A killing, a life sentence and my change of heart
Jeanne Bishop, left, and her sister Nancy visit Scotland in 1990, the year before Nancy's murder.
February 2nd, 2013
10:00 PM ET

A killing, a life sentence and my change of heart

Editor's note: Jeanne Bishop is the sister of Nancy Bishop Langert, who, along with her husband and their unborn child, was shot to death by a juvenile. Since the murder of her family members, Jeanne Bishop has been an advocate for gun violence prevention, forgiveness and abolition of the death penalty. She is a criminal defense attorney in Chicago.

By Jeanne Bishop, Special to CNN

(CNN) - I have been paying close attention to the changes coming since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down any mandatory life sentences for juveniles who kill.  A teenager killed my sister.

He killed her dream, too. She wanted to be a mom.

My sister Nancy married young.  She was overjoyed when she got pregnant at age 25.

That dream died three months later, when she and her husband walked through the front door of their home and found their killer waiting for them.

He was a 16-year-old with a history of violence.  He wanted to see what it was like to kill someone. He found out when he broke in and shot Nancy, Richard and their unborn baby and left them to die on a cold basement floor.

When the killer was arrested, details emerged that turned my stomach. He had joked about murdering my family members, even attended their funeral.

When he was convicted of the murders, he was remorseless. When he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, I was glad.

After sentencing, my mother turned to me in the courtroom and said, “We’ll never see him again.” I was glad of that, too.  I wanted to wipe him off my hands like dirt.

I never spoke his name. I wanted his name to die and Nancy’s to live.

When a coalition of people (including law professors such as Bernardine Dohrn and Randolph Stone whose advocacy on behalf of children I have always admired) launched efforts to abolish juvenile life sentences, I was appalled. The last thing I wanted was to attend parole hearings year after year, to beg bureaucrats not to release the person who had slaughtered my loved ones.

So I publicly fought any change in the sentence.  I told myself that fight was not just for my family, but for other family members of loved ones murdered by juveniles who would be affected.  I was like Saul early in the Book of Acts, the righteous one with a zeal for justice, before he was struck down and humbled and given a new name: Paul.

Then, I repented.

My road to Damascus moment didn’t come in a blinding light or a voice from heaven. The voice that changed my heart was that of a Mississippi-born, Vietnam veteran, Yale-educated  Southern Baptist pastor and academic named Randall O’Brien.

O’Brien told me something true - that Nancy’s killer and I are both children of God, equally beloved and equally fallen. O’Brien reminded me of Jesus’ example on the cross of what to do with those who have harmed us: pray for them.

I had never prayed for the person who killed my loved ones; I had never even uttered his name.

I say it now: David Biro. I began praying for him in the only place I could: the garden where Nancy and Richard and their baby are buried. I dropped to my knees and asked God for something I never could have imagined, that Nancy’s killer get well enough to get out someday.

I don’t know that he will; he is not there yet.  But I do know that no one, including him, is beyond the forgiveness and redemption and purpose of God.

My two young sons taught me that. We were talking about loving your neighbor as yourself.  Stephen asked, “What about the person who killed Aunt Nancy?”

Brendan replied, “We can’t love what he did. But we have to love him, because God made him for a purpose.”

Brendan is right. God made each of the juveniles serving life sentences for a purpose.  I can no longer support a sentence that says never.

Repenting privately would be cowardice, since my past support for locking up some juveniles forever has been so public.  So when lawmakers in my state of Illinois consider bills next month that would abolish juvenile life sentences, I will be there to speak in favor of the mercy of a second chance.

Dr. Marcus Borg, a biblical and Jesus scholar, notes that the roots of the Greek word for “repentance” mean “to go beyond the mind that you have.”

My mind is changed; my heart is remade, and a new task lies ahead.

- kramsaycnn

Filed under: Belief • Guns • Violence

soundoff (1,981 Responses)
  1. truth be told

    All so called atheists are liars and they spend a lot of time on these blogs proving just that. Self deluded atheists have caused more harm injury and death on this planet than any other group. For an atheist to truly help mankind they would have to leave this earth by their own hand before harming others. Just think of the millions who would have lived if atheist Joe Stalin had killed himself before he killed all those others.

