Three Strange But True Criminal Law Stories From Abroad

GERMANY: BUSTED! It has been reported that a professional’s well-endowed lover allegedly tried to kill him with her breasts. Allegedly his jealous girlfriend tried to smother him with her size 38DD bosoms because she said she wanted to make his death “as pleasant as possible,” authorities say. She was charged with attempted murder. This was in 2012.

This little report begs many a question. Was the attempted murder done in bed? Were the parties dressed or were they naked? Had the professional been unfaithful with some other woman beside his chesty lover? What was the motive for the attempted murder? Finally, since “malice” is required for every murder or attempted murder charge what facts herein show “malice” since she allegedly said she wanted to make his death “as pleasant as possible.” Such evidence sounds only like attempted manslaughter. There isn’t enough evidence of attempted murder here – still what a way to go…

ITALY: Sensuous Sun Screening? In 2011 a woman was arrested on an Italian topless beach for rubbing on sunscreen in “an overly sensuous manner.” Said violation was reported to police by a mother who had brought her two teenage sons to the beach. The mother was shocked by the other woman’s show of public sunscreen use and filed a lewdness complaint against the woman for an act of “extreme sensuality.”

This little report also requires some answers to pertinent questions from the Italian authorities about this incident: 1) why would a mother take not one, but two, teenage sons to a topless beach; 2) what distinguishes “sensuality” from “extreme sensuality;” finally, 3) when did “extreme sensuality” become a crime? Inquiring minds would like to know.

SWEDEN: We wonder what her husband had done to her? In 2012 a woman admitted stabbing her husband to death with a fillet knife she had received as a Christmas present from her employer. She contends that the stabbing was in self-defense. Swedish police said that after the attack on her husband, the victim, a 42-year-old, wrote a bizarre note to her boss stating, “Thank you for the Christmas gift… By the way it worked!”

The words in the note may have provided evidence of a conspiracy between the woman and her employer. A conspiracy is defined as an agreement, express or implied, between two or more people to commit an act that is illegal and at least one of the conspirators undertakes an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy. Could this have been the case? Inquiring minds would like to know.

What Is God’s Law of Love?

The Teachings of Jesus Concerning Love in the Gospel of Matthew

Chapter One: Jesus introduces Love!

After Jesus speedily got rid of Satan in chapter four verse ten by quoting the Word of God as spoken by the prophets, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve.” Satan got the point and left Jesus. Then angels came and ministered unto Him and He began His ministry in Galilee preaching “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand” Jesus came in preaching about a kingdom. He also said it was at hand, or, within your reach, here and now. That kingdom Jesus was talking about could only be received and entered into by repenting. Repenting of what? Sin? What was considered sin to Jesus? Anything that was against God’s commandment is a sin in the eyes of God. What was God’s Commandment?

Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Jesus went on to hold a meeting up on a mountain with His disciples in chapters 5-7 where you can read it all instead of me quoting the whole thing here, but I will mention the key parts where Jesus is trying to drive home the message of Love. Love was His message the whole time He was here on this Earth. Loving God and your neighbor, and to show us how to do it was His mission. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Jesus was preaching God’s Love and that the only way to enter into eternal life was to receive this love from God, but believing in Him and God’s love for them. That means to repent of the evil deeds people were doing which was all of the unloving things that hurt others.

In Matthew chapters 5-7 Jesus patiently and completely explains and teaches how to live the Love of God and how to live life under the Law of God’s Love. He made it a requirement that we absolutely have to believe in His love to go to Heaven. How can you enter into a kingdom of Love if you don’t believe in Love? That’s just it, you can’t! Jesus is saying it is impossible to go to Heaven, the Kingdom of Love, unless you change and become a child of God; a child of Love!
Jesus goes on to explain clearly in Matthew 5 what the nature of those who inherit the kingdom of Heaven should be.

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Jesus is saying that the people who are humble, repentant, meek, hungry for the truth, merciful, pure in heart, and peacemakers will be in pretty good shape when He is deciding who to share His kingdom with. Because if you have the nature described here you have understood what God’s Love means and are enacting it in your life through your words, intentions, actions and deeds. Not only this but He even says if you have been persecuted for righteousness sake, and have had all kinds of evil things said against you falsely for His sake, you should be real happy about that because when you finally do get to Heaven you will receive some great reward! If the suffering was for Jesus, preaching the Gospel, teaching the right way and you had to suffer for it somehow, Jesus will make up for it in Heaven! The Bible talks a lot about rewards in Heaven for those who overcome in this life. The Bible says that those rewards are so great that mankind cannot even imagine them as they are beyond your wildest dreams and thoughts!

