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Rep. Loudermilk has truly silly Pontius Pilate impeachment remark

Tis the season for impeachment & Christian Nationalist silliness.


During the impeachment debate in the U.S. House, Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., notoriously claimed that Jesus, in the trial that led to his crucifixion, was afforded more rights than President Trump during the impeachment hearing.

"Before you take this historic vote, today, one week before Christmas,” intoned Loudermilk, “I want you to keep this in mind: When Jesus was falsely accused of treason, Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face his accusers.

"During that sham trial, Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus than the Democrats have afforded this president in this process,” Loudermilk admonished.

Loudermilk claims the president, who was being impeached by the House of Representatives, did not know who the accuser was and therefore he’s been given a “sham trial.”

FFRF Co-President and former Christian minister Dan Barker has this to say:

“When Jesus was brought before Pilate, it was because he had been arrested by priests and Jewish elders. If Trump wants to face his accusers with the same rights as Jesus, then he should appear before Congress to answer their questions. Jesus was charged not with a civil crime or constitutional violation, but with simply claiming to be the Messiah, which was an offense to religious opinion. Jesus had no legal counsel and was afforded no legal rights other than the right to answer Pilate’s questions.”

By the way, notes Barker, according to the New Testament, Jesus’ “jury” was made up of the same people who arrested him. There was no specific “accuser” — it was the whole crowd that opposed him.

“Pilate, ‘wishing to satisfy the crowd,’ made his decision based on mob rule, not on the rule of law. Is that what Trump wants?” Barker asks. “If we are really going to compare the constitutionally prescribed impeachment procedure to the alleged persecution of Jesus, then he should humbly and silently turn himself in to be crucified.”

Andrew Seidel, FFRF’s director of strategic response, has this to say about Loudermilk’s remarks: “One would think ‘good Christians’ would consider such comparisons to be blasphemous.” Seidel asserts that Loudermilk's comment should have been condemned by truly devout Christians.

“Christian Nationalists who fume at the idea of a Netflix comedy featuring a gay Jesus turn around and compare their savior to a man who admitted to sexual assault on videotape,” Seidel adds.

Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president, also chimes in.

“Of course, Christian fundamentalist and evangelical supporters of Donald Trump have long ago ceded the moral high ground,” she says. “But in this instance, the comparison of Trump to a martyred god is patently ridiculous. Under the Constitution, the House may only impeach, but does not hold the trial. Trump will indeed receive a trial in the Republican-dominated Senate, presided over by the Supreme Court chief justice himself. Perhaps Justice Roberts will ask Trump what Pilate asked Jesus: ‘Who do you think you are? A king?’”

Gaylor adds: “If Trump gets a ‘sham trial,’ it will be due to Mitch McConnell — not Trump’s accusers.”

We leave the final remark to James Madison: “Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”