Anglican Samizdat

October 4, 2009

The state’s obligation to punish vs Christian forgiveness

Filed under: Christianity — David Jenkins @ 4:04 pm

Yet another demonstration that Mr. Bumble was right: The law is an ass:

Child rapist strikes again days after being let off because victim’s Christian family forgave him.

A top judge is at the centre of an investigation after he freed a child rapist who then kidnapped and raped another youngster just eight days later.

Judge Adrian Smith had spared the 16-year old sex attacker a jail term after his first victim’s family, who are devout Christians, forgave the teenager.

Judge Smith is thought to have allowed the boy to go free after hearing statements from the victim’s father who said his ‘religious faith’ had allowed to him to forgive the attacker.

As part of the three-year community rehabilitation order, the youth was ordered to receive counselling sessions to address his behaviour and supervision from probation officers.

The Christian family who forgave the rapist did something extremely difficult that their faith, nevertheless, requires – both for their own benefit and because God forgives them. The state, though, is there to restrain evil by punishing the wrongdoer, not to indulge in vicarious Christian forgiveness. As St. Paul says, “for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” Rom 13:4b

Instead, a mealy-mouthed judge has permitted more evil because he did not do what his job requires.



  1. The parents forgiveness should have had zero effect on the criminal’s punishment.

    Comment by Kate — October 4, 2009 @ 5:41 pm

  2. Absolutely Kate – JP II’s attacker stayed in jail.

    Comment by Margo — October 4, 2009 @ 5:50 pm

  3. Quite so. Prosecutors do not act at the behest of victims; they act on behalf of the people. (Relevant to the Polanski case where the victim has forgiven him and wants no trial.) Likewise a judge does not punish acting in the place of the victim.

    Comment by Toral — October 6, 2009 @ 8:36 am

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