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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Oklahoma Senate Bill 1800...

I have been thinking for several days about Peggikaye's
comment and her question about my thoughts on this issue.

Did you hear about the new law on offenders going to a vote today?

I have mixed feelings on it. Interested in your views. My mixed views are personally scewed with an uncle in prison.

Peggikaye refers to the Oklahoma bill that was passed recently by the Oklahoma Legislature that concerns sex offenders who have perpetrated, and have been convicted of, a second sex crime against a child. The law is now in the governor's office for his signature which would finalize SB 1800 and make it an official law. The new law provides for a jury to either give a penalty of life in prison or the death penalty to these repeat offenders.

More info on the bill here, here,and here.

The question is whether or not we should have a death penalty for sex offenders who commit crimes against children.

As most of you know, I have definite and strong feelings about this issue. I haven't taken a week to write this out and edit and re-edit. I just felt that tonight I was able to give my answer. This is off the cuff, typos and all, straightforward and simply spoken.

I was a foster parent for nine years. In those nine years I raised, and homeschooled, over 40 children. I had drug addicted infants and pregnant teenagers and all ages of children in between. All of these children suffered from abuse, be it neglect or physical, in some form or another. They were all injured by those who were supposed to love them. However, I believe that the most injured children that were in my care were those who had been the victims of sexual abuse.

Psychiatrists, psychologists, and other health professionals understand the damage that has been done to the child. They know the symptoms. They work with the child to control and modify the behaviors, the acting out, the symptoms of the abuse.

Of all the hours that I have spent with a child, whether it was in an office or in a clinical setting at a treatment facility, not one person has been able to put their finger on what part of the human body that has been so terribly damaged by sexual abuse.

In not understanding where the body has been injured then treatment and cure are, for the most part, purely guesswork by the mental health professional.

What most professionals miss is the spiritual aspect of the damage to the child.

What makes sexual abuse worse than starvation, worse than abandonment, worse than neglect, worse than beating?

Sexual abuse destroys the innermost being of the individual. The part that many people aren't aware of, or perhaps refuse to acknowledge, the spirit of man.

The soul.

God made sex to be the unification of one man and one woman and that unification binds the two spirits together. They become one.

God made our spirits to bind to each other in this way.

Marriage is not just an institution. Marriage is the intertwining and the spiritual combining of two physical beings. And sex is where this event takes place.

When sex is perverted and taken out of the context in which God intended it to be then damage begins. Damage that you can't see from the outside.

Sex is sacred and when the sacred is blasphemed then things begin to fall apart in the spiritual realms of the individual's life.

Our spirit is the foundation of our well-being.

Probably the best scripture that I know of that illustrates this is I Corintians 6:17 - 19 in the Message Bible translation:

There's more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, "The two become one." Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never "become one." There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for "becoming one" with another. Or didn't you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don't you see that you can't live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.

In light of this, I also believe that the individual who commits such a crime against another individual is indeed controlled by a spiritual perversion in and of itself. This individual is separated from God and suffers tremendously from this separation. I believe that they live a life of torment here on this earth.

It is my belief, that if a person commits a second act of sexual molestation against a child it is because he is unable to overcome and control that part of his life. Much like an addiction to a narcotic, the sex offender is driven to feed and fuel his desires.

I believe that the death penalty is a just sentence, but I do not believe that it will deter the sex offender who cannot truly change. The offender that is addicted to sex.

Life imprisonment is a fair sentence also, but I always have this nagging fear that a person will be given an early release. For whatever reason.

I support SB 1800 in that it may help to turn away those who might otherwise choose to go down that destructive path.

Or maybe it will discourage offenders who live in other states from moving into Oklahoma.

Sometimes we need to see the truth in an individual, accept that truth, and deal with it honestly.

II Kings 8:7-15 (New International Version)

7 Elisha went to Damascus, and Ben-Hadad king of Aram was ill. When the king was told, "The man of God has come all the way up here," 8 he said to Hazael, "Take a gift with you and go to meet the man of God. Consult the LORD through him; ask him, 'Will I recover from this illness?' "
9 Hazael went to meet Elisha, taking with him as a gift forty camel-loads of all the finest wares of Damascus. He went in and stood before him, and said, "Your son Ben-Hadad king of Aram has sent me to ask, 'Will I recover from this illness?' "

10 Elisha answered, "Go and say to him, 'You will certainly recover'; but the LORD has revealed to me that he will in fact die." 11 He stared at him with a fixed gaze until Hazael felt ashamed. Then the man of God began to weep.

12 "Why is my lord weeping?" asked Hazael.
"Because I know the harm you will do to the Israelites," he answered. "You will set fire to their fortified places, kill their young men with the sword, dash their little children to the ground, and rip open their pregnant women."

