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Sunday, July 31, 2005
Karla Faye Tucker, Meet Bernie Ebbers
Topic: The ConWeb
Is WorldCom's Bernie Ebbers too good of a Christian to be in prison?

That's what Matt Friedeman seems to hint at. An a July 15 AgapePress column, Friedeman argues that one reason Ebbers shouldn't be serving a 25-year prison sentence for orchestrating an $11 billion accounting fraud, the largest in U.S. history, is that he is "a man who could still contribute much, given the opportunity."

What Friedeman doesn't explicitly say is that Ebbers is an evangelical Christian. As CBC notes, he was regarded as the ultimate Christian businessman, helping raise $1 million for his church Easthaven Baptist, along with tens of millions for the building fund of his alma mater, the Southern Baptist-affiliated Mississippi College.

Friedeman writes that "If America's judicial system understood punishment, restoration and restitution (Christian principles, all)," it would acknowledge that "Mr. Ebbers is of no danger to society." One might argue that swindling thousands of people out of billions of dollars constitutes some danger to society. Heck, even evangelical, WorldNetDaily-linked Business Reform magazine backed off its claim that Ebbers was the top Christian entrepeneur (though not before deleting the article making that claim from its database).

It's a bit reminiscent of the Karla Faye Tucker case, in which Pat Robertson and other evangelicals argued against the execution of the woman who killed two people with a pick ax because she became a Christian while in prison.

The point is that typically law-and-order evangelicals seem to think that evangelical Christians who commit crimes should receive lighter sentences merely by dint of being evangelical Christians. But if these criminals were truly Christian, would they be committing crimes in the first place?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:15 PM EDT

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