Generous Orthodoxy  




Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Rehabilitation of Martha Stewart

As of early March, Ms. Stewart appears to be ready to make a triumphal re-entry into society, with "no regrets and no remorse" and her company apparently on the rebound. At the same time, large numbers of obscure malefactors are released from American prisons with no one to care about them or offer them a hand up. Even more important, there is almost no sentiment in America to support a thorough overhaul of the prison system with an emphasis on rehabilitation of felons. Discrepancies such as this can remind us of the injustices that the Lord so clearly cares about and that Jesus so clearly condemns.

The widespread enthusiasm for Martha Stewart's "return" can be interpreted in terms of Christian forgiveness provided that it is combined with equally positive, pro-active support of the restoration of non-celebrity prisoners to society. At the same time it is questionable whether a non-remorseful ex-con should be given the same sort of party as the father gave the deeply repentant prodigal son. As with so much else, it is a matter of proportion.