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The right to silence on Good Friday

The right to silence may be abused by the guilty, but it is an important right for the innocent since the right to silence is also the right to refuse to answer your interrogators without being compelled to speak. This right is part of that constellation of rights in Anglo-American societies that is supposed to protect us from being tortured by prosecutors. It is also an important right if a government wished to convict us of a crime against a law it had recently concocted.

No man or woman can be forced to accuse herself. There is in this idea an inherent respect for the dignity of the individual. It was established in British Common Law and in the US Bill of Rights.

The right was won in the 16th and 17th centuries by the courage of John Lambert and John Lilburne among others. They were Christians who dissented from the religious views of the day.

I think they remembered Jesus when he was interrogated by his chief accusers –

“Herod questioned him repeatedly, but Jesus gave him no answer.” Luke 23:9