He said in verse 16 to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

So we have a problem here sometimes. Why aren’t we able to always to that? Do you ever get angry at anyone? Do you ever get bitter and want to get back at someone? Every time you do it hurts your chances of staying close to God. Jesus even said that if you are angry with your brother you will be in danger of Hell fire! That is if you don’t ever repent and turn around and start going the other way and love that brother! It’s all in there in chapter 5! Jesus says that if you are going to give someone a gift but you are angry with someone else, you should not give that gift to the person until you have been reconciled with the one that you are angry with. That’s love! No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes, but if we ask forgiveness and also forgive, it will be forgotten. We can start all over again! Why in the world would anyone want to carry around with them all those burdens of bitterness and hate? In Hebrews it says to lay aside the weights and sins that so easily beset us! We fall into these things so easily sometimes and then we just accept it as part of our nature. Well, I’ll tell you that isn’t the nature of God! That isn’t being meek, humble, pure in heart and merciful!

CHAPTER TWO: LOVING YOUR ENEMIES

Matthew 5:38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.

41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Here is Jesus saying that Moses said one thing, but I am saying another. You had better listen to Me now and not Moses! It is not love to hit someone back who hits you, yet sad to say this is the very first reaction of people or groups or even nations today! They are still going by the old laws of “an eye for eye and a tooth for a tooth” That is not what Jesus said. He said that you don’t have to feel like you have to fight back. Two wrongs do not make a right! Yet, in today’s world if you don’t fight back and get revenge you are judged as being weak and having no backbone! You see, that goes to show you how far off the beam today’s society has gone! They would rather have war than peace!

If you walk away from a fight you will be considered a coward and a weak character! They have things all backwards! It takes someone of a strong character to walk away from a fight, or not to answer back! If you never read the Bible before or never watched a movie about Jesus then you might not know that he never fought back! When he was captured and beaten, mocked, questioned, and finally crucified He never said an offensive word to his captors and did not fight back! He said that he could have called for legions of angles to come to his aid by just the snap of His fingers, but what would that have accomplished? That would have defeated God’s whole purpose for coming down from heaven to die for our sins! He even said when He was on the cross looking down at those who had crucified Him, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!” He made excuses for them to His Father in Heaven and asked that they be forgiven for crucifying Him! What love! What forgiveness! What mercy! He not only preached the message of love, but He Himself lived it and was the sample all the way up to the end!

Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

“You mean Jesus wants me to love my enemies? Those people I hate and can’t stand?” Yes He does. If the world would just believe and act upon this one Bible verse right here, all war would cease! This is the only way to bring peace! The only way!

The best way to destroy your enemies is to make them your friends!

“No! We want revenge! They deserve to be punished! They deserve to die!” Yes “die” It says in 1 John 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Any person, any Christian who is going to make the Bible his or her standard or creed of living simply cannot ignore such passages as this one! It says if you hate your brother or sister you are a murderer! That is pretty strong language! I just wrote before where Jesus said that if you hate your brother you are in danger of Hell fire! That is also pretty strong language! God’s formula for happiness peace and welfare is simple! Love brings life, and hate brings death! Even if you do not actually commit murder, how many people murder others with their tongue everyday? It says in the book of James chapter 3 verses 7&8:

James 3:7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:

8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Full of deadly poison! Hateful poison! The tongue can kill! Words can kill or bring life! Yes it is true! Words have been the deliverer of either life or death! If someone says something about someone that causes them to take their own life or somehow there is a life lost or destroyed in some way, which does happen in today’s world, that person responsible for those words that brought death is a murderer! That is what the Bible says and if you are going to argue with the Bible you are arguing with God so I wouldn’t advise it!

Just get with it and deal with that hate and bitterness because it is separating you from God and others and also yourself!

It is an easy thing to love people that love you Jesus said. Sometimes even that is too much for some people, but Jesus did say that even the sinners love their own kind. What is really the test of love is to love that Samaritan or the one you do not get along with for whatever reason. That person you have a hard time with who rubs you the wrong way and always tests your patience. Or that person or people who hurt you or damaged you in someway you think is irreparable. If you want to be repaired you can be. It all depends on you. Counseling won’t do it, revenge won’t do it either.

The thing that is going to start you on your way to repair, and healing is to forgive! That is love! That is the only way you will ever get the healing and closure you seek! Not by revenge and hate! That will lead to bitterness and murder either physically or verbally!

