He's come to set the captives free

Jesus said. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18

The United States is known as a Christian nation.
The united States has the highest incarceration rate in the world.
Both of these statements cannot be true at the same time.

Cuba and Russia and China have lower incarceration rates than the US.
Post genocide Rwanda has a lower incarceration rate than the US.
Racially-divided South Africa has 1/2 the incarceration rate of the US.
Post-Christian Europe, the bogeyman of fundamentalist preachers has 1/6 the incarceration rate of the US.
Muslim Egypt has 1/6 the incarceration rate of the US.
Muslim Indonesia has 1/6 the incarceration rate of the US.
Non-religious Japan has 1/10th the incarceration rate of the US.
Muslim Pakistan has 1/15th the incarceration rate of the US.
Hindu India has 1/20th the incarceration rate of the US.

The American ethos seems to include the part of Isaiah's prophecy which Jesus intentionally left out. Isaiah 61:2 "to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God." I think America's preference of theology focuses on what Jesus leaves out which results in a punitive penal system which costs Americans 80 billion dollars a year, but more than money threatens the God given right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness expected by too manyAmericans.There is also a racial component to the American penal system. One-third of African American men can expect to be incarcerated in their lifetime. A Christ-following nation would be seeking to release captives and freeing the oppressed. It would have good news for the poor who are disproportionately jailed as well.

It does seem for some Americans, hell cannot come soon enough for others they fear, especially others of a different color. If we lost this religious threat of eternal damnation, punishment, and vengeance like the rest of the world, maybe America would be a more Christ-like country.

Here is a 1 hour explanation from the Christian non-profit Christian Development Community Association for more than I can provide here. This post was inspired by a podcast interview of board member Dominique DuBois Gilliard by Justin McRoberts on the @Sea podcast.

 

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