    February 4, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Blah, blah, blah, captain america sucks dead priests.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • truth be told

      Thanks for adding proof to my statements tom. You are a better argument for the uselessness of atheism than you'll ever know. Still it wouldn't hurt you to eat a shotgun for the common good. Try not to miss.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • WASP

      here is some TRUTH you won't ever bother to understnd;
      E=mc2 combined with the law of energy conservation plainly shows this universe DOES NOT require a creator.

      now about this whole lieing thing you have going on; shall we look at how many times the RCC and other "christians" have lied to get what they want?
      i truly feel sorry for folks like you, folks that have grown so scared of "what if" that you have stopped living and you are simply waiting to die. if life is going to be so grand when you're in heaven then why does your god have you struggling here on earth?
      if he is perfect then he wouldn't know what failure is thus you would be there with him now in eternal bless; however you are here on earth contributing nothing and trying to drag more people down with you.
      are you that scared of dying alone? religion is a CULT, regardless of which flavor you follow; it's all about empty promises of a better life after this one when we AS HUMANS HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE THIS ONE THE BEST LIFE.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Blah, blah, blah, Captain America's momma was so ugly that the Canadians threw her out of the country.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Da jesus shop

      Todays special, jesus on a stick soap to wash your sins away, $3.00 each or 2 for $5.00.

      tbt you may want to wash your mouth out with it, the hatred you spew out is a disgusting sin.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So you think people who don't see any evidence that folks like you are proof there's a god should just kill themselves, huh? Sure you do. If they did, you'd have no one to jabber at.

      All an atheist has to do is wave a banana about lack of belief and monkeys like you come screaming through the jungle.

      It's hilarious. Fish in a barrel.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • truth be told

      I knew Einstein, I worked with Einstein, you sir are no Einstein. Relativity combined with anything does not prove anything remotely resembling your drivel. The theory came from Einsteins observations of Gods natural order and as Einstein repeatedly said if He was wrong on relativity then all mighty God was wrong.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • truth be told

      You are missing the concept tom, to help improve mankind try eating the shotgun instead of running your mouth. Trust me you won't be missed.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      captain america, you wouldn't know what to do with yourself if every atheist took your advice. Which is about as likely to happen as is the even of pigs flying out of your ass.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If anything would improve mankind, it would be your getting a job and moving out of the homeless shelter.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • The Truth

      Uh oh! TbT is angry with atheists again calling for them to commit suicide. lol

      You can always tell which party is on the losing end of an argument when all one side can do is get red in the face yelling and screaming for his opponent to die. Sad sad little tbt, smart enough to know how to read but too stupid to read anything but archaic fiction. Well have fun storming the imaginary atheist castle!! 🙂

      February 4, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      He's sort of starting to resemble Irrational Libertarian stomping around like Rumpelstiltskin.

      February 4, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Saraswati

      "For an atheist to truly help mankind they would have to leave this earth by their own hand before harming others."

      So that's Christian morality?

      February 4, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      He's no more Christian than I am, Sara. He's just a troll who has nothing else to do.

      February 4, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • truth be told

      Morality is in opposing those who hate God. The so called atheist is no more or less than the filthy Sodomite or Canaanite, judged and found unacceptable and unwanted. Chaff of no value and without redemption having rejected the only hope of mankind. Their lot is to be cast into the lake of fire twice dead and rejected by all that is morally decent. Truth spoken in love to warn the undesirables of the wrath to come is not inconsistent with Christianity although the self deceived atheist types think that they aren't all that bad and of course a loving God would not really punish them. Tell it to the Sodomites. All so called atheists are liars.

      February 4, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Pete

      truth be told
      "Morality is in opposing those who hate God."

      You would have to believe that God is real to actually hate him. You do get that, don't you? Saying that atheists "hate" God is like saying that you hate some character you regard as fictional, like Darth Vader, Cruella Deville, or Lex Luthor.

      February 4, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why would you imagine that an atheist hates god? What an idiot you are, captain america. Atheists don't think there's evidence for the existence of god. You can't hate something that don't believe exists. You, on the other hand, hate everyone who doesn't agree with you.

      I'd say you're the one who's not quite all there.

      February 4, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Come on, captain underpants, stamp your hairy little feet some more and shake your fists at all those terrible atheists.

      Silly bozo.

