- Showing 2 posts filed under: Religion [–], Community [–] published between Feb 01, 2012 and Feb 29, 2012 [Show all]
The measure with which we measure
The decisive factor in overturning not only the ordeal, but the fear of Christians to will the punishment of others, was the inauguration of systems of law—first canon law which began its development in the late eleventh century and, in its wake, secular legal systems. With this epic turning of the moral tide, a third factor was brought into the equation of viewing human weakness: an offense was not only an affront to God and to the victim, it was also an affront to the law. In light of this legal revolution, perhaps the most influential revolution in Western history, the meaning of human acts against their fellows took on a new appellation and gravity. They were not only sins that required forgiveness by a priest in confession, they were also crimes, and the offender had to be punished because he or she had broken the law.
Christian critiques of the penal system
....While approaching the issues from different theological and philosophical traditions, the above authors nevertheless agree on the problems with contemporary criminal justice and together begin to trace the outlines of a solution. The problems: institutional forces benefit from a destructive status quo; the public view of prisoners makes citizens indifferent to their plight; and an emphasis on individual responsibility fails to take seriously the systemic injustice that prisoners face. The solutions: remember that prisoners, too, are made in the image of God; address the systemic causes of crime; and learn to love the people touched by crime.