Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sentenced to Church

A teen aged boy, who smashed his truck while driving under the influence and thereby killing one of the passengers, has been sentenced by the court to ten years in church. What is the judge thinking when he decides on such a sentence? Does he believe that association with Christian people will make him a better person? Or, that he will develop a conscience and feel remorse? Or, "holy by association"? And what are the other members of the church he attends to think? Will they feel an obligation to train this youngster to abstain from drink, drive safely, and obey all traffic laws? What is the punishment in this sentence? To associate with Christians is a punishment?

This story caught my eye because of a story recounted to me when I worked at Ford in 1950. Tom, one of the senior draftsmen in my department had served in WWII as an infantryman. He landed in France on "D Day" plus two and had fought through France and Germany until the end of the war. After seven months in the field, the military paper "Stars and Stripes" told about a group of soldiers that had formed a group that was stealing military supplies and selling them on the black market. This profiteering group was caught, tried and found guilty. They were sentenced to serve on the front lines. About a week later, Tom's unit discovered that the some of the sentenced men were serving in a unit next to them. Tom said the regular soldiers were talking among themselves and saying: "What the hell an I doing fighting here, I didn't steel anything, I am not a thief. I should be home and let all the thieves fight this war." He said that his unit felt it was an injustice for them. Tom said that the original group of 85 men, with whom he had landed, had been reduced to 39 by the end of the war. Not all killed but many injured and returned to the States.

Are there any members of the church that feel the same way the soldiers did? "What the hell am I doing here, I didn't kill anybody by driving drunk."


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