To read the papers or watch the news, one would think that sex and gender are the only issues facing Christians today. Christian thought about war and injustice, or about how to believe in God in this postmodern age, almost never makes the headlines. And the discussion about sex and gender focuses on particular aspects of those issues. Can gay people be ordained? Can a woman be a presiding bishop? Should wives obey their husbands? Such questions seem to arrive in popular debate without much context of Christian thought about sexuality in general, about how we make moral decisions or about what it means to be human. In particular, liberal Christians seem to have no systematic response to the conservative conviction that once we modify traditional sexual mores we begin a slide toward total sexual degradation.
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).