Many of you may be asking why a former politician is giving a Bible lecture to an assembly of highly qualified Christian leaders. My only credential is experience. I began teaching Bible lessons as a young midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, and have continued this practice for the past 62 years—now as a deacon at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia.
I’ve been in a quandary about what subject to discuss. I have decided to use one of the letters of St. Paul that addresses the most serious blight that presently exists among believers in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior: divisions within the powerful river of faith that are dividing us into swirling eddies and meandering tributaries. The divisions and even animosities are a cancer that is metastasizing within the body of Christ, obsessing us with diversions from his ministry and presenting to the world a negative image of Christians.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).