Government and Politics

Deuteronomy 17:18-20 and President Obama

The Thursday feature of the Worldly Saints blog will pull a current event and look at it from the perspective of a Christian world view. There is no guarantee we will comment on the most “popular” or “biggest story” out there, but we will take a story that is worth considering.

 

Don’t you wish that we still forced our government leaders to follow Deuteronomy 17:18-20? Moses recorded here, “And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.”

The purpose for such a prescription is multi-faceted:

      • To instill a reverence for la
      • To remind the king is lives under the Law and not over it
      • To help the king remember what the laws actually are

What brought this to my mind was the recent decision made by our President to exchange an American soldier for five Taliban prisoners. Other than the politics of making such a decision, the central problem – in my opinion – was the fact that he broke the law of notifying Congress a minimum of thirty days before such an exchange.

Even Democrat Dianne Feinstein and CNN’s top legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin agree President Obama willingly broke the law.

And we wonder why people in our country don’t have a reverence for any kind of law! Isn’t is as simple as this? Like people, like priest. If our leaders will break the Law to meet their own agenda(s), why wouldn’t we?

 

 

 

 

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Presumption of Innocence: Biblical?

The verdict that came out over the weekend of the case surrounding George Zimmerman has so many angles by which one could think, write and conclude. I have been tempted to write my own perspective on the verdict and some lessons that can be gained from such a court case, but then I read Al Mohler’s blog posting today ( on the case and I quickly realized he said it way better than I could so I would encourage you to read that.

But I do have something on the subject of legality I wish to pose to my readers: the presumption of innocent (or “innocent until proven guilty) – is that a biblical concept?

The Bible is not bashful about calling us depraved people (Ps 14; Rom 3) who come into this world speaking lies (Ps 58:3) and are hostile to God (Rom 8:7). The Bible says we are guilty and sinners without the grace of God in our lives. That is not debatable.

But when it comes to a court case, should the government, the jury, the judge, the lawyers, the media and all others observing the practice of law, view the accused as innocent until proven guilty? Is that the way God expects it?

Answer: yes. The presumption of innocence is a biblical concept. The concept of a truthful witness in biblical times was critical in the justice system because forensic evidence and detective work were non-existent. Acquitting someone or finding someone guilty was based upon multiple witnesses and if witnesses could not be found, the accused party was found innocent by society. Deuteronomy 19:15-20 spells this out: “One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If a malicious witness takes the stand to accuse someone of a crime, the two people involved in the dispute must stand in the presence of the LORD before the priests and the judges who are in office at the time. The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against a fellow Israelite, then do to the false witness as that witness intended to do to the other party. You must purge the evil from among you. The rest of the people will hear of this and be afraid, and never again will such an evil thing be done among you. 21 Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot” (Deut 19:15-19).

Numbers 35:30 echoes this – “Anyone who kills a person is to be put to death as a murderer only on the testimony of witnesses. But no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.” And the law goes on to say the witness or primary accuser would then throw the 1st stone. So it really put a heavy responsibility on telling the truth.

By the way, there was a provision in the Law that a false accuser would receive the punishment due to the person who had been wrongly accused and who was eventually declared innocent. A false witness would be liable to the punishment that the accused would have received had he been convicted. This was a way of deterring someone from bringing false testimony, realizing that he would have to bear the penalty were his false testimony discovered.

We can thank God in this country we have segments of our government that are still functioning the way God intended them and the presumption of innocence is just one example of a Biblical truth still being practiced today in a nation that is walking away from God.