delivered at THE FIRST UNITARIAN CHURCH OF DENVER Broadway at 19th Avenue March 18, 1951


FOREWORD The story of the Trial of Christ which follows was written in its original form some two years before Senator Joseph McCarthy projected himself into notoriety in Wheeling, West Virginia, with his reckless charge that the State Department was honeycombed with spies and Communists. It was prompted by President Truman's Executive Order of March 1947, requiring a "loyalty" investigation of of all government employees and applicants for government jobs. It seemed to me that by the Order our Country was being launched upon a course as dangerous to democratic government and human freedom as were the Inquisi tions of old and that the Bible as well as secular history gave full warning of the dangers. The story was never published as I could not find a publisher. In its present form it was delivered as a Palm Sunday Sermon at the First Unitarian Church of Denver, Colorado in March 18, 1951. I myself as a Presbyterian, reared in the Protestant tradition and imbued quite early with the idea that the great and unique quality of our American government was that it was not absolutely sover eign—that the First Amendment to our Constitution says to the government in no uncertain terms, "Here is an area into which you shall not enter, the area of the human mind and spirit". As a government official I reached the conclusion that loyalty cannot be commanded, but must be earned and deserved. As a lawyer I have always felt that people should be punished only for their illegal acts and not upon speculations as to their state of mind. "McCarthyism" unhappily did not die with McCarthy. Its relative abatement is, I fear, more of a tribute to its accomplishment in silencing effective dissent than to a rededication to the principles of our Bill of Rights. Men are at this moment in prison for exercising the very rights guaranteed to them by the First Amendment and others are under prosecution. The voice of protest is still disturbingly weak. Believing that the story is still timely I am grateful to Southern Farm and Home for publishing it. CLIFFORD J. DURR February 24, 1960

PUBLISHER'S NOTE Mr. Durr is a lawyer with a background of Government Service. He went to Washington during the "Banking Crisis", in the early part of 1933, and became an Assistant General Counsel of Reconstruction Finance Corporation and chief of the section responsible for the legal aspects of the program for the recapitalization of state and national banks. In 1940-41 he was General Counsel of Defense Plant Corporation which financed the construction of aviation and other defense plants to meet the rising threat of Hitler and Japan. From 1941 to 1948 he served as a Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission under appointment from President Roosevelt. He is now practicing law in his native city, Montgomery, Ala. Printed as a Public Service by Southern Farm and Home

Palm Sunday we commemorate a triumph that soon turned into a bitter defeat. We know now from the vantage point of history that the triumph was empty and the real victory came out of the seeming defeat. It was a victory of certain principles, certain human aspira tions and ideas over death itself. I would like to discuss a few principles of govern ment, which, I believe, are also principles of the religion v.-hich we profess. We are accustomed to associate them in our thinking with, the founding of our nation a century and three-quarters ago, but they are as old as recorded history. Some Principles of Government and Religion XhE first of these principles is that if men are to find their God or work out a good way of life for themselves, their minds and spirits must be free from externally im posed restraints. This principle is clearly and eloquently stated in the First Amendment to our American Consti tution: "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 gov ernment for a redress of grievances." Isn't this much the same thought as that expressed :.•: the old proverb of King Solomon: "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." The second is the principle of justice, the basis of the promise of a great and mighty nation to be establish ed by the children of Abraham: "... they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment . . ." This principle is expressed in many ways and many places in our basic laws: the presumption that every man is innocent until his guilt is proven beyond all reasonable doubt: the constitutional prohibitions against bills of a.ttair.uer arid ex post facto laws; the guarantees of due process and the equal protection of law; the right of a public trial in an impartial court before an impartial jury; the right of an accused to a full and clear statement of the charges against him, his right to confront his ac cusers in open court and to have compulsory process to obtain witnesses in his favor; the guarantee that no one shall be required to testify against himself in a criminal proceeding; the guarantee that no one shall be pilloried by his government for his thoughts or words or upon speculations as to his state of mind, and that the odious label of "traitor" shall not be attached to anyone except for his overt acts, and then only upon confession in open court or the sworn testimony of at least two witnesses to the same such act. The third is that fear and suspicion cannot be used as instruments of government without ultimately corrupting the governed and the government as well The spy and informer have, traditionaly, been tools of tyrants, and,

