Guilty or Innocent?

Guilty or innocent? Is it the truth or is it a lie? You tell me. Each of us has a God-given conscience which helps us judge between right and wrong. This message is especially dedicated to all those innocent victims who have ever been falsely accused of a crime.

Let’s refer to the 5th and 14th amendments in the U.S. Constitution. Both the 5th and 14th amendments contain the important due process clause. The due process clause was created so that the government can not take a person’s life, liberty, or property without due process of law.

However, there are also unique protections found in these two amendments. While the purpose of the 5th amendment is to protect all citizens from abuses from the federal government, the 14th amendment is to protect against abuses from the state government.

On the site constitutionus.com you will find the 14th amendment which states:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. Nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

What do the words “all persons” mean? Do you think it includes these classes of people?

  • The educated and uneducated?
  • The citizens and elected politicians?
  • The wealthy and poor?
  • All races?
  • Religious people, as well as, atheists?

Basically, the 5th and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution guarantee to every person “equal protection under the law,” which means everyone is supposed to receive the same protections.

How do your senators interpret the due process clause? Each senator takes an oath of office to protect and uphold the U.S. Constitution. Upon taking office, senators-elect must swear or affirm that they will “support and defend the U.S. Constitution.” The president of the Senate or a surrogate administers the oath to newly elected or re-elected senators. The oath is required by the U.S. Constitution and the exact wording is prescribed by law.

You might ask, “What is an oath?” In duhaime.org it reads: “An oath is an unequivocal act, before an authorized officer by which the person knowingly attests to the truth of a statement and assumes the obligations of an oath.” This means the person taking the oath is expected to say what is true and not tell a lie. Furthermore, in the case of Crain v. State, Justice Sawaya of the District Court of Appeals, Florida (November 18, 2005) it states, “An oath requires an affidavit.” An affidavit means the statement is given under oath or penalty of perjury. In other words, when someone takes an oath to tell the truth, if they do not tell the truth they can be punished.

Telling the truth has always been an important concept. Let’s teach our children to tell the truth and to become as well spoken as Thomas Paine. As you recall, Thomas Paine published The American Crisis (1776) pamphlet series to inspire the Americans in their battles against the British army. He contrasted the good American devoted to civic virtue versus the selfish individual. In our day, we also need people to stand for virtue.

Assign your homeschooler(s) to find the name and address of their senator. Instruct your homeschooler(s) to send an email telling their senator how to vote on issues that are important to them. For fun, here is a word search for words related to the U.S. Senate.

About Martha Quinn

Book author, licensed teacher, master's degree (Reading K-12, Social Studies 7-12). Former homeschooler. Happily married Christian with two terrific children. Loves animals, swimming, music, fishing, gardening, cooking, traveling, movies, and the great outdoors.

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