CHAPTER THREE: SEEKING FRIST THE KINGDOM OF LOVE

In chapter 6 of Matthew there are more lessons spoken by Jesus on how to enact love in daily life. He speaks of giving, but with the wrong motive. He says not to do it just to show off or because you want to let everyone know that you are giving or how much you are giving. If you are giving out of real love and compassion just because the person needs it, you don’t need to advertise it. That’s not love, that’s pride! That’s why Paul said “Though I give all my goods to feed the poor, but have not love it is nothing” If you are not doing it out of love for people, then your actions will not amount to much. If there is any other motive it will not bear the right kind of fruit. That’s not to say your gift won’t be used by God. He will still use it for what it is worth, but it won’t be worth any more than its face value here on Earth. When you give out of a loving heart, and cheerfully, you not only get the benefit of seeing your gift bless those you give to, but you also get a much greater reward for it both here and now as well as there and then, in the next life.

Jesus also gives a lesson of prayer and how it signifies our love for God and others. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Jesus gives an example of how to pray by giving us the Lord’s Prayer. This does not mean we cannot use any other words, but the reason He said to pray like this was so that we can get our priorities straight and make sure our hearts are right. Then if we follow God’s requirements for prayer we will see the answer!

“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” We first must acknowledge the Lord and praise Him. Give the Lord first place in all we do and pray. By this we are acknowledging our relationship with the Father in Jesus name. We are loving God and putting Him in first place.
10 “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Here we are asking nothing for ourselves. We are seeking first God’s kingdom and what is best for others. This is loving others. We are praying and interceding for others before we ask for ourselves. We are asking for the Lord’s will to be done, no matter what our own desires are. We are setting the stage for our petitions by asking the Lord to give us the right unselfish and loving attitude to make our petition before Him. 11 “Give us this day our daily bread.” Next we are praying for our daily needs 12 “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Here is the litmus test of our love.

Here is where we really get tested and tried to see if we have enough love to forgive others as we want to be forgiven. In another place it says, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass
Against us” Trespasses are sins against others. If you trespass on someone’s land you are in a place you do not belong and should not be there without their permission.

Trespassing against others is doing them wrong. Doing things to others and treating them the way you shouldn’t. When others have done you wrong or treated you badly, you should forgive them. This is a very important part of our prayers because if we cannot forgive others for their sins against us we might as well stop there. God will not answer our prayers. If we cannot forgive then we do not have the love of God. We would be in rebellion against God’s Laws of Love. There is more in detail about forgiving later on. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:” Now God will not lead us into temptation, but we can fall into temptation easily by being drawn aside of our lust and enticed. God will not temp us, so why do we pray that?

Here we can end our prayer with praise and thanks to the Lord and acknowledge Him in all of His glory. In order to do this we have to know who God is, and believe that He is all powerful and rules all. We have to not only believe in God but we also have to believe Him and what He said in His Word. This is the confession of our faith. Then you can even end it with “In Jesus name” Amen.

19.Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Another verse that goes right along with this one is: 1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Isn’t that the same thing that caused Adam and Eve to fall? It says in Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food,(lust of the flesh) and that it was pleasant to the eyes, (lust of the eyes) and a tree to be desired to make one wise, (the pride of life) she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Another verse that goes along with these is:

Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. So we can see that God is not pleased when we love the things of this earth more than Him and put them above our relationship with Him. Loving the things of the world including people, more than God is forbidden in scripture. Love is great. Real unselfish love that loves others more than yourself, but not more than God.

These verses are pretty much self explanatory and it is clear what the point is. Love is a pretty deep subject and there is much more to come.

Jesus then goes on t0 say that the light of your body is the eye. If you have true love, God’s love in your heart your vision will be clear as you will be seeing through the eyes of love. Your eyes will reflect it as they will be shining! He also says if you have evil in your heart that will be seen in your eyes also, but it will not shine as the light of love. It will radiate darkness all around you! Hate and bitterness is evil and it radiates darkness!

CHAPTER FOUR: JUDGE NOT.

In Matthew chapter five Jesus gives a very powerful exhortation on judging others. “Judge not that ye be not judged”. What did Jesus mean by that? When we judge others we are not only showing our total lack of love, but we are also showing our own criminal nature and judging ourselves. Jesus goes on to say that if we judge others unjustly and unfairly we will also be judged the same way. If we judge others fairly and lovingly we will also be judged fairly and lovingly. Love is makes a whole lot of difference in the way things are judged. If the person or people judging have no love and they are only interested in the legalities and seeing the other person pay the utmost punishment for their crimes, then they will also be judged the same way someday.