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just as traditionally, free people have regarded them with scorn and contempt. Their effect upon society has been vividly described by an English constitutional his torian: "Next in importance to personal freedom is immunity from suspicions and jealous obser vation. Men may be without restraints upon their liberty; they may pass to and fro at pleasure; but if their steps are traced by spies and inform ers, their words noted down for crimination, their associates watched as conspirators, who shall say they are free? Nothing is more re volting to Englishmen (and may we add Ameri cans) than the espionage which forms part of the administrative system of Continental despot ism. It haunts men like an evil genius, chills their gaiety, restrains their wit, casts a shadow over their friendships, and blights their domestic hearth. The freedom of a country may be meas ured by its immunity from this baleful agency. Rulers who distrust their own people must govern in a spirit of absolutism, and suspected subjects will be ever sensible of their bondage." I have quoted from May's Constitutional History of England. The same thought was expressed in very similar words by Edward Livingston over one hundred and fifty years ago in his courageous argument against the odious Alien and Sedition laws. It was expressed more recently by a federal judge in an opinion arising out of the cruel and illegal Palmer Raids in the period of uncertainty and fear following the first World War. I quote from the opinion of Judge Anderson of the United States District Court in Massachusetts in the case of Colyer v. Skeffington. decided in 1920: "I cannot adopt the contention that gov ernment spies are any more trustworthy, or less disposed to make trouble in order to profit there from, than are spies in private industry. Except in time of war when a Nathan Hole may be a spy, spies are always necessarily drawn from the unwholesome and untrustworthy classes. A right-minded man refuses such a job. The evil wrought by the spy system in industry has, for decades, been incalculable. Until it is eliminated, decent relations cannot exist between employers and employees or even among emoloyees. it de stroys trust and confidence; it kills human kind liness; it propagates hate." Judge Anderson's warning should be even more dis turbing when we recall that it was prompted by the acti vities of a government agency which we have now been taught by our press and radio to regard with an almost tribal adoration. The methods and personalities of such an agency, then and now, are not wholly dissimilar. For a warning from a source more authoritative than a U. S. District Judge, we might turn to an injunction from the Book of Leviticus: "Thou shalt not go up and down as a tale bearer among the people."

Fear and the Denial of Principle xHE periods when the principles I have mentioned have been forgotten have provided the dark pages of history. They were forgotten in the period of the Palmer Raids, and we came close to losing our liberties by the methods adopted to save them. They were forgotten in the 1840's and 50's, and the result was a bitter and destructive civil war that almost tore our country apart. They were forgotten in the late 1790's in the hysterical fear over the military aggression of Napoleon and over the Jacobins and their "dangerous" ideas, and American freedom almost died in its infancy. They were forgotten in the period of the Inquisitions, and a pall of fear hung for centuries over the minds and spirits of the people of Europe. We are forgetting them again today! Once more men in positions of power are assuming jurisdiction over the minds and associations of their fellow men. Under the guise of protecting "our democratic pro cesses." that justice guaranteed by our Constitution is being denied. In the name of security, spies, informers, and gossips are being raised to new levels of dignity and power while their victims are denied the rights which the Constitution guarantees to those indicted for the most vicious crimes. Once more we are afraid, and in our fear we are in danger of destroying the very things which have, in the past, proved to be the source of our national strength and security. Some of our fear is real. Much of it is deliberately created. All of it is dangerous. As a governmental official and a lawyer, I have had occasion to follow rather closely the operations of our Loyalty Boards and Committees on Un-American Activities, official and self-appointed. I have seen the sparks of fear, kindled many years ago in Washington by a committee of Congress, fanned into a consuming flame which is now sweeping across the country - into our state legislatures, our press and radio, our schools and universities, and even our churches. I have seen how easy it is to create suspicion and how difficult to remove it. In government I have seen the retreat of administra tive and legislative responsibility under the pressure of fear. In the name of loyalty to our constitutional form of government. I have seen men and women deprived of their reputations and means of livelihood and made out casts from society for exercising the very rights which our Constitution guarantees to them and without which a democratic society cannot function. I have seen decent men remain silent when they wanted to say, "These things which are being done are wrong," and I have seen the resulting torture to their own minds and souls. I have seen the collapse of basic principles as expediency is trans formed into virtue and hate becomes accepted as a measure of patriotism. I have wondered if fear cannot destroy a country as effectively as atomic bombs in the hands of its enemies. Introduction to a Story IT IS appropriate this Palm Sunday that we turn our thoughts back to an incident of history far earlier-than the Inquisitions - back to the seeming defeat out of which came the great victory to which I have referred earlier.

