Tag Archives: Vatican

Alabama Attorney Lowell A. (“Larry”) Becraft addresses the Lunatic Fringe of the Patriot Movement

MYTHOLOGY & LAW in MODERN AMERICA

I am a great advocate of historical revisionism, but only when the revised history will be more accurate than currently “generally accepted” history….  But sometimes historical revisions are proposed which go the other way—alternative history is not always BETTER….it’s just different…. but so is smoking crack…..

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of meeting Alabama Attorney Lowell A. Becraft in person for the very first time.  He and I had exchanged e-mails before on the general subject of patriot mythology in regards to legal process and substantive.  Such mythology has horrendous consequences, including jail time, fines, and sanctions, for many good people I have known.   I have a Ph.D. from Harvard (1990) and my coursework and dissertation research spanned the fields of archaeology, anthropology, ethnology, history, mythology, religion and sociology (though not necessarily in that alphabetical order).  

One of the most basic and enduring lessons I ever learned (especially applicable to the field of law, was encapsulated in the title of a book by one of American AnthroSome myths have at least a weak basis in historical fact, even if no overarching purpose.  I learned with great interest several years ago about how principles of Admiralty Law were imported from England starting in the 1940s-50s to make off-shore oil fields insurable in Louisiana, and how these usages persist in Louisiana law even today—I had a large claim for household damage that which I sued on and settled after Hurricane Katrina.  I spend many hours with top Louisiana insurance lawyers and really enjoyed what I learned, because I was already familiar with both the British Control and Admiralty Law Mythologies of Modern American Patriot Movement. 

Basically, it seems that starting in 1930, the best land-based oil-wells in Louisiana and East Texas were already showing signs of being finite, limited, and exhaustable if not already exhausted, but everybody knew that the geology indicated more oilfields could be tapped and drilled offshore.  But in the 1920s and 1930s, nobody could drill off-shore because nobody would finance off-shore drilling, which was way more expensive than land drilling.  

And nobody would finance offshore oil-drilling until such operations could be insured, and nobody in the U.S. was willing to insure such constructions.  But the British (e.g. Lloyds of London) were willing to do so, and they imported the principles regarding the insurability of anchored ships out of port to do so.  So in a sense, the widespread myth among Southern Patriots that the British were still in charge as late as the mid-twentieth century, and that the British insisted on using Admiralty law, but both of these facts of modern history have been twisted beyond recognition. pology’s greatest figures, Marshall Sahlins of the University of Chicago (where I also studied, receiving a J.D. in law there in 1992): Historical Metaphors and Mythic Realities.  Quite simply, historical events are either selected and framed in the telling, or else sometimes engineered and staged, to create mythic realities as desired.   

There is another problem though—sometimes people just get wild ideas, and these wild ideas may be based in whole or in part on some sort of confusing real events— and the real events relevant here are: the two oldest institutions, or certainly two OF the oldest institutions, in all of Europe are (1) the Vatican (dating back to the arrival of Saints Peter and Paul in Rome, sometime in the mid-first Century A.D.) and (2) the British Monarch—dating back at least to King Alfred of Wessex, as the first to be called the “King of the English,” but really back to Cerdic or Cedric in 534 (Cerdic or Cedric stands as the first King of Anglo-Saxon Wessex from 519 to 534, in the chronological history described by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as the founder of the Kingdom of Wessex and (at least symbolic and mythic ancestor of all its subsequent kings in the House of Wessex right up to Henry I (“Beauclerc”) after the Norman Conquest, who reigned 1100-1135.

In any event, I suppose to the modern American mind, weakly educated in history as it is, the persistence of any institution for very close to 2000 years in the case of the Vatican in Rome and 1200-1500 years in the case of the English/British Monarchy seems almost incredible as a historical fact—and it is to be admitted that these two institutions outshine almost all others in Europe in their longevity. It may seem almost mystical that the House of Wessex, which gve rise to the Kingdom of England, and ultimately Great Britain, had itslef replaced the Roman Empire in Britain. Less than 50 years having elapsed from the final collapse of the Western Roman Empire in 476 to the accession of Cerdic or Cedric in 519 or, his possible rise as a conqueror even earlier, at 490 A.D., as celebrated in the slightly racy 1951 novel Conscience of a King by Alfred L. Duggan among others.  

