Five Links from a Criminal Justice System

I have a ton of these lying around so you'll be getting them in small chunks. Trying to give each batch a range of themes and moods."How Some Alabama Hospitals Quietly Drug Test New Mothers--Without Their Consent": In Alabama, a positive drug test can have dire repercussions for pregnant women and new mothers. Their newborns can be taken from them. They can lose custody of their other children. They can face lengthy sentences in the most notorious women’s prison in the United States and t … [Read more...]

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“Always Consider the Person”: Homosexuality at the World Meeting of Families–This Is Less Boring Than It Sounds

(sorry--ANYWAY this is the transcript of the presentation by Ron Belgau and his mom):...I don’t think my 17-year-old self could ever have imagined my dad being as passionate as he is about protecting kids from homophobia. But it’s a reminder everyone can grow and transform. Turning back the clock to my adolescence, it never really hit home to me just how big a burden I was carrying until I was telling the story to a friend in college. He looked at me incredulously and said, “I can’t imagine … [Read more...]

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“Thirteen Songs About Forgiveness”: Mockingbird

with some images of how to do it, when you need to: ...Given its origin in the blues, rock n roll, and pop music more generally, comes by its emotional palette honestly: desire, frustration, hurt, despair, sadness, anger—these are the primary colors of the form. There are gazillions of songs that plead for a second chance (“I Want You Back”), gazillions of songs of repentance and regret. There are gazillions more about standing one’s ground, about enough being enough. But forgiveness itself is d … [Read more...]

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“The Incomprehensible Witness of Forgiveness”: John Inazu

rounds up some commentary and adds his own: ...Nor is forgiveness reconciliation. Reconciliation is only possible when forgiveness meets repentance. And meaningful social change requires the kind of social reconciliation that can only emerge through aggregated instances of both forgiveness and repentance. In South Africa, during the process of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the failure of widespread repentance among whites to match widespread forgiveness among blacks constrained the … [Read more...]

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Forgiveness and Social Justice

Does Christ's command to love our enemies and bless those who curse us place especially heavy burdens on the marginalized and disadvantaged?On its face the answer is obviously "yes." The more vulnerable you are to others' abuse of power, the more they will hurt you and the more you will have to forgive. Women so often appear as icons of forgiveness in men's stories (last point) because we are more vulnerable to them than they are to one another.This is part of the reason for something … [Read more...]

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Voices from the Fire: Medieval Jewish Martyr Laments

Part of my Lenten reading was Susan L. Einbinder's Beautiful Death: Jewish Poetry and Martyrdom in Medieval France. It's a very readable adapted thesis which makes a few arguments--for example, that Jewish martyr laments shifted over time from proclaiming God's covenant with the community, to depicting individual transformation of the martyrs; that the laments shift from emphasizing demographic diversity to exalting scholars as a sort of martyr elite; and that the laments show the degree to … [Read more...]

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From Sigrid Undset, “Marta Oulie”

Now I take a more lenient view of many things, but that's because I too am guilty. When I was young and innocent I was a harsher judge.We keep learning all our lives--but God help us what we learn. To understand everything is supposed to mean to forgive everything; if so, then may God spare me from those people who forgive too much. That's merely something we say to console ourselves when life starts to leave its mark on us, and we have done various things that we would have been ashamed of … [Read more...]

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