If we go ahead and judge others unmercifully and self-righteously, we will also receive the same type of judgment someday.
We are looking at the faults of others but not even considering the possibility that we may have also sinned or wronged someone. Either that or we forgot about the time we did wrong to others. Remembering how many mistakes we have made helps to keep us humble and helps us not to judge and condemn others wrongly.

In His own words Jesus says: Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. 13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The Golden Rule is one thing the whole world is familiar with, no matter what their religion or persuasion. It doesn’t matter if you are a Christian or a Buddhist or Muslim or Jew or Hindi or whatever. The Golden Rule applies to EVERYONE! The principle is the same the world over! Even Atheists have to admit that there are certain things they would that men do to them and would prefer to not have done to them. This is the rule that God Himself has put within man to keep him on the right track no matter where he stems from or his roots happen to be!

No one can deny the fact that everyone needs love and is desperately in need or affection, sympathy, understanding, kindness, and mercy. There isn’t a person on this earth who would not rather be treated kindly than harshly. There isn’t a person alive who would not want to be understood. You would have to be insane or perverted to want to be beaten and abused and treated harshly. That is considered by the world to be abnormal if you like suffering harshness or pain. No one likes it no matter who they are. They have to have some sort of love in their life. They have to have some sort of affection and closeness to someone. This cannot be denied by any sane person who has feelings and emotions.

That was right after the statement about the Golden Rule. Isn’t that true? How many people do you know that are really fully living the Golden Rule and treating people with as much love and respect and kindness as they want others to treat them? Jesus said there will be few that find it!

Jesus had so much love and compassion for the people that he did not refuse anyone that came to Him, not even once! He didn’t even charge people for His services! He was the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep. Not the hireling who lays down the sheep for his own life. Jesus said that whoever saves their life will lose it, but whoever loses it for His sake will find it.

This is the compassion that led Jesus to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons. Do you think He is going to ask you how many devils you cast out? How many people you healed and raised up from the dead? It doesn’t say that anywhere in the Bible. It says that he will talk to you and tell you either to enter in to the joy of the Lord, or to depart from Him I never knew you. No matter what you think you did that was righteous works, if it was not out of love and compassionbut for some other motive, it did not accomplish much for the Lord and He will not count it towards your righteousness.

No matter if you have no talents you can speak of. No matter if you have a bad memory, make mistakes, have no skills or are bad at business, or if you are good , talented, skillful, rich and famous and beautiful, it will not make any difference to Jesus. He requires the same standard for everyone no matter what your denomination or religion. “If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto Me” “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” ” By this all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” He has the same requirements and that is to love your neighbor as yourself, and to love God first of all. If we fall short of those two commandments nothing else we ever do will ever amount to much and we will not enter into His kingdom.
 
There is only one way to bring it back to the HOT position on your thermometer. That is to follow Jesus’ own admonition in Revelations chapter two, “I have somewhat against thee because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”
 

If you don’t agree with love and believe that God’s love is the answer to everything it is because you don’t believe in love or God. You can, though, even if you think you cannot. You can ask God to forgive all of your sins and your past and He will toss it all away. Asking for God’s forgiveness and taking Jesus as your Savior by asking Him to come into your heart, life, mind and soul, and asking Him to forgive all of your sins as you forgive others of their sins against you, will make you a child of God. But it doesn’t stop there. If you sincerely do pray and ask God’s pardon, He will truly pardon you. Then it is your turn to turn around and ask God what you can do for Him. What would you do for Jesus? Anything He asks you to? Then you should not have any problem doing it for anyone else who needs it. Jesus said that is all of the Laws of Moses and the Prophets!
Love does not lose and cannot lose. Love wins now and forever! The whole world is looking for love. Will they find it in you?

Will you shine with His love to those who need it? Words can be confusing、but love is always clear. May you be a beacon of God’s love light and shine with the warmth and light of His love onto those who need it and want it!

Christianty, Basic Moral Law, Sin, and Human Choice

There are approximately 224.5 million citizens of the United States who identify themselves as Christian in religious affiliation and belief. The great majority of these religious adherents express an apparent sincere faith that the Holy Bible is the inspired word of God, as was delivered through revelation to ancient prophets and apostles for the purpose of being written and preserved for the benefit of future generations. Most of these individuals don’t question, or argue with, the authenticity of the theological doctrines delivered to mankind through these ancient writers. In fact, most, that is to say, approximately 90 percent, of church-going Christians believe in the account of man’s creation by deity, as recorded in the Book of Genesis; and that flies in the face of popular scientific empiricism holding fast to agnostic Darwinian evolution.

