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The Wisdom of Trajan

Trajan’s letter to Pliny, being an early mention of Christianity by Imperial Rome, is a famous letter. Sadly, it is usually seen merely as a fact of history and not appreciated for its wisdom and justice. Pliny the Younger, governor of Bithynia and Pontus, wrote the emperor desiring to know if he was dealing properly with Christians. Even if you have never heard of these men from ancient history, you should seriously consider what the Emperor said.

Trajan replied with approval but set one clear boundary to the prosecution: no anonymous testimony allowed. In words that should have been immortal, “They set a bad precedent and are not in the spirit of our age.


Emperor Trajan

You have followed the correct course, my favored one, in your investigation of the cases of persons charged with being Christians; for it is impossible to construct a universal principle applied as a fixed standard. These people should not be hunted down; if they are brought before you and the charge against them is proven, they must be punished. But in the case of anyone who denies that he is a Christian and makes it clear that he is not by offering supplications to our gods, he shall be acquitted as a result of his recanting, however suspect his former conduct may be. But anonymous accusations shall not be introduced into the proceedings. They set a bad precedent and are not in the spirit of our age.

Such a standard was the honor of the Roman Empire. How long it lasted there afterwards a historian could tell us. Years later the Christian Inquisition infamously accepted and prosecuted on the basis of anonymous accusations.

Shameful that such so-called Christians should have a lower standard of justice than a pagan Roman emperor, but in Germany, we find they still do.

At least, that is, ones employed by the state.

Germany 2013

Imagine our surprise to learn that the courts of Germany, the ones prosecuting our parents and taking away their children, have admitted anonymous accusations against us into their records. And they are included in the report of Sabine Riede of Sekten-Info Nordrhein-Westfalen, a state-funded anti-cult group! Anonymous accusations published by a biased individual — and received by the Family Court. This is another one of the many instances of our fundamental rights being violated.

From the affidavit of social scientist Susan Palmer we learn that:

To conclude, it is surprising that the Family Court would rely on an anonymous memoir posted on the internet rather than on carefully researched social scientific studies of the Twelve Tribes published in reputable journals and publishing houses (like Oxford University Press and Rutgers University Press). Why would an anonymous author who is an ex-member be considered as more reliable than a scholar with a Ph.D. who teaches in universities? [and other]…international scholars who have studied the Twelve Tribes.”

Yes, why should they be? Why should testimony, to which no name is attached, be received in a court of law?

Is that the spirit of this age?


Susan Palmer concluded that the children should be returned to their parents:

“In my expert opinion, it is an unnecessary violation of the rights of the children and of the parents to separate them since the doctors found no evidence of abuse after the September 2013 raids.* I have studied similar raids of other minority religions and know from experience and research the damage suffered by many children similarly situated as these Twelve Tribes’ children.”




* See the post, “Abused Children? Not by Us!” telling of German doctor’s reports that the children were healthy and well-adjusted immediately after the Raid, with no signs of abuse. How they are now, after a year of abuse at the hands of the Jugendamt, is another matter.