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Christians celebrate their highest holiday this weekend. Today, Good Friday, commemorates the crucifixion of a 30-something Jewish man at the hands of Roman authorities.
As the story goes, Jesus was a friend of the downtrodden, the poor, and the marginal in Jewish society. He is alleged to have angered the religious leaders of his day by often pointing out their hypocrisy and evil double dealing. Jesus was a populist.....telling fellow commoner Jews what they already knew to be true....that is, the establishment Jewish leaders preyed on common Jews. Jewish leaders interpreted the Torah to feed their greed, self-importance and lust for power.....and they did so at the expense of the average Jewish practitioner.
If the Gospel accounts are to be believed, Jewish authorities, at their wit's end over what to do about this troublemaking, truth-telling, populist, finally turned Jesus over to Roman authorities who eventually crucified him.
And so it goes.
While obviously an imperfect comparison, the Jesus story is representative of what Americans have been experiencing in recent years. In a way, average Americans....those who have no clout, riches or positions of power.....have been handed over to the rich and the powerful, to do with us what they will.
It is true today that those in positions of power in America....politicians, wealthy industry leaders, religious establishment figures, celebrities and the like are not held to the same level of accountability as the rest of us are. We find that the powerful folks who carry out, or order to be carried out, the most ugly and heinous acts....national and international fraud, astounding acts of nation-plundering thievery, cold-blooded acts of torture, bloodlusting wars of choice, covering up for waves of child abuse....are never held responsible for their crimes.
At the same time, one third of our 2 million prison population is made up of average Americans doing time for minor drug-possession charges.
While Wall Street titans bathe themselves in their new and improved bonuses, and politicians continue to cash campaign checks from the same bonus-babies they aided and abetted in their national conspiracy to steal us all blind.....regular working folks are being told they are getting paid too much, must share in some contrived "sacrifice", and oh yeah, by the way....you no longer have any more rights to negotiate for your future.
At the same time that corporate trough hogs posted their highest profit margins in American history.....American seniors are being told that the way forward is for 80 year old granny to "shop" for her own health care insurance from a list of insurance con-men operations. Why? Because the elderly simply have it too good....and they're going to have to, you know, "share in the sacrifice" so that their fellow millionaires and billionaires can get another tax cut.
While political leaders initiate new and expensive wars in foreign lands we will never visit nor know anything about........the poor, the sick, the disabled, the children and the elderly here at home....those specifically designated by all world religions as a moral obligation to assist.....are informed that they will have to get by with less.
We live in an age where the powerful no longer experience shame when they exploit the weak, deceive the masses or extract more from the have-nots. To the contrary, today's rich and powerful take pride in turning over the commoners to be crucified, as it were.....it's what they deserve, we're told.
The masses must be sacrificed for the sins of the few in order for the few to have life more abundantly.
It is America's new upside down Christianity.