Osler observes President Obama is "by a wide margin, the stingiest president in modern times in his use of the pardon power" and reminds readers of a recent call by the National Catholic Reporter (Mary Ann McGivern) "to address mercy and clemency [in] sermons on the Sunday after Thanksgiving" - an idea which Osler calls "excellent and timely idea."
Mercy, writes Osler, "plays a special role within Christianity" and reminds Christians that the Constitution "has never barred people of faith from considering their beliefs when they ponder political issues." To express concerns about the lack of mercy in our president (and throughout our judicial system) is "no different from a minister or rabbi or imam urging concerted action to address poverty."
For me, this issue is deeply personal. When I arrived at the University of St. Thomas’s Law School in 2010, we created the nation’s first federal commutations clinic. ... Because of my work with this clinic, I receive a steady stream of letters from prisoners who would like my students to help them. Those thick, brown envelopes are often covered with 46-cent stamps, purchased with prison wages that can be as low as 23 cents an hour. It is heart-wrenching simply to pick up my mail ...Two weeks ago, I gave a talk at President Obama’s alma mater, Harvard Law School. In urging Harvard to be the fourth school in the country to begin its own clinic on federal commutations (we started a trend), I held up that brown envelope covered with hard-earned stamps, a totem of what is wrong. There was utter silence, a tense stillness. What those students know, as do we all, is that one life, even the life of the least among us, is more important than any professor’s theory. The law professor in the White House, a Christian raised on the value of mercy, should act on that bare truth.See full editorial here.