Local Faith Leaders Discuss Restorative Justice
President Mouw speaks at Court-Clergy Conference held on Fuller’s Pasadena campus
More than 150 faith leaders and others converged on Fuller’s Pasadena campus Thursday, March 4, for a Court-Clergy conference sponsored by the Los Angeles Superior Court, along with Fuller’s Offices for Urban Initiatives and Alumni/ae and Church Relations. The conference was designed to provide local leaders of different faiths with useful information about the justice system and an opportunity for discussion. With the theme of “Justice and Restoration,” the event focused on understanding the processes by which persons accused of crimes could be returned to the community.
Speaking at the conference was Presiding Judge Charles W. McCoy, Jr., as well as other judges from the Los Angeles area. Also in attendance were Father Greg Boyle, founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries, and Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard. Panels of judges, ministers, and other professionals addressed topics such as criminal and juvenile proceedings, drug abuse courts, and provided an overview of the criminal and family law justice system.
Fuller President Richard J. Mouw was called on to offer a theological framework for understanding the issue. “We can’t get hung up on retribution and punishment,” commented Mouw. “We need to be working together on what it means to restore people.”
Referring to Psalm 146:5-10, which describes God as executing justice for the oppressed, Mouw drew attention to God’s heart on the matter. “The point is that God hears, and that God takes up the cause of those who don’t have a voice,” he said. Mouw pointed out that restoration requires empathy, imagination, and discernment. “This business of restorative justice is no optional thing for people of faith,” he stated firmly. “It’s a divine mandate.”