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Jesus on trial: What would a modern jury do?
April 22nd, 2011
07:18 AM ET

Jesus on trial: What would a modern jury do?

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Richmond, Virginia (CNN) - If Jesus were tried in Richmond, Virginia, today, would he have been sentenced to death? Or would he have faced life behind bars with no chance for parole?

That’s the choice given to jurors here recently.

During Lent, the Church of the Holy Comforter used Virginia law to retry the sentencing phase of the blasphemy case against Jesus of Nazareth. Church members and guests played the role of the jury.

The trial was the brainchild of Mark Osler, a former U.S. Attorney in Detroit who teaches at the University of St. Thomas Law School in Minneapolis and is friends with a member of the Richmond church.

Osler wanted to hold the trial in part to call attention to the state’s use of capital punishment. Virginia is second only to Texas in the number of executions per state since the mid-1970s, when the U.S. Supreme Court reinstituted the death penalty, according to federal statistics. He held a similar event in Texas a few years ago.

“For many of us our faith, as it relates to policy especially, is often unexamined,” Osler said “We’re surrounded by people who feel the same way, and what we need to do is have it be troubled at least and see if that takes us someplace different.”

The mock sentencing phase was held the night before Palm Sunday.

Osler played the part of Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest in the biblical narrative of the trial. In that account, Jesus had no defense council. But on this night, Osler faced off against Jeanne Bishop, a real-life public defender from Chicago.

“Jesus was indigent,” Bishop said. “And so I think [Osler] wanted a public defender to underscore the point that this is a man with no money, no resources, no position in society.

“Most of the people that I represent fit that description.”

“He also wanted to have a young African-American man play Jesus, and that’s what we have tonight. Most of clients look exactly like this young man who will be sitting beside me,” she said.

The night was bittersweet for Bishop. “My younger sister, her husband and their unborn baby were murdered 21 years ago today, the day before palm Sunday.”

In 1990, Nancy Bishop Langert was killed during a home invasion in Winnetka, Illinois. Her death was part of the reason Jeanne Bishop became a defense attorney and an outspoken opponent of the death penalty.

Even before her sister’s murder, Bishop said, she was against the death penalty. “When my sister and her husband and their baby were killed, my immediate response was, ‘No more killing, no more bloodshed, please let it stop right here.’”

Jeanne Bishop questions a witness at the trial of Jesus in Richmond, Virginia

Osler is also against the death penalty. It was a decision he said he reached as a prosecutor while sitting in church one Sunday.

“They read John 8, about stoning the adulteress, and I’m like everyone else - when I hear a story like that, I put myself in the role of Jesus. A lot of prosecutors who are Christians who talk about that will say, ‘Jesus said go and sin no more.’ And what I came to eventually is, ‘I’m not Jesus. I’m part of the mob. I’m somebody with a stone in my hand.’

“I think that story is very direct that we don’t have the moral authority” to execute prisoners, Osler said.

Playing the role of prosecutor and asking jurors to condemn Jesus to death was difficult for Osler.

“It’s very dark to have the prosecutor in me go to war with the faith [in me]. There’s a cynicism you need to be a good prosecutor,” he said. “It’s been in some ways a troubling enterprise, and I didn’t see that coming.”

“We don’t have a script,” Osler said shortly before taking the stage at the Church of the Holy Comforter. “We’re approaching this the way trial lawyers would. I haven’t known what her theory of the case is or what her arguments will be, and she doesn’t know mine. That’s the way it really works. It’s not a play. It really is a trial in that sense.”

Mark Osler waits to take the stage at the trial of Jesus

As the audience took their seats, Bishop leaned over and whispered to her client, a teenager from the church who sat beside her in a dark blazer and khaki pants.

William G. Broaddus played the role of the judge. He was Virginia’s attorney general for six months after his predecessor stepped down to run for governor. During that time, five defendants were executed in Virginia.

“We will now call the case of the Commonwealth of Virginia versus Jesus of Nazareth,” Broaddus bellowed from the pulpit. “I will remind you this man has already been found guilty of the criminal charge of blasphemy.

“Tonight it is your duty to determine the proper punishment,” he told the jurors.

The attorneys each called two witnesses. The prosecution called Peter, one of Jesus closest disciples, and a rich young ruler whom Jesus urged to sell all of his possessions and give the money to the poor, here though the witness was played by a woman from the congregation. The defense called a centurion whose slave Jesus had healed, as well as Malchus, a high priest's slave whose ear was cut off by Peter then reattached by Jesus.

