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The Passion

Today, many Christians are celebrating the Palm Sunday; with Palm Sunday, the Passion of Christ is the central theme and focus and this year, the reading comes from Luke’s point of view. Of the four versions, Luke’s version struck me because it shows the personal struggle and agony Pontius Pilate had with a guilty verdict of Jesus. Pontius actually sends Jesus to Herod to give Herod a chance to charge him and the two were bitter enemies. Even Herod, who could have falsified something, couldn’t find him guilty enough for prosecution. Luke isn’t the only one who struggled with this, John did too. Matthew and Mark don’t portray Pontius this way and this brings me to my thoughts today.

I was the lector today at my church and this version of the Passion started me thinking about the overall debate in the United States about health care. I know not everyone agrees with what happened with health care and I’m not here to change minds; I am just here to state that we are not thinking for ourselves, instead we are listening to our leaders and believing their words as truth. That’s what happened in the trial of Jesus. The leaders of the time wanted Jesus, who was making people think about their lives and how they treat others, kept from getting more powerful and they fed the crowds misinformation and riled the crowds to choruses of “crucify him”. Aren’t we doing that now with our health care debate? One side has called a man “baby killer” and made their constituents believe that the new health care laws are “socialism and fascism” and that the President’s Executive Order on abortion legislation isn’t worth the paper it is on.  All of this is complete misinformation and has created “passion” that has created death threats and criminal activities against elected officials.  I’m afraid we are crucifying people without thinking for ourselves.

Protesting is a fine form of civil disobedience, but throwing bricks, cutting gas lines and phoning in threats of violence are horrendous and ANYONE saying otherwise is seriously disturbed. If President Bush or the elected officials in the majority received such awful threats and tactics used against them when they signed legislation into law, everyone should have called for justice.  Threats of violence against another being tolerated shows that there is no value to life or society.  The discourse of this country has become less than civil.

Let’s make a pact to start civility again. Let’s agree to disagree. It doesn’t mean we can’t argue and try persuasion, it means we don’t call each other names, we don’t demean each other based on a point of view. It doesn’t mean we shout each other down, but listen – really listen because that’s how you can understand the “passion.”  Politics and religion aren’t taboo subjects in a civil society because it’s the only way we will get to the heart of a situation and begin to understand how we, as friends, form the opinions that shape us.

It’s where the coffee talk really gets interesting and where we get to really share common ground.

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