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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied

Some years ago, I wrote a polemic or two dealing with the deplorable acts of some televangelists and in a few cases, saw religious broadcasters actually remove individuals from the airwaves.  There was one pseudo-televangelist that was particularly troublesome (Bob Larson) because his theological construct was exceptionally dangerous.  His theory was that Christians could be possessed by demons. 

Lady Justice Not Blind
In the midst of the doctrinal debate, I became friends with a staunch agnostic who absolutely hated Bob Larson.  He had been after Larson for years and really made no headway, but his hatred for the man simply burned deeper than anything I have experienced until recently.  This friend would get enormously frustrated with the process of working within the wonderful world of evangelical broadcasting and he used to say to me all the time, "justice delayed is justice denied." 

I used to disagree with the man but I think he may have been on to something.  Today, the airwaves are littered with numerous televangelists whose doctrines of greed have become the norm rather than the exception.  Politics is much the same way as well, isn't it?  Year after year we experience corruption, cronyism, broken promises...and every election cycle, we drink deep.

Conventional Christian wisdom dictates that we are to "wait upon the Lord," to be patient, kind and loving in our endeavors - even in the face of liars and the most depraved of humankind.  My agnostic friend disagreed.  He believed that immediate action was required to achieve that which he called "justice."  Christians understand that in order to receive "justice" it is to be meted out equally and that isn't something those who have a grasp of Romans 3 truly desire.  But there are times that try the very fabric of your being.  Times and circumstances that cause every molecule in one's existence to shudder, to demand "justice" of some sort.

We know, and history has proven, that money and privilege can buy influence.  O.J. Simpson was found "not guilty" by a jury of his peers even in the face of reality.  Regardless of the evidence, regardless of the testimony, he was found "not guilty."  Contrast that with the case of Jeffrey Todd Pierce.  A man without influence, and he certainly had no friends in the prosecutor's office, who was found guilty of a crime he did not commit  and it took 15 years of agony in prison to actually PROVE his innocence.  Think about that for a moment:  He had to PROVE his innocence. 

Law enforcement officers bust their chops and put their lives on the line every single day to keep us safe and to keep the roads safe only to have their reports called "hearsay" by an attorney who sleeps under the blanket of freedom and protection others provide.  It's the world in which we live and try as we might, our efforts are much like the author of Ecclesiastes states:  "Chasing after the wind."  Law enforcement busts them, the system puts the influential back out on the streets with impunity and then the system scratches its collective head and wonders why so many take the law into their own hands and mete out their own brand of justice.

Other countries, in some ways, have a better grasp on these types of issues than we Americans.  For example, in Europe, if a televangelist makes an outrageous claim, they must prove their claim or be booted off the airwaves.  It's basic "proof in advertising" that somehow eludes us.