Leave Punishment to God

Charles Colson’s “Criminals Are Made, Not Born” [Jan. 16] lets in a lot of light from one who has been in prison. Obviously, prison did not just turn Colson into a more sophisticated criminal, as the reformists frequently aver.

However, I take issue with him—and even C. S. Lewis—about the righteous purpose that should infuse the prison system. Though punishing a man shows him more respect than “treating” him, punishment is not the prerogative of human beings. Punishment belongs to God. But we humans do have an obligation to protect the innocent, the weak, the vulnerable. Prisons serve a righteous role in isolating those who prey upon the innocent. We should try to make those prisons clean, decent, and even helpful, but we should remember their primary function is the protection of society. If we step beyond that to vindictiveness or punishment, we step out of the spirit of Christ.


St. Cloud, Minn.

Of all the men who are contemplating a run for the White House, I would recommend Chuck Colson—if he can be persuaded to do so. That he has proven himself a man of high caliber, intelligence, and uprightness, no one would care to deny.


Portage, Mich.

Secret Episcopalians?

I read with interest your article on the religious affiliation of corporate executives [News, Jan. 16]. The article declared that 3 percent of the U.S. population are Episcopalians. This is a woefully inaccurate figure. The latest count in the Episcopal Church is 1.2 million members—around.5 percent of the U.S. population, a figure six times less than the one quoted. Could it be that executives who left the Episcopal Church years ago are still writing ...

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