Thank God for Gerald Ronson CBE
He is awarded the CBE for services to charity, having raised more than £100million for (and donated more than £30million to) charities such as the Community Security Trust, NSPCC, the Prince's Trust and Jewish Care.
Labour find this deplorable. The Daily Mail is apoplectic.
While it is indeed rare for a former prisoner to have such an honour bestowed, surely it is a good thing to reward those who reform themselves; to honour those who have turned away from sin, vice and crime and chosen to walk a righteous path. Are those who have erred and paid their debt to society to be denied recognition? Are they to be outcast forever?
When the wayward and prodigal return, the angels rejoice and God honours them with a banquet. The state should do no less. Bestowing a CBE upon Gerald Ronson is symbolic of healing, wholeness and forgiveness. We should be proud that we live in a society in which redemption may be found. Mr Ronson has received words of admonition and been subject to the discipline of the community. He is thereby worthy to receive words of encouragement and the forgiveness of the community. Rebuke and correction cannot mean that a person becomes a perpetual pariah, for then there is no mercy. It means, rather, that the person becomes an object of the community's missionary efforts: the shepherd leaves the 99 sheep to search for the one who goes astray. If it is not God's will that any should be lost, the ultimate goal of the community's disciplinary action must always be the restoration of the sinner to fellowship, thereby providing forgiveness and reintegration of the wrongdoer into the life of the community.
Since his fall from grace, Gerald Ronson has not only raised millions for charity, he has received many awards including 'Entrepreneur of the Year' from the Variety Club of Great Britain; 'Businessman of the Year' from Hambros; and he won the Property Industry Award for High Achievement. King Juan Carlos of Spain has also bestowed upon Mr Ronson the Encomienda de Numero of the Spanish Order of Civil Merit Decoration. He is also the Ambassador of the Druze Community on Mount Carmel, and in 2009 was awarded an Honourary Doctorate in Civil Law by Northumbria University.
There is no shame or disgrace in Gerald Ronson CBE. On the contrary, we must thank God that justice may be tempered with mercy, and that reformation can be rewarded with forgiveness.