The Daily Office readings from Scripture for the past week have included part of Acts which deals with Paul's arrest and being taken from court to court as the crowds try to find someone who will rid them of this troublemaker.
The High Priest and his associates throw out accusations of capital crimes, but they don't hold up under examination. It becomes clear to the political authorities that the crowds are really upset about Paul's teaching about Jesus. They see Paul as a blasphemer and want him out of their lives. Paul's religious teaching isn't much a threat to the state (unless, of course, we see serious political implications in the Gospel), so the authorities can't find a really good reason to execute him. Not that they needed one, but they don't want to just cave into the crowds because that would set a bad precedent.
All the false accusations levied against Paul are an attempt to hide their real motives. They want him eliminated at any cost even if they have to lie to get it. The ends justify the means.
In all the news about health care reform, it seems like a lot of this is going on. Some people opposed to reform or the plans being discussed by Congress make up rumors or blatant lies such as the "They're gonna pull the plug on Gramma" lie (considering that the amendment for compensation for optional end-of-life counseling was introduced by a Republican representative).
I'm not trying to paint with too broad a brush here; some people opposed to current measures being debated in Congress do argue based on reasonable grounds such as whether the cost of such measures outweighs the benefits, whether the government should have the authority or the responsibility to provide health care, or whether it will negatively impact health care advances. Those are all valid point to debate civilly.
I'm talking about the people who want to propagate and believe these lies in order to bring down health care reform. They're not pointing out flaws but are attacking others however they can. When one lie is exposed, then there's another to take its place. Most of it is pointed at President Obama in such hateful and fearful language that was unheard of during the Bush administration outside the far, far-left fringes. It seems that it doesn't matter how it's done as long as Obama is brought down.
I know the fear and anger are real in these people. I can only be mad at the ones who make up lies to stoke the flames. Fear does horrible things to otherwise loving, wonderful people.
This all makes me feel a bit of pity for those in Jerusalem trying to get rid of Paul. He must've been quite a threat (or at least symbolized their greatest fears) for them to go to such lengths to make up accusations.
Religious Leadership & Political Conversation
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