NEWS Report – 4 of 4
Suggestion: Before reading Part 4, please read Parts 1, 2 & 3 for background information. The scenario presented is fictitious, but could something similar happen in the near future?
JURY REACHES VERDICT
This is Mike Jones reporting to you live from outside the courthouse in Washington with the fourth and final report on the NAG vs Christian Author trial. The jury of four Believers and eight nonBelievers delivered their final verdict today.
This trial began four months ago when a group called nonBelievers Against God (NAG) joined forces with the Justice Department in efforts to remove all references to God in America. They charged Christian author Tom Tatum on two counts:
Count One: Writing books that support the concept of God’s existence
Count Two: Conspiracy to keep God in America
The twelve jurors returned to the courtroom today after deliberating for three days. When the judge asked the foreman if the jury had reached a final verdict, you could have heard a pin drop as Believers and nonBelievers anxiously awaited his response.
The foreman appeared confident as he stood, cleared his throat, and replied, “Your Honor, we have reached a verdict on both counts.”
The bailiff handed the jury’s verdict form to the judge who read, “As to Count One: Writing books that support the concept of God’s existence, how do you find the defendant?”
“We, the jury, unanimously find the defendant guilty.”
The courtroom erupted with cheers of victory from the NAG members who were present. Those who support Mr. Tatum were shocked by the verdict and lowered their heads in disappointment. The judge banged his gavel to restore order and continued reading from the verdict form.
“As to Count Two: Conspiring to keep America a nation under God, how do you find the defendant?”
“We, the jury, unanimously find the defendant not guilty. Your Honor, please note that our verdict for Count One is based completely on a caveat that this court must execute if the verdict is to be considered final. Otherwise, this jury asks the court for more time to continue our deliberations.”
Murmurs filled the air of the courtroom in anticipation of what was likely to follow. Again, the judge called for silence and asked the foreman to explain the jury’s position.
“Your Honor, the caveat attached to our guilty verdict for Count One is in the form of a request. Unlike the punishment the prosecutor demanded this court impose on Mr. Tatum, this jury unanimously requests that you set Mr. Tatum free and reward him by making his book available to every person in America. We think everyone should have the opportunity to read his story, and that includes ALL nonBelievers who choose to do so—nonBelievers are the very individuals who need to read it most. We also hope every person in the world has an opportunity to read Mr. Tatum’s inspiring story.”
The judge seemed amused by the jury’s unorthodox request and remained silent for a several minutes. His silence seemed to last for hours as everyone in the courtroom awaited his response.
“I must admit to you that in my thirty years of service as a judge, this is the first time I’ve ever had a jury make such an unusual request. The twelve of you found the defendant guilty, yet you seek to reward rather than punish him. Please tell this court why you are making such a request.”
Without hesitation the foreman responded, “Your Honor, during the course of this trial, all members of this jury started having doubts about the Justice Department’s motives for supporting the NAG organization. It didn’t make sense to us that our government was attacking the Constitutional rights of those who choose to believe in God. As a nonbeliever and American citizen myself, I do not want the government restricting any of my rights, nor do I want the rights of Christians to be restricted because their views are simply different from mine. I respect the rights of ALL citizens to express themselves without fear of “big government” reprisals.
“Furthermore, each juror took the opportunity to read Mr. Tatum’s book during the long holiday break and realized the prosecution’s case had many flaws. The prosecutor was not being truthful with his statements and attempted to mislead us. The demon in this courtroom is not Mr. Tatum—the true demons are NAG followers, our government leaders, and the attorneys who accepted and chose to bring this case to trial.”
The prosecutor’s faced turned as red as the stripes on the American flag as he jumped to his feet shouting, “Your Honor, I object to you allowing the foreman to speak in this manner! This is highly irregular! I demand you strike the foreman’s comments from the record and force him to sit down and remain silent! This court must punish Mr. Tatum in the manner I stated.”
“Mr. Habeeb, your objections are duly noted, but you are not in charge of this court. Now, please sit down before I have you removed from this courtroom. The foreman is making more sense than anything presented thus far from the prosecutor’s side during the course of this trial. This court should be allowed to hear what the foreman has to say. Please proceed with your statement, Mr. Foreman,” replied the judge.
The prosecutor reluctantly sat down, but it was obvious he disagreed with the judge’s remarks. The foreman then continued with his statement.
“Thank you, Your Honor. As I was saying before being rudely interrupted, “Mr. Tatum is guilty of writing about God, but he has every right to do so. No court should deny his right to write about his beliefs. Yes, I am the spokesperson for this jury, but my comments are the thoughts composed by all members of this jury. With that said, we all feel that America was created as a nation of God—the founding fathers were wise enough to create documents that were supposed to prevent trials such as this one. Nowhere in the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence do the words, ‘separation of church and state’ exist. Those words originated in an 1802 letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut. They were in Jefferson’s written response to an inquiry addressed to him about Connecticut’s law being oppressive to their religion.
