Deacon Jim Russell was exploring his genealogy when he found that his great-grandfather, for whom he was named, was a convicted rapist. He uses this personal finding today in attempt to reach a deeper understanding of the recent Brock Turner verdict:
While I do not think either Turner or my great-grandfather are monsters, they both have done a monstrous thing to another human person. And it’s a life-changingly monstrous thing. This is obviously so for a victim of rape, but it also ought to be obviously so for a rapist, who, for the sake of his own soul, had better find the path of repentance, without which he will pay an ultimate and everlasting price for his sin. There can never be a way to know just how much genuine remorse (as opposed to “sorry-I-got-caught” remorse) my great-grandfather may have felt for his crime, but the easy exit through the justice system sets up a too-easy temptation to simply put the crime into the past and move on with little or no real contrition. The easy exit minimizes the pain and suffering caused to the victim. The easy exit short-circuits both justice and mercy. The deepest reason punishment must “fit” a crime is because souls are at stake. The traumatized victim’s soul must find a way to heal, to carry on. The guilty rapist’s soul must find a way to and through sorrow for sin and toward some form of real reparation for their crime.
Many people believe that Brock Turner’s sentence was too light. Outrage has led to his being banned from competitive swimming and there is even a petition circulating to oust the presiding judge. In 2016, a Jubilee of Mercy, does this feel like enough? What do you think?