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Presidential Christmas Pardons

Dec 24, 2005

On today's news we are reading about the traditional Christmas pardons that presidents have been giving out each year. President Bush issued 11 pardons this year, all to people who had already served their sentences long ago. On the AOL news, they were actually conducting a poll to see if people agreed with it or not. Here's what I think.

These pardons were not given to people who were still at large with warrants for their arrest. They were given to people who had already served their sentences.

In my book, "God's Laws on Restitution," I have a section entitled, "It's About Forgiveness." This section starts out, saying,

"The ultimate purpose of God's system of restitution for theft is to obtain forgiveness for the criminal. There is no forgiveness for the thief in our modern prison system of 'justice'."

First of all, I don't agree with prison sentences. The Bible advocates other forms of correction, particularly working to pay back the victims of injustice. If restitution is not possible because of the nature of the crime, it calls for the death penalty--such as first-degree murder or kidnapping. But we have to go beyond this issue for now and deal with the idea of presidential pardons for ex-criminals.

I think that EVERYONE who has served out their sentence for a crime ought to receive a pardon. That is the whole idea behind presidential pardons. It is to take their crime off their record, so they are no longer ex-criminals. Well, of course, I say. Should not everyone be pardoned as an inherent right? That is the whole idea behind biblical justice. There should be no such thing as an "ex-con". Why continue to punish him long after he has completed his sentence? That just serves to discourage him and prevent him from getting a job. The old sin (crime) is still hanging over his head.

Of course, with the current system in place, this is not so practical. A serial rapist may get sentenced to 20 years in prison, but eventually,he will be released. Because he was not executed for his crime, the justice department now has to keep tabs on him and assume that he will do it again.

Hence, in our current system, they have to be somewhat selective in their pardons. But even then, the President should have given out millions of pardons, because a great many ex-cons have paid the penalty for their crimes. To them, a pardon is an inherent right given by God Himself.

For example, one of the men pardoned by President Bush was a "moonshiner" convicted in 1967. He was caught at his still without ever selling a drop of unlawful liquor. He served 3 years probation for it. (The Bible would never have convicted him at all, because making moonshine is not a sin in God's law.)

Another was a bank robber, convicted in the early 1980's. Well, robbing banks (and anyone else) is a sin in God's law. But why did he have to wait so long after serving his sentence to obtain forgiveness?

The fact is, in our current judicial system, forgiveness (i.e., pardons)has become a privilege, not a right. Privileges are granted by governments; rights come from God alone. That's according to our Supreme Court in past years, though today they would no doubt renounce those rulings.

The only way God's law will work is if you take the whole law as a package deal. You cannot just pick and choose which law to use and which to reject. They all work together, and each makes the other possible to implement.

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Category: News Commentary
Blog Author: Dr. Stephen Jones