Perhaps it may help in our effort to understand the con fusion and fears of the present and help strengthen our courage in meeting them. In attempting to tell the tragic story of nineteen centuries ago, I approach the task with humility. I am a lawyer and not a student of Biblical history. If I seem overly concerned with the reputation of some of the characters involved, it is because reputations are im portant, even the reputations of dead men, if not to them selves or their families, at least to history; for history is a prolongation of experience, and if we are to learn from it we must read it correctly. Was Pilate a Villain AS Pontius Pilate a wicked man! Next to Judas Iscariot he is perhaps regarded as the foremost villain of the New Testament, if not of the entire Bible, but is he deserving of such uncharitable condemnation? Judas had acquired considerable prestige from his membership in the small band of apostles. His appoint ment as treasurer of the organization gave him added standing. For a while it looked as if he were lined up with a winning cause. His leader was young and able and had a gift for gaining followers and inspiring their devotion. Then the tide turned against Jesus, and the pressure was too much for Judas. He was ambitious and there was neither fame nor money in a losing cause - only unpopu larity and abuse, and perhaps, physical danger. So he turned informer.1 There being no counterparts of our present-day magazines to hire him or to carry his "confessions" and "disclosures," he took his reward directly in cash. The remaining spark of decency which caused him to throw his bribe back at the feet of his bribers and then hang himself was not sufficient to save him from infamy. Pilate's sin was one of omission rather than commis sion, but this has not mitigated the severity of the present day judgment of his behavior. His betrayal was not personal, but of a public trust. Jesus meant nothing to him personally, and Pilate had no concern with his ideas, one way or the other. Jesus was just another de fendant brought into court for trial. As a public official, Pilate was faced with a clear
^Typically, even while In the orocess of disassociating himself from Jesus and the other apostles, Judas continued to pay lip-service to the cause which they espoused. In fact, he would have it appear that he was even more concerned with the lot of the "common man" than was his Master. Jesus loved the flesh-pots. Judas inferred, while he. Judas, was ever solicitous of the poor: "Why was not this ointment sold for 300 pence, and given to the poor?" (John 12:5) This was his complaint when Marv used the precious skipenard to anoint Jesus'feet. John says: "This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag and bare what was put therein. -jiJ* It ft th»a* for there quite or a scared bit of self-deception in volved. It P°Fib]e. 13 not difficult an was ambitious man to convince himself that he is more righteous than those whom he is repudiating because of fear or expediency. Interestingly, Judas' criticism gave support to a prevalent line of character assassination which seemed to have been making such headway that Jesus felt called upon to take noUce of it: "For John the Baptist came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He hath a devil.' The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold a man gluttonous, and a wne bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.'" (Matt. 11:18,19)

