I have commented on former governor George Ryan, of Illinois, on several previous occasions. He was convicted of several crimes earlier this year and has now run out of appeals, except to the U. S Supreme Court. For those who remember this case the major issue was "bribes for licenses" while Ryan was Secretary of State. The impact of his decisions led to the death of seven children whose parents are personal friends of mine. The story made the national news many years ago. As the proceedings unfolded, over the last nine years or so, Ryan ran for governor and won. By the end of his four-year term he was discredited and facing a serious trial. He thus becomes the third Illinois governor in my lifetime to go to prison. (We must lead the nation in this category!) Ryan’s situation also helped to destroy the viability of a once strong Illinois Republican party.
Ryan’s attorneys were seeking a motion for bond to allow him to appeal to the U. S. Supreme Court but on Wednesday this was refused by the three-judge panel of the U. S. Court of Appeals Seventh Circuit. So Ryan is now seeking bond from the Supreme Court, which has not been granted since back in the 1960s. This means it is very likely George Ryan will finally enter prison on November 7th. What is most sad about this case, at least to me, is that George Ryan had two opportunities to repent when he faced the father of the children who died because of his actions in office. This happened once before the trial and a second time during the trial itself when the two men were face-to-face. But twice Ryan refused to even communicate in a direct and honest manner with my friend, who sat through a great deal of the trial as a quiet witness to the horror of Ryan’s misconduct. To put it very simply, George Ryan has shown no remorse and unless he is granted the grace of repentance he will spend his last years in a prison lying to himself and denying what he could admit and thereby find real freedom in his soul.
I sometimes find that I am angry with George Ryan for what he did to a family I love dearly. I also have watched my friend and seen how he has handled the pain Ryan helped to bring about in his life and I am reminded to pray for Ryan’s repentance and soul. I do feel it is right that the man finally goes to prison. I hope no delays will prevent it. My wife and I said this morning, "I am sick of reading this story. He should have been in prison a long time ago." Justice does move slowly in the United States. That has both a good side and a bad side to it.
In the last day I am convinced that the the Judge of all the earth "will do right" and justice will not be a drawn out business. All of us should flee to the grace of God now and not wait until it may be too late.