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Jury Duty - Wwjd


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On Tuesday, I was called to jury duty in a case involving an alleged child molester. During the jury selection process, the judge asked, "Do any of you have personal, moral or religion convictions that would prevent you from judging others?" Coming from a faith tradition that puts a high value on doing one's civic duty and given the horrific nature of the alleged crime (and the church's recent problems with this crime), I at first did not reply. But as I pondered it further and reflected on the many problems with the American criminal justice system (which may be more criminal than just) and how it is based more on vengence and violence rather than reconciliation and healing, when it came time to give our names and personal information, I changed my answer and told the judge that I did indeed have such convictions. I was not selected to sit on the jury.


Of course using this for the purpose of avoiding sitting through a long trial would be unethical, but for a person who has heard Jesus' call to peace and nonviolence can one do otherwise? Is it better to refuse to participate in an inherently violent and dehumanizing system and accept the possibility that you may be setting a social predator loose to prey again or to turn a blind eye to the faults of the current system and fulfill one's civic duty? What would Jesus do?

Edited by billmc
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Well, I have to initial thoughts on this:


1) If this were situation where the alleged crime commited was eligable for potential sentancing via capital punishment, then I could quite easily support a Christian citizen refusing to participate in such a process.


2) To the extent that juries are to be comprised of "peers" of the accused defendant, and to the extent that you are a practicing Christian and the accused isn't, then you aren't one of his/her peers (in a rather literal sense).

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well, I'm not against a Christian participating in jury duty. However, I would probably end up informing the justice system that I am a pacifist and that I would not approve the death penalty for any reason. The result would most likely be that they would not let me in. I think these kinds of things have a way of working themselves out...


flower power to the people

make love, not war

f*** war, ban the army

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