So, I have jury duty last Friday. I didn’t get picked but the weeding out process (I am sure there is a legal name for it but alas I don’t know what it is) took forever. Okay, six hours, but you get the idea, and they wouldn’t let us break for lunch. At least I got $6 for my trouble
The case was a sensitive one, which would explain 200 of us needing to be selected to get to 12 jurors. Without going into detail, basically the charge was sexual penetration of a minor. What made it more than an average trial was apparently the perpetrator is the son of a police chief or captain in a nearby city. I didn’t know the suspect or the father, but a few people did and were eliminated.
In the middle of the process, after they had given us the minimal facts stated above, the prosecuting attorney asked individuals to raise their hands if they would have problems being fair because perhaps they or a close relative had some type of abuse or assault. This went on for some time and a number of jurors were added to “the list” to be excused. When the defense attorney finally came up, one of her first questions was how many of us wanted to get up and beat the defendant as soon as we had the charges explained to us. An older gentleman with a baseball cap telling us he was a veteran stood up and said something to this effect:
I have two grandchildren and I must say this whole country has went downhill because people do not have bibles in their right hands any more and no one is obeying the laws of the bible. I don’t know if this young man is guilty but I bet he wouldn’t even be in this mess if he was reading the bible every day like we used to!
And of course the amazing thing is you could hear sighs of agreement everywhere in the room. Now I am all for whatever we need to do to make our country better, but is reading the bible going to solve criminal issues? And did our country’s supposed banning of prayers and bible study in school start the decline of western civilization?
A few google searches later and my intuition appears to be correct. According to the American Atheists website, in the 1950′s when there was a large religious uprising in the US, one which caused God to be put in the Pledge of Allegiance and “In God We Trust” was reinserted on our money, the US crime rate was on a very steep increase in comparison to the 1940′s. In 1963, when prayer and religious teaching were banned from public schools, the crime rates remained relatively similar. Since 1963 the crime rates have fluctuated greatly, but this can now not be considered due to or because of people “carrying bibles in their right hands.” The key to the entire article, of course, is that many seem to remember the “Good Old Days” as being much better than they really were, and thinking that it must have been that way because religion was required, and now the country world has gone to hell in a hand basket because we don’t pray in school.
I am neither a sociologist nor an expert in criminal behavior. Yet I have a feeling that if children are taught (and enforced by example) respectfulness, compassion, and love, that whether this is taught because of a religious belief or just because it is the proper thing to do, that then your children will grow up to do the right things.