OR, it could be that the people who invent these historically fictitious mythologies are all generated and propagated by government agents planted to create chaos and dissent in the Conservative, Patriotic Movement—which they certainly do.

Concession of 15 May 1213             (by Lowell A. Becraft)

There is a baseless theory floating around that King John’s “Concession of 15 May 1213″ with the Pope means that, even today, the Vatican owns both England and the United States of America. Like many groundless ideas that get promoted, advocates of arguments like this one focus on a single fact and then draw wild conclusions.

The “Concession” required payments from the English King to the Pope, but history shows that King John did not make the required payment for the following year. See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John,_King_of_England

Where the following is found:

“Under mounting political pressure, John finally negotiated terms for a reconciliation, and the papal terms for submission were accepted in the presence of the papal legate Pandulph in May 1213 at the Templar Church at Dover.[177] As part of the deal, John offered to surrender the Kingdom of England to the papacy for a feudal service of 1,000 marks (equivalent to £666 at the time) annually: 700 marks (£466) for England and 300 marks (£200) for Ireland, as well as recompensing the church for revenue lost during the crisis.[178] The agreement was formalised in the Bulla Aurea, or Golden Bull. This resolution produced mixed responses. Although some chroniclers felt that John had been humiliated by the sequence of events, there was little public reaction.[179] Innocent benefited from the resolution of his long-standing English problem, but John probably gained more, as Innocent became a firm supporter of John for the rest of his reign, backing him in both domestic and continental policy issues.[180] Innocent immediately turned against Philip, calling upon him to reject plans to invade England and to sue for peace.[180] John paid some of the compensation money he had promised the church, but he ceased making payments in late 1214, leaving two-thirds of the sum unpaid; Innocent appears to have conveniently forgotten this debt for the good of the wider relationship.[181]”

Some payments to the Pope were made pursuant to this agreement off and on for a little more than the next 100 years, eventually ending. “The last payment ever recorded was a token £1,000 from Edward III in 1333, in expectation of papal favours.” See: http://www.historyextra.com/qa/when-did-pope-rule-england

It is alleged that this concession was a treaty, but if it was, it is subject to another fact regarding treaties: they are often broken. King Henry VIII broke with the Vatican and established the Church of England, seizing Catholic properties. See:   

http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/reformation.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_VIII_of_England

History reveals that both Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell essentially ended the Papacy’s control over England. See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Reformation

The following is stated at the above link:

“The Act in Restraint of Appeals,” drafted by Cromwell, apart from outlawing appeals to Rome on ecclesiastical matters, declared that

 “This realm of England is an Empire, and so hath been accepted in the world, governed by one Supreme Head and King having the dignity and royal estate of the Imperial Crown of the same, unto whom a body politic compact of all sorts and degrees of people divided in terms and by names of Spirituality and Temporality, be bounden and owe to bear next to God a natural and humble obedience.[20]

This declared England an independent country in every respect.

The above (along with lots of other authority) demonstrates that certainly by the time of Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell, the Pope did not own or control England.  The above theory is thus a false, baseless contention.

But does the English Monarchy or England have any legal control over the United States of America? Please remember that there was indeed (contrary to contentions of the revisionists) an American Revolution. And both English and American courts long ago held that the Revolution severed all legal connections between our country and the English crown/England. 

I described these cases and other matters on my website as follows:

Simple facts regarding the “we are subjects of the British Crown” issue

   Several years ago, some folks developed an argument that “we are still subjects of the British crown” and started promoting it. You are free to believe that argument which will waste your time. Here is a simple refutation of that argument:

1. The Articles of Confederation provided as follows:

 “Article II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.”

2. On February 6,  1778, the United States entered into a Treaty of Alliance with France (8 Stat. 6).  On July 16, 1782,  we borrowed substantial sums from King Louis XVI of France, via anagreement signed by French Foreign Minister Charles Gravier de Vergennes. It must be noted that there are people who erroneously assert that this loan was really secured from the Brits instead of the French (you can be the judge of their honesty). 

3. Our country and the British Crown signed the Treaty of Peace on September 3, 1783 (8 Stat. 218), the first provision of which reads as follows:

“His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz, New-Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina, and Georgia, to  be free, sovereign and independent States; that he treats with them as such; and for himself, his heirs and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, proprietary and  territorial rights of the same, and every part thereof.”

