A religious sect has declared itself above Australian law and the constitution.
Members of the Kingdom of Yahweh, based in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, refuse to register their vehicles, get a driver’s licence or register guns.
They even manufacture their own number plates.
Victoria Police Inspector Ewan McDonald said there was a “relatively small number of people who have this peculiar view”.
“They don’t regard themselves subject to the laws of the state of Victoria . . . they’re quite openly frank about their point of view,” Insp McDonald said.
“We treat them as any other ordinary member of the public.”
Insp McDonald dismissed claims members booby-trapped their number plates, but did say the plates were dangerous because they were poorly made with very sharp edges.
He said it was important to remember the group did not preach violence, did not plan to overthrow the Government and was not associated with any terrorist organisation.
“They act in their own interesting view of the world, they actually regard themselves as quite law abiding, it’s just that they don’t accept the sovereignty of the Parliament as you or I would,” he said.
“People who express these interests and feelings have been coming to police attention for a long time, they’ve just proceeded as ordinary members of the public.”
Facts about the Kingdom of Yahweh:
* Followers of Yahweh are disparate and not involved in one international group. In the US there are many different groups, some calling themselves either the Kingdom of Yahweh or House of Yahweh.
* It is not known when the Kingdom of Yahweh began in Australia.
Followers of Yahweh’s Kingdom believe:
– Yahweh (also spelt Yahuah) is the true name of God.
– They are the keepers of the Ten Commandments and Yahweh’s laws are “written on our hearts and minds”.
– Yahweh’s laws are more demanding than any man-made government laws, and his punishments and rewards far greater.
– They are subject only to Yahweh’s holy government.
– The new world order represents all that is unholy unto Yahweh.
– Governments were made by man’s hands and should therefore be opposed.
– If you carry a government identification card, it is prima-facie evidence you are a corporation and subject to the government.
– You cannot serve two masters – Yahweh and the government.
A religious sect that is ignoring Victoria’s gun and traffic laws is likely to attract fragile people and push them over the edge, a cult expert has warned.
Raphael Aron, the director of Cult Counselling Australia, said news the Kingdom of Yahweh was operating in Melbourne was a concern, especially if it was linked to the House of Yahweh in Abilene, Texas.
Yisrayl Hawkins, the pastoral head of the House of Yahweh, has more than 20 children and four wives and is awaiting sentence after being found guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child.
Mr Aron was trying to establish whether there was a link but warned that such organisations attracted and damaged people from the fringe of society.
“It’s difficult to know what these people believe in, but they do believe they are above the law,” Mr Aron said.
He said such groups could attract fragile people, and mental illness and religion was a volatile mix that could “push people over the edge”.
The Kingdom group came to light after it was discovered that members, from Melbourne’s northern suburbs, were refusing to recognise road and firearms laws.
“They have a well developed and peculiar view as to the validity of law,” Inspector Eoghan McDonald of Victoria Police said. “They usually come to the attention of police through unlicensed driving and unregistered vehicles.”
He did not believe they were a danger to the public and said if they broke the law they would be charged.
The group seemed to be following the views of similar groups that had been around for years, he said.
The cult appears to follow the teachings of the Commonwealth of Caledonia Australis, a secessionist movement that refused to recognise the authority of Australia’s governments.
In September 2006 a group of residents from the Gold Coast hinterland declared the Commonwealth of Caledonia Australis had its own driver licences, number plates, postal system and currency.
Cult expert Reverend David Millikan, of the Uniting Church, said it was more than likely they were a small Christian group who believed that God’s laws were above the laws of the Government.
“They are out there being provocative because they are frustrated … they want to create the kingdom of God on earth,” he said.
“These groups are like fleas on the body of society over the years; they have always been there.
“They will not be dangerous; they are out there. The ones you have to watch are the secretive ones.”