Remember the Symbionese Liberation Army in the 1970’s? They were a group of California radicals who became famous when they kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst and killed several people during a bank robbery.
The last of them are finally in custody in Sacramento. All middle-aged now, they are expressing relief that their fugitive ordeal is over. All have apologized to the relatives of the victims they murdered. Several have made what appear to be genuine statements of contrition.
But feeling bad about what one has done is not repentance. It may help heal one’s conscience, but it does not heal the soul.
The Symbionese Liberation Army was a classic example of sixties and seventies extremism run amok. These were people who believed – almost religiously – that their ideas and their way was the only true and right way. They were also willing to use violence to impose their way on others.
Does this sound familiar? It is precisely what we face today with radical Islamists.
The sixties produced a large crop of these people who believed they knew better than anyone else. Now they must face temporal justice. But unless they make peace with God, their judgment has only begun.
I’m Cal Thomas in Washington.