compassion and mercy

This morning, on a BBC website, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8212153.stm, I watched the Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill explain his decision to release Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi. It is a very clear, unbiased explanation on behalf of the Scottish people, in which the words ‘compassion’ and ‘mercy’ stand out.

I also had a  look at a video clip in which for 35 seconds, President Obama http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8213076.stm mumbled a short list of muddled sound bites suggesting Megrahi’s release was a ‘mistake’. He did this presumably to mollify the various factions and opinions within the nation he represents.

I am a great admirer of Mr Obama, and considering the impossible expectations of the whole world that he is currently shouldering, he deserves our support. Nonetheless it is very disappointing to see him apparently giving in to the pressure he must surely be under to relay the knee jerk reactions of many Americans.

I lived in the USA for many years and truly and unashamedly love it. In a nation so proud of its Christian values, it is deeply disturbing to witness such blatant disregard for the pleas for compassion and mercy as expressed by Mr MacAskill.

No one cany deny the pain and injustice inflicted on the Lockerbie victims and their families. However, while it is not for me to quote Biblical texts here, I wonder what would be gained by insisting Megrahi die in prison, thousands of miles from anyone who cares about him. Two wrongs really dont make a right. And if we cannot consider making peace, and even friends, with our enemies, then not only will we be ignoring Christ’s teaching, but we will be ensuring that our troubled world continues to spiral out of control.

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