John Kerry, reticent about his religious beliefs during his losing 2004 presidential campaign against George W. Bush, poured out his testimony last month—not to fellow Catholics but to an evangelical audience in Malibu, California.
The Massachusetts senator said he prayed hard while serving in the Vietnam War, but struggled then and later with the problem of evil. “For 12 years I wandered in the wilderness, went through a divorce,” he said in a September 18 lecture at Pepperdine University, an ocean-view campus with a Churches of Christ heritage.
“Then, suddenly and movingly, I had a revelation about the connection between the work I was doing as a public servant and my formative teachings,” Kerry said. “The long and short of it is today we [Catholics] are far more Bible-focused and knowledgeable based on several clear principles, chief among them the centrality of Jesus.”
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).