To help us understand today’s justice system, Bishop Joseph W. Walker III of Mt. Zion Baptist Church points to Chapter 5 in the book of Mark. Jesus and His disciples arrived in the region of Gadara and encountered a man possessed with multiple demons:
He lived among the tombs. And no one could constrain him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. But he had pulled the chains apart and broken the shackles to pieces. And no one could subdue him. Always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones (Mark 5:3-5).
The man was bound up—spiritually and literally. It is not said whether this was the community’s go-to method or its last resort; either way, Walker posits that it isn’t much different from how our society handles a “problem child.”
“What causes people to choose an oppressive mechanism as a remedy?” he says. “Too many use a nonredemptive approach to deliverance that is in conflict with the teaching of Jesus. Rather than use a model that liberates the man, they seek to tie him up further.”
Having sat in courtrooms and visited prisons and jails, Walker is familiar with how those in power treat those in need of rehabilitation.
A good example is the story of Cyntoia Brown.
In 2004, at the age of 16, Brown shot a man who had picked her up in his truck and solicited her for sex. Convicted of murder (and robbery), Brown was given a life sentence.
Walker was among the many who lobbied for clemency in Brown’s case. Members of his church were already working with Brown through a faith-based mentoring program. Eventually, in January 2019, Brown was granted clemency. Come August, she will be released.
Despite the victory, Walker highlights the case as an example of an oppressed individual facing more oppression in the name of so-called justice.
Walker says, “People who are plagued by systematic oppression caused by social inequities such as unequal education and impoverished neighborhoods that are riddled with crime, drugs and sex trafficking more frequently find themselves in the criminal justice system.”
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SOURCE: Charisma News, Rachel Sammons