modern nation-state

And We’re Off

I’ve neglected this blog for a bit. I’ve also done less reading over break than I intended and had less access to the internet than I expected. Oh, and I traveled more than I was hoping to. But now the semester is starting, I’m back in the library and things are moving along. So now thoughts may come out more often.

However, I’ve got a nagging question: What do we theologians do with one of the fundamentals to the state’s justice system, jury duty? See, I was called in for jury duty, for the third time in the past five years, and again, I didn’t get very far. In fact I didn’t get anywhere really — the trial collapsed before they even called us from the waiting room. So I didn’t get to see how theologically my action would be played out, but I was at least partially prepared. No, I wouldn’t be swearing in on the Bible, and yes, I’ve heard of jury nullification. I wasn’t planning on purposely ducking out — I figured saying what I actually do, a PhD student focusing on Political theology would be “bad” enough — but I’ve been at a loss as to how I should respond theologically. The whole theological thinking process was very ad hoc, and while I certainly do not want to divest the process of the ad hoc nature, I want to go into jury duty again with it thought through better (although not entirely). And with that concern in mind, I’ve been chewing on what to do about jury duty. Any thoughts?

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4 thoughts on “And We’re Off

  1. poserorprophet says:

    I’ve always thought that I would just tell them that I have no faith in the justice system as it is today, and that I would hang the jury if they selected me. Not sure if that’s legal… but if pressed, I could explain how that is in keeping with my theology.

  2. This much is true. Although, I do think it would fall in contempt of court, but then again, since when has that been out of the range of Christianity?

    All the jurors were given notice to take off their hats when in the court room, and I was instantly reminded of the Quakers and other Anabaptists who have refused. Theres a wealth of reasons that a Christian could get in trouble for in the courts, but hanging a jury seems to really get at the heart of the issue.

  3. I think I have been called for jury duty twice… both times when I was in college, I think. And both times, I legitimately forgot to do anything about it. I have not heard a thing about it since, nor have I been summoned again.

  4. jlpatterson says:

    Ironically enough, as I was reading your post I received a juror qualification questionnaire in the mail. I’m tempted to wonder what I would do if in any case I was summoned for jury duty. Interesting question D.W.

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