Compassionate Is As Compassionate Does

By Rev. Robert Lee . . . You might have heard quotes like these before: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” or “Judge not lest you be judged.” I’ve heard people quote these words many times, but not everyone knows the context, which is Biblical. In the story, a woman was accused of sexual sin and, according to the ancient law, brought out in front of everyone by religious leaders to be stoned. Her situation is also being exploited by them in order to discredit Jesus, who, instead of being discredited, with His love and compassion, showed them that no one, including each of them, is without sin, thus causing them to spare her life.

This story shows a cold and ruthless hypocrisy that has become an epidemic, one that has disenfranchised many, especially those on sexual offense registries.

A Gallup poll conducted in 2018 analyzed religious affiliation in each state. Residents were asked what faith they identified with, and the most popular answer was Protestant Christianity. But what states were the most religious? And which the least, according to self-reporting?

According to the poll, the top 3 states with the highest percentage of practicing Christians are Alabama at 77%, Mississippi at 75%, and Arkansas at 72%. States that were close to these were Tennessee, Georgia, West Virginia, South Carolina, Oklahoma and North Carolina.  Roughly 3 out of 4 people in these states claim to be Christians.

This poll also discloses the other end of the spectrum, surveying states whose residents claim no religion. These are close in percentage, with many ties. They are Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Vermont, Oregon, Maine and Colorado.

An important question at this point is what does this have to do with sexual offense registry issues.

When taking this poll at face value, what states would you assume would most exemplify the Biblical teachings of compassion and mercy, as shown in the earlier Biblical story, when dealing with sexual offenders? Which states would you assume, in their mandated responsibility to maintain a registry and notification protocol, would most likely reflect the tenets of Christianity such as compassion, forgiveness, mercy, and pity, espousing rational sexual offense laws and open to the concepts of restorative justice and fact-based criminal justice reform?

While no state is free of misery and pain caused by the registry, some are clearly harsher than others.

Alabama, the “most Christian” state, is one of few states whose registry places a restriction scheme on not only residency but also employment. This limitation is across the board with no tier system to differentiate. An offender who was convicted 30 years ago of a misdemeanor crime can’t work at a McDonald’s that’s 1,998 feet from a daycare or school, even if the crime didn’t involve a child or a minor. Moreover, Alabama has a lifetime registry requirement for all, whether the conviction was for indecent exposure or forced rape. All registrants must report every three months to redundantly submit an exhaustive list of private information. Alabama has been trying and continues to try to require chemical castration of its sexual offense parolees. Alabama is one of very few states to brand registrants’ driving licenses. Little about this state’s policies toward registrants could be said to be compassionate or merciful.

However, Alabama is the state claiming more than any other that its citizens hold to the teachings of Jesus, whose compassion and mercy to all, and especially to those shunned by the rest of society, was unconditional.

Yet one could say that Alaska and several of the non-religious states are leaps and bounds closer to having policies that show forgiveness and compassion. Alaska does not have a blanket footage restriction on employment or residency. Those convicted of non-aggravated offenses are only required to register for 15 years. Registrants only have to report once a year to verify their information. They can be removed from the registry if they do not reoffend.  When reviewing the statutes, the rules are clear and brief when compared to Alabama’s elaborate requirements.

The other states identified as Christian from the poll all have their own extensive residency, employment, and presence restrictions that apply to registrants. The non-religious states have none of these limitations, with the exception of Oregon and Washington which apply some restrictions to those labeled as “violent predators.”

Arkansas and Georgia, two of the most religious states, have implemented a malicious aspect to their residency restrictions involving churches. In Georgia, a state that also has a blanket lifetime registry, the law states that no offender can live or work 1000 feet from a church. This is even if the church doesn’t have a day care. But this monstrous restraint also encompasses volunteering at a church. Law enforcement officers in Georgia have stated that registrants who wished to volunteer in church positions would be in violation. And registered offenders in North Carolina who are on parole are prohibited from even attending church. The states that include churches in their restrictions are ironically those who are, according to the poll, the most “Christian.”

What states seem to continually clamor for more aggressive and heinous laws? What states come to mind when thinking of tearing children from their homes, posting signs in yards to shame registrants, and requiring senseless GPS monitoring?

Conversely, what states are slowly but surely making strides of reform? What states come to mind when seeing small victories towards implementation of more rational laws? What states make an honest attempt to assess each offender to determine his or her threat or likelihood of reoffense?

From every appearance, an inverse relationship seems clear. Those states that, according to their own self-evaluations, do not depend on the tenets of an organized religion to help them govern seem to embrace those tenets to a reasonably high degree. And the states that should, according to their self-profession of a faith that holds forgiveness and love as key tenets, seem to possess little to none of either when it comes to their governance of those who have convictions for any type of sexual crime.

An ancient Roman poet named Phaedrus said, ““Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many,” and Shakespeare wrote of one of his characters, “One can smile and smile and be a villain.”

Both seem to have application here.

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Robert Lee

Robert is one of two Alabama NARSOL contacts working on behalf of persons on the registry. He is a former school teacher who is now a chaplain and pastor.

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    • #62182 Reply
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      Old Offender

      Forgiveness is so seldom practiced in far too many churches in the South. No matter what the issues sex offender restrictions, long mandatory sentences, death penalty, all seem to be the most prevalent in “Christian” states. I have even heard one church supporting the death penalty for ALL sex offenders.

    • #62190 Reply
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      aurelius

      Villains who twirl their moustaches and scoff at God are easy to spot. Villains who clothe themselves in good deeds and claim to know God well are well camouflaged. People like these will always be with us, waiting for the right climate in which to flourish, spreading fear and intolerance in the name of righteousness. Vigilance is a price we have to continually pay.

    • #62195 Reply
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      Steve D

      With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion.

    • #62204 Reply
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      Saddles

      “Les we forget” Sure that is very important. I even wonder why government isn’t compassionate but would stick a plea deal in another’s face or is due process an option in a lot of these cases., and at the end of the trial outcome, weather good or bad., you made a choice, or why people can’t live around kids in many area’s.

      Why do we even have this imaginary bible belt or this seperation of state in this war type of issue sex based camelflague, or are many of these vain justice ordeals so unreasonable. This is an eye-openor article on here or should we say “les we forget” in double time marches around one’s state capital.

      Sure we’ve all talked about protest’s of some sorts in previous article’s but remember there is power in number’s or even one person can make a difference. Sure I hate hearing some of this bad new’s for the many that are involved in all this tactic. Trapping someone is trapping and its well… you made a choice.

      Like I said on here at one time to my detective. No I didn’t make a choice I made a decision big difference is you have decernment and he sort of doubled back on that one. I’m sure the writer of this article know’sthat its always not to second guess. Those police know what they are doing and their plan.

      One could talk about discrimination laws and that didn’t amount to to much but with this sex registry thing its a bit kyotic. While presidents and Governors can pardon just like the navy seal in recent days we all have our job cut out for us and and sure if it comes down to protest than that is what it is in many or much of this ordeal.

    • #62218 Reply
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      wihz

      In creating the policies and procedures for everything they do to registrants, the cops and officials ignore the consequences because they feel excluded and above the whole deal. So until they see the damage they do on a personal level many will show no sympathy.

      If it’s a clear conscience they really want well it starts with showing compassion and decency. But apparently a pay check and an office are more important and that justifying the system is more important than finding its faults and trying to make things fair.

      In the movie “Troy” King Pryam visits Achilles after their fight and basically asks him to show some decency and give him back his son Prince Hector. Afterward Achilles views the mangled remains of Hector and weeps. But he didn’t weep while he had a good time dragging Hector across the terrain to humiliate “the Trojans”! He needed to see what he’d done to Pryam’s “son” (and not just “a Trojan”) to see why it was wrong.

      Likewise, people need to be shown the cruelty of their actions. That everyone is someone’s “father, mother, son or daughter” and not just a “registered sex offender” or a “criminal”. The good thing is there are reasonable people, however most people are indeed vengeful and it doesn’t make things better when they hear gut-wrenching stories. Just as how Agamemnon rallied the Spartans to join the Greeks’ cause under false pretense, many politicians do the same thing with the media frenzy and public outcry to further their agenda. But nobody stops to think about the consequences. Reaction over reason, overriding compassion and decency.

    • #62225 Reply
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      Tim in WI

      Dear Rev. Lee,
      The database has no soul, no compassion, no faith, it feels no heartbeats nor heartbreaks; only fixed memory and an insatiable need to be fed data and proliferate it endlessly en duplici ad nauseam. Too few comprehend the danger from a centralized authority via the infrastructure. The database machines are Atheists the truest sense and as programmable to do many biddings benevolent or not! Imagine if KING George had such a device, Orwell did. So had a man named Asimov. Are not Mr. Besos & Mr. Gates competing for gov cloud computing contracts worth billions even trillions of future tax dollars? All this in a nation already spending 20 billion per state in deficit spending, the continuous temp resolutions, that obscure formal budgets. OUR CHILDREN ARE COMPELLED TO PURCHASE ID THEFT PROTECTION! They’ve been sold out to big brothers distorted sense of liberty. That could not have occurred without the DOE rulings.

    • #62230 Reply
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      Saddles

      You know Tim and whiz you are right as many others on here. Sure we can all talk about this ill conceived Sex Registry but where is the real logic and basis of all this. Where is the basic factors. Sure I graduated in 75 which I should of graduated in 73. I’m lucky I even graduated or had the momentum or effort.

      Sure we had a big dope seems and era’s back in those days. And yes we had guns in fact my brother was a big gun collector but he was still in College studying at Philippi WVA and his eight year term to be a dentist. Sure I was somewhat the black sheep of the family if I want to call myself that. Even had a few run in’s in Huntington. I really didn’t know how the kids would accept me in that day.

      We didn’t have any computer stuff like we have today. Moved over to Virginia in the as my sister and husband was already settled here and VA is a whole different issue. They just started to get computers going but government has found a way to capitalize on much of this registry. I look at a lot of this Computer stuff in bad taste for many or a lot of American’s but governments are seldom compassionate to all that.

      Sure you could buy beer at a certain age in WVA and one could go right across the bridge into Ohio and buy beer at a lesser age or the percentage of the beer if I remember. And now many of us are faced with this internet thing in this decade. Sure releigon and faith and even this gun control issue thing is a bit over protective in a lot of measures. So were is the compassion today in America. Even a lot of this Vietnam was a bit too much.

    • #62235 Reply
      Charlie
      Charlie
      Moderator

      It was the “religiosity” of the day that allowed the men the right to stone the “woman caught in the act of adultery.” What is left out, based on the bias of the day was, if she were “caught in the act” where is the man? Wouldn’t he too be guilty.
      It seems that the falsely pious were living a double standard, and it was this that was pointed out. While I believe we should all own our own sins, there is often socially supported hate for another’s sin, and an excuse for our own.
      Bible belt not withstanding, it isn’t the Christian that determines the nature or use of the registry, it is the person, in the form of our collective “representatives” who set this thing in place and feed the beast. For evil to flourish, the good only need do nothing.
      I would like to believe that intelligent people, if offered truth, would not support any registry scheme. It is the evil that is our political and media institutions that activily deceive, but our collective apathy that enables it to occur.

    • #62239 Reply
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      Saddles

      You know Charlie I welcomed that view as so do many others and you are right in many ways to get a handle on all this. It even reminds me of my dad going with me and us challenging my school board expellsion. and is very good reasoning in this issue many of us face. And yes any parent wants their kids to graduate.

      You even brought up the stoning and that is the same thing my PO brought up to me on our first visit . I’m glad they don’t have that practice today.

    • #62244 Reply
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      Tim in WI

      Saddles
      Around 75 I was introduced to COBAL, by 14 yrs I was a formidable and prolific progammer. I was correcting high schoolers comp. tech homework for cash for a teacher & uncle. By the time my high school starting with Apple’s I was fixing grades for cash. Though new to the school as a freshmen, bullied and not so popular, became popular with the jock set AND the National Honor Society kids, because of those skills. Those folks needed the good grades to be who they were, Class President \ prom king committed suicide at 19. His name was Andy. Back then expectations on students in rural WI were high. A high GPA was absolutely necessary for entrance into UW, who were tougher than Harvard then for entrance. I guess I’m exposing how and why I know what the saints ARE up too. Saddles we spent 1T in deficit spending in 18, that’s 20B per state coughed up without process nor budget appropriations. Control is the only way to maintain such an oversight and absurdity. What rational person could support it? All the rage now in the press is impeachment, first the Russians -btw we’re getting rides to International space station from them at 80M per AND to whom we sold uranium. Now it’s Ukraine blah blah blah, Biden’s kid, The Don excoriated for the exposure embarrassing the Dems. Not that the phony right wing pseudo religious nuts are any better, nor less extreme and the first to banish from the flock. Excommunication is hardly new to that crowd. The plain indenture of human to database machine will not bode well for humanity. When the need of machine outpaces the need for humanity the re: public is dead.

    • #62253 Reply
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      Saddles

      I’m sure many know about the game show jeapordy or the doudle standard of winning principals. Methods of winning in any standards of crap or maybe some are afraid of an Ed Bedinggar Course in public speaking.
      Sure one can look at all this sex offender registry stuff as a double standard game in a lot of ways. One can even look at government in the same way but it comes down to principal in this Emancipation Proclamation type ordeal and yes who is using the sword unjustly.

      One can go with the wisdom of Soloman or the wisdom of the U.S.A. but in reality we all need to clean up these registry ordeal’s in many ways. Now Tim has brought up a very good point and so has the modator Chariie and many others on here. Sure I’m all for laws and justice but many times law has gotten out of hand even with this sex offender ordeal in many ways.

      Sure one can be a pacifist or one can fight for true justice for all in this proclamation type of radical inducement. Sure when true values and biblical values clash or colide than should we all go back to England and understand this principal better or should we all take a look at the way things are handled. Value and principal play a much needed part in American understanding for any true Government.

      Sure at times I have made gramacical errors on here. Even at times I dont’ even know why I even come here or if I even contribute being on NARSOL hearing and perticipating in so many view’s when the whole reasoning of NARSOL is to radify with rational laws, or the abolishment of the registry, or the reform of many of these laws and to help others with these understandings and not be let down in each and everyone’s plight to understand all this devious ordeal on mankind.

      Sure we can take a look at Howard Tafts quote “We have a government of limited power under the Constitution, and we have got to work out our problems on the basis of law.” Contributing to any worthy cause is always good but someone first has to step up to the bat and thats NARSOL and many others, or should we all throw up our hands. So were is compassion today in many of these unseemly ordeals. One wonders. Are we still fightening this religious war between the states in the 21st Century.or should we say don’t give up the ship.

    • #62256 Reply
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      Saddles

      While I’m sorry for that bit of outburst. While I feel like many or much of this registry is a bit much is like writing as term paper in high school or History 101. These things are not right even in many view’s of man and government. The main point is who is being taken advantaged of. I apologize to NARSOL as we are only guest on NARSOL.

      Yes I love all these colorful view’s and sure we all have obstacals to overcome with this Rational or irrational view of the sex offender registry. Yes we can all use callous judgement in many types of ways but offending is not the norm in an government so forgive me. Taking vengance is no good but standing up is much better for truth and moral justice.

    • #62346 Reply
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      James

      An excellent article that brings awareness to an important issue facing the church. Just like Bonhoeffer was in speaking out against the Nazi regime, we need more courageous voices like yours to speak out against this modern injustice where the Church has largely fallen silent.

      Not all Christians see registrants as branded with an indelible stain worthy of ostracism and banishment. I believe we Christians represent the real church, because I see that’s how Jesus treated the people in his world.

    • #62349 Reply
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      Saddles

      Rev Lee this is a well written article and yes as we go into thanksgivig we all still have hope that compassion springs ups like a fountain and that all loved one’s will be free of a lot of this atrocious sex registry ordeal that many of us face. and to all those loved ones and Narsol… Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    • #62357 Reply
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      Saddles

      Reflecting on the many comments on here and view’s of many in past articles one would have to say were is compassion today in this registry or much of these ordeals.. Even old offender said govenment has lost it in forgiveness. Sure we can all have a grace period in common law’s such as real estate and things of that nature but many times its like a you bow down to my orders which can be taken too far many times.

      Even the modrator gave a good comparison or should we all go back and review No time for sargent, or is it a lock em up ,or let them eat cake or I’m the boss in this mixed view of man’s government doctrine.
      At many times one even feels blessed just to get probation instead of prison but in the end as charlie has given an example from the bible about these adultorus type actions who is actually doing the evil practice, who is bias in this webb of deceit many go thru. Who is bowing down to who with this sexual , root based carnality.

      If one actually looks at much of the big picture where is the compassion in much or many of these sex registry ordeals. Its like a one sized girdle that is squeezing family members apart in many or much of these ordeals induced by Government so where is the compassion in these riff’s. Homelessness well thats a big factor.

      Much of forgiveness is gone in this truth and true American Justice. Understanding true values is loving and caring and not playing this limbo game or who is going over the line. Myself I’ve just about had it with this whole ordeal but taking a look at helping is others is good in any field one goes whether it be theology, public relations, or even in corrections but in all these fields its using and not abusing in this legalists with no conservative principal’s at all. Many or much of the registry doesn’t make sense.

    • #62392 Reply
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      Saddles

      I was listening to this auido on”Can they do that” the other night and find it very interesting. Yes I’ve been having my ups and downs since Oct and even getting a bit upset with myself, trying to get my little home business restarted again also trying to keep from being depressed and being active but at time age mother nature can take it’s toll on one.

      The audio was very interesting with Larry as host and even Mr. King. Even the questions and answers. I took some notes and in this “officer pretending” gray areaplus this this creating offenses. Even “post and pre temptation” or “suggestive young age” on an adult site was interesting. I even liked the illusion of how they made some believe a lie to snare to get someone to drive down their in this exploiting game. I didn’t know human exploitation went that far. Actually who is stoning who or is this some Old Testment commmandment to covet.

      I liked Mr. Kings answers in putting some rhyme into reason on this and a hearing a few of his suggestful challenge’s. Creating offenses is like leading one away in much of this jezabel ordeal. Ministers or servants don’t use suggestive pursuading or should we have a jezabel law act constructed by legislation. Anyway you look at it someone is blinded by this overshadow in many or much of these binding ordeals.

      Stepping up to the plate is good and I’m glad NARSOL is being up the calvery to abolish the registry or this exploiting of these gray challenges. And yes we can alldo our part as much of this is very uncomfortable to many and the poor souls incarracted in many of these ordeals.

    • #62404 Reply
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      Saddles

      Seems like we are all can and should be perturbed in much of this internet ordeal but remember -if you do evil be afraid. So who plays with one’s consicense in this game of challenge or if someone wants to use the word “Game of Thorns” in this ackward type of ordeal.

      Sure nothing wrong with many of these view points on here but its the understanding of which way to go to end much of this registry. Yes their are limits to everything as in one of the quotes from a past president.

      If government rules than who is using the three letter word (why) to justify everything Government does or should one go back to “Nobody tells me what to do” in this unorthodox ordeal we all face. Should someone go on “Face the Nation” and complain about this or ravocate this in many ways to make some scense of this sex registry ordeal that is callous in many ways in this Government upheaval of man’s government for the people.

      I have to agree with Charlie the modator’s view point in many ways in a lot of these injustices of man and this type “witch hunts” as many have said in past years on here. Even some lawyers are having a somewhat hard time understarding this and presenting a good case and thus throw in the towel and leaving the client without representation so in many cases the only choice is to take a plea deal. Compassion is very important and so is understanding.

    • #62420 Reply
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      SupportOurConstitution

      First…my anti-religion brother treats me like a human and has let me go of my past.
      I am very grateful for his position towards me.

      Second..Folks who regularly attend Protestant Christian churches are in large part unaware of what their Bibles actually say..or mean.
      There is little, if any, personal study for themselves happening, as well as true exposition of Scripture taking place from the pulpit.
      This accounts for a large portion of these folks’ (…those who attend church regularly or admit their faith…) lack of knowledge.
      This lack then inserts itself into their decision making process.

      Then there is the component of the folks who might know some Scripture…but malign its true meaning.

      This leads me to the Scriptures that are probably the most used Scriptures in all of the 66 books…to REFUTE…the distribution of grace, mercy, forgiveness, and restoration to the S.O. by the “Christian”:

      Matthew 18:5-7

      Matthew 18:5-7 English Standard Version (ESV)
      5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
      7 “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!

      Jesus was NOT talking about someone molesting children and then ultimately their demise earned from such action.

      Upon research of these Scriptures, one will find that He was speaking of someone drawing away the “child” to a belief system other than the one He came to institute.

      But alas…it’s easier to use this “verse from the Bible” as a deterrent for the S.O. to be within the “Christian”‘s presence. Especially on any given Sunday. Why?…the “Christian” loves their wife or child more than they love the S.O. .

      Since the non-religious person knows nothing of this Scripture…they are unable to use it against the S.O. …like the “Christian” will.

      That is what we are dealing with everyone.

      Fortunately…as some of us know…TRUE “little Jesus’s.”..DO exist.

      (…and I am grateful for every one them that are in my life.)

    • #66234 Reply
      Avatar
      Maestro

      Does anyone know of a state or states that do NOT require a FORMER registrant to have to re-register if they moved to that state?
      Suppose you lived in RI and you completed your registration requirements and then moved to Alabama. Would Alabama put you on their registry even though you technically don’t have to register anymore?
      I’ve read somewhere that Nevada does not do this practice. Does anyone know of other states that don’t?
      Thanks.

      • #66303 Reply
        Fred
        Fred
        Admin

        I don’t know the answer. Our Wiki page highlights the requirements of each state when a registrant or former registrant moves to them.
        https://narsol.org/dokuwiki

    • #66301 Reply
      Robert Lee
      Rev. Robert

      Maestro-If the state has a lifetime registry, one would have to register regardless. So lets say in Texas someone is only required to register for 10 years. If they move to Alabama or the like, they would have to register according to those states laws which defines their crime as a lifetime registration.

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