Among the 224.5 million Americans who consider themselves Christian, there are, however, an ever-increasing percentage of them (now approximately 5-10 million) who subjectively regard certain portions of the Bible as fiction, or fantasy. Somehow, these people can selectively believe that God parted the Red Sea through the prophet Moses, as recorded in the Book of Exodus, to allow the Israelites to escape an angrily ominous Egyptian army, but choose not to believe that Jehovah of the Old Testament destroyed the cities, Sodom and Gomorrah, because of the unnatural sins and abominations committed by nearly 100 percent of the inhabitants of those ancient metropolitan areas. For reasons that most of these, so called, Christians cannot rationally explicate, the most vile moral sins, punishable by death during the Old Testament period, should be tolerated, accepted, and indulged in a 21st Century world, even though these sinful practices were also condemned in the 1st Century A.D. by the disciple of Jesus Christ who wrote the bulk of the New Testament, the Apostle Paul, who, supposedly, spoke for Jesus Christ.

Now, as I’ve pointed out in previous essays, the practice of the organized Christian religion has, since the early demise of Jesus’ twelve original apostles, been aptly comparable through the later centuries to a politically geared system fed by wealth and military power to almost the exclusion of godly purpose. The egregiously violent history of the Holy Roman Empire presents the secularization of Christianity in the religious wars and conflicts which, through the later centuries, displayed the greatest examples of man’s inhumanity to man. During most of the 1st Century A.D., while under Jewish and Roman persecution in the Holy Land, and in other places in the world ruled by the Roman Empire, the overt practice of Christian faith by the called together bodies of believers (churches) was, however, generally dedicated to the Apostle James’ proffered definition of “true” religion undefiled before God, which was to “visit widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unspotted from the world (sin).” After the last Apostle’s death (or removal from the ministry) that is John the Devine, the expostulations and teachings of the Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), Peter, James, Paul, and Jude were, more or less, codified into a doctrinal schema over the next two centuries. Though there were quite a few other inspired Christian writers of the 1st Century A.D. New Testament period, the current content of the Holy Bible was determined as cannon scripture almost 300 years after Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D., through the dictates of a pragmatic Roman emperor, supposedly a convert to Christianity, Constantine the Great. Surprisingly though, those basic moral proscriptions, which had been considered doctrinal rules in the 1st Century and in millennia before, were proclaimed as sacred law by the collective ruling body of Christians comprising the newly acquired state religion of Rome.

These basic moral rules for all of mankind, the keys to the continuation of the family of man, are believed by most Christians to have been laid down by the God of the Old Testament for the Patriarchs as recorded by the Prophet Moses in the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible). Yet, these basic do’s and don’ts, as found in the Bible, are as readily applicable to every human civilization that has ever existed, or will exist (Jewish, Christian, or non-Christian) throughout all the earth. What are some of these basic moral rules? You shouldn’t lie, steal, cheat, lust, commit murder or inflict pain unnecessarily on other human beings, marry and, afterward, have an affair with another person’s wife or husband, and covet the possessions of other people. You should, however, honor your father and mother. If the four purely Jewish doctrinal commandments are removed from the Ten Commandments (commandments 1-4), the six remaining commandments, if obeyed, would benefit any human civilization; for they comprise a code of human conduct that, if individually observed, would result in the maintenance of peace and tranquility within any society.

The systematic disregard for basic moral rules by human beings is the substrate of the inexorable sin, and the lawlessness that it breeds, that may slowly creep over time into any human society to destroy, and replace, incumbent morality with its insipid opposite. The old expression that morality cannot be politically legislated is quite true, and has been proven true again and again throughout history. Though morality does not, in and of itself, have to originate from religious doctrine, it must essentially precede the formation of man-made law; and nature’s God has given certain natural laws unto man that are inherent to any lasting social system, which equate the fundamental rules of morality. For instance, it is inherently wrong in any human being’s mind for something that belongs to that particular person to be stolen and used by another person. Or, it is inherently wrong in any human social system, primitive or advanced, for a person to lie, or bear false witness, against another person. Even if laws and rules have been established making stealing and lying allowable in certain social systems, alarms still go off in the individual person’s mind when lying and stealing occur, telling that person that something is considerably wrong.

