Reverend Edward Belanger, a minister of the Church of the Reformed Druids and the Church of the Universe, both of which use sacramental marijuana, continues to tie the courts into knots with his unprecedented knowledge of law and courtroom etiquette (CC#31, Religious defense drives authorities mad). After his successful self-defense led one judge to retire, he began representing fellow church members.
On August 17, 2001, Belanger strode into a Winnipeg court room to defend Reverend Richard Friesen and his son from charges of possessing 555 grams of sacramental marijuana. Both wore the traditional head-gear of a Church of the Universe minister, required in court by the rules of their faith. The judge overlooked the holy hats.
The thrust of Belanger’s argument rests on the preamble to the Canadian Constitution, which says that “Canada is founded upon the principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the Rule of the Law.” The “Rule of Law,” as defined in the Queen’s coronation oath, is the King James Bible, and Canadian judges have taken an oath of allegiance to the Queen. In Genesis 1:29 it says that all plants are God’s gift.
From all this, Belanger concludes that no judge has the authority to take away God’s gift through pot-prohibition.
“Then the question is, does the court understand the meaning of their oath of allegiance, and if it does not, then they committed perjury when they took the oath,” Belanger explained. “Once they have attained the office by a fraudulent false oath, and then proceed outside the rule of law, being the King James Bible, they are attempting to overthrow the Queen’s rule by force, because they have guns.”
On the day of Reverend Friesen’s court case, Belanger asked the court clerk if she understood the oath. The clerk was about to read the charges into the record, said Belanger, and when he stalled her to ask about the oath, the judge interrupted by reading the charges himself and entering a plea of “not guilty” ? which Belanger was quick to point out is a violation of section 606 of the Criminal Code. Then Belanger, calling the judge a “criminal”, refused to participate further in the trial.
As he and brother Friesen attempted to leave, a court sheriff poked Friesen in the chest, while the judge quickly set a new court date for next March and then sped from the room. “Back off, you are assaulting a Minister of God!” Belanger shouted at the astonished sheriff, who stumbled backward and out of the way.
Reverend Belanger warns that, when entering a court room armed with arguments that the court is operating illegally, it was important for him to tell them that he was there under “threat, duress
and intimidation” and not because he recognized the legitimacy of the court. “Otherwise,” he said, “they will assume that you are making a verbal contract with the court recognizing their authority over you.”