Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Crime and Punishment (not about the book) (07/21/11)
- TITLE: Crime and Punishment in American Society
By Dan Wafford
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Sadly, it's quite easy to determine why crime has become epidemic in contemporary American society: a check of the statistics in any city will show that for the vast majority of crimes committed, no arrest is ever made; that a very large percentage of those arrested will never be tried; that many of those tried will not be convicted; that of those convicted, many will receive suspended sentences or community service instead of jail time; and of those actually incarcerated, most will serve a very abbreviated sentence before being released.
And even incarceration has ceased to be a deterrent to crime. In the past, inmates were required to work, often at very rigorous physical labor in unpleasant conditions. Now, prison is little more than a country club where inmates are assured of a comfortable bed in heated and air-conditioned space, the three square meals a day they might have been unable to provide themselves on the outside, plus unlimited recreation opportunities ranging from flat screen high definition television to table tennis, basketball, weightlifting and "conjugal visits." Many of our poor and elderly cannot afford medical and dental care, but inmates receive it free at the taxpayers' expense.
Under such circumstances, those who are not constrained by their own consciences commit crimes with impunity: they have no fear of the consequences of being caught. Even serial killers know that chances are very slim they will be executed for their crimes, and if they are, it will only be at the end of twenty or thirty years of appeals -- also at the expense of the taxpayers.
How have we come to such a situation? The same way that we have come to the elimination of prayer, the Bible, or any mention of God in the schools; the same way that we have come to same-sex "marriage" and gay pride parades; the same way that we have come to a divorce rate that is spiraling out of control: we, as a society, have at best told God, "You can step aside; we can handle this by ourselves." Many deny His very existence, and certainly most deny His sovereignty.
God outlined a simple, practical and eminently fair justice system. Thieves didn't receive a meaningless slap on the wrist: they made restitution four times over. If a man deliberately injured someone, he received the same injury in return. If he murdered, he paid for that life with his own. People were very much constrained by fear of the punishment they would receive, because it was real, tangible, and certain. Killers weren't released on frivolous technicalities that had absolutely nothing to do with their innocence or guilt. But we have abandoned this practical and effective system along with God.
At its root, the crime rate of a society reflects the respect that its citizens hold for one another. The respect citizens hold for one another is a direct reflection of the respect they have for God. When a society throws away God, it throws away with Him the sanctity of life and the rights of individuals that are based upon His holy Word. If society does not accept God's valuation of a person, then the strong and brutal are free to impose their own valuation.
If you want to take the crime out of American society, put God back in.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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