continued The video and radio broadcasts of Berkowitz's testimony, as well as his journals, are especially helpful, says Wilson, "for people who despair or get despondent. The programs tell you there's hope for every person, no matter what they've done."
In the third of the Focus on the Family interviews, Berkowitz underscores this lesson. He begins by admitting the terrible things he's done. Then he brings up the case of Saul of Tarsus, who became Paul the Apostle. Saul persecuted Christians, killing many of them. A Jew like he is, says Berkowitz, Saul also was redeemed by Jesus Christ. Speaking as if he were Jesus, Berkowitz proclaims, "If I can forgive David Berkowitz, I can forgive you, too."
But not everyone is in a forgiving mood. According to a June 11 article by Joe Mahoney in the New York Daily News, Michael Lauria, whose daughter Donna died at Berkowitz's hands in 1976, asks, "Is he saying we should forgive him for life? Forget about it! He's telling the world: 'Ha, ha! I'm in jail, and I got a website.' He should stay in a 4-by-6 cell and rot." The Daily News reports in the same article that Neysa Moskowitz, mother of Berkowitz's victim Stacy Moskowitz, is angry that the murderer is becoming a celebrity in prison. "They treat him like a little prince," she says. "If I were the warden, he wouldn't be allowed to do anything. Let him break rocks or whatever they do."
New York governor George Pataki came out strongly against parole for Berkowitz, which is unlikely. "It's very upsetting to me that Son of Sam has a website," the Daily News' Mahoney reports Pataki saying in a June 15 story. "We're going to look into it." The article goes on to quote New York State Department of Correctional Services spokesman Jim Flateau. "We don't allow inmates to conduct a business from jail." After admitting that a United States Supreme Court decision protects the sending of mail by prisoners, Flateau says, "We're looking to see whether or not everything on that website was in the strictest adherence to the Supreme Court decision, in that every i was dotted and that every t was crossed."
To Wilson, these attitudes repress free speech and religion. "The United States is becoming more and more like China," he says, "where there is a government-sponsored Christianity. They tolerate a watered-down church there that won't be a threat to their government. The Patriot Act here reinforces a similar message.
"As in China," Wilson continues, "the true Christian church here has to go more and more underground. But all the persecution does is fan the flames of desire."
Yet, due to the negative response he's received, Wilson isn't sure he wants House upon the Rock to sponsor the David Berkowitz homepage anymore. "I feel the Lord is encouraging me to find a church in the New York area to host the site and answer all the e-mails," he says. "This will be better, as it will help the people in New York who need assistance. I have a couple of churches in mind, and I'll be contacting them about making the change." In the meantime, Wilson plans to visit Berkowitz during a trip to New York this month.