I like to consider the basic social and religious similarities between the ancient metropolitan areas of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the current day metropolitan areas of San Francisco and Houston. You see, something went very wrong in those ancient cities that, over time, made Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament, very angry with their inhabitants. According to the ancient record, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah had been established and growing for, probably, hundreds of years before the Prophet Abraham was told by God, in Genesis 18:20-21, that, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me; and if not, I will know.” So, according to the Bible three men (angels) were sent by God to Abraham, and then, later, to Sodom and Gomorrah, in order to determine the sinfulness of the two cities, and whether the cities’ sinful inhabitants should be destroyed.

The necessary task of any sincerely inquiring mind is now to determine the type of human sins that had so severely angered God to the point of destroying two populous cities. The biblical record is quite clear that mankind had been permitted their free mortal agency to choose whether to follow the moral rules of God or the dictates of evil. It is good to remember that, according to Moses’ earlier record in Genesis, God had previously destroyed all of the inhabitants of the earth, with the exception of Noah, his wife, and his sons and their wives, with a great flood, and had, somehow, repopulated the earth through Noah’s seed. Some Biblical historians venture guesses that, probably, a thousand-or-more years passed between the time of the great deluge and that of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Of course, the cities of Houston and San Francisco have grown to their vast metropolitan population sizes in less than 200 years, which is much less than the time in which Sodom and Gomorrah grew to be heinously corrupted.

What could have developed, over time, in Sodom and Gomorrah that caused an angry God, according to Genesis 19:24, to “rain brimstone and fire from heaven upon the two cities, overthrowing them, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.” Was it their lying, cheating, stealing, coveting, murdering, ordinary adultery, or dishonoring parents that really ticked-off the God of heaven and earth? Or was it something much more severely sinful? Certainly, if a person claiming to be a Christian can believe that God caused rain to fall from the heavens to flood, and destroy, the entire earth with water, why can’t that same person believe that two ancient cities became so sinful that God caused fire and brimstone to rain down upon them from the same heaven? Perhaps it was when God’s angels were in the city of Sodom attempting to evacuate the four only righteous inhabitants of the city (Lot, his wife, and his two daughters), and the men of Sodom, young and old, surrounded Lot’s house, demanding that the angels be brought out to them for some vile purpose that Lot greatly feared. Perhaps then the Lord God almighty was more than certain that he should destroy the cities. Moreover, Abraham pleaded with God, as recorded in Genesis 18:23-33, to spare the cities if only ten righteous people could be found there; but God, in his omniscience, knew that there weren’t ten righteous people in all the thousands, if not millions, of the inhabitants of both cities. What could all of these people have done to warrant such a horrible death?

After a great deal of study into these matters, I have come to a hearty conclusion that human acceptance and toleration of abhorrent sin and immoral practices, even if the people accepting and tolerating the sin and immorality do not, themselves, indulge in the immoral practices, has, throughout human history, been despised by God. What do the people living in Houston and San Francisco have in common with the ancient people of Sodom and Gomorrah? Do they, as did their ancient brethren and sisters, accept and tolerate heinous immorality? Do you suppose that the great majority of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah thought it politically correct to accept and tolerate the commission of vile immoral acts? Were, perhaps, civil laws enacted by the cities’ politicians, and endorsed by the majority of the residents, allowing the practice of these abominations? As I have aforementioned, these acts must have been something much more vile than lying, murdering, and stealing; for there were other cities at that time besides Sodom and Gomorrah, and all of them had their basic social problems emanating from lying, stealing, and murder. But only Sodom and Gomorrah became vile enough to destroy. Of course, this biblical record, and the New Testament admonitions of the Apostle Paul, may be regarded as fictional fantasy by millions of, so called, Christians in a 21st Century world. But it is quite interesting that most of these same Christians also believe that Jesus is eventually returning to the earth, as a thief in the night, to judge and rain vengeance on the human beings, the living and the dead, who have not chosen to follow the basic moral rules of God. This is a sobering thought, that the God and father of Jesus Christ has revealed through ancient scripture that he is reserving judgment of his children until the very end of time, which is a totally different way than he dealt with man anciently. Essentially, God has given the modern Christian world two opportunities through free mortal agency. These apparent options are: 1) enough time to change its evil ways, or 2) enough time and rope to hang itself. Though far from being morally and spiritually perfect, I am quite satisfied with my choice to honor, obey, and sustain the basic moral rules that God established when he created the earth and commanded men and women to multiply and replenish it. And though I can only speak for myself, the ancient words of the Prophet Joshua, found in Exodus 24:15, mean a great deal to me. He said, “And if you be unwilling to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Murder Is, Murder Ain’t

Law statutes in most states classify the crime of murder as the unlawful killing of an individual that is both willful and premeditated. Premeditated implies that the act was thought of and planned before it was executed. It also means that it was contrived with the intention to cause death to another person or persons.

