Letters: Race in sentencing

Letters: Race in sentencing

Another interpretation of ‘dangerousness’

Regarding “Evangelical leaders protest race in sentencing” : It is unfortunate when an “expert witness” chooses to ignore other factors in dealing with “dangerousness.”

As one who directs the mental health care of Texas death row offenders and oversees the mental health care for the Polunsky Unit of the Texas Department of Corrections, I offer my own opinion out of my research, faith, training and daily interaction with offenders.

This opinion is my own. “Dangerousness” is more about impoverishment than anything else. This impoverishment affects all ethnic and language groups represented in our prisons. Impoverishment is the lack of a safe and stable home; educational resources that teach the child even when the family situation is unstable; employment opportunities that support and offer a future to the person; and a community of positive relationships that insulate the child from predatory evils that cluster around those enmeshed in poverty.

For five years, I have prepared mental health evaluations on offenders. Their stories are repeated by far too many—no home life, dropping out of school, functionally illiterate, growing up on the streets, starting the use alcohol and illicit drugs in early adolescence, and recreating the impoverishments of their childhood in the children they help create.

With this impoverishment, only a very few attempt to excuse their criminal behavior on that basis, but simply report it as his life history. I believe that is a more accurate measure of “dangerousness.”

Michael R. Chancellor


Evolution & the Bible

It appears the Texas Board of Education still has problems with evolution.

I remember when I was a kid and I told my father we were taught about evolution in school, and Adam and Eve in Sunday school. I asked him what I was supposed to believe. He told me maybe God had caused evolution.

It was like a light bulb went on over my head. I was a firm believer in evolution, but I wanted to be a good Christian. It made sense to me that if God exists, then surely he caused evolution.

If you can’t find a scientific theory in the Bible, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t true.

Chuck Mann

Greensboro, N.C.

‘Return to the truths’

Regarding the controversy about the contemporary hymn “In Christ Alone”: Your article about the need for worship leaders to be aware of meaning and theological implications of song lyrics is good.

However, I think the main point was missed. This is a sad case of the Presbyterian church committee wanting to change lyrics because they were not “politically correct.” Well done to Stuart Townend and Keith Getty for refusing to back this change!

It’s time we Christians stopped avoiding issues of truth in the Bible such as the wrath of God and judgment because they don’t fit in with the prevailing philosophy of our times.

When Jesus hung on the cross, he said, “Father, forgive them.” He didn’t say, “Father, let them off”! In other words, our sin matters to God, and atonement has to be made. If Jesus had said, “Father, let them off,” there would have been no need for him to die.

Instead of abandoning these concepts because they (apparently) come from a culture of a previous age, which we “wiser” people of the 21st century have consigned to the trash bin, we need to return to the truths contained in the word of God and uphold and proclaim them.

John Gilman

London, U.K.

Ulterior motives of immigration reform

Ask those pastors who support immigration reform to outline what is in the immigration reform that they particularly like. Fifty-eight percent have no clue to what they support.

Our federal government labels a bill with a wonderful-sounding name and makes it law. After all, who would be opposed to a “Feed the Hungry Children” law. Make the immigration-reform law contingent upon waiting 10 years before getting voting rights and then only if the immigrants have a clean record and no welfare. Suddenly, many politicians will lose interest in the whole idea.

It’s not about reform but getting 11 million new grateful voters.

Fred Rosenbaum


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