From vengeance to mercy, Part 1; Kate Lovelady, Leader

This Sunday’s address is the first of a two-part examination of ideas of justice in current American culture. We look back on the “Wild” West as a time of lawlessness and vigilantism, but have our underlying attitudes toward justice really changed all that much? Our criminal justice system, a largely privatized industry and a pawn of political games, emphasizes punishment over rehabilitation, seemingly blind to the fact that most prisoners will eventually again be our neighbors. Our popular culture sells to even the smallest children a vision of heroism in which the good guys hurt or kill the bad guys, and we all cheer. How can our ethical values help us to promote justice that keeps us safe and that aids the healing of victims, perpetrators, and society?