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6.15.2007    |    The quality of mercy
From the Bard's The Merchant of Venice, when Portia speaks to Shylock in Act IV, Scene I:
The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
Mercy is one of our Lord's pre-eminent virtues, and, as Shakespeare wrote, His mercy does indeed "droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven." Mercy in a man's heart is a gift from God, and, although God will also judge us using His enduring standards, He will always show us mercy while so doing.

All this is preamble to what has been bothering me about the Scooter Libby prosecution, trial, conviction, and sentencing. And now it looks as though Mr. Libby will be denied his freedom while he appeals; the trial judge just doesn't seem to think that allowing the clearly dangerous felon to remain free (hmm, can't find the HTML sarcasm tags...).

Let's be brutally honest here: Scooter Libby lied under oath; he was prosecuted; he was convicted. He shouldn't be exonerated of guilt because he did what he did in a noble cause, and against some fairly slimy characters (Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame). Fair enough; that there was no underlying crime does not change this. Neither, however, is it justice. And most certainly it is not mercy.

Mr.Libby was prosecuted by an overly-zealous prosecutor who appeared to be out to score political points; he was handed a Draconian sentence by a judge who seems to lack a shred of decency or mercy.

Is Scooter Libby guilty? Yes. As for punishment, he has already suffered financial loss in defending himself against the excesses of the state; he has suffered the embarrassment of conviction and the likelihood of his ever holding high appointed or elected office again. In short, he is now a convicted felon. Enough is enough.

Since the judge lacks mercy, President Bush should commute the sentence. No, not pardon him. Just apply some Christian mercy. Mr. Bush can call it something else; perhaps Shakespearian mercy...

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.