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Rittenhouse Trial: Moral Guilt and Legal Guilt Are Not The Same



After Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal for homicide in the deaths of three protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, riotous protests were conducted across the United States, causing Wisconsin governor Tony Evers to deploy 500 national guard members in an effort to keep the peace. [4]

This kind of violence creates a dangerous and volatile situation. As a 2016 article pointed out, while riots sometimes call attention to the issues the rioters want to see addressed, they can also result in draconian crackdowns that are just as likely to defeat their cause. [5]


Many of the protesters claimed that Rittenhouse should have been convicted. However, the law cannot simply be changed at the whim of the public. Whether one believes that Rittenhouse should have been there in Kenosha that night or not, he was not found to bear any legal guilt.

Furthermore, we as human beings do not have the right to determine what moral guilt lies upon someone’s soul.


Luke 6:37 says, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”


By this standard, none of us has the right to determine whether Rittenhouse is guilty or innocent, from a moral standpoint. There were multiple charges facing Rittenhouse, including charges of homicide. [1]


While God has granted the power of “the sword” to the courts (Romans 13:4), that does not mean they are our source of justice.


Despite the noted gap between media stories and reality, many Americans passed judgment on Rittenhouse before the verdict. Although they do not comprise a majority, 37% of Americans surveyed by Rasmussen believed the teenager to be guilty as of November 10, 2021. [3]


No matter your view of Rittenhouse’s guilt or innocence, as Christians, our faith should not be in human justice systems but rather in the ultimate and perfect justice that God will deliver on the last day.


Romans 12:19 reminds us, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”


Even as this trial has left Americans sharply divided, it is important to remember that there are multiple sides to every story, including the story that took place between Rittenhouse, Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber, Gaige Grosskreutz.


We must also remember Rittenhouse was a 17-year-old child at the time of these events.

As one leftist advocate of reduced sentencing for juveniles put it:


“Under Wisconsin law, Rittenhouse can be charged as an adult, and if convicted, could face a life sentence without parole. Despite the anger I have toward him and his supporters, I feel strongly that Rittenhouse should have the kind of mercy that my son—and so many other predominantly Black and brown children—did not receive. He is too young for such a harsh punishment.” [2]

Ultimately, this is a time when levelheadedness must prevail. No one knows what truly took place that night. All of us believe we are sure but we must have the humility to remember that we are not the judge and, in this case, we were not among the jury. God will ensure that justice is done, if not in this life, then in the life to come.


Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.


[1] Ray Sanchez and Brad Parks, “Here's what the jury in Kyle Rittenhouse's trial will have to weigh” CNN (November 14, 2021), https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/14/us/kyle-rittenhouse-jury-deliberations-charges/index.html

[2] Elder G. Yusef Qualls, “Kyle Rittenhouse Deserves the Kind of Mercy My Son Did Not Receive,” The Atlantic (October 2020), https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/10/kind-mercy-my-son-never-received/616769/

[3] “Rittenhouse Trial: Most Democrats Think Kenosha Shooter Guilty, Others Disagree,” Rasmussen Reports (November 10, 2021), https://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/crime/rittenhouse_trial_most_democrats_think_kenosha_shooter_guilty_others_disagree

[4] Meredith Deliso, “Kyle Rittenhouse acquittal sparks protests across US,” ABC News (November 20, 2021), https://abcnews.go.com/US/kyle-rittenhouse-acquittal-sparks-protests-us/story?id=81299021

[5] German Lopez, “Riots are destructive, dangerous, and scary — but can lead to serious social reforms,” Vox (September 22, 2016), https://www.vox.com/2015/4/30/8518681/protests-riots-work

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