Like Pilate, our elected officials know that Todd Engel, and the others, are innocent of the crimes for which they have been accused. Resolutions for Political Prisoners document undeniable violation after violation. The elected have these Resolutions before them. In their official capacity, like Pilate, they lack the strength and integrity to do right. Like Pilate, they kick the can down the road and hope for a solution that will be someone else’s doing. But I, like Herod, place this back into their hands.
This past Saturday the telephone rang. Todd Engel, an inmate from federal prison, was on the other end. Todd and I have never spoken before so I was surprised. Todd shared some things with me that I now share with you.
Do you know that while he was at the Bundy standoff in Nevada, he never set foot on BLM ground? Do you know there is a video showing the bulk of his time was spent on Interstate 15, where he consulted with local police to help identify federal agents who were pointing guns at the people? Do you know this video shows that Todd was armed with an AR15, and yet, the local police repeatedly turned their backs to him. They did not consider him to be a threat? Do you know this video shows a police officer giving Todd a friendly slap on the back as they parted company? Do you know, in Todd’s, fair and impartial trial, Judge Gloria Navarro has referred to him, and the others accused as co-conspirators, even though they have not been convicted as such? Do you know, Judge Gloria Navarro has referred to the actions of Todd, and the others as an assault, even though the Jury has not yet ruled? Do you know that Dan Love, the Bureau of Land Management’s special agent in charge of the Nevada mess, is a primary witness for the prosecution and yet, Judge Gloria Navarro has ruled that Todd cannot call him to the witness stand? Do you know if he is found guilty, he will spend the balance of his days behind bars? Do you care?
Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent of the crimes for which he had been accused. On three separate occasions, he declared that Jesus was an innocent man. Lacking the strength and integrity to do right, he sent Jesus to Herod in the hope that this other man might do what the coward Pilate could not. In the end, the decision rested on Pilate. He knew what was right. He knew what was true. He knew what the law required. The voice of corrupt religious leaders of Judea rang in his ears and he feared them. He feared them so much that he shrunk back, and whithered, and turned from doing that which was manifestly right. Pilate knew that unless he joined forces with the murderous crowd, his actions would cost him political capital. He valued his exalted position more than anything. In this world, and in the next, Pontius Pilate will forever be remembered as the most despicable of men who out of cowardice, and pride, and weakness, and fear, murdered the only innocent man, the lamb of God, my friend and yours, my advocate and yours, my God and yours.
Some weeks ago I wrote and distributed “Resolutions for Political Prisoners“. In these resolutions, I documented many violations of two constitutions; the federal and the state. These violations spanned the length and breadth of both documents. That the Life, Liberty and Property of these men of Idaho has been lawlessly taken cannot be denied. The People of Idaho rallied and more than 5000 emails were sent to the members of the Idaho State Legislature and the Sheriffs in the state of Idaho.
In order that the movement and progress of this effort might be tracked, all recipients were directed to respond to my email address. To date, not one member of the Idaho House of Representatives has responded. To date, not one member of the Idaho Senate has responded. To date, not so much as a single sheriff has even acknowledged receipt of these Resolutions from the People of Idaho.
To be clear, these legislators and sheriffs were not required to to undertake some massive effort that demanded the overwhelming support of other sheriffs, or other legislators. They were simply directed to draft a letter in which they would lodge their opposition to the constitutional abuse of the People of Idaho and cause that letter to be sent to a few key people.
I made a few phone calls to ascertain why no appropriate action had been taken by our elected officials. The answers may surprise and anger you:
- Several legislators said that they had considered the Resolutions and determined that the loss of political capital would be too high. To that I would ask, how much is too much to pay for the lives of these men?
- One legislator said that the Resolutions were too long and that no one wanted to read such a lengthy document. To that I would answer, the list of abuses to the state and federal constitutions are massive, and that each must be listed and examined, which requires a lot of words. I would also answer that words matter. The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. I guess Mr. Jefferson could have written, “We are all equal all have equal rights” and left it at that. But words matter, don’t you think?
- One legislator said that the Resolutions were too demanding. To that I would say, this is a CONSTITUTIONAL REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT. It is the people who rule over the elected and therefore, it is their right and duty to demand when necessary. It is the obligation of the elected be ruled by We the People.
- One legislator said they have not had time to determine the constitutional and legal issues pertaining to the prisoners. To that I say, these men have been behind bars for a year. If you do not know these answers by now, you never will. If you do not understand by now, it is because you have chosen to not understand. I would also add, the Resolutions are before you, what more do you need?
Like Pilate, our elected know that Todd Engel, and the others, are innocent of the crimes for which they have been accused. The Resolutions document undeniable violation after violation. The elected have these Resolutions before them. On multiple occasions, some of the elected have stated that the rights of these men have been violated. In their official capacity, like Pilate, they lack the strength and integrity to do right. Like Pilate, they kick the can down the road and hope for a solution that will be someone else’s doing. But I, like Herod, place this back into their hands. They know what is right. They know what is true. They know what the law requires. But the voice of corrupt leaders of the Idaho Legislature, and the fearful voice of federal operatives ring in their ears. They fear reprisal. They fear these things so much that they shrink back, and whither, and turn from doing that which is manifestly right. They know that unless they join forces with corruption, their actions will cost them political capital and perhaps they value their exalted positions most of all. Regardless of whether these political prisoners are found guilty or exonerated, in this world, and in the next, those who refused to stand will forever be remembered.
In Acts we read, “Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed… Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.”
As long as I draw breath, I will speak the Word of God with great boldness, regardless of the cost. In addition to the cost, there is a prize. It is upon this prize that I fix my eyes.
- Acts 5:27-29 NIV version↩