Saturday, December 23, 2006


Marvin Olasky responds to the outrage of the NY Times at the thought, the very thought of Christian programs in US prisons. Imagine! Prisoners, killers and rapists, being subjected, nay, subjugated to the dogma of that ancient obsolete Jew! How -- how 20th century!

Olasky goes to the bother of bringing to our attention the situation at the maximum-security Louisiana State Penitentiary, wherein 5,100 prisoners have the oportunity to participate in such an outreach program. Since "evangelism-friendly" Burl Cain became warden in 1995, weapon-related assaults are down from 321 to 97 last year -- down 70 percent. "The number of rapes, attempted escapes, suicides and inmate assaults on guards is also way down."

There comes a time when the only proper affect is one of seriousness. Men who understand that the walls they see are the only ones they'll ever know -- who understand that the end of their lives have dates they can mark years in advance on the calendar -- such men have more cause than most to consider those issues that fools would only mock. There is something that utterly focuses a man's mind, when he has murdered and will receive human justice.

Wondering why people become monsters is unprofitable. It's the late-night rap session subject of undergraduates. We know why people become monsters. The world is graceless, and monstrous. Monsters are made, out of little children. Or they evolve, growing more vile with every petty crime and hurtful act. Or they simply appear, like a trait from a formerly unexpressed gene. Monsters come from people.

We have only one real recourse, in dealing with them. Banish them, and if their crimes merit it, slay them. We cannot change souls. We can only inhibit present actions and discourage future actions. Thus, laws, and punishments.

But into this nightmare there comes some hope. It is not justice -- getting what is earned. They have justice already, these prisoners. It's not likely to bring them comfort.

It is not mercy -- not getting what is earned. Mercy is an arbitrary thing, and a statistical rarity. In any case, the time for mercy passed with the pronouncement of their sentences.

Hope, then, comes through grace -- getting that good which is not earned. Unmerited favor. What is the instrument of grace? Stone walls will not melt, to set these men free. Grace, and its necessary peace, is brought to them in their prison cells. We have power in such matters only as human messengers. God must see to the administration of grace.

How beautiful, to find Cain toiling in the fields of the Lord. How lovely if we all could find our way out of the wilderness.


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