Source: (2003) Justice Reflections: Worldwide Papers Linking Christian Ideas with Matters of Justice. Issue 4 (JR 21-28).

Restorative Justice in North America, birthplace of its contemporary worldwide expression in criminal justice systems, grew out of a religious community, specifically in the mid-seventies in the Mennonite community of Kitchener, Canada, as an explicit response to a religious problem. No culture exists without religious foundation, claims anthropologist Rene Girard. If, as Girard continues to explain in an expansive theory of the genealogy of violence, a "scapegoat mechanism" is generated by religion to address the problem of violence, by which sacrificial victims are immolated to restore peace and social cohesion, then religion just may be the source of the corrective to universal scapegoating violence as well. Abstract courtesy of the Centre for Restorative Justice, Simon Fraser University,