See also Nov. 30, 1782 Provisional Treaty and Jan. 20, 1783 Treaty of Cessation of Hostilities.

    Does this 1783 Peace Treaty still exist? All one needs to do to confirm this is to check out a government  publication entitled “Treaties in Force” which can be found in any good library, especially a university library. Under the list of our treaties with Great Britain and the United Kingdom, you will find that this 1783 treaty is still in effect, at least a part of it: “Only article 1 is in force.” Art.1 was the section of this treaty acknowledging our independence. The War of 1812 resulted in modifications of this treaty and so did later treaties.

4. The courts have not been silent regarding the effect of the Declaration of Independence and the Treaty of Peace. For example, the consequences of independence were explained inHarcourt v. Gaillard, 25 U.S. (12 Wheat.) 523, 526-27 (1827), where the Supreme Court stated:

 “There was no territory within the United States that was claimed in any other right than that of some one of the confederated states; therefore, there could be no acquisition of territory made by the United States distinct from, or independent of some one of the states.

“Each declared itself sovereign and independent, according to the limits of its territory.

 “[T]he soil and sovereignty within their acknowledged limits were as much theirs at the declaration of independence as at this hour.”

In M’Ilvaine v. Coxe’s Lessee, 8 U.S. (4 Cranch) 209, 212 (1808), the Supreme Court  held:

“This opinion is predicated upon a principle which is believed to be undeniable, that the several states which composed this Union, so far at least as regarded their municipal regulations, became entitled, from the time when they declared themselves independent, to all the rights and powers of sovereign states, and that they did not derive them from concessions made by the British king. The treaty of peace contains a recognition of their independence, not a grant of it. From hence it results, that the laws of the several state governments were the laws of sovereign states, and as such were obligatory upon the people of such state, from the time they were enacted.”

In reference to the Treaty of Peace, this same court stated:

“It contains an acknowledgment of the independence and sovereignty of the United States, in their political capacities, and a relinquishment on the part of His Britannic Majesty, of all claim to the government, propriety and territorial rights of the same. These concessions amounted, no doubt, to a formal renunciation of all claim to the allegiance of the citizens of the United States.”

     Finally, in Inglis v. Trustees of the Sailor’s Snug Harbor, 28 U.S. (3 Peters) 99, 120-122 (1830), the question squarely arose as to whether Americans are “subjects of the crown,” a proposition flatly rejected by the Court:

“It is universally admitted both in English courts and in those of our own country, that all persons born within the colonies of North America, whilst subject to the crown of Great Britain, were natural born British subjects, and it must necessarily follow that that character was changed by the separation of the colonies from the parent State, and the acknowledgment of their independence.

 “The rule as to the point of time at which the American antenati ceased to be British subjects, differs in this country and in England, as established by the courts of justice in the respective countries. The English rule is to take the date of the Treaty of Peace in 1783. Our rule is to take the date of the Declaration of Independence.”

In support of the rule set forth in this case, the court cited an English case to demonstrate that the English courts had already decided that Americans were not subjects of the crown:

“The doctrine of perpetual allegiance is not applied by the British courts to the American antenati. This is fully shown by the late case of Doe v. Acklam, 2 Barn. & Cresw. 779. Chief Justice Abbott says: ‘James Ludlow, the father of Francis May, the lessor of the plaintiff, was undoubtedly born a subject of Great Britain. He was born in a part of America which was at the time of his birth a British colony, and parcel of the dominions of the crown of Great Britain; but upon the facts found, we are of opinion that he was not a subject of the crown of Great Britain at the time of the birth of his daughter. She was born after the independence of the colonies was recognized by the crown of Great Britain; after the colonies had become United States, and their inhabitants generally citizens of those States, and her father, by his continued residence in those States, manifestly became a citizen of them.’ He considered the Treaty of Peace as a release from their allegiance of all British subjects who remained there. A declaration, says he, that a State shall be free, sovereign and independent, is a declaration that the people composing the State shall no longer be considered as subjects of the sovereign by whom such a declaration is made.”

