On Justice and Casey Anthony

Unlike most of the media, and seemingly half the folks on Facebook and Twitter, I don’t have a whole lot to say about yesterday’s verdict in the Casey Anthony trial. I haven’t followed the trial at all, and can’t weigh in on the evidence (or lack thereof) presented. It seems as though the jury of popular opinion has found her guilty, but that doesn’t count for much, does it?

Instead, I have just a few observations related to the reaction to the verdict.

Justice Will Be Done

The biggest reaction to the verdict seems to be incredulity that Caylee has gotten no justice. Now, I can’t blame non-Christians, whose hope for justice is placed in men rather than in the Lord, but I have seen these same complaints coming from believers. This ought not be.

Of course, I believe that we should pursue earthly justice, and that, in fact, the righteous Lawgiver expects us to do that. So it is understandable to feel disappointment when the judicial system is perceived to have failed to provide such justice. I share that disappointment. But we must never despair of justice being done! As Christians, our hope is placed in Christ’s return. It is only then that all things will be set right.

In Malachi 2:17, we read about the cynical complaints of God’s people, who were disappointed that the promise of God’s visitation had not happened according to their timetable. These promises were fulfilled when Christ came 400 years later, but the Israelites were impatient. Their cries of “Where is the God of justice?” wearied the Lord, because they were evidence of a lack of trust in God’s faithfulness. We must be careful not to weary the Lord with expectations of perfect justice apart from Christ’s second advent. His promised justice will happen according to His timing, not ours.

We Lack Perspective

The outrage from this decision is disproportionate to our outrage over other similar injustices. It’s not that we should be less outraged over the murder of a child (if indeed Casey Anthony is guilty); we should be much more outraged by the nearly 50 children murdered by their mothers every day in Tennessee alone.

And for those who refuse to acknowledge the fact that abortion is murder, what about the dozens of instances of filicide that happen every year? Why does every instance of a child’s murder not receive such national attention? Perhaps it is the cynic in me coming out, but have you noticed that the media seems to only care about trials involving good looking, middle- to upper-class white people? Whether it’s Casey Anthony, Natalie Holloway, JonBenét Ramsey, or any number of other cases, we seem to have a fixation on crimes by and against people who look remarkably similar. This leads me to believe that the outrage about Caylee Anthony is more media-driven than it is crime-driven. Do we care only for those the media tells us to care about?

We similarly lack outrage for other crimes against children which are less politically-charged than abortion. Theoretically there is no liberal-conservative divide when it comes to child sex trafficking. Is there anybody who doesn’t oppose the sexual enslavement of children? Unlike abortion, this is a problem that could probably be quickly (if not totally) eradicated if only the nation would be stirred to genuine outrage. Where is it?

Blackstone Was Right

At the end of the day, I must agree with William Blackstone’s famous maxim, “better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer,” a principle based in part on Genesis 18:32. In a world in which judges and juries are themselves fallible and sinful, wrong verdicts are inevitable. I, for one, am thankful to live in a society in which the presumption of innocence is a priority, and our laws are written in such a way as to err on the side of freedom. It is tragic when the guilty go unpunished, but it is infinitely more tragic when the innocent are punished without cause. If there’s even the slightest chance that Casey Anthony did not kill her daughter, this was the right verdict.

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