Sunday, February 7, 2016


Wikipedia tells us this about Leopold and Loeb: Nathan Freudenthal Leopold, Jr. (November 19, 1904 – August 29, 1971) and Richard Albert Loeb (June 11, 1905 – January 28, 1936), usually referred to collectively as Leopold and Loeb, were two wealthy students at the University of Chicago who in May 1924 kidnapped and murdered 14-year-old Robert Franks in Chicago. It was described as the “crime of the century” and it was senselessly evil – evil because a 14 year old boy lost his life, and senseless because the motive for the crime was just that – senseless. Leopold was particularly fascinated by Friedrich Nietzsche's concept of supermen (Ɯbermenschen) — transcendent individuals, possessing extraordinary and unusual capabilities, whose superior intellects allowed them to rise above the laws and rules that bound the unimportant, average populace. Leopold believed that he was one of these individuals, and as such, by his interpretation of Nietzsche's doctrines, he was not bound by any of society's normal ethics or rules. They kidnapped and killed young Bobby Franks to prove that they were above society's normal ethics.
They were caught and convicted, receiving sentences of life plus 99 years after an impassioned closing argument by Clarence Darrow. In 1936, Loeb was attacked by another prisoner and killed. Wikipedia continues:
“After 33 years and numerous unsuccessful parole petitions, Leopold was released in March 1958. In April he attempted to set up the Leopold Foundation, to be funded by royalties from Life Plus 99 Years, 'to aid emotionally disturbed, retarded, or delinquent youths'. The State of Illinois voided his charter, however, on grounds that it violated the terms of his parole.
Leopold moved to Santurce, Puerto Rico, to avoid media attention and married a widowed florist. The Brethren Service Commission, a Church of the Brethren affiliated program, accepted him as a medical technician at its hospital in Puerto Rico. He expressed his appreciation in an article: 'To me the Brethren Service Commission offered the job, the home, and the sponsorship without which a man cannot be paroled. But it gave me so much more than that, the companionship, the acceptance, the love which would have rendered a violation of parole almost impossible.' He was known as “Nate” to neighbors and co-workers at CastaƱer General Hospital in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, where he worked as a laboratory and X-ray assistant. Subsequently he earned a master's degree at the University of Puerto Rico, then taught classes there; became a researcher in the social service program of Puerto Rico's department of health; worked for an urban renewal and housing agency; and did research in leprosy at the University of Puerto Rico's school of medicine. He was also active in the Natural History Society of Puerto Rico, traveling throughout the island to observe its birdlife. In 1963 he published Checklist of Birds of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Leopold died of a diabetes-related heart attack on August 29, 1971, at the age of 66. His corneas were donated.
Old news, but it raises an important question. Is the measure of our lives to be found in the mistakes of our past, or in the promise of our future? Join the congregation of Community Presbyterian Church of Bellefonte, Ky. For this week's sermon, Transformation by clicking HERE for audio or HERE for text.
Community Presbyterian Church of Bellefonte, Kentucky, was built on the casting floor of a 19th Century iron blast furnace. We use “The Casting Floor” as an image for the power of the Spirit to form us. Visit us at

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