Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Jail or Jury Duty for Pastor Bob on September 19
Have you ever noticed how separation of church and state only goes one way?
I thought about that when summoned for jury duty.
Ever hear the story about why they use lawyers instead of white mice for medical experiments in California?
I'm not going to repeat it; but I am going to share a letter with you that could end up with me getting thrown into jail on September 19.
Judge John Young
Judicial Circuit Court Number 17
601 N. Main Street
Belvidere, Illinois 61008
September 5, 2012
Dear Judge Young:
I am copying this to my family, the elders of Belvidere’s First Presbyterian Church, ecclesiastical superiors, covenant brothers, Belvidere Chief of Police Jan Noble, Boone County Sheriff Duane Wirth, and readers of www.koppdisclosure.com for acknowledgment and accountability; and if my decisions do not honor Lord Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture, I will confess my sin against you, repent, and fully comply “as summoned to appear before the Circuit Court of Boone County at the Courthouse in the City of Belvidere, Illinois on September 19, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. to serve as Petit Juror.”
Immediately replying to the 24 August 2012 notice via the blue juror response card, I scribbled a request to be excused: “I am a police chaplain and clergyman on 24/7 call for hospitals, crises, etc.”
I apologize for not requesting a personal audience on August 24 and writing so hastily.
I received notice dated 31 August 2012 on 4 September 2012 that my request has been denied because it “does not set forth sufficient grounds for excusal. Therefore, you are expected to be available to report for jury service in accordance with your summons.”
Previously excused from jury service in other states for aforementioned albeit abbreviated vocational reasons, I called the Circuit Clerk’s office on 4 September 2012 to appeal my rejected request; asking for a personal appearance before you to explain my sense of call and vocation do not include jury service. While my conversation with whomever answered the call was mutually cordial and respectful, I was told, essentially, that if I am given an excuse, “...everyone would want one.”
Again, I emphasize my telephone appeal was met with cordiality, respect, and even sympathy.
I was told to write to you if I still wanted to appeal my rejected request to be excused from jury service.
Particularly, I ask to be excused from jury service on 19 September 2012 because of a previous commitment to join Salvation Army Advisory Board President John Wolf at the United Way Annual Kick-Off scheduled for 7:00 a.m. at the Boone County Council of Aging on September 19. I have been asked to provide a devotional.
With respect to your authority as judge and in deference to the ultimate authority of God in accepting the call to provide a devotional for the United Way Kick-Off by previous commitment, I will arrive for jury service as soon as the United Way event concludes with proper deference to those attending.
Generally, I ask to be excused from jury service on 19 September 2012 because of my vocation with the cardinal call as enabled for immediate availability for crises, emergencies, care and counseling, hospital visitations, and related ministries. As sometimes is said among colleagues, “People die without consulting your calendar.”
With respect to your authority as judge and in deference to the ultimate authority of God in my life and ministry, I will remain available for jury service on September 19 unless I am needed to respond as noted in obedience to God above all others as a pastor.
I have been told you are a man of faith; hence, I have not referred to the first two of His big ten, our Lord’s clear call to honor and serve Him above all others even while praying and laboring to render appropriate deference to government as long as government respects His ultimate authority, and the apostles’ willingness to be jailed for conscience captive to Him.
Again, I would have preferred to appear before you face-to-face; for I know how written correspondence can be misunderstood.
Regardless, I pray you receive this as intended with respect to your office, humility before the Circuit Court, and without antagonism or grievance as juxtaposed to my ultimate respect for our Lord’s call upon my life as a pastor.
I understand some may judge me as “in contempt of court” and revel in my arrest and imprisonment; yet for me to do otherwise than as stated would be in contempt of my Lord.
Blessings and Love,
Robert R. Kopp
O.K., I know this doesn't rise to the level of Acts 4-5 or the march from Selma to Montgomery.
Bonhoeffer ain't impressed from his martyred perch in paradise; and I doubt Jesus had this little protest in mind at the end of His beatitudes.
Yet, I think of a few things.
A freedom removed is rarely restored.
If you give an inch to the government, they'll take a...
Or as I wrote at the beginning of another one of my non-best-selling books, "Remembering you're going to live a lot longer with Jesus than anybody else makes establishing life's priorities a no-brainer."
Of course, if I'm in jail by the time...
Blessings and Love!