The Quality of Mercy

Tuesday 21st, August 2012 / 09:02 Published by

Mark Chapman

Mark David Chapman, who shot and killed former Beatle John Lennon 32 years ago, will have his seventh parole hearing this week.

While many would like Chapman to remain in prison it might be prudent for them to read Portia’s speech, “The quality of mercy”, from William Shakespear’s “The Merchant of Venice.” It is perhaps the best known “positive” representation of a lawyer in poetry. It serves, primarily as a reminder that all people are called upon to work within the man-made law to give effect to the “higher law” which is, mercy, “an attribute to God himself”.

Shakespeare reminds us all – especially those whose duty it is to uphold the law – that “Though justice be thy plea, consider this, that, in the course of justice, none of us should see salvation: we do pray for mercy; and that same prayer doth teach us all to render The deeds of mercy.”

All life is sacred. If justice were not tempered with mercy none of us would see salvation. Criminals are human persons who, despite their crime, deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. God’s mission is to bring salvation to all men and women, excluding no one. His salvation is not imposed but reaches us through acts of love, mercy and forgiveness that we ourselves can carry out.

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