Belief Beat

It’s a strange juxtaposition of long-awaited faith-related news this afternoon, with Oprah’s final network TV show talk show episode, and the much-delayed sentencing of Brian David Mitchell, the homeless man who kidnapped and raped Mormon teenager Elizabeth Smart in 2002.

Oprah Winfrey (whose show has helped lift the taboo on reporting sexual abuse, coincidentally), thanked God and Jesus for her success, which had the Christian blogosphere buzzing, given that the talk show host and media mogul has tended to be more publicly New Age-y spiritual than devoutly religious.

As for Mitchell, whose trial was repeatedly delayed due to questions about his mental competency and his penchant for bursting into hymns in the courtroom, no surprise: the former street preacher and self-proclaimed prophet was sentenced to life in prison. In her last words to him at the sentencing, Smart, now 23, told him that he would pay for his crimes “in this life or the next.”

Here’s the 2008 clip of Oprah’s show featuring Elizabeth Smart:

Got closure? Feeling anti-climactic? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

P.S. As Smart notes in her recent video interview with The Salt Lake Tribune, today is also National Missing Children’s Day. Prayers all around…

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