By Will O’Brien
While I loathe almost everything about the Trump Administration, it is fitting to applaud and be grateful for the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson after two years of detention in Turkey. Now it is time to turn our attention to another tragic case of a religious leader being unjustly imprisoned in a hostile country.
I speak of Jesus of Nazareth, who for many years has been imprisoned under harsh circumstances in the United States. Reports suggest he has suffered brutal torture during his detention – some followers who have glimpsed him in prison say he has been beaten so badly they could hardly recognize him. The regime insists that Jesus is not being detained and in fact has complete freedom to function in society, though in fact he has not been seen in public for many years. Regime supporters also frequently mention him in positive terms, but his followers say the statements about him are utterly false and distorted, which they cite as further proof that Jesus himself is not in fact active in ministry. Scattered appearances of “Jesus” are, according to human rights observers, highly staged state events, using a poorly disguised double.
The regime denies claims of Jesus’ imprisonment, labeling them “fake-Good New propaganda” by Jesus’ supporters, who it asserts are a threat to the social order. International observers say that the Trump regime’s treatment of Jesus is a departure from similar situations under modern authoritarian rule, such as the case with Pastor Brunson: Rather than charging the religious leader with crimes against the government as a justification for detention, the U.S. is instead denying the detention and instead promoting the notion that Jesus is free, active, and working in support of the government. One regime spokesperson, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said, “We saw how Rome tried to handle Jesus through state-sanctioned law-and-order violence – which obviously didn’t work. We felt that the strategy of Constantine was more appropriate to the U.S. situation, and so far it is working quite well” …
Alas, a little levity is in order, … but conscientious disciples must undertake the hard work of “liberating Jesus” if we are to have the power to be liberators.