Eight minutes past three, on this very good Friday. Call us on the open line and tell us what you think.
Well, we got him. It's been a long time coming, but, finally: he's confessed. Egg on the face of all his supporters this afternoon, as self-confessed terrorist Jesus Christ gets exactly what he deserved. And some would say crucifixion is too good for the likes of him.
It's my understanding he was arrested at approximately eight thirty last evening, hiding out in a mountain of olives, after government authorities - working with the religious leadership - employed one Judas Iscariot, who had infiltrated his network of supporters, to lead them to him.
Then, in a rapid series of late night sittings and early morning hearings, the Sanhedrin, the Roman governor Pontius Pilate AND King Herod himself ALL came to the same conclusion: this grubby threat to the civilized world had to be dealt with, and promptly.
Swift justice, eh? Why can't the judges always be that quick, that's what I'd like to know. Caller, hello.
Go ahead Longinus. You're on.
Caller: Oh, hi, Psittacus, love listening to your show.
That's okay, Longinus. We love hearing what the people think.
Caller: Mate, what did they get this coot on in the end? I mean, he's got – he's got –
He's got a list of offences up to your armpit, hasn't he?
Caller: That's what I mean, mate. What did they do him for?
What didn't they do him for? Do you want to know?
Caller: If it doesn't take the rest of the programme to read the charge sheet.
(Wheezy laugh from Psittacus)
I'll try to sum it up. Have a listen to this. At the Sanhedrin – are you listening, Longinus? – At the Sanhedrin testimony was given that he had threatened to tear down the Temple – the Temple! – and build a new one in its place. No denial. No protest. The charge held. He was asked was he the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One. He replied, "I am."
How about that? I mean, the absolute affrontery – claiming to be the Son of God and then when they accuse him of planning a terrorist attack on the Temple itself – I mean, the Temple, we're talking about the single greatest icon in Jerusalem! - no denial. He let the charge stand. But wait, there's more.
Caller: Mate, I don't think I can handle any more.
Get this, get this. He gets taken to the governor. Now, let's face it, he's friends with the Romans, isn't he? He's been known to quaff a chalice or two with his tax collector mates...
Caller: As long as it's not with his lady friends, you know what I mean?
(Wheezy laugh from Psittacus)
Stop it, Longinus! This is serious! He gets taken to the governor. Now, you'd expect the case might have been thrown out at that level if there was nothing in it. The governor asks him three times – three times! – I mean, it's not as if he doesn't get a chance to pack it all in and retire hurt! – Three times, the governor asks him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" and he says, "You said it!" "You said it!" he says.
Caller: Mate, he's got no shame.
NO shame! You've got this cheap-jack, upstart from – Gawd help us! – Galilee – Galilee, where they breed these political thugs by the bucketload! – and he plans attacks on the Temple –
Caller: Didn't just plan 'em, he attacked it!
That's it, that's it! Last week he goes round and smashes tables and whips the animals, and says "You've turned my father's house into a den of thieves!" – talk about the pot calling the kettle black! – then he's going to tear it down, and he says he's working for God and he's the King of the Jews. Well, the Sanhedrin didn't believe him, Pilate didn't believe him, and Herod didn't either. Not one, not two, THREE authorities ALL in agreement. And what they're saying is this: You are the worst of the worst, you don't belong in civilized society.
Caller: It's a joke, isn't it?
That's it, it's a joke. Well, who's laughing now? Next caller, hello?
Caller: Oh, good afternoon, Psittacus, I just wanted to ask, what IS this man's real name? Somewhere along the way I've lost track –
That's right, Agrippina! The names! The titles!
Caller: Son of God, Son of Man …
Listen, I've got the charge sheet right here, with all the aliases listed. He's been variously known as – are you listening to this? – Jesus bar Joseph – note the "bar", it means he's "son of" Joseph, so I don't know where he gets his other Father from! – Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus Christ, Joshua, Yeshua, EMMANUEL, Son of God, Son of Man, Son of the Blessed One, SON OF DAVID!!! I mean, the list just goes on and on!
Caller: Well, Psittacus, it just confirms to me, these people do have a personality problem. They don't know who they are, and they don't want us to know, either. But it doesn't stop them from rocking the boat, and let's face it, our society is already afloat on what is a very, very choppy lake.
Good call. Good call. Gee, the people aren't idiots are they? Caller, hello?
Caller: Mate, I heard he cured other people. Why didn't he just take himself down off the cross, if he's who he said he is?
Well, exactly, Genericus. It's all ridiculous, and you, see, his supporters –
Caller: Where are they now?
Cant find' em!
Caller: Not even one?
Not even one. Hiding in a mountain of olives with egg all over their face. I mean, I'd love to hear from one! If you follow this maniac, call in.
Caller: I heard he was a pacifist.
Of course. Of course he'd be against any war, wouldn't he?
Caller: Except the one he wants to wage against us.
Against us. Exactly. Good call. Good call. Caller, hello?
Caller: Brutulus here. Psittacus, I heard this guy Jesus rejected his family, and said his only real mother and brother and sister were the people doing God's work.
Crazy, isn't it, Brutulus? I mean, what is left to us if not family values, and yet here's this bloke saying there's somehow something better than your family, and plotting to blow up our national monuments. Well, where are his supporters now, eh? Are they plotting to do more of.."God's work"?
Caller: My name's Barrabas -.
What's happened there? Line gone dead, has it? We – we've lost him. Oh, well, we'll move on. Caller, hello?
Caller: Psittacus, I'm a civil liberties lawyer –
Aw, here we go!
Caller: Naturally I've been following the process with interest.
Are you a supporter?
Caller: I'm a supporter of natural justice and human rights.
Aw, Gawd. What do YOU want?
Caller: Psittacus, it's my understanding that this process was rigged to get a conviction from the start. First of all, the prisoner was brutally manhandled from the Garden of Gethsemane to the Sanhedrin. At the Sanhedrin, hearsay evidence was used against him, without any proper procedure in place for testing it; the case was heard in a specially convened court in the dead of night, which doesn't correspond to the normal standards usually adhered to in the very best of the Judaic justice system. The Sanhedrin has no law by which he can be put to death, and so what do they do? By an act of extraordinary rendition, they hand him over to an authority who does.
So they take him, without access to his family or to friends or to a defence counsel, directly to the Governor, who had him beaten, flogged and tortured - they gave him a crown made entirely out of thorns and ground it into his skull until he bled profusely. Even then, I understand the charges had to be reconstituted and watered down to something that would stick, and finally the governor only agreed to crucifixion when political pressure was applied to him by the religious authorities to basically come up with a guilty verdict or risk displeasing the emperor. Any confession under this sort of duress isn't worth the paper it's written on. Sham trials produce sham verdicts. Anyway, that's what I wanted to say.
(Psittacus feigns snoring sound)
Is he finished? What was all that about? Caller, hello?
Caller: Mate, I just think we're all giving too much attention to this guy. I mean, we don't want to give him a Messiah complex.
Well, we can't do that now. I've just this second had a note passed in to me, and it says, let me read it: "Jesus Christ, confirmed dead, at twenty minutes past three o'clock, Good Friday, 33 AD." Not a moment too soon. (pause) Who will miss him, eh? (pause) Where are his supporters now?
Egg all around, this Easter.