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Political prosecution, indictment and the empty tomb

Former U.S. President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom with his attorneys Joe Tacopina and Boris Epshteyn (R) during his arraignment at the Manhattan Criminal Court on April 4, 2023, in New York City. Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts stemming from hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election. With his indictment, Trump will become the first former U.S. president in history to be charged with a criminal offense. | Andrew Kelly-Pool/Getty Images

Sadly, tragically, irritatingly, I have been forced to join millions of my fellow Americans in witnessing American elected officials and others who manifestly should know better, take actions and make statements that have revealed a profound disagreement with, as well as fundamental misunderstanding, of the basic foundations and elements of our American legal system.

Over the past few days, Americans have been subjected to the virtually unprecedented spectacle of former President Donald Trump being arrested and charged with a crime.

This shocking arrest of a former president was a nakedly partisan illegal persecution of a faux crime masquerading as a non-partisan prosecution of a legitimate challenge to the American political system.

For virtually the first time in the long, illustrious, and noble history of the United States, a former president has been indicted for a crime. And this particular former president is the leading candidate for the Republican nomination for the office of President of the United States in the 2024 presidential election. So, we have a Democrat prosecutor arresting the leading Republican candidate for president during the actual election campaign.

This unprecedentedly and unconstitutionally involves and intrudes the current government into partisan election campaigns. A Manhattan Democrat District Attorney has, to some degree, taken away the American electorate’s opportunity to elect their own president.

Some observers believe that for some leaders in the Democrat Party, indicting him enhances the possibility of Donald Trump’s being the Republican nominee (and the assumption that he would be the easiest candidate to defeat in 2024) was the intent in the first place. It may well be that Trump is the only likely candidate President Biden could defeat in 2024.

In the midst of these unprecedented events the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, could not resist making a breathless comment following the announcement of former President Trump’s forthcoming indictment. Ms. Pelosi declared that former President Trump “now had the opportunity to prove himself to be innocent,” thus revealing a fundamental misunderstanding of the basis and foundation of our entire legal system — that in America a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a jury of their peers.

Ms. Pelosi’s profound shallowness reminded me of former CNN commentator Chris Cuomo asking, in the midst of the ongoing riotous violence of 2020, “Who says that protests have to be peaceful?”

The Constitution, Chris! It’s called the First Amendment which says that Americans have “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

As I peruse the American political landscape, I am frustrated and anxious for my country, my home, and my native land. The Columbian philosopher Nicolás Gómez Dávila once observed, “Each civilization dies from indifference toward the unique values which created it.” And when indifference turns to hostility and contempt, the funeral dirge has commenced.

So, why am I not terminally depressed? This is Easter week. This is the week that we as Christians celebrate Jesus’ victory over death, Hell and the devil. This is the week we celebrate the empty tomb!

America’s fate may be dire. I hope not. I pray fervently for repentance, revival and reformation. No matter what happens with America, Jesus’ eternal spiritual victory over evil is secure.

“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch, like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

The Lord hath promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.”

For two millennia now, Christians have proclaimed, “He is Risen.” This Sunday I will celebrate the 70th anniversary of my baptism as a 6-year-old Christian boy and the 60th anniversary of my surrender to full-time service as a minister of the Gospel.

Praise God, “He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!”

Dr. Richard Land, BA (Princeton, magna cum laude); D.Phil. (Oxford); Th.M (New Orleans Seminary). Dr. Land served as President of Southern Evangelical Seminary from July 2013 until July 2021. Upon his retirement, he was honored as President Emeritus and he continues to serve as an Adjunct Professor of Theology & Ethics. Dr. Land previously served as President of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (1988-2013) where he was also honored as President Emeritus upon his retirement. Dr. Land has also served as an Executive Editor and columnist for The Christian Post since 2011.

Dr. Land explores many timely and critical topics in his daily radio feature, “Bringing Every Thought Captive,” and in his weekly column for CP.

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