The sentencing trial followed the rhythms of a standard criminal case. Bishop spoke gently yet firmly as she questioned the witnesses, her line of questioning seeking to emphasize Jesus' acts of compassion and mercy.

Osler was forceful and tried to paint Jesus as a rebel who sought to rend the fabric of society. He also played heavily on the issue of slavery in his questioning.

Richmond was an international slave port prior to the Civil War - a fact not lost on members of the audience, who quietly bristled or frowned when Osler brought it up. He repeatedly reminded them that while Jesus healed the centurion and high priest’s slaves, he did not set them free.

In her closing argument, Bishop told the jury that Jesus loved his enemies. “A man who showed such compassion is at least deserving of your compassion at this moment,” she said.

Osler rebutted that Jesus had “poked a hole in the fabric of society. Are you going to let it tear or are your going to keep it a small hole?” he asked as he tore a hole in his own pressed, white button-down shirt to gasps in the crowd.

After the closing arguments, the audience broke into several juries of 12. Following the Virginia state statutes, they had two votes to consider. First: “Do you find that there is a probability that, if not executed, the defendant would commit criminal acts that would constitute a continuing serious threat to society?”

If they answered yes to that question, they were instructed to move on to the second: “In the light of all mitigation, is a death sentence warranted?” Both questions required a unanimous vote.

In one of the juries, 11 members quickly agreed the answer to the first question was yes, but there was one holdout. The other jury members began to press her in favor of the prosecution. Eventually they were successful.

“I think he's convincing," an older woman on the panel said of Osler, adding, “I didn't like myself for thinking that."

As the judge told the crowd they had just five minutes left to deliberate, the noise in the sanctuary grew louder and more heated.

The votes were taken and the jury forms passed forward.

The judge stepped forward and read the verdict.

“Jesus please stand,” he said.

He read the first question aloud and said, “The majority of the juries have found that should be answered in the affirmative.”

It meant the juries thought Jesus would blaspheme again if not executed.

“Turning then to the next question,” he said. “The majority of the juries voting on that issue found that the death sentence is not warranted.”

There was applause from the audience.

“The defendant is remanded to the jailer for the rest of your natural life.”

And with that the trial ended.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Episcopal • United States

soundoff (1,632 Responses)
  1. Tom

    It should have been GOOD WEDNESDAY.......but then who's counting as long as the REASON is remembered!

    April 22, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  2. Martin

    There is a great review of Jesus Christ and Good Friday, among other things, at Vivalastool (dot) com

    April 22, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  3. Jonathan

    Considering that blaspheme isn't even a crime these days, there wouldn't even be a trial. Now what you could possibly have is a kind of David Koresh situation, but I doubt that it would come to that. Nothing in his teachings would be considered illegal these days, or would incite sedition against the government. At least, not unless the government situation gets worse, then it's a possibility, but at that point, you'd have a lot more problems.

    April 22, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  4. Really

    Why is the portrayal of Jesus as a frail, thin, bunny-eyed character who looks painfully sad all the time? This picture is awful. This man looks like he's sad because his mommy wouldn't let him have any candy. THAT is not Jesus.

    April 22, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • oneSTARman

      I believe you are referring to a Medieval Style that attempted to portray a Spiritual aspect that saw FLESH as EVIL and CORRUPT – Plague and Famine do that to ones Psyche. A REAL portrait of JESUS would be INVISIBLE because he told us that to look at Him was to See the FATHER. JESUS offered Himself as the WAY to that Father.

      April 22, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  5. Jan

    Don't these religious clown have anything better to do!! Imagine grown up people !!!!

    April 22, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Fred L. Fraud

      Imagine them naked!

      April 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Imagine a world where nobody is killed over their religious beliefs. My god! There would be piece at last!

      April 22, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      “Peace”

      Look everybody! I saw a mistake that I made and I corrected it, instead of blaming the divine for my faults!

      April 22, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  6. The Jackdaw

    God is a joke. Educate yourselves and stop repeating ancient rhetoric. It prevents you from thinking. If I were to duct tape a recording of religious prattle to a blind sheep, you would have a zealot. Knock it off, put on the big boy pants and start taking responsibility for your actions. Humanity. No wonder the intergalactic community has not sent a welcoming committee. What a bunch of ignorant babies.

    April 22, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Gumboz1953

      I have it on good authority that Gort and Klaatu are on their way.

      April 22, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Jeff

      Do worry Spock is on the way genius.

      April 22, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Psy101

      People need to believe that a supernatural being loves them otherwise to them their lives would hold no value or meaning. If you remove their belief in a god, then all they would be left with is themselves without that feeling of being special. Sorry to say but that would lead to wide spread depression. It's better to let them believe in a god, it's free, no meds to distribute, keeps them following orders. What better way to organize a society, the police can't do it all.

