of slavery and the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850.  The political nature of jury independence allowed the doctrine largely to hibernate until the 1960s when the Vietnam war cases brought it to the forefront as a tool of social protest.

“However, as the last quarter of the twentieth century approached, the rapidly increasing number of academic law journals required an increasing number of articles, in order to fill the equally increasing number of pages.  Articles on jury independence found their way onto many of those pages.  For the first time in 88 years of history, the doctrine of jury independence had established a life of its own, apart from any particular issue or policy.” Id. at 140-141.

Juries are still nullifying the law. Id. at 143-153 (examples given: e.g., defendant found not guilty of two counts of marijuana cultivation where he admitted to growing more than 40 plants in his home and his sole defense was that smoking and eating marijuana alleviated the nausea and weight loss associated with AIDS; a Michigan jury refused to punish Dr. Kevorkian for his role in helping Thomas Hyde commit suicide; a Colorado jury refused to convict a man for assisting his mother who requested his help because her suffering got to be too much in committing suicide; cases where juries refuse to convict women who have killed their batterers, not in self-defense, after years of abuse).  Others categories of cases in which independent juries are likely to nullify the law include abortion protest cases, gun owner cases, and, should Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) ever be overturned, it is unlikely that independent juries would enforce laws criminalizing abortion.  Id. at 152.  In fact, against all reason, it seems to the attorney for defendant that the average “Pro-Choice” person is far more likely to nullify the law in the appropriate case than the average so-called “Pro-Lifer” many of whom have bought the liberal lie that “I am Pro-Life and would never have an abortion, but I don’t think the government should legislate morals.  It ought to be up to the pregnant woman.”  That reasoning would require the abolition of all our criminal laws.  I represented an abortion clinic sidewalk counselor in Austin.  At trial, the jury would have nullified the law and convicted had not the judge granted defendant’s motion for a directed verdict.  After talking with the jurors after trial, it was apparent that the jurors had lied during voir dire so that they could get onto the jury.  It was also apparent that they were angry because the judge followed the law and granted defendant’s motion for directed verdict after the close of the state’s evidence.

Conclusion

At times, jury nullification is necessary to assure that justice is done.  A judge can allow the defense lawyer to argue jury nullification.  A judge can, but is not required to instruct the jury of its power of nullification.  To deny the jury the right to be fully informed – by either the defense lawyer or the judge or both – of its power of nullification in an attempt to prevent it from exercising the full extent of its proper function will likely result in an injustice in a case where the letter of the law and justice conflict.  Sometimes, as history demonstrates, law and justice do not coincide.

Respectfully submitted,

____________________________________

Jerald C. Finney
P.O. Box 1346
Austin TX  78767
Tel. & FAX: (512)385-0761
State Bar No.:  00787466
ATTORNEY FOR DEFENDANT

VERIFICATION

STATE OF TEXAS                      §

§

COUNTY OF TRAVIS                 §

BEFORE ME, the undersigned authority, on this day personally appeared Jerald Finney who, upon being duly sworn, upon oath did acknowledge and state to me as follows:

“My name is Jerald Finney.  I have read the above and foregoing statements and they are to my personal knowledge, true and correct.”

SIGNED this ____ day of _______________, 200___.

______________________________

Jerald Finney

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN before me on this ______ day of _______________, 201__.

______________________________

Notary Public, State of Texas

______________________________

Printed Name of Notary

My Commission Expires:_________

No. ______________

 STATE OF TEXAS               §              IN [Name of Court]
§
VS.                §                OF
§
[NAME OF DEFENDANT]          §               [Name of county] COUNTY, TEXAS

DEFENDANT’S REQUESTED INSTRUCTION NO. ___

TO THE HONORABLE JUDGE OF SAID COURT:

                                             , defendant in this action, before the Court has presented the charge to the jury and in the time and manner required by law, requests that the Court include in the charge to be submitted to the jury the following instruction.

INSTRUCTION NO. ___:

It is presumed that juries are the best judges of fact.  Accordingly, you are the sole judges of the true facts in this case.

I think it requires no explanation, however, that judges are presumed to be the best judges of the law.  Accordingly, you must accept my instructions as being correct statements of the legal principles that generally apply in a case of the type you have heard.

The order in which the instructions are given is no indication of their relative importance.  You should not single out certain instructions and disregard others but should construe each one in the light of and in harmony with the others.

These principles are intended to help you in reaching a fair result in this case.  You should give them due respect.  Moreover, justice will ordinarily be done by applying them as a whole to the facts which you find have been proven.  You should do just that if, by doing so, you can do justice in this case.

Even so, it is difficult to draft legal statements that are so exact that they are right for all conceivable circumstances.  Accordingly, you are entitled to act upon your conscientious feeling about what is a fair result in this case, and acquit the defendant if you believe that justice requires such a result.

Exercise your judgment without passion or prejudice, but with honesty and understanding.  Give respectful regard to my statements of the law for what help they may be in arriving at conscientious determination of justice in this case.  That is your highest duty as a public body and as officers of this court.

Respectfully submitted,

____________________________________

Jerald C. Finney
P.O. Box 1346
Austin TX  78767
Tel. & FAX: (512)385-0761
State Bar No.:  00787466
ATTORNEY FOR DEFENDANT

This requested instruction, having been duly and timely requested, is hereby ________________ and exception allowed.  [State modification, if any]:

SIGNED this ________ day of _____________________________, 201__.

___________________________________
JUDGE PRESIDING

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 340 other followers