First Degree Murder

Murder in the first degree is a premeditated act that takes the life of another. A premeditated act means that the act was thought of and planned ahead of time. Malice is also included in the criteria of first degree murder. The defendant must have had intent to cause bodily injury, harm, or death when they committed the premeditated act of murder.

In many states murder that occurs while committing other felonies like rape, robbery, or arson is also classified as first degree murder. For instance, if Bonnie and Clyde are robbing a liquor store and during the escape the owner shoots Clyde, Bonnie can be held responsible for his death and charged for first degree murder.

Second Degree Murder

This code of criminal law could be considered as the ground that lies between first degree murder and voluntary manslaughter. Second-degree murder is typically defined as “an intentional killing that is not premeditated or planned, nor committed in a reasonable ‘heat of passion'”, basically the opposite of first degree murder. It can also involve a killing caused by dangerous behavior and the offender’s lack of concern for human life.

An example

Clyde arrives at his secret hide-away of a home to find Bonnie in bed with Billie the Kid. Clyde runs into Billie the Kid at a saloon the following night sitting next to a friend at the bar. Clyde takes out his pistol and fires three shots into the bar. He misses Billie, but shoots and kills his friend. Clyde has just committed second degree murder. He did not intend to kill the friend, but his reckless behavior or shooting gun displayed a lack of concern for human life and resulted in someone being killed.

Voluntary Manslaughter

This is the crime where the “heat of passion” comes in to play. In most states voluntary manslaughter is defined as an intentional killing in which the offender had no prior intent to kill. The circumstances that lead to this type of killing have to be such that they would drive a reasonable person to emotional or mental disturbance.

Recall the example from earlier. Clyde comes home to find Bonnie in bed with Billie the Kid and in the heat of the moment shoots the Kid with the shotgun he keeps on the side of the bed. Billie the Kid is killed, and Clyde has now committed voluntary manslaughter.

For more information on murder charges and defense, contact Rhode Island criminal defense attorney James P. Powderly at www.rhodeislandcriminaldefenselawyer.com

A Brief History of the American Felony Murder Rule

THE PENNSYLVANIA MURDER GRADING STATUTE

After our American Independence a number of the new states began legislative reforms to codify the crime of murder. One of the earliest states to do so was Pennsylvania. In 1794, that state enacted a murder degree statute which divided murder into first degree capital murder and second degree murder. The Pennsylvania legislature constricted the penalty for felony murder by imposing capital punishment only for such felonies as occurred in the perpetration of arson, rape, robbery or burglary. The statute further provided that all murder in the state other than ones committed in the perpetration of one of the common law felonies specified in their degree statute was to be second degree murder.

Later the felony of kidnapping was added to the list of specified felonies for purposes of felony murder. Only first degree murder served as a basis for hanging. The Pennsylvania statute did not actually formulate a felony murder rule or define the elements of murder. Instead the statute identified participation in certain felonies as a grading element that aggravated murder liability. The statute prescribed that:
All murder, which shall be perpetrated by means of poison, or by laying in wait, or by any other kind of wilful, deliberate and premeditated killing, or which shall be committed in the perpetration or attempt to perpetrate any arson, rape, robbery, or burglary, shall be deemed murder in the first degree; and all other kinds of murder shall be murder in the second degree.

The implication of the statute is that murder in the course of one of the enumerated felonies did not require wilful, deliberate, and premeditated killing. The language of the statute does not suggest that the mere causing of death in the course of any felony was always murder. This idea is much more in line of what Lord Hale was proposing in his writings at the end of the seventeenth century and is similar to Judge Stephen’s jury instruction in the Serne case: that it would be murder only if the felonious act was known to be dangerous to life and likely to cause death. The word “deemed” in the statute implies the notion that a judge or jury could weigh the facts of the case and decide whether the conduct of an accused warranted a charge of murder for which the accused could be hanged.

