By Vernon A. Williams
In the Book of Matthew, Pontius Pilate while contemplating the release of the imprisoned Jesus Christ beckoned the masses gathered to make that decision. In keeping with tradition, he offers convicted murderer Barabbas or Christ, who committed no crime. To Pilate’s shock, the loudest cry was for the violent rebel in custody as they shouted that Jesus be crucified.
Pilate was so dismayed at the outcome that he literally washed his hands as a gesture of separation of responsibility for the shedding of innocent blood. Some theologians speculate that there may have been more people calling out for the release of Jesus, but that church-inspired Barabbas proponents may have simply yelled the loudest.
What a profound possibility; that the ultimate course of civilization, though divinely preordained, could have been influenced in real time by people in the wrong who simply managed to outshout those trying to do the right thing. Of course, no one can verify the veracity of that conjecture.
But what a possibility to digest – that evil could prevail over good because of the comparative reticence of good-hearted men and women.
Was it that Christ’s followers were meeker by nature and doom- ed for failure in a competition that demanded such robust participation? Was it that the outcome seemed so apparent, that apathy set in and some felt their will would prevail whether they participated or not? Was it that they were simply caught off guard by the level of organization and enthusiasm of Barabbas’ backers?
What a stark parallel to the moral dilemma we face today in America.
Choices have seldom been more conspicuous. Those perpetuating chaos and division boldly unite to advance the seams agenda. And forces of resistance are equally distinguishable, in spite of their intellectual and ideological contrasts. Make no mistake. Indelible lines of demarcation have been drawn.
In about a year and a week from now, it will be time for our voices to be raised. The challenge ahead for freedom-loving Americans is not merely to maintain the status quo, but to plot a sustainable strategy to eliminate poverty, redefine justice, vanquish bigotry, save the planet and foster a more humane future.
It may seem to be a lot to attach such significance to a single presidential election, but the truth is that the crisis of our time is the erosion of democracy and the shameless desecration of human decency.
We struggle against principalities. We have to recognize the importance of the hour. Then we have to act in a manner that results in our people winning. “Close” won’t suffice.
Going full circle, we revisit the tragic possibility that while Jesus loyalists may have outnumbered followers of the renegade Barabbas, they failed to sufficiently raise their collective voices.
So, the prevailing question is, how do we prevent history from repeating itself? That may be the most compelling question of our time; for the moment, it’s all that matters.
CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected].