In today’s secular climate, there is no forgiveness. A transgression a person has done decades ago, even as a child, can be brought up to destroy that person’s reputation and career today. Despite any positive accomplishments or virtuous contributions to society, the sins of historical figures outweigh them and can never be atoned for. Politics is an exercise in putting the worst construction upon everything and getting back at one’s opponents in a tit-for-tat cycle of retribution.
Somehow, though, there needs to be a mechanism for dealing with transgressions. Punishment is one way, of course, and a convicted criminal who has served a sentence in prison was said to have “paid his debt to society” and offered a fresh start. Though I don’t know that released prisoners are given that fresh start today. And most violations fall short of being criminal, though that doesn’t prevent retaliatory attempts to criminalize them.