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God's law should always trump man's law

By Scott Tibbs, January 22, 2008

In a tragic and shocking case, a Chicago man spent more than 25 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Dale Coventry and Jamie Kunz knew that their client, Andrew Wilson, was guilty of murdering a security guard at a McDonald's restaurant in January 1982, because Wilson confessed the crime to his attorneys. Bound by attorney-client privilege, they said nothing to prevent an innocent man from being convicted of a crime he did not commit.

Some might argue that this represents a moral dilemma. It doesn't. If the only way to prevent this grave injustice was to break the law, Coventry and Kunz should have broken the law rather than break the Ninth Commandment and allow an innocent man to rot in prison. To review, the Ninth Commandment is as follows:

  • Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. -- Exodus 20:16

As Christians, we are commanded to obey the authority God has placed over us. The exception to this commandment is when man's law commands us to sin against God's law. Sometimes, you have to suffer for what is right, like Corrie ten Boom did when she went to a Nazi prison for helping Jews escape the Holocaust. The Bible is filled with examples of godly men who suffered because they obeyed God's law instead of man's law. I don't care what man's law says. If you have a choice between breaking the law of man and breaking the law of God, you choose to obey God. That should not even be a question.

Furthermore, the fact that these men lied passively rather than actively does not absolve them of the sin they committed. They knew an innocent man was going to be convicted and go to prison, and they allowed it to happen. Then they remained silent for 25 years as an innocent man suffered in prison.

"We ought to obey God rather than men." - The Apostle Peter, Acts 5:29

"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." -- Jesus Christ, Matthew 10:28