Christians have a difficult time agreeing on many issues. While they are certain to agree that Christ is Lord, from that point on it gets pretty difficult. We not only disagree on the weightier subjects of theology, but we have a difficult time deciding which hymnal is the best or what kind of church music pleases God the most.
And so it should come as no surprise that our opinions on the issues we deal with on a daily basis at HFP might differ sharply with those of others. There will be honest differences of opinion, for example, from victims of crime and their families, and from police officers. All may believe in the same Lord, but you can bet their opinions will vary.
Well, that's what happened in our weekly Saturday gathering of Studebaker drivers and friends over burgers and suds. This is an unusually electric group...a cross-section of many facets of society.
Ottawa County Prosecutor Ron Frantz was talking about the recent Supreme Court ruling that it is unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life in prison without parole, regardless of the crime. I sensed that the Prosecutor wasn't pleased with the decision. Let me stress before we continue that the Supreme Court did NOT say that juveniles must be released after a period of time, regardless of how heinous the crime. Not at all. The justices merely said that the possibility of parole must be there.
And that's when Rev. Al Hoksbergen piped up and said, "Life sentence without parole is un-Christian, regardless of the age of the offender."
Well that had the Prosector sputtering, and a few others sitting with perplexed looks on their faces.
"What's the Christian message?" asked the good reverend. "Forgiveness, pure and simple. I can't possibly win salvation by doing good. It's simply by God's amazing grace. For the secular world, sentencing people to life without parole may be acceptable. But for us, it's unacceptable. It's un-Christian."