By Eddie Griffin
Friday, April 06, 2007
After reading the story of Silas, you may now understand why I believe even more strongly in God, and why my religion is my first priority, having seen what I seen and know what I know.
My second priority is Education, because this involves bringing up children, nurturing, and cultivating them for their future role in society.
Third is Economic Development for the poor and depressed, because I believe every person, even the unborn, have a right to life and the opportunity to work and share in the fruits of the earth.
Fourth is Public Safety and Criminal Justice, with a special emphasis placed upon Justice. In terms of Public Safety, I believe in suppressing crime by suppressing criminal tendencies in young people. We have many great organizations working with youth. But young people with behavioral issues are the ones that fall through the cracks.
Now to the issue of Criminal Justice - I noted my experience in prison as a peacekeeper. Always, in every prison, there are certain guys who could go in and break up arguments and fights. I was one of those guys. But I also carried warnings (death threats, some may call it) to transgressors who violated the property rights of his fellow inmates. Prisoners must acquiesce to the Law of the Jungle. By my agreeing to carry a warning to an inmate who offends another prisoner, I consent to his death, by proxy, if he does not heed my warning. The same principal applies in Christianity. Heed the trumpet.
I believe in giving a person a warning and chance to redeem themselves by heeding the warning, and making amends. Every inmate I ever warned voluntarily went into protective custody. Therefore, I never lost a patient. And, no one was ever murdered at my feet.
Do not underestimate the power of a warning when it comes to crime suppression. There is a difference between a slap on the wrist and a warning with real consequences. The death penalty is a real and serious consequence. It is the Law of the Jungle for civilized men. But no man should be executed for his first offense. There is still a chance for redemption. He can, and sometimes does, change. He can show remorse for his crime and repent for his sins. But after that, there are certain repeated crimes for which he should not be redeemed. Repeated sexual child abuse is one.
Eddie Griffin is a Sunday school teacher at the Church of Christ in Everman, editor-at-large of Literafeelya Magazine Online, author of �Breaking Men�s Minds�, and World Peace Council Prisoner of Council (1977). Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 817-721-7439
I have always understood the points that most make on this argument. I have a fairly simplistic stance that says if someone does something so repugnant to society that society demands their removal they have the collective right to do that and as such have the right to impose a death penalty.
From: Evans Rosedale [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2007 3:18 PM
To: District67 Madden
Subject: Last Word on to Repeat Child Sex Offenders - Eddie Griffin
Jerry, I promised a conclusion on the death penalty debate. Of course, it is a religious argument. Eddie Griffin
Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2007 09:24:27 -0700 (PDT)
From: Evans Rosedale
Subject: News 8 Coverage of Sex Offenders: Last Word on to Repeat Child Sex Offenders - Eddie Griffin
To: "Douglas, Jim"
Jim, Thank you so much for your follow-up. I have a report forthcoming of a recent Tarrant County Job Fair for Ex-Offenders and excellent numbers. But now I am concerned with the ex-sex offenders in your news report. I wonder how they would feel to make a Covenant with Death if they repeat the offense. I have written this religious article specifically for THEIR benefit, which may be unpopular to OTHERS. If they say, "No More Victims", they should be man enough to stake their very lives on this VOW.
The Last Word on the Death Penalty for Repeat Child Sex Offenders
By Eddie Griffin
Friday, March 30, 2007
[This is the conclusion of the series on the Death Penalty Debate sparked by new legislation proposed in Texas . It is a response to religious zealots who unilaterally condemn the death sentences in all cases.]
In light of the proposed legislation known as �Jessica�s Law� and the lieutenant governor of Texas campaign promise to increase punish for repeat sex offenders of children, Eddie Griffin wrote Jim Douglas at WFFA News 8:
I have already taken a public stand on the Death Penalty for Repeat Sex Offenders. I welcome the debate from the religious community on this subject.�
Someone raised the question of �forgiveness� on this issue. The question then became: How many times should a sex offender be forgiven?
Jesus said if a brother trespasses against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day asks for forgiveness, you shall forgive him. But how does this reflect on repeated offenders who sexually abuse children?
The answer to this dilemma is in the same above-cited scripture (Luke 17:1-4), and related verses in Matthew 18:1-6 and Mark 8:41-50.
Luke 17:1-4 [KJV] reads:
Then said he [Jesus] unto the disciples, �It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
My thoughts on this scripture read like this: If a man trespasses, rebuke him. Warn him. If he trespasses the law, punish him according to the law. Does this mean that if the law of the land provides for a Death Penalty, it is justifiable in accordance with scripture?
Let us be clear that it is not the Will of God that any should perish, but that all should be brought to repentance. And here, repentance is the key to the above scripture. Does that mean a child rapist can feel bad about his act, ask for forgiveness, and go back out into society and commit the same perverse act?
If I read the above scripture correctly, it would be better for him to have a heavy stone tied around his neck and drown in the sea, specifically as it relates to offending one of these little ones. But before I read any conclusion into this passage, let me defer to Matthew in order to get a better understanding about this millstone tied around a mans neck and cast into the sea for offending one of these little ones. Matthew 18:1-6 records:
At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receives me also. But whosoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
It is clear that Jesus is speaking of a little child when referring to �one of these little ones�. And if someone offends a child, it would be better for that person to have a millstone hanged about his neck and drowned in the depth of the sea. (Note: This is not exactly an Anti-Death Penalty statement.)
