From Jim O'Brien
February 15, 2019

Nation of Accusers

Hi Friend,

Recently a group of kids from Covington Catholic High School traveled from Cincinnati to Washington D.C. to participate in a Right to Life March. Leaders of the group should be applauded for instilling a respect for life in the young people in their church. It's also admirable that they were teaching children the value of the democratic system that offers the priceless privilege of freedom to express religious convictions.

Their act of character was met by attacks from a biased media bent on vilifying a group of promising young people. The press is guilty of a criminal act by undermining the 1st Amendment rights of these young people to express their religious beliefs without censure. It is worse than an irony-it is the height of hypocrisy for the media, which derives its right to free speech from the very amendment that grants freedom of religious expression. To make it worse there is a sort of moral superiority to the media. Forgive us for not finding any morality in their cause.

How sad that this group of idealistic young people, who were doing nothing more than waiting for their bus, was attacked by a demented man. Both the press and the Church have a God-given responsibility to protect innocent young people such as these. Instead they have brought them before the world court with accusations of awful crimes. Even the Bishop of Covington condemned the teenagers and offered contrite apologies for their behavior.

One 16-year-old boy has born the brunt of slander from the news media. Appearing on a national news show the interviewer asked why he didn't walk away from the encounter. It is interesting that a 16-year-old is incorrectly judged as immature because he did not leave his group in a strange city when the childish actions of a 67-year-old are ignored.

Now the truth has emerged. After an exhaustive investigation by a detective agency that included examining hours of videos of the event, listening to recordings leading up to the confrontation, hearing the testimony of eye witnesses and learning of the actions of the 67-year-old attacker who disrupted a church service shortly after his vicious assault on the innocent teen, it has been found that the accusations against the young people are false.

Is that the end of the matter? Does it end here? The larger question is what will happen to the man who attacked the innocent teens and to the myriad accusers? Does it seem fair that nothing is happening to the liars? Is this rush to judgment the way the system works? Is this what we teach the best of our young people?

A few years ago I had the privilege of serving on a Grand Jury. Listening to case after case to be considered for trial, it became clear that the laws I had studied in the Old Testament contained the answer for almost every case brought before the court. I was moved to a deeper conviction that none other than the Creator God had given these laws to Moses. The laws aren't ancient-they are eternal.

As a case in point, God gave the answer to the question I just posed. When a false accusation is made there is a natural and just solution. "If a false witness rises against any man to testify against him of wrongdoing, then both men in the controversy shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who serve in those days. And the judges shall make careful inquiry, and indeed, if the witness is a false witness, who has testified falsely against his brother, then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so you shall put away the evil from among you. And those who remain shall hear and fear, and hereafter they shall not again commit such evil among you. Your eye shall not pity: life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. (Deut. 19:16-21).

We make it too easy for false accusers. There is no fear of slandering a person's reputation, his family, his church or his community. There is no fear because there is no punishment for the accusations of liars.

What should happen to the media? The answer is in the above quoted text in Deuteronomy. Let's ask ourselves what the media is hoping to accomplish by falsely accusing the young people who expressed their religious beliefs? Let the penalty they seek to impose on the young people be imposed on the media.

Maybe the major networks and news outlets should be banned from expressing their opinions for a year-or longer. We might find that we could do without them for much longer.

Until next time,

Jim O'Brien