Please Stop Saying This: An Easter Message

I have a few pet peeves: bad drivers, dishonest salespeople, the Pittsburgh Steelers. All of these subjects produce differing amounts of irritation for me. By far, however, the biggest irritant is people who say they were “crucified.” Politicians, entertainers, and athletes always say “The media crucified me” or “The fans crucified me.” Let me make this as clear as I can to any of these folks who may happen by this: YOU WERE NOT CRUCIFIED!!!! A crucifixion was one of the most horrific tortures ever devised. The totality of The Crucifixion is far beyond our meager ability to fully comprehend or explain.

Lets start with the physical crucifixion. A prisoner was stripped and nailed to a wooden cross. When they say “nails” were driven through the hands, understand we are not talking about roofing nails. The closest thing we can think of today would be 19th Century or early 20th Century railroad spikes. A five to nine inch long, ¾ inch diameter spike driven through each wrist. Then another driven through both ankles. After this, the cross (about the size of a telephone pole) is set into the ground. The person being crucified is suspended on this apparatus all day. Death comes not from exposure or blood loss, but from suffocation. As the subject tires, they slump down, which compresses the diaphragm and cuts off the air supply. In order to breath, they must press themselves up by pushing on the spike driven through their feet. One can only imagine the pain they must have endured. The cycle continued all day, tire and slump down, push yourself up to get a breath. The Bible makes a point of saying that the Romans did not break Jesus’ legs (John 19:33). This is mentioned because if a day hanging on a cross did not finish the tortured prisoner, the Romans would break their legs. The shock to their already weakened system would finish them.

Now lets talk about The Crucifixion. Not only did Jesus go through the physical torture just mentioned, but also mental and spiritual torture. Jesus broke no laws, committed no transgressions, and yet was hung on a cross between two thieves. He suffered the same punishment they did, but was guilty of nothing more than exposing the hypocrisy of the political and spiritual leaders of His day, and demonstrating to the world the true nature of a loving God. Spiritually, for the first time in existence, Jesus was separated from The Father. There is no way we can really understand what that must have been like. Yet Jesus suffered this separation to take the punishment for our sins and rebellion. He suffered all of this out of love for each and every one of us.

So no, you self absorbed dilettantes, when someone questions your game or your acting, you are not being “crucified.” You are being criticized. Never, ever compare the two again.

For my sake if nothing else.

Have a nice day!


What is A Conservative Part 2 – The Establishment Clause

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment is short and to the point, yet powerful. The First Amendment deals with what have come to be known as the “Rights of Conscience.” This is the right to dissent without fear of reprisal from the government. The history of Europeans on this continent prior to the Revolution dealt, in no small part, with religious oppression in Europe. Whether the Anglican Church in England, the Church of Denmark, or religious orders in other places, Christian denominations throughout Europe had been corrupted by becoming intertwined with governments. Religious leaders would appoint or endorse kings and other political leaders while these same leaders would appoint religious leaders. The intertwining of religion and politics corrupted the message of the church to the point where governments would punish people whose denomination differed from the state sanctioned religious order.

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment was written to prevent this type of oppression in the United States. This clause is meant to keep a single sect from gaining control of the congress and by law imposing their view of God on others. This clause is also intended to keep religious discourse open so that people of different faiths can have a dialog without fear of someone being silenced by the government. The Founders did not see this as proselytizing but as the free flow of ideas. The validity of a person’s views should be decided by the strength of their debate not by government edict. Keeping the government neutral on matters of conscience is vital. The government should not have a rooting interest.

Does this mean we should “leave our faith inside the doors of a church?” Well, according to President John Adams, no. Adams said “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people”. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” For Adams this was not a statement of faith but of governance.

The Founders strove for the Constitution to be a minimalist document. Rather than legislating every aspect of life, the restraints on illegal or immoral behavior should come from a sort of “national conscience.” When we strive to legislate morality, inevitably the morality being legislated is dependent on who is in power. The 18th Amendment prohibiting alcohol in the country was a knee jerk reaction to pressure from the Temperance movement of the late 19th and early 20th century. After a decade, it was abundantly clear that rather than solving a problem, the Amendment created a whole group of other problems. Speak easys, bathtub gin, open gang warfare in cities like Chicago, all demonstrated graphically that the government could not enforce the law. In 1933, the 20th Amendment repealed prohibition.

A law will never change a person’s heart. Human nature is to dig in when someone tries to change us. The only way we can make genuine, lasting change in people is to share our beliefs and faith with them openly. That is why the free flow of ideas, especially those influencing the culture and society, is vital. The Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment protects that right. We must be diligent to never allow it to be infringed.