Friday, March 21, 2008

The Destabilizer

"Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division." --Jesus Christ (Luke 12:51)

A few days into the second round of the ZTE-NBN scandal, the recurring mantra from deputy presidential spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo was "version of the truth." Which was a silly thing to say, of course: logically speaking, there is only one truth (and that is precisely why it is the truth). The fault, if any, lies in the one who perceives it and it relays it.

Fajardo's "version of the truth" is merely an echo of a sentiment raised much, much earlier. Over two thousand years ago, Pontius Pilate, uncomfortable when confronted with the innocence of Jesus Christ, shrugged it off with the question: "What is truth?"

Because of its distance the situation becomes a blur and so the reasons may escape us: the proximate cause of Jesus' crucifixion was an act of expedience and political survival. Jesus did not come to overthrow the established political order; His ideas were much more radical than that. Nevertheless, His purpose was badly misunderstood, even by His disciples. As such, His presence was a great discomfort to the powers-that-were.

Jesus was a threat to the Scribes and the Pharisees because His fulminatory sermons exposed their hypocrisy.

Jesus was a threat to the businessmen of the day, the moneychangers at their profitable tables by the temple, whom he drove out of the temple.

Jesus was a threat to the Romans, the political and military power within Israel, because they were wary of any demagogues who might incite the restive Jews to open rebellion.

Ultimately, Jesus was executed through the temporary alliance of two enemies, the Romans and the Jews.

Jesus is, in modern Philippine political parlance, a "destabilizer."