      April 22, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • oneSTARman

      Quantum Physics is the basis for our understanding of the ultimate reality that our limited 3d Space and unidirectional vector of Time cannot grasp intuitively. We have learned EXPERIMENTALLY that CONSCIOUSNESS is required to reduce particulate existence to specificity from probability – because the Universe existed (as best we can tell) before LIFE did – a CREATIVE CONSCIOUSNESS is required.

      April 22, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Silver Chair

      @ the jackdaw.

      You're the joke, and unfortunately you are not funny. At all.

      April 22, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      oneSTARman, simply put, no. You were good right up until you make your leap of faith, which is a jump in the direction of insanity.

      Silver Chair, sorry I made you cry, but growing up can be hard.

      Drop your divine security blankets and think about your beliefs. Do it critically if you are not afraid of what you will discover.

      April 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  7. Artist

    I think it would be quite obvious that jesus would be considered insane by today's standards. What does that make his followers? Food for thought.

    April 22, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Liza

      It would make them a cult. LOL!

      April 22, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  8. Jeff

    I wonder why they didn't put Muhamed on trial for all of the murders that his muslim cult have done?

    April 22, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Its that kind of dumb thinking that is hindering our world today. God is dumb for everybody.

      April 22, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Toby

      Because to do so from the "Church" standpoint would bias the verdict, as it did the verdict of life in prison in this "MOCK" trial.

      April 22, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • No One Is Safe

      idiot. it was a recreation of a trial that (supposedly) occurred, according to the christian bible. there was no similar event in mohammed's life to "recreate".

      get your head out of your muslim-hatin' as5.

      April 23, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  9. Robb

    And we all died in our sins.

    April 22, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  10. NewYork Nick

    One thing is Jesus would have going for him today is he could spend 20 years on death row with not a thing to worry about but what time the three meals were coming and what time All in the family comes on cable.. God rest his soul..

    April 22, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  11. oneSTARman

    INTIFADA – like Palestinians throwing ROCKS at TANKS – The OPPRESSED inciting INSURRECTION. In the US we call those kind of people TERRORISTS. We Kidnap them in the middle off the night and send them to GITMO or some Secret Military Prison hidden from US – NO TRIAL. The 'Criminals' crucified with Jesus and Barabbas that the 'crowd' was Limbaughed into yelling for were TERRORISTS like Bin Laden.

    April 22, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      Whoa, calm down with those conspiracies man.

      See you in the rapture capsule with the unicorns. Don't forget to wear your nose ring. The big steel one that I padlocked the chain on with when we were practicing for the uplifting...

      April 22, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • doughnuts

      That should read "...Palestinians firing ROCKETS at BUSES..."

      April 22, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • oneSTARman

      @ UpYours – – I am not sure what the Rapture has to do with my comment – but I am relating our societies experience with those Wind Blows Against The Empire

      April 22, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  12. Reality

    Once again, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane. -–

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Some early and most contemporary NT experts (see below for a partial listing) after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

    Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European, white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices.

    H.S. Reimarus
    R. Bultmann
    E. Kasemann
    Earl Doherty
    Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy
    Alvar Ellegård
    G. A. Wells
    Gregory Riley
    Robert Eisenman
    John Dominic Crossan
    Robert Funk
    Burton Mack
    Stephen J. Patterson
    Marcus Borg
    Stevan Davies
    Geza Vermes
    Richard Horsley
    Hyam Maccoby
    Gerd Theissen
    Bart Ehrman
    Paula Fredriksen
    Gerd Lüdemann
    John P. Meier
    E. P. Sanders
    Robert H. Stein
    Karen Armstrong
    Albert Schweitzer (The Quest for the Historical Jesus)
    Mahlon Smith
    Karen Pagels

    April 22, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Behold the great and powerful copy/paster reality!

      April 22, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  13. Matt

    Can't believe people still believe in a being that has as much proof of existing as Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny. Derp derp

    April 22, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Tom

      The fact that Jesus lived is already a proven historically. The question remains...What will you do with Him?

      April 22, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Respectme

      Matt, your as dumb as they come. Another guy with a biblical name bashing on the bible. Dumb parents produce dumb people.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  14. Gumboz1953

    Jesus actually might be considered a national security threat today, if enough people followed him. If everyone followed him, we would forgive al-Qaeda and everyone who wronged us, disband the Pentagon, and distribute wealth evenly. Nuclear stockpiles would be destroyed. Usurious business practices would be outlawed, so Wall Street would crash. The stovepiped hierarchy of churches would be demolished. No one would argue against providing universal, free health care to all as a basic human right, and capital punishment would go the way of wooden teeth and smallpox. Aren't we lucky that nobody today is christian.

