Like many of you, I was surprised by the verdict in the Anthony trial.
But I was downright shocked by the responses from many of you. Immediately after reading about the verdict, I logged onto Facebook.
Big mistake. Most of my Facebook friends are professing Christians, and yet I read status updates like “How is she NOT guilty?” “Those jurors are stupid.” “She got away with murder.” “She’s obviously guilty, look at what a bad mom she was!” Various people dragged O.J. Simpson into it; various sarcastic remarks ensued.
Not everyone was like this, of course. Some simply expressed shock. I’m not addressing that type of response, but the mean-spirited, disrespectful responses.
I didn’t see many people point out that the prosecution bore the burden of proof. Or that the jurors had to vote based on the concrete evidence and not circumstantial evidence. Or that someone can be legally innocent of a crime and morally guilty (and vice versa). Or that we weren’t there: no one really knows what happened when little Caylee died. Or that being a bad and/or neglectful parent does not make one a murderer. Or that people are tried in a court of law, not the court of tabloid journalism and public opinion.
Instead, people seemed to believe that they had the right to judge Anthony, as if they were judge, jury and hangman wrapped into one. It was exactly like reading the comments on CNN.com or Fox News, the ones with terrible grammar and every third word misspelled.
Subtract the WTF?? and she’s-such-a-bitch and she’ll-burn-in-hell.
Add the pious God-will-give-perfect-justice (with the very clear implication that she will burn in hell because, obviously, she doesn’t deserve grace or mercy from God).
Result: Hate expressed in the language of religious dialect. If Christians are to be known for their love, I wasn’t seeing much of it.
After reading enough comments and seeing enough people join groups devoted to hating Casey Anthony, I logged off Facebook and Twitter. If I had stayed on for much longer, I would’ve written some heated comment that I would regret later. I’m leery of posting this blog for fear of being judgmental, and the knowledge that no matter what I say, I really am as judgmental as those I criticize. Still I’m frustrated enough to write this.
I’m disappointed by the response. If you’re a Christian, you accept God’s grace, say that you can do nothing to earn his favor, and say that you don’t deserve grace. If grace is deserved, then it isn’t grace at all. It’s just some bull crap invention of ours.
That mean that none of us—Casey Anthony, me, you, no one—deserves a pardon. None of us are above one another in the holiness department. None of us have the right to belittle another person, treat them with disdain and disrespect, or damn them to hell. Would you want to be treated this way? No? Then don’t treat others like this. Leave judgments and verdicts and punishments to God and the U.S. court of law.
If you’re angered by this verdict, I dare you to pray for Casey Anthony. She’s a young woman with deep emotional problems. Her young daughter died. Whether or not she’s responsible for that death, she still must live with this for the rest of her life. She needs help.
She needs compassion and prayer, not condemnation and curses.
So do the rest of us.