To be honest, I didn't follow the Casey Anthony case very closely at all. Aside from the occasional article and headline that I saw, I was virtually clueless.
But in this age of sensationalism and ratings-driven media, as the trial wound down and the jury got the case, it became hard to avoid the story. News websites, TV shows, newspapers, blogs, social networking - the whole gamut of news sources seemed to be saturated with trial coverage.
Maybe it was the cuteness of the sweet, innocent victim, Caylee Anthony. Maybe it was the callousness and attractiveness of Caylee's mom and (formerly) alleged murderer Casey Anthony. Whatever it was, the public was hooked.
On Tuesday afternoon, soon after it was announced that the jury had reached a verdict, I joined millions of other people in watching the court proceedings live. From everything I had read, Anthony was going to take the fall for a crime that hardly anyone doubted she was guilty of.
But then the verdict came back: Not guilty on the capital murder charge, the manslaughter charge, and the aggravated child abuse charge.
The immediate backlash against the verdict was astounding. Critics from all corners, pundits and average-joes alike, decried the fact that Caylee Anthony's murderer wasn't going to get thrown in the slammer for life or killed for the crime.
Most people were united in the belief that the evidence conclusively pointed towards Anthony's guilt.
And the evidence presented at the trial does seem to indicate that Casey Anthony is guilty of her daughter's murder. However, I don't think prosecutors proved that Anthony was guilty of premeditated murder beyond a reasonable doubt. Ultimately, though, it doesn't really matter what you or I think, because all twelve members of the jury thought that she wasn't guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
At first I decided not to contribute to the media circus. I didn't want to comment on the trial and simply add to the cacophony of opinions surrounding Casey Anthony, her future, the trial, and the verdict. What more was there to say?
But there is more to say. Not once while reading about the case did I come across a Christian response to the trial and verdict. So I decided to write one myself.
My Christian response is not to say that we should forgive whoever is guilty of Caylee's murder. That's not our place; whether or not we forgive Caylee's murderer won't have any impact, because we were not wronged by the murder. My response is much more practical, and less resigned, than just forgiving whoever is guilty.
I think Casey Anthony is guilty of little Caylee's death. I don't know that, and it's merely my opinion at this point, but I think the evidence points towards that conclusion.
Even if Anthony is guilty, though, she won't face any punishment under our legal system. She was acquitted by a jury of her peers, and will never have to stand in a court of law to face those same charges. In one week she will leave jail, free to do whatever she wants. Free to write a tell-all book, free to continue her partying. Free. Just like she wants.
But she won't really be free. For the rest of her life, if she is guilty, Casey Anthony will live with the knowledge that she killed her beautiful daughter, that she stole the life of her own flesh and blood. That isn't freedom; it's bondage.
If Casey Anthony really did kill Caylee, there is nothing that can be done to bring her to justice in this life. But this life isn't all there is.
Someday Casey Anthony will stand before God. There will be no hiding behind lies, no allegations of sexual abuse, no sleazy defense lawyers, nothing between Anthony and God. At that point, the Casey Anthony trial will be continued. And God will be the Judge.
If Anthony did murder Caylee, she won't go to jail for it on this earth. But if she does not repent, Casey Anthony will spend eternity enduring the punishment for her crime.
Whether the jury made the right or wrong decision won't matter in the end. Because God will make the right decision. And justice will be done.