      February 4, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • End Religion

      I think what we're seeing here is a jockeying for position. It appears TBT is not really spewing venom at us but rather interviewing for a job with God. TBT wants to be the new Kommandant at God's Holy Concentration Camp, Lakeside, Hades. I envision TBT's favorite implement would be the thumb screws but I may be being too nice.

      February 4, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • truth be told

      My future is secured, I am chosen, you are not. You will torment yourselves for eternity as a result of your filth on earth. It would be better had no so called atheist had ever been born but being here the best a self deceived atheist could do for mankind is to terminate itself before doing any more harm.

      February 4, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Tom, haha, I wasn't sure you were right until this last comment. He's actually pretty good.

      February 4, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • LinCA

      Isn't it sad that someone like truth be told is left to his/her own devices and that nobody in his/her family is intervening? There has got to be someone who cares about him/her.

      I truly hope someone will recognize the mental health problems and take it upon themselves to step in and take truth be told to a mental health facility.

      February 4, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
  2. New Athiest

    You keep making a logical error. No one can prove a god does not exist. You cannot prove the Flying Spaghetti Monster or the Invisible Pink Unicorn goddess does not exist. If you want me to believe your god exists, you need to prove that he does.
    I don't believe that Alah was anything special either, but many muslims believe he was. Proof for or against this would be appreciated.

    February 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are just inviting her to repost the same mumbo-jumbo arguments for jeebus she's littered this site with in the past.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      New Atheist
      Your invisible pink unicorn goddess does not exist. It can't be both pink and invivible. One precludes the other.Sorry to dispel your myth

      February 4, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @New Athiest : You keep making a logical error. No one can prove a god does not exist.

      It's true that no one could prove that a god doesn't exist. However, one COULD prove that a given god's characteristics cannot be applied to that god. For example:

      1) Omnipotence: God could be marginalized if a naturalistic explanation for the existance of this world as we now see it existed. But, as it now stands, a Creator is necessary to explain how this world is as we see it.

      2) Omniscience: God could be marginalized if it could be proven that there were no fulfilled prophecies (i.e. foretold events) in His Word. But, as it now stands, prophecies have been fulfilled in recent times.

      So, while you could not prove that God doesn't exist, you DO have the ability to marginalize Him – but the evidence is against you.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • New Athiest

      with Her, all things are possible.
      Just because we don't understand something that doesn't mean we won't be able to see it in the next life.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • New Athiest

      1) Evolution can explain how we came to be. No god necessary.
      2) Please tell me of one specific prophecy that has been fulfilled. Note the word 'specififc'.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Stop humoring her.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "But, as it now stands, a Creator is necessary to explain how this world is as we see it."

      No, it isn't. You simply choose not to continue to search for the answers to the questions of origin. I am fine with acknowledging that we don't yet know and may never know how the universe began. You aren't. You want an easy, simple answer, even if there's no evidence to support it. That's fine–but don't lie by trying to pretend it's a fact.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @New Athiest : I don't believe that Alah was anything special either, but many muslims believe he was. Proof for or against this would be appreciated.

      Sorry that I missed this earlier. Here's your answer: Allah is considered to be both omnipotent and omniscient. This latter attribute can be falsified.

      1) There are no specific fulfilled prophecies in the Quran. There are some very generic prophecies that Muslims claim are evidence of a fulfilled prophecy. One such is something like "Their skins testify against them" to be fulfilled by fingerprint techniques. To me, this is much to generic to qualify for a prophetic event.

      2) The Quran (Chapter 6) identifies the members of the Christian Trinity as Mary, Jesus and God. (something like: Jesus, did you tell your followers to take Mary and yourself as dieities beside me?" However, the Christian Trinity is composed of Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Allah is not omniscient.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • New Athiest

      Please stop dodging the question.
      Name one specific BIBLE prophecy that has been fulfilled.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      " However, the Christian Trinity is composed of Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Allah is not omniscient."


      February 4, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • New Athiest

      Don't bother pointing out that if Alah is a god, then the Christians are just plain wrong, as is their interpretation of the trinity.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
  3. Live4Him

    @Richard Cranium : Peace lily thinks that asking questions is akin to spewing hatred

    Why do you ask the questions? Is it to learn or to mock?