responsibility, and he shirked it. He permitted an injustice to be done with full awareness that it was an injustice.2 In retrospect, we are inclined to judge his particular type of betrayal almost as harshly as that of Judas. Certainly the consequences were no less cruel. But if we look back at the record in the light of pre sent-day conditions in our own country, Pilate appears in a more sympathetic light. He seems to have been of normally decent instincts for his day and time. He had at least an average sense of public responsibility, and the whole record indicates his respect for the judicial process. He was honest with himself; there was nothing of the hypocrite about him. He did not try to justify his actions, or rather his failure to act, on high moral grounds or considerations of national security. He faced frankly the fact that he was moved by no higher principles than political expediency. His last act in this episode was that of a man who wanted to do the right thing. Upon the request of the disciple, Joseph of Arimathaea, he readily delivered up Jesus' body in order that it might be decently interred. He refused to be a party to besmirching a repu tation after death. Pilate was up against almost irresistable pressures. He was operating in a climate of fear and hate—for the most part deliberately created. His particular predicament forecasts the difficulties and pressures now confronting the loyalty boards, Congressional committees, and even the courts, who, voluntarily or involuntarily, are attempt ing to deal with the problems of "disloyalty" and "unAmerican" activities in this country. The Voice of Protest 1 HE theological emphasis upon the supernatural ele ments of the Crucifixion and Resurrection have served to obscure a very significant aspect of the whole affair. Here was a typical civil liberties case with the issue of freedom of speech, opinion, worship, and of "due process of law" directly involved. The story is one that repeats itself over and over in the struggle of men for freedom of the human mind and soul. The victim only was unique. The other characters involved belonged to no particular race, creed, or period of history. Jesus was undoubtedly a "trouble maker." Many of his associates were questionable characters; certainly they were of doubtful social standing. In defiance of the prevailing prejudice of his day, he had said pointedly that, on the test of behavior, a Samaritan might be just as good as a priest or a Levite. He had questioned the accepted belief that wealth and virtue necessarily go hand in hand. He had been outspoken and vigorous in his attacks upon certain established business interests. He had exposed the corruption of those in positions of power. Such language as the following was certainly regarded as "intemperate" by those at whom it was aimed: "hypo crites,' "serpents," "generation of vipers," "whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones and of all uncleanness," "blind guides which strain at a gnat and swallow a camel." Hypocrisy in high places was a constant target: "All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe,"

he told his followers with reference to the scribes and Pharisees, "that observe and do; but," he warned, "do not ye after their works: for they say and do not." The words stung because they hit their mark. He stripped the cloak of respectability and righteousness from those who "for pretense make long prayer" and left them ex posed in their moral and spiritual nakedness: ♦ * # * Jesus' appeal was to the "malcontents," and he was effective in stirring them up and in gaining followers in ever increasing numbers. He effectively challenged the status quo. In other words, he was "subversive"3 in the truest sense of the term; as the chief priests put it, he was "perverting the nation" by his teaching. He was a "dangerous" influence, and he had to be stopped. The Techniques of Suppression A DESCRIPTION of the tactics used to stop him has a familiar ring. His speeches and even private conversa tions were to be used against him: "Then went the Pharisees and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk." Secret agents and "confidential informants" were put- to work: "And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men. that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him into the power and authority of the governor." They questioned him on his loyalty to the government: "Tell us therefore, what thinkest thou? Is it law ful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?" They inquired into his religious beliefs, the soundness of his view on marriage and the resurrection of the dead. They set a lawyer on him in an effort to entrap him in legal questions, for he had not spared that profession in his exposure of hypocrisy.4 But his great intelligence was too much for his questioners. He confounded them with his answers. He "put the Sadducees to silence": "And no man was able to answer him a word, neither did any man from that day forth answer him a word." In the arena of public opinion his ideas were clearly winning the victory. Converts were rallying to his banner in ever increasing numbers. The scribes and the Pharisees "feared the people," and hence were unwilling to trust them with ideas. Though "they hated him without a cause," their hatred became an obsession. Unable to
sit is interesting to note that Pilate's wife sought to intervene in the interest of justice: "When he was sat down in the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying. 'Have you nothing to do with that just man—' " (Matt. 27:19) "Now they (had) no cloak for their sin." 3Not of the Jewish religion whose principles he taught and whose prophets he reversed, but of the position and power of the scribes and Pharisees who had prostituted that religion for their own personal and political ends. 4"Woe unto you lawyers I for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering In ye hindered." (Luke 11:52)