13 Hazael said, "How could your servant, a mere dog, accomplish such a feat?"
"The LORD has shown me that you will become king of Aram," answered Elisha.

14 Then Hazael left Elisha and returned to his master. When Ben-Hadad asked, "What did Elisha say to you?" Hazael replied, "He told me that you would certainly recover." 15 But the next day he took a thick cloth, soaked it in water and spread it over the king's face, so that he died. Then Hazael succeeded him as king.

I know Peggikaye that you feel that your uncle needs time. Time to repent, time to get right with God. But I have to tell you that human nature is to procrastinate.

And sometimes, if we aren't given a timeline, a deadline if you will, we will never get our lives straight.

I am not saying that I have seen it all, because I haven't.

And I don't want to either.

But I have personally experienced many things. And I have seen more than my fair share.

I have been by the side of a pregnant 14 year old child. A child who laid in a hospital bed only to give birth to a still born baby.

This same child was prostituted for drugs by her own mother.

A child wanting desperately to love and be loved, and yet wasn't able to truly understand love...

much less receive it.

Look into the eyes of a sexually abused child, the window to their soul, and you will see that the light has been extinguished.

Yes, I support the death penalty for sex offenders.

Some people view me as cold and hard. Some see me as tough and harsh.

Once I had a co-worker ask me if I ever cried.

To which I responded: "I cried all my tears a long time ago."



Blogger Sicilian said...

I have not had the experiences you have had, but I have known of some awful events that have happened to children.
A friend who is an MD told me that pedophiles do not change. This friend and his family left a church because a convicted sex offender's wife was put in charge of a children's ministry. It put him in direct contact with children. They fought it, and were told that they had no love or forgiveness. Doc told me that pedophiles aren 't fixable, and that they can't have unlimited access to children. I do believe he is correct.
I do agree with you too. Death penalty is the answer. If we can't fix em. . . lock em up forever or take them out of their misery.

May 30, 2006 10:52 PM  
Anonymous Moof said...

TJ ... you've said an awful lot in this post - about your own thoughts, feelings and pain.


Thank you for sharing all of that with us.

May 31, 2006 5:07 AM  
Blogger Dreaming again said...

Thank you TJ.

Like I said, I wasn't sure that my own uncle wasn't my only reason for being against it. I'm not sure, if we wind up voting on the bill, that when walking into the voting booth, that I wouldn't wind up putting the yes vote on it.

My Uncle is in prison for the rest of his life, and he belongs there. If he were to get out, I'd be mortified.

These issues are not easy. They do change a person, forever.

May 31, 2006 5:46 AM  
Blogger Pattie said...

"Look into the eyes of a sexually abused child, the window to their soul, and you will see that the light has been extinguished."

I have seen this more times than I care to count. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject.By the way, I don't think you are cold at all...or heartless. Just maybe realistic.

May 31, 2006 5:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The catechism teaches that if we can't assure that a dangerous criminal is to be kept out of society, he can be given a death sentence.

I think a habitual child molester qualifies. I'll post the relavent parts of the catechism on my blog.

May 31, 2006 11:25 AM  
Blogger It's me, T.J. said...

Thanks Sicilian for stopping by!

I believe your MD friend is correct and I am glad that he left that church. BTW... forgiveness doesn't have anything to do with common sense and it shouldn't be used as a *license* either.

Hey Moof! It's good to 'see' ya!

Peggikaye...I don't think that we will ever vote on this issue because it has pretty much become law now, but the issues that you struggle with don't go away with that knowledge. However, either way, I do pray that you find peace about it all.

I am sure that you have seen your share of tragedies Pattie while you were in nursing. Realistic is probably the best way to describe me. Thanks for not seeing me as heartless.

Thanks Shelly. That's wonderful!


May 31, 2006 4:45 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

"It is my belief, that if a person commits a second act of sexual molestation against a child it is because he is unable to overcome and control that part of his life. Much like an addiction to a narcotic, the sex offender is driven to feed and fuel his desires."

I too believe that it is out of the sex offender's control - they just cannot stop themselves. The only way to stop them for sure is the death penalty.

Don't know if this posted - sorry if its repeated!

June 01, 2006 12:28 PM  
Blogger wolfbaby said...

Wow what you said and what you have witnessed must have been heartbreaking. No I don't think your heartless or cold. I just believe you have had alot of exposer to real life. Unfortunatly sometimes it sucks, its people like you who try to make a difference that do. Its people like you, who save some of this children and bring them back to God and love.

June 06, 2006 9:57 PM  

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