Scott Lively on Mercy for Traitors
When I operated my own Christian law firm in Southern California, the Scripture that defined our mission was Micah 6:8 “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” We recognized a duty to pursue justice but to balance justice with mercy in a spirit of humility.
Justice must be the first priority – requiring an objective, unbiased assessment of the facts of a matter. Once the true facts are known to the best of our ability to discern them (often requiring a trial since opposing parties usually have their own perspective of the facts), then we analyze those facts according to the laws that govern the subjects at issue. That determines how the matter should be judged. Only when judgement according to law is made does the question of the remedy become relevant – and to what extent, if any, mercy should be extended to the party under judgment.
Every law school student knows this formula as “the IRAC:” Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion. It is the most basic mechanism for administering the rule of law, as ancient as the Garden of Eden – but it can only work in a society that holds Objective Truth as its highest judicial priority. Whenever Truth is suppressed to serve anyone’s self-interests, the result is by definition “unjust.” Thus, our symbol of the rule of law is Lady Justice, holding a balancing scale in her hand and wearing a blindfold over her eyes.
Now, my purpose here is not primarily to offer a primer on the rule of law but to address the concept of mercy in the judiciary process as it relates to the matter of holding the criminals of the deep state accountable for their treason in the ongoing but largely defeated coup d’etat against President Trump.
Indeed, the symbol of “justice” in this nation since the Marxists took power over this nation in the mid-20th century, is a blackened statue of Lady Justice atop a trash can filled with burning Bibles and copies of the US Constitution. The traitors working to enslave us to globalism openly brag that their self-serving agenda justifies any means to achieve it – the anithesis of the rule of law.
I’m assuming in this article that President Trump, as the Commander in Chief of the growing army of nationalist patriots presently in rebellion against the deep state, will hold the criminals accountable. Things look very hopeful in that regard. So, as a Christian lawyer I’m thinking ahead to consider what tactics the Marxists might use when they realize they can’t escape justice per the rule of law they so despise.
I’m predicting that the Marxists’ fellow travelers in the “Religious Left” will suddenly rediscover and begin to preach the Biblical admonition to be merciful and to “forgive” those who have trespassed against our nation and people.
First, it must be noted that many of these folks on the religious left are actually psuedo-Christians, because even though they may meet in buildings with a cross over the door, their theology is three parts humanism and one part church tradition, with a smattering of out-of-context Bible quotations around the edges. That’s not Christianity, but merely “Christian flavored Humanism.” Fortunately, most of those congregations can be easily identified by prominently displayed LGBT flags of conquest. Their opinion on Christian theology is about as trustworthy as Jussie Smollet’s hate-hoax police report.
But there are also, alarmingly, growing numbers of left-drifting but still nominally Christian churches and denominations being lured away from the Bible into deviously packaged “social justice” ideology being spread through Soros-funded church-infiltration efforts. Some of these, similar to the once respectable magazine Christianity Today, still have undeserved influence in Christendom.
My purpose, therefore, is to get out ahead of the “forgive the traitors” public relations campaign with four simple observations about justice, mercy and forgiveness.
One. You only have the authority to forgive what was done to you. You have no power to forgive what was done to someone else. In His model prayer for Christians, Jesus said “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.” Christians have a duty to forgive what was done to us. We have no duty, or right to forgive what was done to others, and in fact, have a duty to hold perpetrators to account for what they have done to others.
Consider this scenario: You’re standing in a line, and a bully comes along and begins to slap each person in the face. You get slapped first, but Jesus said you have a duty to forgive the slap, so you do so. Your Christian wife gets slapped next. She has the duty to forgive as well. But you, her Christian husband, have no duty or right to forgive any attack on her, but do have a duty to defend her, and can attack the attacker, even preemptively.
We occasionally see news stories of Christian parents “forgiving” the murderer of their child. Biblically speaking they can forgive the indirect injury to themselves for loss of the relationship with their murdered child, but they have no right or power to forgive the murder itself because it wasn’t done to them.
Two, no individual, including a Judge, has the authority to “forgive” a criminal for any crime, (unless that power was expressly granted to him in the governing law – such as the power of state governors and the president to issue pardons). Why, because a crime is a harm to society as a whole – distinct from a “tort” which is a harm done to a individual. That’s what distinguishes civil from criminal procedures. The person harmed can dismiss a civil lawsuit against a defendant, but they technically have no right to dismiss a criminal complaint against a defendant, even in situations like spousal abuse, because the harm was actually to all of society because it was society’s law that was broken – and all lawbreaking hurts us all collectively because of the importance of the rule of law itself.
Three, anyone with authority to judge any matter can exercise mercy, but mercy must always be balanced in the scales of justice against the effect that mercy for the perpetrator will have on the victim. This is the primary “secular” rationale for the death penalty. Biblically, one who intentionally takes a human life has forfeited his own, but the secular argument in support of the biblical law is that failure to execute a convicted murderer diminishes faith in the rule of law and encourages vigilantism.
Conversely, the justice/mercy balance tips to the favor of the perpetrator for so-called “victimless” crimes – which often are only crimes because the government has made them so (in the Latin “malum prohibitum” evil because it’s prohibited), not because they are wrong in themselves (“malum in se” evil in itself).
Four, those who commit the crime of treason must be held accountable and their punishment must be sufficiently severe to deter others from following suit, which is why treason is a capital offence. If, through the pursuit of true justice, according to the true rule of law, the objective facts lead an honest and impartial Judge or Jury to conclude that the crime of treason was committed by the various perpetrators of the attempted coup against President Trump, they would be subject to the death penalty per the law of this land.
It would not be President Trump’s right as a person to forgive those crimes because they were perpetrated against all of us.
It would, however, be within his right to pardon them as the nation’s Chief Executive.
Their fate would thus rest in the very hands of the one they tried to destroy. And in that moment, they would remember all their false accusations against him and hope (perhaps even pray) that Donald Trump is the rough-edged but genuine Christian we supporters know him to be – able to temper Justice with Mercy.
(To be clear, I do not support the death penalty for treason unless it is the proximate cause of the death of Americans.)