Rep. Glen Massie wowed the crowd at the Republican State Convention as he campaigned to be a national delegate. His heartfelt words relived four years ago when he prayed to Jesus Christ and was chosen by past delegates to represent Iowa at the previous convention in the Twin Cities. So he used the same strategy to win a slot at the convention in Tampa, Florida at the end of August. Now, it would not be fair to pick on Massie for using Christ for campaign purposes; Republicans have a history of claiming that Jesus told them to run for office, etc.
It is what followed the delegate selection that is cause for concern. Massie successfully lobbied the delegates to change a plank to the platform supporting the death penalty. There were many Republicans voting against this plank. One woman spoke out against the change, gently pointing out the hypocrisy of claiming a kinship to Christianity, when clearly Jesus would be speaking out against the death penalty if he were walking the Earth today. After all, forgiveness is the heart of Christianity. The greater the offense, the greater the spiritual reward for true forgiveness.
It is extremely difficult to forgive what may be viewed as the dregs of society: sex offenders, murderers, rapists, etc. But anyone that claims an affinity to Christ’s teachings should respect the forgiveness requirement.
And it isn’t just Jesus that is being used for political purposes. Politicians love to proclaim the needs of victims as their right to preach anger and vengeance. For example, Governor Branstad recently stated he was commuting the sentences of 38 juvenile offenders to protect the needs of the victims’ families. Yet, what victims need are advocates to promote forgiveness and the healing process. It is poor policy to notify victims when offenders are moved or brought up for parole. When a victim has truly healed, there will no longer be a desire to track the offender. It would be comparable to a divorced spouse tracking the movements of a former mate. You need to end and have closure over one relationship, before you can move onto another. Victims deserve the right to end the painful relationship with the offender. Politicians should stop the practice of victimizing victims. Leaders that promote policies for forgiveness would be a welcome change.
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