“Jefferson’s statement was, ‘I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law regarding an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.
“The wall is to protect citizens from government intervention. The Constitution of the United States denies the federal government the ability to interfere with the religious rights of ALL the people for which it was written. The words ‘separation of church and state’ is not a legal decree. It’s simply a talking-point phrase promoted by the biased media, nonbelievers, and others who are ill informed about the law in order to support their efforts to remove God from America, willfully persecute Christians and all who believe in God. Anyone who understands our Constitution knows the government is over-stepping its bounds in this regard, and the biased media ecstatically supports their efforts. America’s foundation supports a nation of God and she should remain such. We want America to continue to be a great place to live—the land of the free and the home of the brave, with liberty and justice for all. May God continue to Bless America!”
The judge smiled, stood, and started applauding, as did all those in the courtroom. The judged thanked the foreman for his well-informed history lesson and said, “This court agrees with your statement, and I hereby grant your request to reward rather than punish Mr. Tatum.”
The judge wrinkled his brow and looked toward Mr. Habeeb as if awaiting a vigorous response. When the prosecutor said nothing, the judge dismissed the jurors and banged his gavel to end the trial. The fuming prosecutor and his NAG assistants stormed out of the courtroom. The silence in the room erupted into cheers as everyone in the courtroom started singing God Bless America…
Gretchen, I interviewed two of the jurors off camera, both nonBelievers, and asked if their views about God had changed during the trial or if it was more about first amendment rights. Both said it was more about rights, but they now have more tolerance for Christians and all Believers. They said the story and statements made by the defense attorney in his closing arguments were very compelling. However, they acknowledged they had a long way to go before they could say they were Believers. It appears Tatum’s story and this trial had a few twists that NAG and the Justice Department didn’t anticipate. Both jurors also suggested that everyone should read Tatum’s book before rejecting God.
I also managed to talk to Matthew Jackson, the defense attorney. He said, “I am pleased the jury found Mr. Tatum guilty on count one and applaud their suggested reward. This jury of four Believers and eight nonBelievers sent a powerful message to the government and NAG’s who wish to delete all references to God. AMERICA IS A NATION OF GOD!
“Satan and his evil followers lost a small battle in this courtroom today, but his efforts to win the war will certainly continue. He will always tempt people to follow him, and it is unfortunate that most of them have no idea what is happening. Their beliefs about life and morality are leading America on a path toward destruction.
“I pray that this is the beginning of turning the evil tide that flows against Believers and serves to start spreading tolerance for God throughout America? It could very well be, but only if all Christians and Believers start raising their voices in harmony by taking a stand for their beliefs and becoming proactive in the war to sustain individual rights. Believers must start speaking out against the direction nonBelievers are taking America and help reverse the trend before it is too late. The ‘Devil’ has already taken prayer out of schools—Merry Christmas is now Happy Holidays—nativity scenes, Ten Commandments, and other religious symbols can no longer be displayed on public grounds. The list of efforts to remove God from our nation continues to grow. All these things happened while Christians and Believers silently did nothing to stop the insanity. Join the effort to HELP KEEP AMERICA A NATION OF GOD. Flood all elected government leaders with demands for them to wake up and fight the evil. Don’t stop until they take appropriate action. It’s time to Wake Up America!“
Gretchen, I also asked Mr. Jackson about the story he shared in his closing arguments, and if he had any regrets about being a Christian. Listen to his response.
“Regrets? Yes, I have one. I regret that I wasted so many years of my life before I finally saw the ‘light’ that reflected off a tiny glass in the desert. You see—the Christian who survived the desert experience with me was Mr. Tatum. It was long before he wrote his book. God placed Mr. Tatum in my life and he helped me find the Lord. Having the opportunity to represent him in this trial was a blessing for me, and is evidence that God truly does work in mysterious ways. I am proud to call myself a Christian.”
This has been Mike Jones reporting live from Washington. Now, let’s go back to Gretchen in the studio.
“Thanks for your reports on the trial, Mike. I bet that verdict surprised many folks out there. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens in the future. Folks, I understand you can obtain a copy of Tatum’s book If Tigers Were Angels: With God, All Things Are Possible from most online bookstores. Check it out and let us know what you think about the book and the trial. Now, stay tuned to ATILBnews with Barry Brown. I’m Gretchen Jones wishing you a great day. God Bless America!”
Tom Tatum – 2015
Author of faith-based novels
(1) If Tigers Were Angels: With God, All Things Are Possible
(2) On Green Diamonds: Pursuing a Dream
Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor LinkedIn: TomTatum1
Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels
Author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum