Rich, great article and I applaud your research and talent for writing. I agree with the majority of the points you made. However, redemption looks different for everyone! Also, the examples you gave of those who were convicted of other crimes than sex offenses, are they really redeemed? Maybe they don’t feel so, I don’t know. We are taking a narrow definition of redemption, our own, and making it fit on someone else.
Next, what are we doing about helping those who don’t feel redeemed? Are we just perpetuating the “I am a victim” mentality? I am on the Sex Offender registry and I am not a victim. I am on the registry because of poor choices and many other reasons that led to me making those poor choices. To me, being redeemed doesn’t mean that society accepts me because I am a registered citizen, or that I receive numerous awards or recognition for being successful in my field of study or employment. One definition of shame is believing that I am something, or for example, that I am a Sex Offender. That is only a label put on someone by another person and that label neither defines a person nor determines what they will do in the future.
Lastly, to me, redemption is between me and my Maker and the only kind of redemption that counts. Redemption for me, is being forgiven by those who are most important in my life. I don’t have as good a job as I did before I was arrested, but I have a job, I have a place to live, and I successfully go through each day trying to make better choices than the choices that placed me on a list. However, that is my definition of redemption and I don’t try and place that definition on anyone else.
I am not pointing fingers, I am not trying to start an argument, and I am certainly not trying to cause division within an organization that is trying to accomplish good for those who find themselves on the registry. My main point is what I pointed out earlier, “what are we doing to help those who don’t feel redeemed and how best can we help them?” I don’t believe the answer is found in “I am a victim.”