Swear not ...lest ye fall into condemnation. - James 5:12


Swear Not

Ralph Schwan

Oaths are the means by which governments are given power.


"The rights of the individualÖare restricted only to the extent that they have been voluntarily surrendered by the citizenship to the agencies of government."

City of Dallas v Mitchell, 245 S.W. 944

Perjury is a crime Ė a felony. Perjury is committed when a person sworn to speak truly violates his oath. Perjury, like treason, is viewed as a crime against the state. Yet a perjury appears to do less harm to the state than to the man who commits it. Perjury is committed against oneís self, thus the saying "He perjured himself." Perjury is then more comparable to suicide than treason. A perjurer harms himself far more than he harms the state or other people.

Still, the state considers perjury to be a crime of such magnitude that it has never granted immunity for this felony. Murderers, rapists, thieves, arsonists and worse are regularly granted immunity for their offenses in trade for testimony to convict a greater felon. But perjurers Ė perjurers always go to jail.

To commit a perjury a person must be under a "lawful" oath, then "violate" that oath in a "willful" manner regarding an issue "material" to the oath. There is an exception to this rule: it is also a perjury to falsely claim to be sworn, when the person knows that he is not under oath. Perjury without an oath?

Suppose a person in court refused to take an oath, saying, "Your Honor, Iím already under an oath to tell the truth." The judge would be forced to believe those words. If the person was truly sworn then the statement would be true or the speaker would be guilty of perjury. Likewise, if the statement were false, then to lie and falsely claim an oath must be a perjury as well, for the judge, in either situation, believes the statement is true.

Perjury, then, is a crime based on words, on testimony. To commit a perjury a person must be either under oath or claim a false oath. It is a crime committed only by a person witnessing against himself. A silent man may not commit perjury, unless in writing.

Income tax returns and other governmental forms bear the statement "Under penalties of perjury, I declareÖ" Federal cases show that persons who have lied on these forms by making false entries have been convicted of perjury. Other cases show that the courts have held that the "perjury clause" is not an oath. These people were convicted of perjury without first taking an oath.

Since perjury is but two acts, the violation of an oath or a claim of false oath, the courts must have construed that these felons claimed a false oath. Indeed, that is the fact, for each of these felons claimed to be subject to "penalties of perjury" when they were not sworn. The claim was false! Yet, in making the claim, they claimed a false oath and did become subject to the penalties of perjury. They committed an automatic perjury.

The courts have consistently held that the perjury clause is absolutely material to tax forms. The statute on the subject leaves the inclusion of the clause on the forms to the discretion of the Secretary. That makes it "optional," not essential. The courts disagree with the statute.

If youíve ever been audited, youíve likely wondered why the clause was necessary. Even though you claimed "under penalties of perjury" that the form was true, you are forced to prove every entry or have it capriciously denied by some petty government agent. He says, "I donít believe you: entry such and so is denied."

That agent has just called you a perjurer! Unfortunately, heís correct. In fact, he knows, going into the audit that you are a perjurer. He has proof. You supplied it. You listed your occupation on the 1040 form.

Look again at the clause. It says "under penalties of perjury." Penalties. More than one penalty. Why more than one? Because this clause defines the persons who must "lawfully" sign the form Ė civil officers. If you commit a perjury your are subject to one penalty, but a civil officer who commits a crime is subject to two penalties. He, like any criminal, is subject to jail and/or a fine; in addition, he is subject to the loss of his office. Heís not immune from double jeopardy; he may be twice tried for a single crime. The second trial is called impeachment. Noted jurists have listed perjury as a primary crime necessitating impeachment. All civil officers are sworn to perform the duties of their office Ė they are under oath. Civil officers, only civil officers, are subject to penaltIES of perjury.

If you list your occupation as mechanic, farmer, stenographer, or housewife, you obviously do not work for the government. You arenít under oath. But sign the form under penalties of perjury and you falsely claim an oath. The perjury clause, unless you are a civil officer, is a Catch-22. You commit a crime the moment you sign.

