1. See, for example, Oswald Bayer,
Martin Luther's Theology: A Contemporary Interpretation (Grand Rapid, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2008), and Robert Kolb and Charles Arand,
The Genius of Luther's Theology: A Wittenberg Way of Thinking for the Contemporary Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic Press, 2008).
2. As Luther famously asserted in Freedom of a Christian, "A man does not live for himself alone in this mortal body to work for it alone, but he lives also for all men on earth; rather, he lives only for others and not for himself." Luther, Freedom of a Christian , in Martin Luther: Selections from His Writings, edited and with an introduction by John Dillenberger (New York: Anchor Books, 1962) 73.
3. Some commentators have argued that the focus on the individual in Protestant thought has exacerbated punitive impulses within American society; see, for example, T. Richard Snyder, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Punishment (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000). I appreciate the concern, but I am more sanguine about reconciling the individual and communal dimensions of sin, grace, and forgiveness through restorative and retributive practices of justice.
4. Luther, Lectures on Galatians , in Luther's Works, Volume 26, edited by Jaroslav Pelikan (Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1963), (3:19), 310.
5. For an elaboration of my own perspective, see Jonathan Rothchild, "Recapturing the Good, Not Merely Measuring Harms: Rehabilitation, Restoration, and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines," in Doing Justice to Mercy: Religion, Law, and Criminal Justice, edited by Jonathan Rothchild, Matthew Myer Boulton, and Kevin Jung (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2007) 63–91.
6. See, inter alia, Jürgen Moltmann, On Human Dignity: Political Theology and Ethics (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1984).
7. Luther, Secular Authority: To What Extent It Should Be Obeyed, in Martin Luther, edited by Dillenberger (infra note 3) 374–375.
8. All citations of RRR will not include page numbers because I am referencing the online version, which can be found at www.nccbuscc.org/sdwp/criminal.shtml (last accessed on February 3, 2011).
9. I want to be clear here that I am not re-presenting caricatures of Protestant and Catholic theologies. These sensibilities emerge from historical and doctrinal distinctions, but I believe that continued ecumenical dialogue is possible and needed. I would encourage collaborative efforts regarding their shared criticisms of current criminal justice policies.
10. For further analysis, see Judge Joan Gottschall, "Religion-Based Arguments in Juvenile Life Without Parole Cases," November 19, 2009, Sightings (on-line publication available through the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion, the University of Chicago, at: http://divinity.uchicago.edu/martycenter/publications/sightings/archive_2009/1112.shtml (last accessed on February 1, 2011).
11. See Rothchild, "Dispenser of the Mercy of the Government: Pardons, the Rule of Law, and Felony Disenfranchisement," Journal of Religious Ethics 39:1 (2011) 48–70.
12. I appropriate this description of religious communities from Don S. Browning, A Fundamental Practical Theology: Descriptive and Strategic Proposals (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1991).
© March / April 2011
Journal of Lutheran Ethics
Volume 11, Issue 2