Jury Duty

From the prosecutor’s perspective, I’m unfit for jury duty — I would not vote to convict.

As far as the defense is concerned, I’m unfit for jury duty — I would not vote to acquit.

I suspect the judge wouldn’t want me on the jury either — a juror who won’t vote at all in the process is a stone in the gears of justice.

Come to think of it, I suspect the jury itself wouldn’t want me as a fellow juror!

But my refusal to vote as a juror does not spring from stubbornness or rebelliousness. Nor does it come from a mere desire to avoid serving on a jury. And it certainly has nothing to do with any political ideology.

I abstain from jury duty for the same basic reason I abstain from military service, law enforcement, and political participation:

My primary citizenship makes me (or should, anyway) a model citizen in my secondary citizenship. But my first loyalty is to Christ and His kingdom. By His grace, I will not violate that loyalty and citizenship in the living out of my American citizenship.

It is my conviction that my heavenly citizenship bans me from jury duty and from military service.

Mark Roth: An American Second

I believe jury duty crosses a divinely established line between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdoms of this world, between church and state.

Christ, to whom I pledge obedient allegiance and to whose kingdom I belong, stated clearly that, in the present dispensation, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight…but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36).

So in matters of civil law, I cannot in good conscience participate in the judicial process. I believe passing such judgment on the guilt or innocence of another falls outside of what God would have me do.

As a Christian, I have been called to grace, love, forgiveness, mercy, and redemption. The state, on the other hand, has been ordained by God as “a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (Romans 13:4).

How could I possibly serve the state faithfully as a juror and not violate God’s commands to me?

Or how could I possibly serve God faithfully and not thwart the state’s mandate to bring justice to bear on the evildoer?

So if I were summoned to jury duty, I would respectfully ask to be excused.

If forced to sit on a jury, I would respectfully refuse to cast any vote.

Do I by that “de-Christianize” any Christian who does serve on a jury? Of course not. That’s not for me to judge either.

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5 thoughts on “Jury Duty

  1. Commendably honest approach – I quite understand why some Christians would not want to be on a jury, but it is slightly irritating when they imply that of course they are objectively right and that anyone who takes a different view is in error. What would people do about witnessing a crime – refuse to give evidence? The ambassadorial aspect works to a point but ultimately ambassadors do not pay taxes for example so does that mean that people can decide not to pay theirs – esp given that a % of all of ours go towards paying for the police, prisons and courts.

  2. Mark, I had the same problem several years ago. I wrote the letter and was refused and required to show up. When I did I explained that I would not serve on a jury. The woman told me that I would have to explain it to the judge if I was called, so I sat in a jury room for eight hours reading and was never called. I agree with you totally.

  3. I am definitely happy to find your blog. I wanted to thank you for the time you spent on this wonderful article. I enjoyed reading it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you create.

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