answer him, they decided to kill him. Argument having failed them, they took fear as their weapon: "If we let him thus alone," they said, "all men will believe on him; and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation." Jesus thus became a threat to national security. They now had a propaganda line with which public opinion could be effectively aroused. Courage on the battlefield is commonpface, for there men face death with the approval of their fellows. The courage required to face the disapproval of society in defense of a cause is far rarer. "Disloyalty" whether to "place" or "nation" is an odious label, and none want to wear it. Those who wear it - whether justly or unjustly - are to be avoided, for the taint of guilt be comes attached by association. Their victim was driven underground for awhile, and "Jesus walked no more openly among the Jews." Hypocrisy in High Places O.IS followers were intimidated, but his ideas were not so easily destroyed. Even among the top officers of gov ernment, many still "believed on him": "But because of the Pharisees they did not con fess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogues. For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." The symbols of a great religion based on justice and humanity were prostituted to fan the flames of hatred. This man was guilty of "blasphemy" they said. The at tack took on the zeal of a religious crusade. The threat of physical violence was added to the social and religious pressures. Jesus fully understood what nature of men his enemies were. They were tolerant of dissent so long as that dissent was weak and ineffective. They paid rever ence to the memory of dead reformers because those reformers were safely dead. But once their positions of power and authority were really threatened, they were ruthless. They would stop at nothing. He had the measure of their viciousness and their hypocrisy and told them so: "Ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous, and say: If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have partaken with them in the blood of the prophets." But he reminded them: "Ye are the children of them which killed the prophets—" "Behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes; and some of them ye kill and crucify; and some of them ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from City to City." He frankly warned his followers of their danger: "They shall put you out of the synagogues; yea the time cometh that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth Gods service." And again:

"Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father, the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake." It was under these circumstances that Jesus made his decision to face trial. He would offer himself as a victim to the mob lest its mounting thirst for blood de mand many victims. He still had followers who were devoted and un afraid; so the arrest by the servants of Annas was made at night. The kiss of Judas was to no purpose. Jesus readily admitted his identity and chided the multitude who came to arrest him for their mob-given courage: "Are ye come out as a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teach ing in the temple and ye laid no hold on me." The next day he was carried for trial before Caiaphas,3 the high priest who also, quite conveniently, happened to be Annas' son-in-law. The Bill of Rights in an Old Setting 1 HE first question concerned his "beliefs" and his "associations": "The High priest then asked Jesus of his disciples and his doctrine." Jesus was not one to betray his friends. He silently re fused to expose his associates and immediately forced the trial into the issue of freedom of speech: "I spake openly to the world, I ever taught in the synagogues, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing." "Why asketh thou me? Ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold they know what I have said." He knew the law and stood on his right not to incriminate himself. But this was not what the court wanted. The res ponse to his statement was a blow from an officer who stood by, and the implied threat of an additional charge of contempt of court: "Answereth thou the high pn'cil so?" Jesus' reply was a demand for the evidence against him: "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of that evil; but if well, why smiteth thou me?" But the evidence was not forthcoming. If he were in fact guilty of a crime, then Judas was his accomplice and the testimony of an accomplice was not legally admissable in the Sanhedrin Court:6
schandler, in his fascinaUng and excellently documented Trial of Christ, gives the due to the motive underlying the entire campaign against Jesus: "Now it is historically true that Annas and Caiaphas and their friends owned and controlled the stalls, booths, and bazaars connected with the Temple and from which flowed a most lucrative trade. The profits from the sale of lambs and doves, sold for sacri fice, alone were enormous. When Jesus threatened the destruction of their trade. He assaulted the interests of Annas anl his associates In the Sanhedrin in a vital place. The driving of the cattle* from the stalls was probably more effective in compassing the destruction of Christ than any miracle that He performed or any discourse that He delivered." "See Chandler: Trial of Christ.

