We might catch a glimpse of unhappy/dysfunctional/traumatic childhoods by watching movies or the news. From fictional stories as tame as Little Orphan Annie to true stories too horrible to imagine (e.g. the three young women chained in a Cleveland house until their 2013 rescue) we intellectually know that there are children in the world who are at risk.
Yesterday, a young woman who was sentenced to life imprisonment after killing a man at the age of 16 was given clemency. Her childhood had included a drug addicted mother, rape, and sex trafficking. And then she committed a heinous crime. But I’m thankful for Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee who commuted her sentence.
Every day in this country, children are sentenced to prison. Some of them are totally innocent. Some have acted out of trauma. Some are broken and hardened.
And some have been traumatized by the actions of our own government.
We cannot ignore these children and the conditions in which they exist and still call ourselves Pro Life. As all Americans grapple with issues of border security, we need to examine what it means to be “Pro Life” in these days. How can we minimize violence against these children? How can we show mercy?
I’m thanking God today for Cyntoia Brown’s freedom.
And there are thousands of other children who need our compassion. What is a Church that’s hoping to attract “young people” doing about young people who’ve been traumatized? (They are in every one of our neighborhoods.)
Image of Cyntoia Brown, age 16, the year she was convicted of murder.