The Law is above you

The Christian Roots of English Common Law

Michael A. Clark & Others

"Law in our society and the legal framework, built upon and improved throughout the centuries in Britain, and adopted by other countries such as Canada, has preserved our freedom as individuals. The administration of a system of law by an independent judiciary which is seen to establish the equality of all before the law, is the means by which our democratic way of life can exist and be preserved."

HRH THE PRINCE OF WALES: From a speech given at
the University of Alberta, Canada, 30th June 1983.


IN his Book of Laws King Alfred set out those laws of his predecessors which he wished to see continued and blended with them the Ten Commandments and principles of the New Testament, or New Covenant. It is an astonishing thing to many professing Christians today, including members of the clergy, when they are informed that up until 1917 British Lord Chancellors had expressly stated that Christianity and the Divine Law were part and parcel of English Common Law.


In 1917, a weakened House of Lords at Westminster declared that Christianity was no longer part of the law of England. This was a break with the tradition and heritage of law in the land, as expressed by the famous English constitutional authority, William Blackstone, who wrote:
"The Law of Nature being coeval with mankind, and dictated by God Himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding all over the globe in all countries and at all times; no human laws are of and validity if contrary to this …"

Sir William Holdsworthy, Professor of Law at the University of Oxford, said at the time the House of Lords decided that Christianity was no longer part of the law of England, that:
"It is not unlikely that Caesar, now that he had deliberately abandoned the
task of securing for God the things that are God's, will find considerably
greater difficulty in securing for himself the things that are Caesar's."

Events have grimly confirmed Professor Holdsworthy's warning. The challenge to authority in all forms is the greatest problem threatening the foundation of the British, or Free World, of today. Britain indeed lost an empire, but the world lost authority and a greater freedom, under the common law. Authority has been undermined and the nations have descended into totalitarian structures because the fountainhead of all authority is denied. Truly, "the fool has said in his heart there is no God."


The lawyers and judiciary are expected to spend their time interpreting the stream of laws passed by governments without any reference to Natural or Divine Law. This is a far cry from that period in English history described by Blackstone, when, in his Commentaries, 1795, Edward I had confirmed Magna Carta by a statute which declared:
"Whereby the Great Charter is directed to be allowed as the common law; all
judgments contrary to it are declared void; copies of it are ordered to be sent to all
Cathedral Churches, and read twice a year to the people; and sentence of 
excommunication is directed to be as constantly denounced against all those that by word, deed or counsel act contrary thereto, or in any degree infringe it."


This explains why totalitarian orientated literature always seeks to pervert the real significance of what Magna Carta was really about. One of the most influential people of this school during the 20th century, was Professor Harold J. Laski. He stressed that the idea of Christianity being an essential part of the British constitutional framework, must be rejected in favour of the concept of the "sovereignty of Parliament," in the sense of rule by prerogative force above the law.

The exercise of this prerogative power over the great statutes still in force is widespread today. Particularly is this carried out through the framing of Regulations and Directives in respect of the EU, which have the force of law in this, the Queen's Sovereign Realm, by an increasing army of non-elected officials using delegated illegal power. The abuse of the Parliament Act adds to this state of illegality.


A study of Magna Carta, a great and historic landmark in the development of English Common Law and limited constitutional government, shows that it is basically a Christian document. It restates the traditional Christian view that the individual derived inviolate rights from God and that Caesar (government) exists primarily to ensure that those rights are protected. The clear implication of Magna Carta is that the power of government must be strictly limited and that, there is a higher law -- a Natural or Divine Law -- which governments in the family of constitutional covenant nations must obey.

The present tragedy of government in Britain is that totalitarian and anti-Christian concepts of government, from Europe, have developed to the stage where governments of all kinds increasingly claim they are elected "to govern." Providing they can get away with it, by prerogative power, all laws to them become legal. The Common Law rights of the individual, however, are progressively destroyed.


At this point, we could do no better than refer to the late Lord Denning in his Centennial Address to the Lawyer's Prayer Union in 1952. Of the Christian roots of English Common Law, he said:
"It is, I suggest to you, a most significant thing that a judge should draw his principles of law, or rather his principles of justice, from the Christian 
commandment of love. I do not know where else he is to find them. Some people speak of natural justice as though it was a thing well recognisable by anyone, whatever his training or upbringing. But I am quite sure that our conception of it is entirely due to our habits of thought through many generations. The common law of England has been moulded for centuries by judges who have been brought up in the Christian faith. The precepts of religion, consciously or unconsciously, have been their guide in the administration of justice."

What are the people to do when those who govern them have given over a 700-year old Christian Constitution to undemocratic foreign powers and to a system first designed by pagan dictatorial systems of slavery? Pray? Indeed yes, but also, act, by bringing down the overmighty subjects, through and by the authority of statute law. This authority of law, is the golden thread of British history -- let it speak again now!
 

June 2002

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