political theology

Bush Offends Justice

In reality, there are at least two kinds of justice – unfortunately, it is beyond the realm of many leaders in this world to see beyond a Roman sense of justice. 

Roman justice, and subsequently the American justice system, is a perpetrator  based system – aimed to achieve equal damage to the victimizer (equal to the damage that the victimizer visited on the victim) in a “civil” fashion.  The other justice is a Christian justice, one that focuses on: the victim, the oppressed, the down trodden,  the widow and the fatherless, etc. As opposed to ripping the victimizer down, the victim is taken out of the unsafe situation, by intervention of the church mediating Christ, and thus the victim ceases to be oppressed (though perhaps never fully lifted from every oppression in their life time short of the parousia), but instead is cared for.   

President Bush, in his commutation of Scooter Libby’s prison sentence, interrupted the Roman sense of justice – Libby got off with parole (the money raised for Libby’s defense makes the fine look like pocket change) despite the bi-partisan court ruling. Everyone but Bush seems to think Libby was getting what he deserved; Libby was going to be punished until it was interrupted. 

Now commutation is part of the President’s job, however, as I have noted before, Bush has ignored those seeking relief. What is most galling, is that a President who claims Christ, ignores the Christian sense of justice and his own responsibilities in the office of President – those in need of legitimate help, from the one person who can give it, are ignored or laughed at. This is nothing short of crossing to the other side of the road as a man lays beaten and dying (Luke 10).

While Bush is galling, the church is disappointing. I have heard no call from any leaders challenging Bush to look into those seeking pardons. Where is the call from the Church leaders to those in power (to the leaders who claim to be one of us) to move towards the Christian life?


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