Suppose the form instead said, "Under penalty of rape, I declareÖ." Would you sign it? Why not? As crimes go, rape isnít much worse than perjury. Youíd refuse to sign it because you never committed the crime of rape. You must commit a rape before you become subject to penalty of rape, right? Then, if youíve never taken an oath of office, why would you claim to be subject to penalties of perjury?

The perjury clause seems quite useless as an element to support the truth of entries made on the form. IRS refuses to believe the signer. But the IRS, with the support of the courts, insists that the clause be on the form. Why? Because the clause is essential in establishing the jurisdiction of the government over the signer. Jurisdiction, in Latin (the language of the courts), means "swear Ė spoken." To swear a false oath (or claim a false oath), in addition to perjury, is an automatic grant of jurisdiction.

Free men owe no duty to their government, but a person subject to the jurisdiction of the government is under a duty to perform a duty. The oath binds the person to performance. An oath turns a freeman into a servant, a person bound to service. Thatís why civil officers are also called civil servants.

In tax trials, a form 1040 or some other form with the perjury clause is introduced. The form bears the defendantís signature. The defendant objects, claiming he thought he was compelled to sign and file the form. The judge always rules that no perjury can be compelled. Noting that the "occupation" line does not indicate civil service, his honor knows that the signed form is evidence of a perjury. He knows the form gives him and the government jurisdiction. Yet, for the defendantís sake, the court will ignore the evidence of perjury, letting the poor defendant try to prove why he, as a claimed civil officer (by virtue of his signed form), should not be compelled to pay an excise, to make a return of money to his claimed master, the government, for the benefit he receives from his office.

Incidentally, the burden of proof, which usually falls on the prosecutor, falls on the defendant in a tax trial. The court views the defendant as a self-claimed servant of the government. The burden of proof always falls to the servant. Servants, says the Constitution, must be delivered up on the claims of the party to whom such service may be due [Article IV section 2]. Claim, not proof of claim! The burden is on a claimed servant to prove heís a freeman. Can a perjurer prove heís a freeman? No. Everything a known perjurer says in court can be ignored by the judge! Can a civil servant claim heís a freeman? No. Servants, by definition, arenít freemen. Poor defendant!

Since the beginning of recorded history, governments have used oaths to control people. Egyptian hieroglyphs bear a phrase which translates "So help me God." When the children of Israel demanded a king, they were warned that he would demand oaths of allegiance and compel them to "duty" by their oaths. Governments know that the only way to compel a man to duty is to bind him into service by an oath.

The words "So help me God" turn an odd phrase. What do they mean? Stated in other words, they become "Therefore, serve me God." In court, youíll be asked to swear to tell the truth, so help you God. Thatís stupid! God put the burden on you to tell the truth. Why would you need Godís help to do a thing as simple as "bearing true witness"? An oath is, at best, a lazy manís prayer. It is redundant, a waste of Godís time and attention, a violation of the commandment not to take His name in vain.

An oath is a demand that God help a man serve a government. An oath then places the government in the ultimate position of mastery, the man in service to the government and God in service to the man. It stands the natural order of God-man-government on its head. Perhaps it is for this reason that a perjury is considered a crime against the state. A perjury breaks the oath, returning the government to its proper position at the bottom, while leaving the perjurer in the ludicrous and impossible position of master over God.

When it came to oaths, Jesus Christ demanded "Swear not at all." Pretty clear words. But Christian "religions" have chosen to ignore them, saying, "Well, He really meant that it was all right to swear oaths to governments." These professed servants of Christ claim a wisdom greater than that of their Master.

