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(RNS) — Christians believe in forgiveness and restoration.
The ultimate goal of church discipline — the methods by which a congregation addresses and corrects improper behavior among its members — should properly be aimed at making the person and the ones harmed whole again.
Consequences - Sins - Failings - Virginia - Governor
That does not mean, however, that there are no consequences for our sins and failings — as Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has learned recently.
A yearbook photo from 1984 recently surfaced, allegedly showing Northam dressed in blackface — makeup done in a caricature of black features originally used during the Jim Crow era to reinforce harmful stereotypes and poke fun at people of African descent.
Northam - Photo
At first, Northam admitted that he was in the photo.
Then he denied it but admitted that he once put shoe polish on his face when he dressed up for a Michael Jackson dance contest.
Admission - Northam - Blackface - Calls - Resignation
The admission that Northam had used blackface elicited immediate calls for his resignation.
Others have advocated for leniency and understanding, citing the fact that it was more than 30 years ago, and he seems to have changed his views. Although Virginia’s Congressional Black Caucus has not rescinded its calls for his resignation, leaders said they were willing to work with Northam on policy solutions to racial inequity.
Gov - Northam - History - Racism - Redemption
Gov. Northam’s history of racism does not place him beyond redemption.
It may, however, put him out of office.
Goal - Restoration - Person - Consequences - Breaches
The goal of restoration does not mean a person does not face negative consequences for breaches of trust. It simply means that the final word on a person’s humanity should not be based solely on the worst act he or she has ever committed.
Ultimately, the citizens of the state of Virginia have to decide whether they want Northam to continue in his role as governor or step down — a choice made more complicated by the fact that his immediate...
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