From the Guardian comes news that Mark Chapman, the murderer of John Lennon, is up for parole after serving 24 years for his crime. Chapman defended his release with an interesting comment, saying, ‘I think he [Lennon] would be liberal, I think he would care.” Besides the obvious point that we’ll never know if Lennon “would care” because he is dead; Chapman implies that Liberals are more caring and more inclined to want his release. If he’s right, my question would be do liberals place less value on a life? Hmmm…. If Chapman’s right and liberalism equates with leniency, then according to the buzz I’ve read, most of Lennon’s fans are very conservative because they want him confined or killed. See: “Fears for Lennon’s killer if released” here
Many Beatles fans are outraged. I too am outraged: not because I was a John Lennon fan, but because I’m a fan of doing what’s right. Peter writes that “kings” and “governors” are sent by God “for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right” (1 Pt. 2:13,14). It is troubling that this vicious murderer might once again breathe the air of freedom. Where has gone our sense of justice and decency? Some might argue that the government has sufficiently punished Chapman, but a lot of caring people think otherwise.
I imagine this sounds pretty harsh. It isn’t intended to. Maybe Mr. Chapman has repented of his sin and has chosen to follow Christ. The Bible shows many examples of people who turned from sinful ways to become dedicated disciples. God’s grace can be received by Mark Chapman and I pray he believes and obeys the Gospel. But that doesn’t change the fact that committing such evil comes with severe consequences: or it ought to.
Paul writes about the governing authorities: “But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil” (Rom. 13:4). Yes, the Government is God’s minister for justice and is ordained to severly punish evil men. Caring liberals and conservatives should be able to agree on that.
Lennon didn’t deserve to be killed; his life was worth more than 24 years. If a life is worth a life, then Chapman should serve a life for the life he took. That’s justice and any Lennon fan will tell you so.