Reporters are scrambling to catch sight of Casey Anthony. They’re plotting potential plane routes across country, reporting rumored hideouts, naming people who could, or would, or might be "hiding her." There was even the potential, as reported last week, that Anthony may have landed here in San Diego County.
Whether you have concluded she was wrongly accused or wrongly released, there's no denying the fact that this woman has captivated a nation. Anthony's trial was broadcast live on several cable news channels. The day the verdict was announced, Headline News attracted the biggest audience in its history, exceeding their coverage of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Why are we unable to look away? What bearing does the plight of Casey Anthony have on our individual lives? Aside from our gawking tendencies, there's something more concrete that draws us to this story.
Our fascination with the plight of Casey Anthony is grounded in the fact that her actions have violated the most basic principles of human nature, the image of God in which we were made.
In the simplest form, “made in God’s image” means we were made to resemble God in our actions and attitudes. One of the aspects of being made in the image of God means that we were created as a moral mirror, born with the innate ability to reflect God’s morality. God provided us with mental and moral capacities not afforded to other creatures. Unfortunately, there are times that the moral mirror gets blurred and people act in ways that don’t come close to resembling God’s heart.
When her two-year-old daughter Caylee "went missing," it took 31 days for Casey Anthony to report her daughter's disappearance to authorities. It is only natural that our moral compasses went haywire when we heard the news; our outrage stems from the fact that her actions were in opposition to the very image by which God created us. Mothers just don’t do that. Parents are defenders and protectors not murderers.
Casey Anthony's actions in the days following her daughter’s disappearance personified the antonym of "mother" and left many to wonder if she lacks conscience. God did not create robots, but rather complex human beings who are afforded free will. It is hard to accept when people exercise their free will to bring grief, sorrow and pain to other people. However, this should not be construed as an indication of God’s absence, but rather a validation of the presence of evil.
God entrusted man with dominion over the earth and animals, not other people. We have the responsibility to create environments at work, at home and among our friends, where people can grow and fulfill the purpose for which God has created them. As parents, we have a particular responsibility to safeguard God’s plan for our children.
When the 25-year-old mother was found not guilty in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, but convicted of four counts of lying to investigators, people around the country protested, denouncing our justice system. How can someone treat their child the way she did, they asked, and escape meaningful consequence?
The answer of course, is that no human escapes the ultimate accounting for his or her actions. Any judgment that is made of Casey Anthony should and will come from God. God has promised to reward each person according to his or her conduct, according to what his or her deeds deserve.
Faith brings peace. If we have confidence that everyone will answer to a higher being for his or her conduct – the Florida verdict reached by a twelve member panel of our peers seems far less like the final chapter of the Casey Anthony story.
My hope is that the moral outrage surrounding this case can be channeled into meaningful action. My prayer is that it reminds us of our God-given responsibility to love and protect those that have been entrusted into our care. Consider mentoring a parent who is overwhelmed, volunteering to combat child abuse, or even praying for Casey Anthony. The most significant way we can remember Caylee Anthony is by mirroring God’s image to those we love.