Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter full of criminal justice themes

Easter is strikingly filled with criminal justice themes, isn't it? The Christian religion was essentially founded on a repudiation of Roman capital punishment. Easter celebrates the sinless Man-God killed for His beliefs who triumphed over the grave, mooting, even while respecting to the end, the earth-bound laws that condemned Him. Jesus, a blameless man executed, is the all-time poster child for the innocence movement. Corrupt and biased prosecutors prevailed in His case because of a judge's personal indifference and deference to the mob. Christ's betrayal by Judas was the archetype cementing into Christian values a lingering distrust of snitches and informants. Romans accused the disciples of grave robbery. St. Peter committed assault with a deadly weapon in the Garden of Gethsemane then thrice lied about his identity to avoid arrest. And taken as a whole, the passion story documents Jesus' arrest, trial, and execution all taking place in an incredibly short span, as though criminal convictions could be obtained as quickly in real life as on an episode of Law & Order.

Christmas is a story about family. Easter is a story about a wrongful criminal conviction, the misapplication of the death penalty, the overweening power of the state, and the irrepressible urge of humanity to resist it.

Happy Easter, gentle readers. Enjoy this beautiful day.

16 comments:

Audrey said...

Excellent post. Thank you.

Woodsy said...

Yes, this was a very good post, Scott. Funny, cause my pastor began a series today on making a comeback. It started out with about 30-40 people coming onto the stage and holding up cardboard signs about their past (e.g., abortions, working as a stripper, drug addiction, homelessness, prison, abuse by their father, etc...). Then, they turned the sign over and it had a statement about how they have been redeemed. Easter is about a wrongful conviction, but it is also as much about the exoneration of the world. Happy Easter buddy.

Anonymous said...

Most criminal court appellants end up singing this tune at some point:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SO5Y1OuQIxo

Happy Easter.

Anonymous said...

I'm always amused that Easter actually has nothing to do with god. It was originally the pagan holiday for fertility thus the symbols of eggs and bunnies. It was taken over by the christian church in an effort to destroy paganism and keep current church members from straying from the gospel during pagan holidays.

sunray's wench said...

Not bunnies, Hares.

Anon 9.16 ~ it just perpetuates the theme of crime.

Anonymous said...

Just an FYI, since I'm sure many didn't think it was really reported. TYC's Ombudsmans' office completed its investigation of misconduct by therapist Leslie Moreau McCullough and the referred the case to the Office of the Inspector General for pursuit and criminal prosecution.

Finally, some justice for her victims..

Anonymous said...

What else was Judas Iscariot, in the end, but a Roman snitch?

If you know something, keep quite about it.

austex1151 said...

I just got this little gem from a friend and had to send it along. It is all about how Easter eggs are Satan's testicles. This guy has actually written a book about this. If nothing else, it is a really funny ad for his book(If you can overlook the fact that this guy is a raving lunatic, and people actually buy this nonsense!)


http://www.landoverbaptist.org/eastereggs.html

Fred said...

Grits, you totally missed on this one. Christ was innocent, yet took upon himself all the sin of the world, past, current and future. The sinless one became guilty -- GUILTY -- for us that we might be clean enough to enter Heaven if we choose to accept salvation.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Fred, you're describing a Pauline theological interpretation that's not precluded by my recounting of the passion narrative in more earthly terms. The story taken at face value is about Jesus' arrest, his wrongful conviction, his unjust execution, and of course his triumph over death.

I hear people complaining about taking Christ out of Christmas, but Fred you seem to want to take Jesus' wrongful conviction and execution out of Easter, rendering it merely a theoretical construct in which you may find comfort for your own failings while ignoring the fundamental, real-world injustice and tragedy He endured. Your theology tells you Jesus was guilty of your sins, and mine, but that's not how Pontius Pilate saw it, or His accusers. If one believes the gospel narratives, Christ was tried by the government, convicted even though guiltless, and then executed for your sins and mine, perhaps, but not any sin of his own. That situation has a lot of modern parallels that should trouble any good Christian soul.

Anonymous said...

Austex 1151 - Landover Baptist is a humor site filled with parody and sarcasm. It's not serious. It is pretty funny.

Jessie James said...

There are many stories floating out of Brenham Texas that relate to Washington County Jailers beating black men so often that young black men in Brenham Texas live in fear of their lives because of these "good ole boys" running the show from jailer to judge to investigators....even robbing travellers of their monies and splitting the spoils within the group....too many lips are saying this...so something is wrong needing to righted...is law enforcement in Brenham Texas corrupt?

Fred said...

Grits, You certainly can make your points about injustice, wrongful convictions, etc. with references to the crucifiction. And there is too much injustice.

I think what Christ did is devalued by comparing his trial and criminal triles today unless what Christ did for the world is mentioned explicitly.

What I offered is not just a Pauline interpretation. See John 3:16 and 1 Peter 3:18 for examples.

And, the Passover lamb parallels are more than coincidental: Like the lambs chosen for sacrifice, Jesus was "inspected" during the first part of what we call Holy Week. He died at the moment the ritual slaughter of lambs began in the Temple.

I know Christ died for MY sins. That was not justice for me, but grace.

By the way, I do appreciate your blog and read it at least weekly.

Anonymous said...

Good post.

Consider, too, the readily available all-purpose, one-size-fits-all statutes enabling the state to deal with whatever the it set it cap to deal with...blasphemy, sedition...insurrection.

Today they might have thrown in a RICO count or two.

S & C said...

I have to say, IMO this is one of the best interpretations of the meaning of Easter I have ever seen.

And Anon 10:57, you said it perfectly. Judas Iscariot really was just a cheap Roman snitch.

Anonymous said...

As one wrongfully convicted, exonerated, but denied restitution even tho it was impossible for me to committ any crime upon the alleged victim, allow me to share my perspective. Easter is about the tendency of humans to treat their fellow humans as INHERENTLY guilty. Every person in prison is innocent because actual guilt is not required for a conviction. Only proof "beyond a reasonable doubt". In my case; even after I proved actual factual innocence - I was denied restitution by those who think we are born inherently guilty. Only by donning a priestly robe (today a Judge or Justice - then the had and robe of a Rabbi) can one obtain absolute innocence (absolute immunity). You are then God in the flesh and may judge other humans as "good" or "bad".
NOTE that the STATE (then the Roman Empire, represented by Pilote) simply carried out the wishes of the Church Leaders of the day, who led the crowd in calling for the crucifixion of Jesus even after the STATE found no sin. The STATE washed its hands but did the deed anyway. Our Criminal Procedure finds its origin in this story. But remains as flawed as it was then.