Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Verdict and Conviction

One of my friends asked me why I have not blogged on the not guilty verdict of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.  I usually do not follow court cases closely, but I did on this one and I would often ask others their opinions at get togethers.

But why haven't I written about it?

I have tried to steer clear of things that are political in nature on this blog unless it has to do with issues of faith or pop culture.  And it is very clear that this trial has become a political football.

The reason why I try to avoid these topics is because I can be have strong convictions about them.  I know that sounds counter-intuitive; if you have strong convictions, should that be a stronger reason to write?

But unlike my convictions of faith, which are everything to me, or my convictions about art, which are by their nature subjective, political convictions are a bit different.  These convictions are not merely matters of opinion or taste.  I don't address the question about whether I like abortion of capital punishment.  Political convictions deal with beliefs regarding objective reality.  I really believe that this or that particular issue is objectively better for myself and the community at large.

And yet, I do not stand on the surety of faith here.  My conviction in the truths taught by the Catholic faith is something for which I would go to the cross.  I would (God give me strength) die for this conviction.

But I would not go to the cross over what tax policy I think is wisest.  I would not lay down my life on the question of gun control.  I hope that in these areas where I am not certain, I should be open minded to good arguments from either side.

On this blog I know that I speak boldly about the Catholic faith.  Should I speak as boldly on political matters, could not some conflate religious conviction (which is certain) and political conviction (which is not)?  And I don't discount myself from this problem.  I struggle to keep the two distinct.  Of course religious conviction should inform your political conviction.  It must.  But in my struggles in faith, I know that my ultimate opponent is Satan.  If I mix that with my political conviction, I might too easily mistake my political opponents as demons, not fellow children of God.

And even though this is a murder trial, the media has made it political.  Members of congress, popular journalists, and even the President of the United States have weighed in on this.

So, with that in mind, here is my analysis of the Zimmerman case.

-Martin did nothing wrong when he went to the store to get Skittles
-Zimmerman did nothing wrong when he initially called the police.  There had been 8 burglaries in his neighborhood in the past 14 months, one while a young mother had to barricade herself in her bedroom.  The police told him to back away.  I do not know if it was right for Zimmerman to still pursue.
-The only one who knows who started the fight is Zimmerman.
-Martin stood over a knocked down Zimmerman and continued to beat him.  If Zimmerman fought back, he never landed a significant hit.
-From this position, Zimmerman shot Martin and killed him.

So now a 17-year-old will never grow to be a man.  And the man who killed him, though found not guilty, is still being subject to federal investigation for the crime.

Do I think that the jury's decision was correct?  I will keep that one to myself.

I could share my thoughts, but I was not in the courtroom to hear all of the evidence.  My above analysis is only based on what limited information I have gleaned from news sources.  And I would be happy to take correction if I am wrong on anything.

Instead, I think the most productive thing I can do is pray.  I can pray for the soul of Trayvon Martin.  I can pray that the Lord will comfort his family.  I pray His justice and mercy fall upon Zimmerman and his family.  And I pray that we as a nation turn ever more to the Lord in unity and not away from each other in division.

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