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For a kid growing up in an Italian-Catholic household in 1970s New England, the Lenten season wasn’t a whole lot of fun. It wasn’t supposed to be. For a month and a half, you were required to give up something that you liked. Friday night dinners always meant fish. And, every other night, or so it seemed, you had to go to mass. And these masses were not the ordinary Sunday affairs: there might be ashes, incense, holy water, or palm fronds, the sermons and the readings were extra long, and sometimes, you had to engage in a ritualized call and response with the priest in which your role was to choose the reprobate Barabbas over Jesus Christ.
No kid really understands adult concepts like hindsight, context, and tyranny. And being a kid, I refused to join in that portion of the ritual, to choose Barabbas, a thief and a murderer, over Christ. I just could not understand how anyone would make such a choice. But, as an adult, I understand it well: Occam’s Razor.
Judea, in the time of Christ, was a Roman-occupied province. The Judeans were chafing under the yoke of a government that they viewed as tyrannical and that viewed them as the enemy. Worse still, the Judeans’ own ruling elites were, at best, complicit. However, Barabbas, the thief and the murderer, was also an insurrectionist. So when the Judeans were offered the choice between some guy who chafed at Rome’s tyranny as much as they did, and some guy accused of claiming to be the Messiah, I could imagine that that choice would be a rather easy one to make: for this Christ guy to actually be the Messiah and not just some madman, that would take a miracle, and miracles are exceedingly rare, so, “give us Barabbas.”
Whether or not you believe Christ to be the Messiah, hindsight is not foresight — the Judeans’ decision was logical, understandable, and not at all surprising. Pilate really should have seen it coming.
Now, as an adult, I know that, if put in that same situation, I would have also chosen Barabbas. And I can be certain of this because I also know that, today, if I lived in Alabama, I would be voting for Judge Roy Moore – a man not convicted, but accused, of being a reprobate of the highest order. And I would vote for him specifically as a thumb in the eye of a government which views me as the enemy.
Let me make something clear to our rulers: it’s not that We the People don’t believe you about Moore, it’s much worse than that. It’s that we now know to believe the exact opposite of whatever you claim – as a survival strategy, as a life preserver, as a Polaris. I mean, it’s not like an accusation of a sex scandal isn’t one of the oldest arrows in the political quiver of the demagogue. It’s not like a good portion of the country hasn’t realized the same truth that has informed the first of my three political aphorisms: Marxists lie. It’s not like We the People haven’t fully realized that you, as did the Romans with the Judeans, just don’t like us very much.
You have so thoroughly spent your political capital and goodwill that you’ve not only created a Barabbas but you’ve made him a viable, insurrectionist option.
And if the application of Occam’s Razor has cut wrongly on the issue of Moore, if after having been tried, he is then convicted of being the reprobate that you claim — well, we will deal with him then, Due Process justly applied.
However, for the application of Occam’s Razor to have cut so wrongly about you, for you to actually be what you claim: benevolent and omniscient paragons of justice and virtue, and not what you actually appear to be: demagogues and conspirators who, for the sake of a socialist fever dream, have sold out this Country, its People, and its Constitution for your own personal political agendas, benefit, arrogance, and aggrandizement – well, that would take a miracle.
Full Disclosure: the author, a very lapsed Catholic, considers himself a Classical Deist. He intends in this piece no endorsement of or slight against Catholicism, Christianity, Judaism, or any of their adherents.