    February 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • ¿¿lol

      Gullible4Him asking about learning???? LMAO!!

      February 4, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Forgot how to use the reply button?

      February 4, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Depends entirely on the subject and the person. In your case, I have seen you use words like logic, but you don't seem to know what it is. You deserve mocking because so many of your statements are at the extreme end of the ridiculous scale.

      February 4, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why? Because boneheads like you continue to insist that you know all the answers for everyone. Remain arrogant and expect to be mocked when you can't come up with anything approaching proof or evidence, Liver.

      February 4, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Live4Him

      Richard Cranium : Peace lily thinks that asking questions is akin to spewing hatred
      Live4Him : Why do you ask the questions? Is it to learn or to mock?
      Richard Cranium : Depends entirely on the subject and the person. In your case,

      I gave you the benefit of the doubt and then you just proved Peace lily point. You ARE here to sped hatred, rather than engage in honest intellectual debate.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      I am not spewing hate. There is no hatred in my posts, better find another word to describe it.
      I don't hate believers. I pity them. I mock them. I do not hate.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Asking questions can be to learn, to understand a position that may not be right or as an exercise in teaching, by helping show the person questioned where their thinking goes wrong. Often it is a combination of all those.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • midwest rail

      To attempt to "engage in honest intellectual debate" with a creationist is an exercise in futility. The wedge strategy on their part makes it impossible.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • The Truth

      L4H – "Alright, everyone is gathered here to discuss the seriousness of the huffalump and how it's life cycle will effect the unicorn population..."

      RichardC – "That's the silliest thing i've ever heard!"

      L4H – "You ARE here to sped hatred, rather than engage in honest intellectual debate!"

      RichardC – "Please define honest and please define intellectual, because using those in connection with your fanciful premise is beyond moronic, it's just plain silly."

      L4H – "I'll show you silly!! AAAAagggghhhh!!!! Unicorns attack!!! Huffalumps, fire the balista's!!"

      February 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "engage in honest intellectual debate"

      I'll be giggling about that one for at least the next 2 days.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son : Because boneheads like you continue to insist that you know all the answers for everyone.

      I don't insist that I have all the answers. I provide my evidence and expect my opponents to provide their answers. When they lack answers, they resort to mockery, ad hominems, etc. – anything to divert from the fact that they lack evidence for their beliefs. On the other hand, there are a few honest people who will engage in an intellectual debate and are willing to admit that there are somethings that they haven't considered.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      You don't provide evidence. You provide logical fallacies and dishonest debate. You have never, once, provided anything approaching evidence.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      As hg says, you don't provide evidence, you ninny. You believe something. You have no proof it exists, and have no evidence of any kind. What you provide is exactly what every zealot does: a bunch of stories, none of which can be verified.

      Why don't you try honesty for a change? Why do you have to pretend that you believe based on facts, when you don't do anything of the sort? You have faith. If that were sufficient, you wouldn't be here arguing about facts.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Furthermore, you dishonest POS, you continue to insist that one can prove a negative. The burden of proof is on you. If you say you have it, then produce it. I have not said that I "believe" in anything. I have not stated that a god doesn't exist. You are the one making a claim, you bloviating buffoon.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      You have never presented evidence. You have marched a parade of assumptions, conjecture, flawed logic and theories and the occasional flat out lie. I have never seen any evidence of your claims.
      If you want a real philosophical debate, I'm all ears, but your past posts preclude the possibility of postulating probabilities.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • The Truth

      I think maybe L4H doesn't understand what evidence is.

      This might help L4H:

      I claim unicorns exist, and here is a book of unicorns to prove it... = not evidence.

      I claim that Tasmanian Tiger's once existed, here are some accounts of people who have seen them and here are some archival footage and some photos. Also here is a biologists details of the remains of several found in the 1930's. = evidence.

      I claim Middle Earth exists and that Sauron is the evil force trying to pull mankind to darkness and here are several book's to prove it! = not evidence

      I claim blackholes exist even though we can't see them with the naked eye because we can show their effect on other stellar objects, here is the math and the evidence from numerous cosmologists and scientists and mathmeticians = evidence.

      I claim a super being created all the universe and everything in it and my proof is this book and the fact that my tiny brain has trouble grasping large concepts of complexity so that must prove that something more complex created us = not evidence.

