Compassion and hypocrisy

The recent release on compassionate grounds of Abdel-Basset al-Megrahi, the convicted Lockerbie bomber, has been big news in the last week or two.

Much has been made of the controversial decision to release him, made by Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill. Sometimes compassion is hard to show, but there has been widespread support – particularly from Christians – for the decision. It’s been described as one of the biggest political decisions in the devolution age and certainly of the current SNP administration – but if both come to be defined by compassion, then that’s a pretty good defining characteristic.

Of course, MacAskill is not a Christian himself, but I understand from a friend who works at the heart of the Scottish political system that although MacAskill’s three most senior civil servants are Christian they did not write his speech that referred to “a higher power”. Is this an example of the Christian faith at work through prayer and example, influencing others?

What might admittedly have been a politically astute lean towards a religious society has still nevertheless created controversy across the pond in the USA – as this website illustrates.

However, there is hypocrisy at work in much of the pro-boycott movements – as this site and this blog post brilliantly reveal.

The USA cannot have it all its own way, and perhaps the protesters, and indeed we all, need to bear Matthew chapter 7 in mind before criticising.

3 thoughts on “Compassion and hypocrisy

  1. The problem with the forgiveness angle is that (arguably) the families etc of those who died on Lockerbie should be forgiving al-Megahri; letting him out early to die in his own country isn’t really “forgiving” him for his crime. MacAskill’s “higher power” comment was odd too, especially given that it was an appeal to US evangelical Christian values; presumably if al-Megahri doesn’t accept Christ then his fate would be Hell anyway, irrespective of his actions in life. A God who gives people cancer seems pretty monstrous to me , but it’s arguably no more abhorrent than the all Non Christians Burn in Hell Forever belief (which liberals, sensibly, reject). Good point about the USA. You don’t need to read far in the Gospels to wonder if Bush’s Presidency (for example) was especially “Christian”!

  2. Such a can of worms isn’t it?

    I’m not a Christian- and I thought MacAskill’s speech was awesome. What a hugely difficult decision to make! What I find interesting is that this morning at coffee with my friends (many proclaiming Christians) they ALL said the decision was disgusting. Not one of them stood up on the side of compassion. to me- that’s disgusting.

  3. I’m actually impressed by the subtlety of McCaskill’s line, which has been lost a bit in the (at times, rabid) coverage.

    He didn’t actually directly invoke God, which would have been a big mistake. Instead, he refers to a ‘sentence imposed by a higher power’. This can be read as referring to God if the reader wishes – and it’s obviously expected that Christians will.

    However the higher power could equally well be death or the inescapable natural order of the universe.

    It’s a cleverer sentence than he’s been given credit for, I think.

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