I found a lovely online article comparing forgiveness in Buddhism and Christianity that ties together a couple of recent blog themes. The author, Father Joseph S. O'Leary, has lived in Japan since 1988, and it's clear he has deep knowledge of both religious traditions.
The section I especially want to call to your attention touches on both the recent Brit Hume flap and also on capital punishment in America. Father O'Leary writes,
Memory of past offenses plays a huge role in contemporary culture, and there is insufficient reflection on the dangers of clinging to such memory. Much current rhetoric makes the hurt, anger, traumatization felt by victims into a kind of sacred cow that cannot be questioned. Instead of seeking to heal and dispel their wounds, victims are encouraged to nag at them and to seek "closure" by some form of vindictive payback. Hatred is still regarded as a strength rather than a poison.
This is so true! I wrote in the earlier capital punishment post that American culture favors violence as a "solution," and both our high homicide rates and support for executions are symptomatic of that. But the triumph of violent retribution has been a common theme in popular entertainment -- films in particular -- for as long as I can remember. And I don't see that changing in the near future.
Anyway, Father O'Leary's entire article is very good; I recommend it highly.