      The burden of proof lie's with the one making the claim. You have made many claims L4H and have provided exactly ZERO proof of said claims.

      Your God, your faith and your religion are all hollow and decaying from the inside and will one day crack open to expose the rotten interior of lies, hate, exclusion, division and the bitter poison of self deluded hubris to you as it already has for millions of others.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
  4. Live4Him

    @End Religion : Your god and your jesus never existed. Face it, you are a simpleton.

    Where's your evidence for this conclusion?

    February 4, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Which part, the no god or jesus or that you are a simpleton?

      February 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      L4H: Burden of proof lies on you not End Religion...get over yourself and grow up!

      February 4, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Better no proof than rote copy-and-pasting of ICR propaganda.

      February 4, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @Truth Prevails : Burden of proof lies on you not End Religion

      According to the scientific method, the burden of proof lies with the one advancing the claim.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      OK Lie4him
      You think your god exists. What makes you think that the thousands of other gods man has created , do not exist?

      February 4, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • The Truth

      One must assume that a bump on a log is in fact, just a bump on a log unless that bump can actually perform in some way. It's up to the bump to prove it's not just a bump, for as long as it just sit's there unmoving, it will always be considered just an insignificant bump...

      February 4, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • End Religion

      the statement “gods exist” is a positive claim.
      the statement “gods do not exist” is a negative claim that only responds to the positive one.

      The very first person who uttered "god exists" had the burden of proof which has not yet been satisfied. When it is satisfied, "gods do not exist" will then be a claim that requires proof.

      Lie4It, please get busy with the empirical evidence of any god's existence which is supported by a 2/3 majority of physicists (the dudes who best understand the rules governing our reality).

      As for your god in particular, that nefarious cloud dweller has a fictional book as the only source to its claim of existence. We understand the book is a cobbling together of myths, folklore, local legend and possibly some decent home cleaning tips, fraudulently claimed as the word of your god. The book is either 1) inerrant or 2) allegory. We can quickly show thousands of ways #1 cannot be true within our reality. And frankly, #2 by definition is not fact but interpretation.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I haven't advanced a claim, Liver. You have.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
  5. lol??

    Somebody, quick get the woman a blind date.

    February 4, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  6. geeeno

    Jeanne, You are not god.

    "We can’t love what he did. But we have to love him, because God made him for a purpose.”

    His purpose may be that Biro remain in prison for the rest of his life in repentance, to save his soul. Releasing him back into society may be a tempatation that he can't overcome and so his chance for salvation is lost. Prison is not a bad thing, it is solemn, solitary, and a chance to know god as many prisoners have done. Much harder to do outside of prison.

    February 4, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
  7. youjustgotserved

    Wow what complete naivete. This person is an animal and nothing more. Your religion has clouded your judgement.

    February 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
  8. Joshua

    I applaud the author's change of heart, it always fells good to forgive. But I think she needs to take a minute to think about the rest of us. Could she forgive herself if these murderers are released and kill again?

    February 4, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • JJ

      If he were released and killed again I'm sure she would also be able to reconcile that. That's the disease of religion/delusions. The most absurd and ruthless things can be explained away and even admired.

      February 4, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
  9. AngeloD

    You will never find better evidence that Liberalism is a mental disorder than Jeanne Bishop's irrational OP Ed piece above.

    This sociopath murders her sister and family, has the sly depravity to amuse himself at the victims funeral, and all Bishop can think of is pardoning the thug, and disarming any other potential victims.

    I'm guessing it's not too much of a leap to assume she voted for Obama.

    February 4, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • baelknight

      The mental disorder is that someone would try to turn a religious piece, which echoes the sentiments of christianity, into a political piece and a chance for more liberal bashing.

      February 4, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Marci

      I pity you...both your lack of understanding and your shallow heart. What amazes me is how you manage to bring politics into this well written personal experience and choices of the writer. Get over yourself Angelo.

      February 4, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • lol??

      marci sayz, ".................how you manage to bring politics into this..............." Dudette, Elder Bishop does the lobby dance.

      February 4, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
  10. Bob

    Is the Bernadine Dohrn in the story the same Dohrn that was in a group that set off bombs and killed innocent people ? And you admire her work ? Tell the kids of the murdered cop what an inspiration she is.