    April 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Bruce

      Gumboz1953, while you may be correct that Jesus' preferences in public policies are what you say they are, you are ignoring the fact that–at least as a politician–Jesus was completely ineffective at shaping political reality. One of the biggest problems that Jews had with him at the time (and why Judas likely betrayed him) is that he simply did NOT accomplish anything of import in the political spectrum. He didn't bring God's Kingdom to Jerusalem. He didn't conquer the Romans. He didn't even upset the balance of politcal power with the likes of Caiaphas.

      What makes you think that–even if Jesus wanted to–he would accomplish any of what you say he would accomplish were he alive today?

      April 22, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Gumboz1953

      Bruce, I was being facetious. True christianity cannot exist today. It might have worked in Roman times, but we've gone too far down another road.

      April 22, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • oneSTARman

      @BRUCE – Boy I HOPE you are Wrong – what you say sounds like what they are saying about Obama.

      April 22, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Bruce

      Gumboz1953, my point was that "true Christianity" isn't a political reality, and it never was a political reality. In fact, it was always the opposite of political power.

      I mean, think of it. The symbol of the entire religion is a man (Jesus) who was crucified by political rivals (Caiaphas, et al) so that he would be silenced. He rose from the dead and did what–did he rise and defeat Caiaphas and assume some sort of political control over the region? Not at all. Political power didn't come to the Christians for some centuries after this critical event, and by then I would argue that this Jesus fellow (if he ever existed) no longer affected (or infected, if you prefer) the decisions of those who bore his name.

      It was never about the politics, even though it was politics that killed him. I wish "Christians" today would take a step back and realize that, whether they are left or right of center in their political ideologies...

      April 22, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Bruce

      oneSTARman: Well, Jesus wasn't the only person in the history of mankind to be ineffective in his political goals. Obama, actually, has been much more effective than Jesus ever was...

      April 22, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Respectme

      Bruce, the difference between obama and Jesus. 2000 years from now you will still read about Jesus and still have people believe in Him. While your Obama will be just another president that accomplished nothing. As far as political, this country was founded on the Christian principals and it's laws are derived from the Holy Bible. I think having an impact 2000 years later and 2 billion people believing in Him as God says a lot about Jesus. You on the other hand are insignificant and will probably die alone without anyone mentioning your name. That's reality

      April 22, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Bruce

      Respectme–I'm fine with living and dying in relative obscurity, with only a handful of people mourning my passing. In fact, the notion that history will forget me is quite a comfort.

      And I agree that "my Obama" (lol at that) will be forgotten in far fewer than 2000 years. It proves that political efficacy is not what Jesus was about.

      And no, this country's laws were not derived from the holy bible. You are wrong.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  15. peter

    dude would be sent to the nut house or just put on some random corner in nyc so people can enjoy his craziness claiming to be the son of god maybe make a few bucks while hes at it if he can put on a magic show. The magic he did 2000 years ago might not wow us today though so i dunno

    April 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • darp

      He could walk on the surface of the gulf oil spill and feed the hungry with grande meals

      April 22, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Respectme

      "Peter" where do you think you got your name from idiot. Your parents were probably christian or dumb for naming you after a biblical character.

      April 22, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  16. Rastafari Lives

    (Matthew 23:29-32)

    “Woe to you, teachers of the law and
    Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and
    decorate the graves of the righteous. 30
    ...And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would
    not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.

    April 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • Reality

      Rastafari Lives,

      Actually, Matt 23: 29-32 has been reviewed by many contemporary NT scholars and found to be a single attestation and therefore has no historic foundation. See for example, http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb156.html and Professor Gerd Ludemann's book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 227 and 229: "The passages are inauthentic and are derived from the situation in Matthew's community. "

      April 22, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  17. Atheist PhD

    This is getting boring, same old same old. When people want to have a decent discussion on religion, let me know.

    April 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • Brad

      Amen! These boards are either filled with people who bash all religions and religious people or others who quote the Bible as "gospel" and use words like "Him." I have found that religious discussions with either of these types of people are fruitless.

      The first thing I thought about the article was the sheer ridiculousness of having this "trial." In 2011 how would we be trying someone who "healed a slave." Unless Jesus2011 was a Dr. who prescribed medicine or other treatment, I am not sure I see the point of this exercise.

