Killers 2/08/2003

Editor MNH:  2/8/03

In his book “A Moral Reckoning” Daniel J. Goldhagen claims that Christians look upon Jews as Christ killers. That  was not in my catechism; neither did Reverend Sondtheimer,  in his sermons, nor during religious classes make such an association. While mass was celebrated in Latin the Epistle and Gospel were read in German. By the end of the church year we therefore had  heard the whole New Testament, the drama of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The setting of the drama was Palestine under Roman occupation. The “players” with a few exception,  were Jews. There was the hero, his antagonists, the supporting roles and many bit players. The theme is two fold: Jesus’ redemption of mankind,  and Jesus’ attempt  to make us into goodly  people, thereby creating a goodly society.  But man is encased in an armor of self righteousness and in my experience is more willing to sacrifice his  well being than to have this armor dented, or willingly shed it. Jesus criticized the elite accusing it of  hypocracy and selfrighteousness. The Sanhedrin  did not like Jesus relentlessly banging on their armor and decided to have him killed. The death sentence had to be okayed by  the  Roman procurator.  Pontius Pilate tried to save Jesus. This mild mannered preacher, a cipher in Roman eyes, did not seem a danger to  Roman authority.  “If you let this man go you are not Caesar’s friend” shouted the mob. This was blackmail. Pilate got his position under Sejanus, the executed  usurper. He therefore could not afford any complaint reaching Tiberius. Using a mob is as ancient as history.

I  greatly admire a bit player, Joseph of  Arimathia, member of the Sanhedrin. It took courage to ask  Pilate for the body of  his disgraced and discredited  friend. 

     Mr. Goldhagen look in your own eye!