(Note: the linked copies of these cases highlight the important parts of these opinions for your convenience).    Notwithstanding the fact that English and American courts long ago rejected this argument, I still encounter e-mail from parties who contend that this argument is correct. For example, just recently I ran across this note which stated:

“In other words, the interstate system of banks is the private property of the King… This means that any profit or gain anyone experienced by a bank/thrift and loan/employee credit union ?? any regulated financial institution carries with it ?? as an operation of law ?? the identical same full force and effect as if the King himself created the gain. So as an operation of law, anyone who has a depository relationship, or a credit relationship, with a bank, such as checking, savings, CD’s, charge cards, car loans, real estate mortgages, etc., are experiencing profit and gain created by the King ?? so says the Supreme Court. At the present time, Mr. Condo, you have bank accounts (because you accept checks as payment for books and subscriptions), and you are very much in an EQUITY RELATIONSHIP with the King.

This note also alleged that George Mercier, who wrote an article apparently popular among those who believe the “contract theory” of government, was a retired judge, which is false. Just because you read it on the Net does not make it true.See:       http://home.hiwaay.net/~becraft/WeAintBrits.htm

 

For the First Sunday in Advent, the Magnificat in English, French, Greek, Latin, and Polish (Gospel of Luke 1: 46-55)

As far back into infancy as I can recall, the Magnificat was among the very earliest things I remember learning in life.  My mother taught me this version from the 1662 Church of England Book of Common Prayer, published as revised during the reign of Charles Edward Stuart, II.  During Advent, we remember that Mary was the real force who linked the Old and New Testaments as one single story, remembering her own ancestors and God’s promise to Abraham at the same time as carrying within her the seed of the whole new Covenant:

My soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.  For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his handmaiden.  For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.  For he that is mighty hath magnified me : and holy is his Name.  And his mercy is on them that fear him : throughout all generations.  He hath shewed strength with his arm : he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.  He hath put down the mighty from their seat : and hath exalted the humble and meek.   He hath filled the hungry with good things : and the rich he hath sent empty away.  He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel : as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.

My mother also taught me the Magnificat in French: Le Chanson de Marie (Le Magnificat désigne le cantique de la Vierge Marie dont il est question dans l’Évangile selon Luc au chapitre 1, versets 46 à 56 (visite de Marie à Elisabeth ou visitation). Il est aussi appelé Cantique de Marie).

Le Seigneur fit pour moi des merveilles, saint est son nom!
Mon âme exalte le Seigneur, exulte mon esprit en Dieu, mon Sauveur!   Il s’est penché sur son humble servante ; désormais, tous les âges me diront bienheureuse.   Le Puissant fit pour moi des merveilles ; Saint est son nom !   Son amour s’étend d’âge en âge sur ceux qui le craignent.  Déployant la force de son bras, il disperse les superbes.   Il renverse les puissants de leurs trônes, il élève les humbles.  Il comble de bien les affamés, renvoie les riches les mains vides.  Il relève Israël, son serviteur, il se souvient de son amour, de la promesse faite à nos pères, en faveur d’Abraham et de sa race, à jamais.  Gloire au Père, au Fils, au Saint-Esprit maintenant et à jamais dans les siècles des siècles.

It wasn’t until College that I got around to learning this texts in Koiné Greek
Μεγαλύνει ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν Κύριον
καὶ ἠγαλλίασεν τὸ πνεῦμά μου ἐπὶ τῷ Θεῷ τῷ σωτῆρί μου,
ὅτι ἐπέβλεψεν ἐπὶ τὴν ταπείνωσιν τῆς δούλης αυτοῦ.
ἰδού γὰρ ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν μακαριοῦσίν με πᾶσαι αἱ γενεαί,
ὅτι ἐποίησέν μοι μεγάλα ὁ δυνατός,
καὶ ἅγιον τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ,
καὶ τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ εἰς γενεὰς καὶ γενεὰς
τοῖς φοβουμένοις αυτόν.
Ἐποίησεν κράτος ἐν βραχίονι αὐτοῦ,
διεσκόρπισεν ὑπερηφάνους διανοίᾳ καρδίας αὐτῶν·
καθεῖλεν δυνάστας ἀπὸ θρόνων
καὶ ὕψωσεν ταπεινούς,
πεινῶντας ἐνέπλησεν ἀγαθῶν
καὶ πλουτοῦντας ἐξαπέστειλεν κενούς.
ἀντελάβετο Ἰσραὴλ παιδὸς αὐτοῦ,
μνησθῆναι ἐλέους,
καθὼς ἐλάλησεν πρὸς τοὺς πατέρας ἡμῶν
τῷ Αβραὰμ καὶ τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα.