      Well...I guess I do see the point of this exercise. It was merely an attempt to show that the Death Penalty is wrong...After all, if we had it today and Jesus was alive now, we wouldn't have our Savior! Silly. If people want to argue against the death penalty, fine. But don't bring in a trial for blasphemy in Virginia as a way to show validate your argument.

      April 22, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • marta

      After reading all your pearls of atheist wisdom, I wonder...are you one of those who frame their diplomas and have it up for all to see proof they did their homework all the way to a Doctor of Philosophy and only stop short of adding the PhD plaque outside their toilet, perhaps?

      April 22, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • SANJOSEMIKE

      It's not just a matter of "bashing" religions. Atheists are frequently libeled by religious people who regard them as the "root of all evil." We have to pay more taxes because religious groups don't pay their fair share. At many public meetings "grace and prayers" are said which offend atheists (but nobody seems to care.) At other meetings the name "Jesus" is used in various invocations even though not everyone there is a Christian.

      It's not just a matter of "bashing" other religions. Muslims want to remove all freedom of speech, and are well on their way to doing exactly that, all over the World. If you get up at a public meeting and declare yourself an atheist, you may be put under retribution for it...coming from unexpected places...like losing a raise or career advancement.

      Atheists have a reason to gripe. And it's not unreasonable for us to do that.

      April 22, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  18. Sherly

    the cross would not have been the symbol of His sacrifices. it would have been electric chair, or lethal injection paraphernalia that are in display in christian churches.

    April 22, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Artist

      Christians would be wearing lightning bolts?

      April 22, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Nacho1

      In today's courts Jesus would be found innocent because he would have freedom of speech and regardless of his beliefs and teachings would be guilty of nothing but personal opinion...........the mock trial was definitely....MOCK

      April 22, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  19. ThomasPaine

    I believe Jesus was the greatest zombie ninja mage to ever exist! Puts my W.O.W. character to shame stat wise.

    Words of wisdom:

    "You form your opinion of God from the account given of Him in the Bible; and I form my opinion of the Bible from the wisdom and goodness of God manifested in the structure of the universe, and in all works of creation. The result in these two cases will be, that you, by taking the Bible for your standard, will have a bad opinion of God; and I, by taking God for my standard, shall have a bad opinion of the Bible.

    "The Bible represents God to be a changeable, passionate, vindictive being; making a world and then drowning it, afterwards repenting of what he had done, and promising not to do so again. Setting one nation to cut the throats of another, and stopping the course of the sun till the butchery should be done. But the works of God in the creation preach to us another doctrine. In that vast volume we see nothing to give us the idea of a changeable, passionate, vindictive God; everything we there behold impresses us with a contrary idea – that of unchangeableness and of eternal order, harmony, and goodness.

    "The sun and the seasons return at their appointed time, and everything in the creation claims that God is unchangeable. Now, which am I to believe, a book that any impostor might make and call the Word of God, or the creation itself which none but an Almighty Power could make? For the Bible says one thing, and the creation says the contrary. The Bible represents God with all the passions of a mortal, and the creation proclaims him with all the attributes of a God.

    April 22, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • Bruce

      Well, Jesus was obviously a WoW shaman, but a 48-hour cast-time on his self-rez is not all that impressive imo...

      April 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • WOW is stoopud

      NEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRDDSSS!!!

      April 22, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • lorne

      You are absolutely on the money with your post.

      April 22, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • ThomasPaine

      Thanks Lorne – Reason before faith!!

      April 22, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  20. Tom

    Over 2000 years

    April 22, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Artist

      and counting. I wonder if christians have really thought about it. 2000 years. Will there still be some around when we hit 10,000 years? lol

      April 22, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Mike

      The death penalty 2000 years ago was barbaric and it is still today. US is the only developed country that has a death penalty.

      April 22, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Sam I Am

      Good thing Jesus wasn't black...Otherwise, he would've been sentenced to death, guaranteed!

      April 22, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • SANJOSEMIKE

      Mike said: "The death penalty 2000 years ago was barbaric and it is still today. US is the only developed country that has a death penalty."

      sanjosemike responds: It depends on the crime. Certainly the DP is utterly inappropriate for "blasphemy." But for callous murder without redeeming factors, it is stil appropriate. It also has the advantage of completely removing the murderer permanently from the system. The legal system has been known to release dangerous criminals. That said, thorough due process is indicated...and it should only be used for the most egregious and PROVEN crimes.

      April 22, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Silver Chair

      @Artist.

      Yep, there sure will be.

      April 22, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • Amused

      To Sam I Am – Are you sure that Jesus wasn't black? How do you know? And uh, by the way, Jesus WAS sentenced to death, isn't that what Easter is all about?

      April 22, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.