His brain wasn’t “fully developed”; that’s why he did it. That’s why this teenager got a girl so drunk that she passed out and then he and his buddy raped her while others watched and video-taped the whole thing.
That’s what happened in the Steubenville, Ohio, teenage rape and assault case. Two priviledged, wealthy, “VIP” teenage boys raped an unconscious teenage girl and were found “delinquent”—equivalent to a guilty verdict in adult court.
The crime was bad enough, but for a defense attorney to attempt to excuse the reprehensible act because his client’s brains were not “fully developed” is beyond reproach. And not only is this lawyer deserving of our contempt, the news media is likewise culpa-ble. They seem to be far more concern with how the guilty verdict will ruin the lives of these two young rapists than they are with how the vile act will ruin the life of the young victim.
Many young people may not realize the full consequences of their actions, but they are certainly more than capable of understanding the difference between right and wrong. Young people are able to “remember their Creator in the days of their youth” (Ecc. 12:1), that is, to “honor” Him (TLB), even to remember Him “earnestly” (Amp). Young people are able to honor and obey their parents (Eph. 6:1-3); those who don’t are worthy of death (Rom. 1:30-32). Young people are able to set an example for other Christians. We don’t know how young Timothy was, but he was obviously relatively young for that day and age. Paul instructed him to be an example to others, both the young and the old: “Let no one des-pise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in puri-ty” (1 Tim. 4:12 ESV). Young people are able to resist temptation. Joseph was seventeen years old when his jealous brothers sold him into slavery, and it wasn’t long after that, that the wife of a wealthy and powerful man tried to seduce him. Who would know if he gave in? And who would blame him, after all he had been through—abused and rejected by his own family, living in a foreign country, working as a slave? Did he spurn her daily advances because he was afraid of her husband, his boss? No, but because he didn’t want to sin against God. He may have lost his family and everything near and dear to him, but he hadn’t lost his faith in God. He knew the difference between right and wrong, just as these two young rapists did.
Again, their evil deed was bad enough, but the rationalization of the crime by the lawyer and media is perhaps even more disgraceful. It seems some people have no sense of shame. Some people really don’t know the difference between right and wrong—but it’s not because they can’t know the differ-ence. They have just determined in their own minds that right is wrong and wrong is right. They’re simp-ly stubborn and rebellious. Isaiah condemned them: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa. 5:20 KJV). They “push back” against authority and become hardened and calloused (Rom. 1:32; 1 Tim. 4:1-3). They “love” and “honor” and “exalt” and “praise” and “promote” what is “vile” (Psa. 12:8).
So if the vile actions of these two rapists are excused because their brains are not “fully developed,” what’s to be said about the shameless rationalization of the media? Are their brains not “fully devel-oped,” too? Okay, now that I’ve asked the question, maybe the brains of the media really aren’t fully developed (who hasn’t thought that?).
But it’s still no excuse for sin.