and Latin (although this is the slightly edited most “up to date”  Vatican RC Version approved by John Paul II):

Magnificat anima mea Dominum, et exsultavit spiritus meus in Deo salvatore meo, quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae.  Ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes, quia fecit mihi magna,qui potens est, et sanctum nomen eius, et misericordia eius in progenies et progeniestimentibus eum.  Fecit potentiam in brachio suo,  dispersit superbos mente cordis sui;deposuit potentes de sedeet exaltavit humiles;esurientes implevit boniset divites dimisit inanes.  Suscepit Israel puerum suum, recordatus misericordiae,sicut locutus est ad patres nostros, Abraham et semini eius in saecula.

And finally, for Daria, in Polish:

Found this on-line, but it's quite beautiful....

I can't really read or type in Polish at all, honestly, and this is much more visually appealing anyhow... All I'm sure I can make out is "Abrahamowi" right at the end, more-or-less confirming that this IS the Magnificat...

Today at All Saints, the Reverend Barry Taylor delivered an amazing sermon on the parallels between the coming of Christmas and the coming of the Apocalypse, and of God’s time and of being awake or asleep while waiting.  Simultaneously, he was eloquent, entertaining, and awe-inspiring, contrasting the laconic text of Mark with the more flowery prose of the other Gospels.  But the connexion with Advent and the preparation for the first earthly appearance of Jesus was minimal, and I think that’s too bad (but I don’t get to set the Scripture readings in Church….)

Up to a very real point I think that the stories of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and also of Mary Magdalene, the first to see the empty tomb, did more to make Christianity acceptable and familiar to the pagan gentiles of the world than any other two single aspects of the Gospels.  The proof of this is in the Universality of “Mary” as the most common woman’s name anywhere and everywhere the world has accepted Christ.  It is almost impossible to reconcile Saint Paul’s near misogyny with Jesus’ tolerance and obvious love of the women in his life, and of women generally.  While 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13 is rightly known as the “Hymn to Love,” this divine love or agape is not the kind of richly human love and relationships of which Jesus’ mother sings in the Magnificat, nor of which we celebrate during the successive seasons of Advent,  Christmas, and Epiphany.  What would Paul have said to Saint Joseph (whom I once played in a public school Nativity Play in Texas—the very concept of a “public school nativity play” is kind of astounding in 2011—but J.S. Armstrong elementary in Highland Park, Texas, well that was a different place and a different time altogether from anyplace in the United States today that I know of…)…what would Saint Paul (formerly Saul) have said to Saint Joseph during Advent about Joseph’s pregnant wife, and the fact that the two of them had not been married at the obvious time of Jesus’ conception?  Paul completely ignores all of that in his Epistles.  I cannot find the name of “Mary”, nor the words “Annunciation,” “Mother of Jesus”, “Angel Gabriel,” or anything like that even in Fr. Joseph A. Fitzmyer’s index or concordance to his exhaustive commentary on First Corinthians in the Anchor Yale Bible (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2008). Fitzmyer comments that Paul only refers briefly that he knew the Lord’s Brothers (1 Corinthians 9:5) and elsewhere in Galatians 1:19 indicates that he (Paul) knew James, the Brother of Jesus and First Bishop of Jerusalem as one of the Apostles.  This is pretty much all that Paul says of Jesus’ family.  (See especially Fitzmyer 2008: 353-359).  “Brotherhood” and family in 1 Corinthians refers to the community of believers—an abstract family bound by spiritual values rather than blood, whereas the Gospels are all so intimately physical and related to Jesus’ capacity to be human, eat and drink with everyone, touch and heal the sick, embrace sinners, and ultimately to die.   The practical and earth Pagan world of Europe and Egypt would never have accepted Paul’s Christianity alone.  The hierarchical political world of the Roman Empire would never have accepted Jesus’ Gospels of Love and Tolerance alone.   In Mary the people and the Church found their Earthly and Heavenly Queen, and this is (to me anyhow) the essential lesson on which we must focus during the Season of Advent.