Barack Obama & the Scapegoat

President Obama’s Easter Message
Huffington Post, 29-3-2013

Scapegoat-7For millions of Americans, this is a special and sacred time of year.
As Christians, my family and I remember the incredible sacrifice Jesus made for each and every one of ushow He took on the sins of the world and extended the gift of salvation.

So this weekend, I hope we’re all able to take a moment to pause and reflect.


Don’t make a scapegoat out of Jesus
By Ken Gallinger, Apr 24 2011


In modern usage a scapegoat is an individual, group, or country singled out for unmerited negative treatment or blame a person or group that is forced to take the blame for happenings that are not their fault.
Scapegoating is the practice of singling out any party for unmerited negative treatment or blame as a scapegoat. A scapegoat may be an adult, sibling, child, employee, peer, ethnic or religious group, or country. (Wikipedia Info)

Two young, evangelistic men recently came to my door with “good news.” They told me a fellow died a horrific death for my sins.
This sacrifice occurred long before I was born. Doesn’t this make the fellow a scapegoat? If a judge offered to kill his honour-roll son in place of the man who murdered a family member, I would not be impressed. Is scapegoating ever ethical?

In my opinion it’s not. And contrary to what those young men might have told you, the idea that Jesus died as a scapegoat, or substitute for us, has no place in the faith he taught.
Jesus was a wise and generous man who modelled a vision of peace through justice and non-violence. That vision threatened the power of the Roman Empire and the religious hierarchy, and he was killed by both.




“An idea that would have horrified Jesus,
as it should horrify us…”

Where the notion of sacrifice goes bad — very, very bad — in Christianity is when people start to believe that Jesus died to mollify an angry God, a deity so vicious “he” would wipe out every sinner on earth unless his anger was sated by the death of an innocent victim.
This idea, such as it is, was introduced by the church long after Jesus died. It was then refined until it became a sharp and dangerous instrument for inducing gratitude, then obedience, from the faithful.
It’s an idea that would have horrified Jesus, as it should horrify us. Such a god, so hopelessly out of control that he requires the death of one child before he can deal with the wrongdoings of the rest, would be worthy not of worship, but of utter contempt and loathing. …

The notion that anyone can “pay for” someone else’s wrongdoings is ethically problematic. When young Canadians die for the Afghan people, they are not “wiping clean” the evils of that land. Nobody can do that for someone else.
The stories Jesus himself told abound in examples of the obvious: we are responsible for the ethical decisions we make. Others may forgive — but making right resides with us.
Like King, Gandhi and the rest, Jesus died because he refused to abandon the vision of a world more noble and just than the present order. That vision, and not the slaughter of one more innocent, is what we can all celebrate this Easter weekend.


Christian doctrine of the sin sacrifice is not at all rooted in the biblical account of Jesus crucifixion, because at no point did Jesus, (whether before his arrest/during his trial/ on the cross) ever declare he was going to be crucified for the sins of people, and that all who believe so will be “saved”. So the idea that he was a sin sacrifice seems to be a later insertion, much after Jesus execution.(OffTopic


Jesus did not sacrifice himself
the Romans and the High Priests did…

Caiphas, the high priest, said of Jesus, who threatened both religious and political authorities: “It is better that one man should die than that the whole nation be destroyed.” In other words, Caiphas made Jesus into a scapegoat, a mythological enemy that cultures conjure up to strengthen their cohesiveness.

John 11:48-51: “If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation.




The Nepotism of Caiphas

According to Old Testament Law, the high priest was to serve until death. But when the Romans took over the nation of Israel, they made the high priesthood an appointed office. This way they could be certain of having a religious leader who would cooperate with their policies.

Jesus-cleansingCaiaphas was high priest from a.d. 18-36. He lived in a house large enough to hold the trial of Jesus. He lived in a house with an open court yard large enough to make a fire. He lived in a house with guards. Why did he need guards? Because it was the family of Caiaphas who controlled the temple and its treasury as well as the currency exchange rates and fixed the price of sacrificial animals. Recent archaeological evidence has located the house of Caiaphas because of the discovery of measures used in the temple to weigh the sacrifices offered.
The Jewish Talmud, the commentary on the Hebrew scriptures pronounces a curse on the nepotism of the family of Caiaphas: “Woe to the sons of Annas, themselves high priests, their sons treasurers, their son-in-law assistant treasurers, while their servants beat the people with sticks.

No wonder Jesus said they had turned the temple into a “den of robbers.” Jesus was rightly seen as a threat to the family business.
Caiaphas had already made it clear that he intended to sacrifice Jesus in order to save the nation (John 11:47-54). What he actually meant was that Jesus would have to be sacrificed for the sake of his family.


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