Of course, Quakers refuse to take oaths, as do a few other societies. These are not "religions." Quaker is a nickname, given to the Society of Friends by a judge who had difficulty causing the membership to "quake" in fear of him. The Quaker Movement began in opposition to oaths and taxes. Four centuries ago the people of England were required to take an oath to the Crown and to the Anglican Church. To refuse was treason. Once sworn, the people were required to pay a tithe (income) tax for the use of the church. To refuse to pay was a perjury. Sound familiar?

The Quakers held that all men were equal, that no man owed service or tax to another. At the time men were commonly indentured into service. That took an oath. It was quite obvious that the way to lose freedom was to swear an oath. The Quakers simply refused. They also refused to use titles like Your Honor, Your Lordship, or Sir, and even refused to remove their hats, for that was considered a "service" that servants owed their masters. With all that in mind, try to picture a Quaker in court! They were brought to court by the thousands on treason charges. Many were convicted, being immediately sent to jail on contempt of court for calling the judge "Thomas" or "William," refusing to remove their hats, or refusing to take the oath of allegiance or an oath in defense. The "revolving-door" contempt convictions amounted to a life sentence. Yes, this does sound familiar. Perhaps we should be more attentive to history.

The Quakers finally succeeded in their quest. The courts agreed that no oath could be compelled and even that you can wear a hat in court or call the judge by his first name. These acts, however, must be founded on reason of conscience. Those rulings became part of the common law and are current in this nation today.

When the Commissioner of IRS says income tax is a system of "voluntary compliance," those words are based on the actions of the Quaker movement hundreds of years ago. You canít be compelled to take an oath or claim a false oath: it is purely voluntary. A compelled oath is automatically a false oath. A false oath is an automatic perjury. If you are going to claim a false oath, youíll have to do it voluntarily.

You can refuse to sign a form 1040 only by reason of conscience. Conscience means "with knowledge." You know youíve not taken an oath of office. Now you know you arenít subject to the "penalties of perjury." Truth is, you arenít subject to penalties of perjury; truth is what sets men free.

A freeman is subject to no human power. The opposite of subject is "object." You arenít a "protestor." Youíre an "objector." Protests may fall on deaf ears, but an objection based on reason of conscience, your own conscience, cannot be overlooked or overruled. A conscientious objection to an oath, be it true or false, is a claim of the rational order of God Ė man Ė government. A judge who overrules your conscience places himself in the position of your master. But that position is already occupied. The judge is in deep trouble.

Youíve probably claimed many false oaths. Iíll suggest that just about every complaint you have with government rests on a false oath. Iíll bet you donít like licenses. Read the applications for licenses, read the statutes. Youíll find either an oath or false oath somewhere. Michigan statutes say that a driverís license canít be granted until "the oath" is administered. No oaths are administered, but the application is made under "penalty of perjury." The applicant simply lies for the government by claiming the oath was administered.

Maybe you donít like Federal Reserve notes. Each note bears the words "In God We Trust." Weird. If a child stood up each day in a public school and proclaimed those words, heíd be sued for practicing religion. The words "In God We Trust" are a form of oath. Oaths are a "lawful" intermingling of church and state. Oaths are the means by which governments are given power.

Because the FRN contains an oath, it is "sworn-money" Ė jurismoneta, if you will. The oath makes it "real." Of course, the courts have been forced to redefine a dollar rather than admit that the FRN is a false oath. The judges, like you and me, are forced to deal in FRNs. Weíve all become accessories to perjury. Now you know why you dislike FRNs! We are all trapped in a system of perjuries. We are held to be servants to our government by means of our false oaths.

There is a way out. Confess. Admit that youíve claimed false oaths, but that you were unaware and had no intention of doing so. [The government might have fraudulently coerced you, but thatís the subject of another article.] Confession is the only honest thing to do. Freemen must be honest. In confessing your crime youíll find freedom. Donít worry about an indictment following your confession. Can you imagine a prosecutor attempting to explain to a grand jury that you committed perjury because you didnít take an oath before your signed your tax returns? Neither did the jurors!

But once youíve confessed, never sign your life away again!

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