Canon David Winter  
Saturday, 14 November, 2009, 08:32 AM - Winter
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Questions are being raised about the release of a 16 year old rapist after the parents of one of his victims told the court that their Christian beliefs meant they must forgive him. They then smiled, clutched their bibles to their chests and repeatedly sang verses of "Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya", to the general admiration and appreciation of the court, while their son cried in the corner.

Should a judge take account of the opinions of a victim's relatives' Invisible Magic Friend? It's a tough one and just goes to show what a complicated business forgiveness is. In this case it's even tougher since the accused, who had been repeatedly involved in luring younger boys for sex since the age of 13, immediately raped a five year old upon his release.

What went wrong in this case? Well it's not my job to tell the courts how they should treat offenders. That's my Invisible Magic Friend's job. Those foolish parents and the equally foolish judge, didn't read the words of the Invisible Magic Friend properly. I'm amazed that anyone could read the Big Book of Magic Stuff and come away confused about how they should behave. I mean it's not as if there's anything ambiguous or contradictory in it. It's pretty clear forgiveness only comes after true repentance, in much the same way as the Invisible Magic Friend only forgives you once you've repented for being the way he made you.

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