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You can tell we’re coming up the Easter in the UK – it is time for the media to take its usual interest in Christianity by finding some unorthodoxy it can promote – this year, with the full participation of the Church of England, we get the old chestnut that Judas got a bad rap. The good old BBC has shrewdly spotted that a lady vicar best known for dancing at a wedding and for appearing on a reality TV show, has exactly the credentials needed for the sort of programme they want to do on Judas. She’s not, she says, saying Judas was OK, but he was maligned:

“I don’t think any of the other disciples were whiter than white – we just probably didn’t hear about it because they were all human and we are all a bit messed up.”

I don’t know which, if any Bible, she reads, but I’d recommend she try mine, which is full of stories of the Apostles messing things up – that Peter fella doesn’t come out of the story of the crucifixion very well. We ‘don’t hear about it’ – she should get one of those Bibles on tape – I heard it there.

The current Bishop of Leeds, who never saw an unorthodox thought he didn’t like, brings up the antique notion that Judas was a revolutionary and right to be disappointed in Jesus – guess he’s too young to have heard of ‘Jesus Christ, Superstar’ then?

It is left to the dancing Rev to make the daftest comment of all:

“Jesus forgave people as they were putting the nails in to his hands and there is no reason why he would not have forgiven Judas but he just didn’t hear that.”

Not sure whom she thinks did not hear what, but perhaps she’s still doing that Anglican free-wheeling riffs off Christianity without the Bible, because Jesus seems pretty clear about his fate:

The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.

Not being a highly trained liturgical dancer, or a Bishop in the C of E, I’m old-fashioned enough to think these words of Jesus don’t sound good for old Judas.

Yes, Judas has a key role in the story of our Salvation. By betraying the Son of Man, he precipitates the Crucifixion – and thus the Resurrection.Some have seen in this an excuse for Judas; he was foreordained to do as he did. But St John makes it clear he had a choice – but like so many of us, he yielded to the temptations of the Devil.

Judas made a choice. Satan tempted Judas with something which appealed to his pride and ego. Whether he meant to betray Jesus to death, or simply stir up a revolution, he acted as though he knew better than Jesus. He betrayed his friend and Master for his ego. This may be the sort of thing which makes him an object of sympathy for TV clerics from the C of E, but I’ll stay with Jesus’ opinion. I wonder if the dancing vicar had one of those Gideon’s Bibles in her hotel room whilst on location? If so, shame she didn’t consult it.

If you want something sensible on the whole thing, the estimable Caroline Farrow has something good here – but then she’s an orthodox Catholic, and no doubt getting stick from the Tabletista. So, if you’re on Twitter, get in there and support the lass – she does a good job.

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