Sunday, December 12, 2010

Angel in Three Courts

By Charles Moncrief

Angel Downs was shot to death and her former boyfriend went to trial for murder. The defendant in this trial is a former county commissioner, a churchgoing man who cheated on his wife and family and even involved his son in making the adulterous affair seem normal. While the prosecution and defense teams built their cases for this court action, another trial has taken place in the court of public opinion.

In the court of the parlor tea gatherings, and of the government-fearing news media -- in which we cynically note substantial crossover -- Angel Downs is the defendant. In all these polite places Angel is referred to with such terms as “mistress,” “paramour,” and whatever manipulates opinion and sympathy toward the man who killed her. Our society, which glorifies sex outside of marriage, rewards politicians and entertainers who defile their marriage beds, is quick to condemn the morals of someone whose death forces a respected public official to face accountability under the law.

Without presuming to speak for all of the contributors to this blog, the sentiment is heavily weighted in Angel’s favor. Speaking for myself, there is no pretense of enlarging Angel beyond the person she was in life. Angel was the partner in an adulterous affair, and accounts by the defense and the media concerning her drug use may contain a grain of truth -- though the accusations are largely false, blowing out of proportion the lifesaving PRESCRIPTION medications Angel used. (Amazingly, the media have kept silent about Angel’s efforts to keep secret an affair that her boyfriend was running up the flagpole!) But while aspects of Angel’s behavior were what we may consider self-destructive, she in no way deserved either of the sentences she received: death by the man who shot her, and burial in slime by the politically correct in high society.

As I consider the two courts, I am saddened at the inability of either to bring about justice for Angel. But my sadness is offset by the reality of the third court. Since this is the season of Advent, leading up to the celebration of Christmas, my thoughts turn to this text from Isaiah 11:2-4a. The passage refers to a descendant of David, Israel’s greatest king.

And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth. . . . (KJV)

The Judge mentioned in this reading will not be swayed by media lies or manipulative expressions of the facts. And Angel will stand before this Judge on equal footing with her politically powerful boyfriend. As for me, ultimately this is the only court that matters.

There is no place where earth’s sorrows
Are more felt than up in heaven.
There is no place where earth’s failings
Have such kindly judgment given.
(#304, from Hymnal 1940)

And from John 8:11, where Jesus refuses to condemn a woman caught in adultery. (Note that Jesus still calls her act a sin, while not judging the woman’s character.)

Since Christmas is approaching, I find encouragement in Mary’s words from Luke 1:52-53.
He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. (KJV)

What a sharp contrast between this court and that of the media in Angel’s case!

Of course, whenever I look into the mirror, I’m reminded of how much I need this court!

Grace and Peace,


  1. Just to clarify Mr. Nodine wasn't a member of any church prior to the alleged murder. He began appearing at church by surprising a prayer meeting held by DA John Tyson, soon after his impeachment proceedings began. Nodine then resigned to avoid impeachment.

    He does attend church services now as it is a right he was granted as part of his house arrest. I would not summarize him as a regular church goer. Although that is the impression he has been trying to make. So I can understand you possibly thinking that.

    In reference to John 8:11 about the woman caught in adultery who was dragged to Jesus by the Pharisees. Ironically the Pharisees like the defense have worked their evil scheme by trying to change the law. The Pharisees law clearly stated the man and woman should die. The defense has turned the table on trying the accused to trying the victim.

    Both actions are loveless, harsh, hypocritical. Hatred prompts their drama. The Pharisees and the defense judge by human standards and they're wrong. Thank God Jesus is Angel's judge, intercessor and King.

    The Media needs the Defense to come up with a news story. The Prosecution doesn't talk about the case while it's being tired. Defense like Pharisees try to trick and manipulate to win a case or with mistrial.

    Sadly it is not a search for truth.


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