The rule of law in a free society is an expression of the social contract between the governed and government and between the people and each other. Obedience to the law, and the ability of authorities to enforce the law, depends on every citizen understanding him or herself as a responsible and cared-for member of the community. As you well know, this sense of mutuality is breaking down. Without it no amount of money spent for police or prisons will restore safe streets or decent schools, and no amount of preaching (whether by preachers, judges, or politicians) will restore "family values."
Bob Holum is a pastor and executive director of the Lutheran Volunteer Corps.