The Pennsylvania statute was enormously influential, shaping homicide reform statutes in two thirds of the then existing states during the nineteenth century. Twelve states adopted Pennsylvania’s grading scheme with little or no modification, the states which adopted the Pennsylvania statute as drafted were: Virginia in 1796, Kentucky from 1798 to 1801, Maryland in 1810, Louisiana from its admission in1812 to 1855, Tennessee in 1829, Michigan in 1838, Arkansas in 1838, New Hampshire in 1842, Connecticut in 1846, Delaware in 1852, Massachusetts in 1858, and West Virginia, entering the Union with such a statute in 1863.

Another nineteen states adopted a somewhat modified grading scheme. The States that adopted the Pennsylvania statute with a somewhat modified grading scheme were: Ohio in 1815, Maine in 1840, Alabama in 1841, Missouri in 1845, Iowa in 1851, Indiana in 1852, California in 1856, Texas in 1858, New York in 1860, Kansas (entering the Union with such a law in 1861), Oregon in 1864, Nevada (entering the Union with such a law in 1864), Nebraska in 1873, Montana (entering the Union with such a law in 1889), Washington (entering the union with such a law in 1889), Idaho (entering the Union with such a law in 1890), Wyoming (entering the Union with such a law in 1890), North Carolina in 1893, and Utah (entering the Union with such law in 1896).

LATER DEVELOPMENTS IN FELONY MURDER STATUTES

The first true felony murder rule statute was passed in Illinois in 1827. The Illinois statute defined murder as unlawful killing with express malice, or acting with knowledge that the acts will or probably will result in death or great bodily harm, and felony murder. The statute added that an “involuntary killing… in the commission of an unlawful act which in its consequences, naturally tends to destroy the life of a human being, or is committed in the prosecution of a felonious intent… shall be deemed and adjudged to be murder.” Again, we see the influence of Lord Hale and not Lord Coke. Illinois’s statute is a true felony murder statute. Yet, it is not a strict liability statute in that it limits liability for an involuntary killing in the course of a felony that “tends to destroy the life of a human being.” It is not applicable to all felonies. Hale thought that it would be murder only if the felonious act was known to be dangerous to life and likely to cause death.

In 1829 a statute enacted in New Jersey included within murder killing ” in committing, or attempting to commit, sodomy, rape, arson, robbery, or burglary, or any unlawful act against the peace of this state, of which the probable consequence may be bloodshed… ” During that same year New York passed the strictest of the new felony murder rule statutes. Their statute defined murder as killing “without any design to effect death, by a person engaged in the commission of any felony.” At the end of the nineteenth century, nineteen states had adopted such differing kinds of felony murder statutes. These states were: Illinois in 1827), New Jersey in 1829, Georgia in1833, Mississippi in 1839, Alabama in 1841, Missouri in 1845, Wisconsin in 1849, California in 1850, Texas in 1857, Minnesota (entering the Union with such a law in 1858), Nevada (entering the Union with such a law in 1864), Oregon in 1864, Nebraska in 1866, though repealing the law in 1873, Florida in 1868, Colorado (entering the Union with such a law in 1876), Idaho and Montana (both entering the Union with such laws in 1889), and Utah (entering the Union with such a law in 1896).

The twentieth century began with most states having various ways for defining felony murder: predicating murder liability on implied malice, as well as a felony; predicating murder liability on dangerous felonies, sometimes called enumerated felonies, or predicating murder liability on any felony. Throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century we continue to see American states defining felony murder in the same ways. The growth of felony murder in the United States had more to do with Pennsylvania’s 1794 murder grading statute than it did with Lord Coke’s notion in the seventeenth century that a death caused by an unlawful act is murder.

The felony murder rule in the United States has been more expansive than that employed in England due to the pairing of two concepts. One, the concept of felony murder itself and the ways it may be defined by statute and two, the concept of vicarious liability used to hold all co-conspirators liable for the substantive crimes committed by any one of the conspirators in the course of executing the unlawful agreement that may have led to the American felony murder rule.

Such a situation may obtain when Bonnie and Clyde decide to rob the local liquor store and they enlist Clyde’s brother Buck to drive them to the liquor store, stay outside to act as a look out and to be their getaway driver. Buck agrees. If during the robbery the store clerk reaches for his.38 revolver under the counter causing Bonnie to fire her tommy gun at him but she misses and her bullets kills an innocent patron of the store, then Bonnie, Clyde, and Buck would all be held liable for and could each be convicted of conspiracy to rob, armed robbery, and felony murder. The felony murder rule was never applied this way in England.

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