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Modern Day Lepers, Part 2

June 29, 2013



“31When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 vI was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,6 you did it to me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.42 For iI was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Congratulations ABC-11! You managed to engender enough furor over your expose’ of St. Augustine University’s giving two ex-felons a chance to cause the administration to re-assign both to different duties (thankfully the University still stood their ground and kept them on staff). How proud you must feel to have accomplished this great feat!
Since their release from prison have not these women lived lives that demonstrate their remorse over their past deeds and a desire to live productive lives again? Are they and all other ex-felons not to be granted a chance to benefit the life of the state of North Carolina? Perhaps you and those who criticized St. Augustine’s administration for their decision to hire these women willing to just keep anyone who ever commits any crime locked up permanently? Is that what you want; to get ‘tough on crime’ by forever locking up anyone who commits a crime?
The mindset that you demonstrated in your story and follow-up is demonstrative of something that is not well thought out just from a financial viewpoint. If, as it seems from your initial ‘story’ and follow-up, you do believe that no ex-felons deserve a chance at living productive lives and you would rather just keep us locked up forever, are you and those who ‘liked’ your story able to pay the tax burden that will accrue from such a decision? Are you able and willing to hound such individuals and those who try to give them a second chance until all that is left for us is to “re-offend” just to keep food on our tables and clothes on our backs?
While at the prison in Monroe, I remember seeing a huge church building (the name will not be mentioned here) less than ¼ mile away from the fence I looked out from. Yet despite this proximity not one of those ‘Christians’ volunteered at the camp or did anything to reach out to the men imprisoned there. Perhaps they never read the part of the Gospels where Messiah commands all believers to reach out to the hungry, thirsty, sick and to those in prison (Matthew 25:31-46). You would probably applaud such behavior as correct toward the modern day lepers; perhaps you should go to that ‘church’ and do a story on their bravery in shunning the men who were in prison as beyond redemption.
Cannot we as a society reach out to give a hand up to those who have committed crimes but have demonstrated a changed heart and a desire to benefit society instead of being a burden? Why is this not acceptable to you? Perhaps you would feel more comfortable if such lepers were kept isolated in our own areas; release from one prison only to be locked up in another, because that is what is happening over and over again to those of us who have been released and cannot find meaningful work! Stories like yours that decry those who do give us a chance are making it ever harder for those coming out of prisons to re-start their lives; they remove any hope that we may have in being successful, law-abiding citizens again, so what alternative do we have? Either exist in some sub-culture on the public dole or do something that results in our being locked up again (essentially the same thing, except the second does provide job security for those employed by the prisons). Is that the only contribution we will be allowed to do?

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