I’m sick and tired of people, who commit heinous crimes and then plead for leniency afterward, claiming religious conversion (usually Christian regeneration).

Phillip Garrido is the latest example, and–sadly–our system fell for it. Jaycee Dugard paid the price.

For the record: Garrido is no Christian. His ideas are not just heretical even by liberal standards, they are beyond delusional.

That said, even if he were a Christian, he still should never have been released from prison. Christian regeneration does not obviate the debt one owes to society. This is because the societal treatment of the crime is a statement that society makes about the severity of the offense, and the things that they deem are important.

When a person commits a violent crime against another person, the punishment of the criminal tells a story of what society thinks of the severity of the crime, the worth of the victim, and even the worth of the offender.

(After all, by accepting the fine, and/or prison time, and/or execution–of the offender, the restitution given by the offender is a statement of worth of the offender. This is another reason why–in a theological sense–salvation is not of works: even partial atonement of sin is not something that humans can manufacture.)

So, in Garrido’s case, what would a more Christian response look like?

To that, I point to Kang Kek Iew, who was one of the principal henchmen in the Khmer Rouge massacres, which resulted in the deaths of nearly a quarter of the Cambodian population. Later in life, he became a Christian and had the fruits to show for it.

Did he try the, “Well…what I did before, was before I became a Christian. I am a new person now. Therefore, I am pleading for leniency.” No.

He made no excuses. He asked for no leniency. He accepted full responsibility for his actions. He offered to accept the worst punishment they had to offer.

A repentant heart displays a humility that accepts the premise that society owes no leniency in punishment. A repentant heart is not merely sorry for the bad outcomes, but rather their actions that led to them.

When you see a rapist say, “I did it, your honor. I don’t deserve a damned bit of leniency from your court, and anything I get short of the death penalty will be better than I deserve,” then you’ll know there’s some repentance. Still, it behooves society to punish the crime severely.

After all, redemption or not, we owe it to the victims–and our future generations–to send a definitive statement about our values. Letting rapists, child molesters, and murderers walk the streets–free to terrorize innocent people–does not convey a value system worth preserving.

One thought on “Irrelevant

  1. your words are powerful and true. as a survivor of abuse, and with all the therapy and help i’ve received and work i’ve done, it is still difficult, sometimes, to train my mind to believe that i was innocent. a perpetrator NEVER takes responsibility for their crime. they manipulate their thinking to believe they are justified and right and that their victim and/or addiction is to blame, and they impart this lie onto their victim in various ways.

    being born into abuse and having been married to it for so long, my natural response to anything is that it is my fault, that i have done something wrong, that i deserve what is being done to me. i am eternally blessed that God gave me a husband who patiently tells me the same thing over and over … that i am NOT bad, that i am NOT doing anything wrong, that i AM good.

    i think this is very difficult, and almost impossible, for people to understand who have never been exposed to abuse of any kind … and truly, i am thankful for that. my frustration comes in when these same people become critical of the victim/survivor for reacting in ways they were trained to react. they don’t take time to learn what these things do to people and even a step further to redirect them, again, to the truth.

    these words that garrido wrote are true: “He writes in one tract that some people who engage in “aggressive sexual behavior” hate their actions and try to stop.”Unfortunately the next time they become aroused, it stimulates the mind to override all possible regrets, returning them to a helplessness of becoming a repeat offender,” he said.”

    and it is because these words are true that society needs to lock them up for LIFE b/c they cannot help themselves, they must commit their crime. he confesses so right here. idiotic society reads that and responds, “poor guy, he can’t help it.” and they’re right that he can’t help it, so society needs to do it for him and lock him up for forever to prevent him from taking yet another victim … NOT set him free to do the same thing over again!

    and then there is Kang Kek Iew who does not make excuse for his behavior: “In February, 2008, as part of the judicial process, Duch was taken to the scene of his crimes. He reportedly collapsed in tears after stating, “I ask for your forgiveness — I know that you cannot forgive me, but I ask you to leave me the hope that you might.” … On March 31, 2009 Duch, in a statement in front of the Cambodia tribunal, accepted responsibility for torturing and executing thousands of inmates, expressed “heartfelt sorrow” for his crimes and vowed to cooperate fully with the tribunal.”

    and you are spot-on that becoming a Christian does not excuse behavior … and that true repentance would accept punishment for ones behavior KNOWING it is nothing compared to what Jesus Christ did for them on the cross.

    all of this makes me cry and incensed at the same time. neither my parents nor my ex have ever taken responsibility for anything they’ve done. they have all three blamed it on something/someone else or denied it completely (delusion). they all three have backgrounds that explain their behavior, but as my therapist told me, “Ame, you were abused and yet you do not abuse *your* children.” i sat there stunned; he was right. they each had a choice. they did not have to do it. it was/is still, their choice. it honors no one to deny the truth and/or to say ‘it’s okay.’ it IS true, and it is NOT okay. period.

    thank you for the Kang Kek Iew story.

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