Sacred holidays celebrated by the two major Biblical religions, Passover and Easter, take place usually within days of each other in March and April. In the year 2011 they are quite close. The Jewish week-long celebration of Passover began at sundown, Tuesday, April 19th, two days after Christian Palm Sunday. Good Friday takes place on April 22nd and Easter Sunday on April 24th.
Theologically, of course, we all did. Our sins plaited the crown of thorns and jammed it on His brow, wielded the whip tearing the muscles from His back, drove the spikes impaling Him to the cross through His arms and feet.
But humanly, legally speaking, government murdered our Savior. Rulers staged a mock trial in a kangaroo court; politicians from two factions, the conquered and the conquerors, united to murder a Man one of them openly proclaimed innocent (though mere murder didn’t satisfy them, so they tortured Him for hours with some of the most unspeakable brutality government ever devised); the State’s soldiers pounded metal through living, pulsing flesh.
When an Indian-born man I knew a couple of decades ago expressed an intense dislike for Mohandas Gandhi, I found it a bit surprising. Wasn’t the “Great Soul,” that quintessential 20th-century icon, India’s George Washington?
Recently, a friend of mine, an antiquarian book dealer, bought a box of early 19th century pamphlets at a book auction, among which was an 1828 catalogue of Dartmouth College. I had an opportunity to examine this fragile 24-page catalogue and was quite intrigued by the Course of Study students were required to take in those days.
Those of us — of Tom Brokaw’s greatest generation — who attended the public schools in the 1930s and '40s remember our classrooms as quite barren, immaculately clean, quiet and orderly. There was a portrait of George Washington on the wall, and cursive letters were on a printed strip across the top of the blackboard. That was it. No fancy posters.
The debate over public education grows more heated. Regularly, reports are released showing that the academic abilities of American students continue to fall when compared to those in other countries.