"So the chief priests, and elders, and all the council sought false witnesses against Jesus; to put him to death, yet found they none." Finally two false witnesses were found who attempted to testify about a remark of Jesus' that he could destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, but even the testimony of these witnesses was in conflict. Moreover, it was irrelevant to any criminal charge that could be properly framed. The chief priests were on the spot. Here was a dangerous man, and he had to be gotten rid of, but they had no evidence on which to convict him. Moreover they had to think of the dignity of their court. The judicial forms at least had to be observed. The whole business began to look messy, and it would be better if someone else took over the dirty job. * # * # So they took Jesus over to the hall of judgment where Pilate presided, But: "They themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled." Pilate, instead, came out to them and, trained judge that he was, demanded to be informed of the charges against the man he was to try: "What accusation bring ye against this man?" But here also the charges, like the evidence, were lacking. Let the accused prove his innocence, they said in ef fect. By virtue of the arrest, the burden of proof was reversed, and it thereby became the task of the defendant to prove his innocence beyond all reasonable doubt. At least that was their theory: "If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee." , But Pilate, the judge, refused to accept any such theory because it did violence to the most basic legal concept. He could not put a man on trial when it was not even charged that he had violated the law. He declined juris diction and threw the case back into the laps of the high priests. This man hadn't violated any Roman law, and he said: "Take ye him and judge him according to your law.." • Here was complete frustration. The Jewish law was not equal to the occasion either, even if testimony suf ficient to convict him could be manufactured. They reminded Pilate that: "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death." The situation at this point was getting quite embarrassing for Pilate as well as the Chief Priests. Public opinion had been whipped up to a high pitch, and Pilate, after all, was a politician. At this point fortune played into his hands. Jesus was a Galilean and, as it happened, Herod, the Governor of Galilee, was in Jerusalem at that particular time. Here was a chance to please Herod by a nice gesture deferring to his jurisdiction and a'Qfce"|ame time get rid of a case that was loaded with political dynamite. So Pilate waived jurisdiction and sent;Jesus to Herod for trial.

Herod, at first, was pleased. He liked this token of Pilates recognition. Moreover, he had heard quite a bit about the man Jesus and was curious to see what he was like. He hoped Jesus might even perform some miracle in his presence. But after fruitless questioning, to the accom paniment of the vehement accusations of the chief priests and scribes, Herod realized how Pilate was using him. So back the defendant was sent to Pilate's court. Again Pilate demanded to know the charges. This time a chief priest whispered in his ear and he asked: "Art thou King of the Jews?" Here was a definite charge of subversion, if not of treason. For Tiberius Caesar was in power, and anyone acting as a king in his realm challenged the sovereignty of Caesar. Jesus immediately understood the origin of the question. The charges clearly did not originate with the civil magistrate: , "Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thy self, or did others tell it thee of me?'" Pilate admitted that he was prompted: "Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee to me; what has thou done?" Jesus readily gave the answer that his interest was in spiritual and not temporal power: "My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence." The answer made sense to Pilate, and he asked one further question to make the record entirely clear: "Art thou a king then?" To this Jesus answered that his only function and purpose was to "bear witness to truth." From this point on Pilate sought to turn his cross-examination into a philosophical discussion on the interesting question, "What is truth?" He was satisfied that there were no case and announced his verdict: "I find in him no fault at all." Pilate suggested, as it was the custom to release one prisoner at the passover, that he release the defendant. But the priests and their followers were adamant. Jesus had ideas, and he was articulate about them. He was, therefore, dangerous. So they demanded the release of Barabbas instead. Now as it happened Barabbas was no mere dabbler in ideas. He was a man of action. He had been arrested for attempting to overthrow the govern ment by force and violence, He "had made insurrection" and "had committed murder in the insurrection." By this time, public feeling had been worked up to an explosive pitch. There was no evidence on which Jesus could be convicted, but there were definite political dangers in releasing him. So Pilate followed the only course left open. He resorted to the third degree. The defendant was "scourged", and the soldiers "smote him with their hands". But even this treatment brought forth nothing in the way of evidence. Again Pilate reported to the high priests:

