The Other News from Rome

My watching of news of the arrival of Pope Francis in the U.S. was interrupted by a Discovery Channel news bulletin about an exciting find from the reign of Roman emperor Tiberius Julius Caesar. It is amazing to learn the odd sorts of things that got them upset back in those iron-age days.

The same famous biblical archeologists who discovered Pilate’s Memo for the Record about Christ’s crucifixion this time uncovered an earlier intelligence briefing (“Intelligentia Propter”) prepared for Caesar, also about Jesus. These are highlights of the translation of the precious papyrus papers:

  • Roman Senator Georgeus Voluntas complained that Jesus was damaging the empire’s economy by encouraging citizens to sell all they had and follow him.
  • Praetorian Prefects Jebius Rubi raised concerns that Jesus was overstepping from religious teaching into economic policy by warning followers not to store up treasure on earth. He explained this could do great damage to the Roman stock market (“forum”).
  • Consul Orangeus Maximus proposed scaring Jesus into believing he should be less interested in economic inequality than about the remnants of the Pannonian revolt coming by sea to invade Judea.
  • The builders of chariots and makers of swords expressed great alarm that Jesus urged that the response to violence be to turn the other cheek. Several asked if Jesus could be persuaded to explain he only meant this figuratively and in no way was criticizing the war effort.
  • A moneychangers group complained Jesus reorganized the bank operating in the Jerusalem temple.
  • Religious leaders from Judea protested that Jesus spent too much of his time with prostitutes, internal revenue agents and other ne’er-do-wells, causing their parishioners to question their rules-based religion. Others complained Jesus never spoke out against the rampant homosexuality in the Empire.
  • An unnamed group of (left-leaning) senators argued that Jesus was too conservative, for condemning divorce while failing to challenge degradation caused by large-scale domestication of cows, sheep, and goats.
  • Centurio Primus Pilus Rushus Limbogus asserted that Jesus’ telling people they would be cast into a lake of fire if they did not feed the hungry and clothe the naked promoted a culture of dependency.
  • A source identified only by the initials “J.I.” claimed to be not only a Christ follower but even in Jesus’ inner-circle. This “J.I.” queried whether Jesus’ extreme behavior had become “unchristian.”
There are scribbles in the margins of the document, apparently by Tiberius himself, concluding that these problems were the natural result of Jesus trying too hard to be popular. At the bottom of the briefing is a routing stamp showing the matter was referred to Pilate for appropriate action.

David Schleicher is an attorney with offices in Waco, Houston and Washington, D.C.

This column originally appeared in the Waco Tribune-Herald, where David is a member of the Board of Contributors.

Why This Democrat Touts Trump — by David Schleicher

You may be shocked to hear this former County Democratic Party Chair singing the praises of Donald Trump, also known as “The Donald” or “The Great I Am.” I’ve not lost my marbles, nor do I have bats in the belfry, nor am I nutty as a fruitcake; I have not gone full poodle. No, my support for the Orange Dream is extremely rational:

1. He’s very entertaining. After hours watching his rallies and press conferences, I could view another hundred without an urge to channel surf.

2. I have some very smart and kind friends from around the country who support him. Surely they can’t all be wrong. Can they?

3. He’s first among his peers: Bush bores me; Cruz curdles my blood; Christie clogs my arteries; Fiorina’s a flop; Huckabee merits a har har; Santorum is sanctimonious. Perry? He’s oopstastic.

4. He says what he thinks. His primary opponents say what they think you think they should think.

5. He would pump money into the poorest parts of Texas and greatly reduce unemployment there, what with all those positions for wall builders.

6. As in elementary school, bullies run the world. It’s about time America had its own.

7. He’s mucho media savvy, knowing whom to insult when and which talk show host ring to kiss.

8. He cheats at golf, allowing him to focus his efforts at honesty on more important matters.

9. He’s really ticked off Fox News — something I’ve tried to do for years without success.

10. Last but not least of all, I desperately want Hillary to win in November 2016.

[As run in the Waco Tribune-Herald, 9/6/2015.]

David Schleicher is an attorney with offices in Waco, Houston, and Washington, D.C. He was formerly the chairman of the McLennan County Democratic Party and is a member of the Trib’s Board of Contributors.