    February 4, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
  11. Peace Lily

    LinCA...just because I don't want you to think for one minute that you described me, in your wildest dreams, accurately I feel the need to respond. I am educated, well liked, not a moron, in no way infantile, not delusional, nor do I entertain imaginary friends. The very simple fact that ALL of your so-called challenges were hurtful, spiteful, demeaning, and less than appropriate totally made my point about slavery...isn't that the very same way we treated slaves? Are Christians your new age slaves to serve as only your punching bag, your entertainment, your stress relief? I can turn everything you said right back on you because YOU, also, have no proof of your position either. So why argue about it and be nasty in the process? Live and let live. I had much rather live in a society that was God loving and in fear of being evil than the one we have now. The more God leaves our culture, the more craziness is heaped upon us. You seem to forget that it was people PERSECUTED for their beliefs that founded this country. Since you want challenge...prove that God does not exist. My heart tells me He does exist. That's all I need to know to believe. It's not hallucination...it's not a fairy tale...it's not even open for discussion at this point. I accepted your challenge and this is my response. As far as I am concerned, you invalidated yourself completely by being so nasty in your responses instead of being an intelligent challenger.

    February 4, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • End Religion

      Your god and your jesus never existed. Face it, you are a simpleton. You never left childhood. Just tell me this, when you set your baby dolls up around your plastic table to have a tea party, do you also set a place for your other invisible friend, god? Or maybe he's too busy helping some football team win to attend your gathering of imaginary friends? What are your thoughts on this?

      February 4, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Peace Lily

      Sorry, I will speak here just as the detractors (you) speak. However, when people start spouting the hatred you are spouting, it's time to cut you off. This will be the only response you get from me. You are wasted space, as far as I am concerned, and it's merely because you find pleasure in maligning someone else in their chosen beliefs. You know, it takes far more intelligence to validate your responses than you exhibit. Go back to school...learn something...be appreciative of the differences in humans rather than a hoodlum who targets people for entertainment.

      February 4, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • OTOH

      Peace Lily,
      " it was people PERSECUTED for their beliefs that founded this country."

      I think you need to do some reading about those Puritan pilgrims... and what they believed, and who they persecuted. We should be so glad that wiser heads prevailed in establishing the laws of this country!

      "Their isolation in the New World, their introversion, the harshness and dangers of their new existence, their sense that they were a new Chosen People of God destined to found a New Jerusalem - a New City of God in the midst of the wilderness - insured that American Puritanism would remain more severe (and, frequently, more intellectually subtle and rigorous) than that which they had left behind. The American Puritan tended to interpret the Bible, which had supreme literary value because it was the perfect word of God, even more literally than did his British counterparts. Though many of the original American Puritans - many of whom were both preachers and authors - had attended English Universities, they tended to form religious oligarchies and sought to establish a purified church - which meant the frequently harsh imposition of religious uniformity upon an unwilling populace.

      It was to escape Puritan religious persecution that Roger Williams, a minister from Salem, established his colony in Rhode Island in 1636. The overt remnants of Puritanism did not die out in New England until well into the nineteenth century, and it echoes in American society today. In coming to the New World in the first place, Puritans altered the course of history, for better or for worse. There were approximately 4,000,000 English- speaking people in the entire world in 1603: less than four centuries later there are over seventy-five times that number." http://www.victorianweb.org/religion/puritan2.html

      February 4, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Peace lily thinks that asking questions is akin to spewing hatred....typical christian, agree with what I say or you are a hater.
      Goodbye lily, go preach to the choir.

      February 4, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Peace: You ask LinCA to prove there isn't a god...how exactly do you propose that be done when a negative can't be proven? The term 'imaginary friend' fits well based on the lack of evidence for any god. The burden of proof always lies on the one making the claim and given that you made the claim it is up to you to prove it. It is no different than someone saying there are four purple and pink striped unicorns in their yard.
      As for crying foul, if you don't like being called out for your absurd beliefs this may not be the best blog for you to be on...it will happen quite often.

      February 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Peace Lily

      Give it up. I no longer wish to even try to communicate with some of you people. To carry a conversation about the validity of religion to the minutiae of "who" the Puritans were and what they believed is ridiculous. People fleeing religious persecution founded this country. Period. I never once mentioned what they believed, only that they were fleeing religious persecution. I am so done with this conversation. I don't care how many facts, ideas, rantings you throw at me...my beliefs are solid. You should be so lucky. Have a lovely day!