"Behold I bring him forth to you, that ye may know I find no fault in him." Expediency vs.Principle 1 HE priests, however, were after blood. And the chant, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" was steadily mounting in intensity. But Pilate persisted in his finding of "Not guilty". At this point, the chief priests again changed their tactics. As messy as the job was, it was better for them to take over the trial than to have Jesus go scot free. They now thought of a charge under which they could assume jurisdiction. They announced to Pilate: "We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God." With this new development, Pilate's position became even more difficult. "He was the more afraid." Again he went into the judgment hall and questioned Jesus, warning him: "I have the power to crucify thee and have power to release thee." But still Jesus remained steadfast in his refusal to "con fess" his guilt of any crime: "And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him." Now the quarry was about to escape; so the chief priests played their last card. In order to set aside Pilate's Judgment of acquittal, they proposed to try the judge himself. Pilate was threatened with a charge of "dis loyalty". The chief priests thus applied the last ounce of politi cal pressure. Jesus, it is true, had explained that his inter est lay in spiritual and not temporal affairs. But after all, he had said that he was a "king", and for one to proclaim his kingship in Caesar's realm was according to their theory, treason to Caesar. Maybe Caesar would, riot, be quite as ready as Pilate to accept Jesus' explanation. So the chief priests became the most vociferous exponents of patriotism and champions of Caesar. They proclaimed themselves more loyal to Caesar than Pilate, the Roman and Caesar's own appointee. "We have no king but Caesar" became their cry. Pilate, they inferred, by^,re leasing Jesus had demonstrated this "disloyalty." They threatened to go to Caesar with the story. "If /thou,let this man go," they said, "thou art not Caesar's friend; whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar." • : < ■■ . > ■ - a i This last bit of pressure was too much. Pilate's job was at stake, and it was a good job. It carried with-it

power, prestige, and wealth. He might even find himself in the position of defendant in a "loyalty" case; so: "When Pilate saw that he cou.M prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multi tudes, saying, 'I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.' " And he delivered Jesus up to be crucified. The Salvage of a Legal Principle And The Triumph of Good Idea JT HATE, however, made one 1 st obeisance to the inte grity of the judicial process. H<; "wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing v/as: 'JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.'" But the chief priests were still not satisfied with the judgment of the court. Again they shifted their ground. This man, Jesus, was not really a king; he just said he was. And so they demanded of Pilate: "Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, 'I am King of the Jews.' " But Pilate had gone his limit. There was one line from which he would not retreat. He was a judge and respected the law. There was no provision of law under which a man could be crucified merely for what he had said. If he had to send a man to his death, the order of judgment, at least, would be clear that it was for his illegal deeds and not mere words; so: ^ "Pilate answered, 'What I have written, I have written.'" A legal principle, at least, was saved from the mob. Perhaps Pilate's judicial conscience was satisfied. Certainly the Scribes and the Pharisees were satisfied, for Jesus was dead and the great voice of protest was silenced — or so they thought. But what did the suppression gain the suppressors? Perhaps the profits from their money^changing opera tions and from the sale of sacrificial anirnllils*ro*iinueda few years longer. Perhaps they succeeded in continumg^" for a while, their political control over the people whom they so greatly "feared". But the ideas they sought to destroy still lived, and they have continued .to live, and spread because men have found them good. .■£.,.: Now, two thousand years later, we can see that, the folly of the Scribes and Pharisees was everij. greater than their wickedness. ?:%$*:>i-Hi:•.•:;

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