What Would Pontius Pilate Do?

Rick Perry claims that he won’t be laying off any teachers in Texas. That’ll be a local decision, not his. He’s just going to preside over gutting the system, refusing help for it at every turn, and then stepping back while the carnage ensues. He just won’t be responsible for it, in his view of things.

Perry’s Christian affiliation is never in question. He banks on it. He uses it for electoral boosts from religious-minded voters. He wants religious ideas taught in schools, sponsored by the state. And, yet, for all the voter magic bestowed upon him by his Christian convictions, they seem to vanish when it comes time to actually use them to help someone else.

Jesus was never recorded as having gone to a poor person, saying, “Go thy way, and be poor no more.” He is on record as saying humanity has a responsibility to care for those that are poor, sick, in prison, aged, or very young. He was especially concerned about children, saying that in the grand scheme of things, a sudden, violent death by drowning would be preferable to leading a child astray with bad teaching.

Oops, looks like Perry needs to look into getting a tie with a millstone attached before he makes his next visit to Galveston.

Jesus is also on record telling rich people to go their way and to be rich no more. Time and again, he told followers to use worldly resources to help everyone. He never said one should amass them in mass quantities to support a life of leisure. He never told rich people to use their wealth and power to subvert a government to skew the way things were being run to favor the rich. Heck, he said it was a duty to pay taxes, not evade them.

So, to sum things up: Jesus, the spiritual source of all Christianity whose word that all other Christians defer to as being superior to their own or to some preacher’s comments, the Man Himself, said:

1. Rich people should use all their money to help others. Not part. All.
2. Paying taxes is a duty.
3. Taking care of children through proper teaching is vital, one of the most important things we can do.

Rick Perry, on the other hand, is using his position to protect the privileges rich people have paid for through campaign and other contributions, helping them evade taxes, and presiding over a budget that wrecks the teaching of children. 0 for 3.

If we look to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, we find a different sort of character. Although convinced of the innocence of Jesus of all charges brought against him, he nevertheless caved in to the demands of the local elites and gave them everything they wanted. They had money and power, who was he to refuse them? He pardoned a politically well-connected murderer and gave them permission to crucify Jesus. He even had his soldiers torture Jesus in advance of handing him over, like a cherry on top of a pandering sundae. Pilate then said he wasn’t responsible for whatever happened, even though he really could have stopped it.

While Perry is constitutionally prohibited from granting a sweeping pardon to convicted corrupt politician Tom DeLay, it didn’t stop Texas Republicans from exploring such a move. Perry has given in to the demands of people with money and power to keep them from paying taxes that would support the education of the children of the state of Texas. He’s even said that the carnage that follows won’t be his fault, even though he really can stop it.

Perry is free to believe that he’s a Christian. I won’t take that away from him. I just find it ironic that he’s taking his Biblical cues for personal behavior not from the guy that put Christ in Christian, but from the guy that claimed no responsibilities for forever attaching the crucifix to that denomination.

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