But still I needed more clarification as to the nature of the offense, so I searched different versions of the bible for the same scripture (Matthew 17:2). I searched KJV, NKJV, NIV, ASA, ESV, NRSV, RSV, NAS, GNT, and TIM, which all translate into causing �one of these little ones� to stumble, fall, or sin. On the other hand:
The New Living Translation states: It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around the neck than to face the punishment in store for harming one of these little ones.
The Douay-Rheims Bible states: It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he cast into the sea, than that he should scandalize one of these little ones.
The GOD'S WORD translation reads: It would be best for that person to be thrown into the sea with a large stone hung around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to lose his faith.
New International Reader's Version reads: Suppose people lead one of these little ones to sin. It would be better for those people to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck.
Jesus must have foreseen the day there would be child pornographers in the world that would exploit and sexually abuse children and openly display it on the Internet worldwide. And, the people who watch this perversion of the world�s innocent children then do likewise by going out and victimizing children themselves.
I cannot image what it must look like, whether the child is crying or bleeding or screaming for help. But it is better for the perpetrator to die the death of a millstone hanged around his neck and cast into the sea.
No, the above scriptures do not mandate the death penalty for repeated child molesters. But sometimes it is BETTER to take a man out of his misery than to allow him to continually hurt and abuse children. If he commits the act once and turn around and repents and ask for forgiveness, the scriptures say forgive him. Obviously, this is based upon the supposition that any man can be forgiven of his sin, no matter the nature of the crime. But that he should not commit this horrendous act a third time, the second offense must be looked upon as an act of impenitence.
The blood of Christ covers the first sin. But after that, there remains no sacrifice for sin. If to spare the offender�s life after the first sex crime against a child is not good enough, if mercy is spurned, what good is the life of the offender after the second sex crime? What good is he to society, except as a potential menace?
Finally, there is Mark 9:41-50 on the same subject:
For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
There is a second death awaiting the unrepentant sex offender whose wanton eyes lust for children, regardless if the first death comes by state execution, or by the hands of his fellow inmates or by old age inside or outside of prison. Mercy has its limitation, and the long-suffering of God has its end.
Eddie Griffin is a Sunday school teacher at the Church of Christ in Everman, editor-at-large of Literafeelya Magazine Online, author of �Breaking Men�s Minds�, and World Peace Council Prisoner of Council (1977)
You are so right: no more victims. I figured I'd get hammered for doing that story, but it needs telling. I'll help you if I can. I visited the inmates at the hightower unit, where about 250 sex offenders are in the 18 month program. I hope to put extended versions of their interviews and groups sessions on WFAA.COM, but I'm sure when that will get done.
I usually go through Michelle Lyons, the TDC pio. 936-437-6052. She's helpful, and will fix you up with anyone you need. The director of sex offender rehab programs is Geralyn Engman. Also very helpful.
Good luck. I'd like to talk with you sometime about ex-offender reintegration.
Got to run.
Thanks for the kind words,
From: Evans Rosedale [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2007 2:18 PM
To: Jim Douglas
Subject: News 8 Coverage on Sex Offenders - Eddie Griffin
WFAA News 8
RE: News 8 Coverage on Sex Offenders
Dear Jim, I want to thank you and Channel 8 for the coverage on sex offenders. It was an eye-opener even for me, a man who has served time in prison, living side-by-side with this community. For the sake of my research and contribution to the Tarrant County Re-Entry Council, I would like to know more about this special prison for sex offenders. Where can I get more information?
One inmate said it best. This is a "leper community". If they were incarcerated with other inmates, they would be the most despised sub-group in prison. Their fate would be sealed by the nature of the crime. And, they would, themselves, be sexually abused, exploited, and killed by other prisoners. In the old days, we called them "Short Eyes", because they were shortsighted in their sexual gratification and because they stalked "short people" (children).
If they survive the prison experience and released back out the public, there are social barriers, restrictions, and prejudices they must overcome.
Employers are hesitant to hire them. If they should find employment, they are restricted from work that brings them into close proximity with the public. They are barred from working in nursing homes, schools, as meter readers in neighborhoods, and so on. Communities do not want them living in their neighborhoods. Their identities and addresses are publicized, which leads to neighborhood witch-hunts. They are barred from playgrounds and other public places where children frequent. They must wear tracking devises and be monitored everywhere they go by satellite. [Call this "the leper community tracked by the eye in the sky", a foretaste of things to come]. They are despised and rejected, but not without cause.
As members of the Workforce and Housing sub-committees for ex-offender reintegration, we are obligated to study ways to help them make the transition back into society. I confess, it is the most complex problem I have ever studied. And, I have already taken a public stand on the Death Penalty for Repeat Sex Offenders. I welcome the debate from the religious community on this subject.
Your broadcast ended with all the inmates in this specialized prison repeating this slogan: NO MORE VICTIMS. Isn't this what we are all striving for? Thanks again.
Bless you and your work.
The Outlaw Eddie Griffin, former prisoner of conscious and author of "Breaking Men's Minds."