Was Pilate a villain? A blog about the excesses of Sheriff Arpaios in Arizona describes Pilate as such, based the Roman governor’s approval of the crucifixion :
Remember, my brothers and sisters, Pilate tried to put a stop to the power of mercy, love, and compassion. It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now.
Putting a man to death is villainous, right? But my recollection of the Biblical passage is that Pilate was just doing what the crowds wanted him to do. Sheriff Arpaios sounds like a regular villain in everything I’ve read about him (did you see the Phoenix New Times story?), but I can’t help but wonder how culpable he really is. Isn’t there a vocal group in his Arizona community, insisting that something be done about illegal immigration? Just as there was in Jerusalem all those years ago, urging Pilate to crucify Jesus? Jesus and his following were considered a real threat to that crowd’s way of life, to their sense of security, just as the undocumented aliens are to folks who live near the borders today.
Clearly, I’ve been listening to the songs from Wicked too much lately, and it has warped my mind: “A man’s called a traitor, or liberator. A rich man’s a thief, or philanthropist. Is one a crusader, or ruthless invader? It’s all in which label, is able to persist.” But I digress.
Whomever we elect in the fall, to the presidency, to Congress, to our own state legislatures, let’s be sure they understand that in creating immigration laws, we must keep in mind the humanity of these immigrants, and the capacity of a few individuals for inhumanity while upholding our laws.