      February 4, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • SHrUb....gOd wIlls iT.....

      @ OTOH

      Quite right about those Pilgrims. In grade school i can remember pictures of Indians and pilgrims sitting down having a good dinner...making the Hand turkeys...ect...
      I high school, I had the best history teacher ever... Mr. Murphy.... he didnt sugar coat anything....the picture he painted of the Puritans (pilgrims) was to us shocking. Turns out he was spot on.... The indians did save their asses... when the pilgrims got their settlement off the ground, they repayed the native american tribes in a 50 mile radius with death..convert or die.....the ones they didnt kill outright died of disease.... a small taste of the Christian Mercy that was to follow.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Why would you initiate a debate if your beliefs are unchanging? And how the hell could you not anticipate mockery with such an att-itude?

      February 4, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • OTOH

      Peace Lily,

      Puritans "persecuted" because they wanted to run the country (England) according to their harsh and oppressive superst'itions? They were rejected then there... and they will be rejected now here if they (Christian Right, et al) try it again.

      (p.s. YOU brought up the subject, btw)

      February 4, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • OTOH


      Yes, and the Puritans believed Quakers were heretics. In fact, anyone who was not an Anglican was a heretic, including Catholics, Lutherans, Anabaptists, Antinomians, Quakers, Ranters… in short, anyone who was not Anglican. When Quakers showed up in Boston in the 1650s, it’s no surprise they were persecuted. Puritan Congregationalism was the official—and only—religion of New England. Like every other state they knew of in Europe, the Puritans enforced a state religion that it was treason to oppose. http://thehistoricpresent.wordpress.com/2008/07/02/why-the-puritans-persecuted-quakers/

      And don't forget about those Witch Trials... !

      February 4, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • End Religion

      @Lil: "...the hatred you are spouting..."

      You're confusing "hate" for "ridicule". Hate is naughty, and I don't hate you. Ridicule, while not producing warm and fuzzy feelings, is an extremely important tool. I do understand since you are the object of the ridicule that you will resort to calling it hate in effort to trigger social backlash. However, I am immune to social backlash, so cry persecution all you want.

      "...it takes far more intelligence to validate your responses than you exhibit."

      It is unfortunate that, while I am on here more time than is likely healthy, I do not have the time to type out well-reasoned responses to every post in the world. So sometimes my responses are quick and to the point. Don't mistake that for a lack of intelligence (though just between you and I, I am usually faking my intelligence because I'm better at *appearing* to be intelligent than I am at actually being intelligent – most of my intelligence comes from reruns of What's Happening which coincidentally has a character named Rerun. Man am I glad this is just between you and I).

      "Go back to school...learn something...be appreciative of the differences in humans rather than a hoodlum who targets people for entertainment."

      I do appreciate our differences. I find them truly fascinating. I do not appreciate lies, hypocrisy and undeserved piety, the hallmark of religion. Unfortunately I am targeting religion for ridicule, and as a subset, its adherents. It doesn't score me any brownie points with polite society, but I believe it is an effective tool in the fight against an insidious opponent. Won't you forgive me?

      February 4, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
  12. Alan Lesley

    Jeanne, While I applaud your ability to forgive David, I think you are making a big mistake in advocating for abolishing life sentences for juveniles. I think the punishment fits the crime in his case. I think that even if he experienced Christ in the prison system he still should serve the life sentence if the parole board thought necessary to keep him incarcerated. If he has experienced Christ he will receive full forgiveness but I think we need to render to Caesar what is Caesar's and do our part to make sure that he never does anything else like he did to your sister and her family. God Bless,

    February 4, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
  13. Hadenough

    If this killer is ever released on the public, he should have to live at her house with her family. There's a very good reason why he received a life sentence with no possibility of parole. Some individuals can't be saved and he is one of them.

    February 4, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • MarylandBill

      I am always amazed at how many people have divine knowledge of each person's heart. It is possible that it will never be safe to release this man. However, we can't know that. If life without parole was abolished, then we would have to depend on the Parole system, which if it functions properly will evaluate him repeatedly. Obviously it is a big chance to take, relying on the Parole system, but then again, it is a big chance relying on the Criminal Justice System as a whole.

      February 4, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • RichardK

      Too true that some people cannot be saved. Society's quest to reform evil people is doomed to be expensive and to be a failure. Can we please concentrate our efforts and our money on ordinary folk who are in trouble due to no fault (or evil) on their part?

      February 4, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
  14. gypsarella

    Informed> Very well said!

    February 4, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
  15. pauleky

    One wonders where this "god" was while your family was being slaughtered. I'm no advocate for the death penalty, but life in prison is certainly warranted here. At 16, you know right from wrong. I don't need a Bible or any religion to tell me this is wrong. Forgiveness is great, but some things are unforgivable. If it makes you feel better, great – I honestly have no problem with it. But, I am so tired of people bringing up a god that, if he/she/it exists, clearly has no real care for the human race. Just ask all those starving kids in Africa. Apparently, this god is too busy determining the outcome of the Super Bowl or the Oscars to take care of them.

    February 4, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  16. lol??

    Even with just a minute search, "...............Thus, in spite of more than a century of clinical study and decades of research, the mystery of the psychopath still remains. Recent developments have provided us with new insights into the nature of this disturbing disorder, and its borders are becoming more defined. But compared with other major clinical disorders, little research has been devoted to psychopathy, even though it is responsible for more social distress and disruption than all other psychiatric disorders combined........"...........http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199401/charming-psychopath?page=4

    February 4, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
  17. guy c

    Yet it is the public who bears the risk of the release of dangerous offenders and we cannot ask others to potentially die or be harmed for the sake of our own prinicples. Perhaps the killer, like many, may not kill again, but many have. My sympathy is foremost with the innocent, and I could not with any integrity put others at risk for the sake of faith or philosophy.

    February 4, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
  18. InFormed

    This poor woman is going through the typical phases of grief, and is now looking for some sort of meaning in the tea leaves. Her sister was killed by a mentally ill sociopath, a medical condition that is well understood by the medical community. Sociopathic behavior is notoriously difficult to 'cure' because the person will say/do whatever they have to in order to get out and with such conviction that an untrained person cannot tell the difference. Leave him in jail, the risks far outweigh the benefits of release.

    February 4, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Which is why family members should have no say either in the punishment or release of prisoners.

      February 4, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
  19. Laura

    I'm no atheist but using god to justify "pardoning" cold-blooded killers is mind-boggling. Killers will always kill. At 16 years of age, one's got one's rights and wrongs straight. It's a pity this kid didn't get the death sentence. If the lady wants to purge her pain by believing she will be spiritually cleaner pardoning this man in her mind, great, bless her heart. But any show of support to get this guy out of jail shows a certain level of idiocy I'm gladly not familiar with (therefore I cannot understand this woman's motives, no matter how clearly she explained them. They make no sense to my analytical mind.) He will kill again if he is ever released from jail. Guaranteed.

    February 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I would make a lightly less strong statement, and say it is possible he won't kill again. But the increased risk that he would kill or commit other violent offenses is out of proportion to the benefits of releasing him.

      February 4, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
  20. Jay

    Jeanne Bishop, You are a courageous and wise heroine and a model for us all. Everyone has damaged other people, whether it be by murder or lesser crimes. All deserve to be forgiven. We should all know that to forgive is not the same as to forget or condone. I pray for all the people who have responded negatively to Jeanne Bishop; I hope they will discover the power of God and the true meaning of love and compassion. The killer is obviously in need of help mentally and emotionally. If we are ever going to rid our society of crime, we need to stop locking such people away and turning our backs on them. Nothing can excuse what he did. But we can all help him and pray for forgiveness, just as Jeanne Bishop has done.

    February 4, 2013 at 11:54 am |
    • InFormed

      A person with a mental defect in their brain that leads to this behavior cannot be 'wished better'. It is a physical defect, like a broken toy, and cannot be easily 'fixed'. Humans have not yet gained the knowledge needed to fix these sorts of brain defects. Maybe in a 100 years or so.

      February 4, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @InFormed, I hope one better, that soon we will be able to test for these defect early enough to influence development before the problems arise. But I agree, we aren't there yet.

      February 4, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.