Early slaveholders demonized Africans to justify enslaving them. For 250 years, 4 million Africans were demonized by reclassifying them as chattel slaves. Slaveholders brought them naked to America, changed their names, beat them without mercy, raped the women, and brutalized them. After slavery ended in 1865, Blacks were still demonized by denying them their constitutional right to vote, segregating, dehumanizing, and exploiting them—all to satisfied the former slaveholders’ passion for wealth and power. In Jesus’ day, religious and Roman leaders demonized Him to justify their rejection and crucifixion of Him. When the religious leaders could not find bonafide witnesses to testify of His guilt, they brought in false witnesses to give false testimony. This was a pretext for declaring Him a lawbreaker, worthy of death. We read in Mark 14: The leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find evidence against Jesus so they could put him to death. But they couldn’t find any. Many false witnesses spoke against him, but they contradicted each other. Finally, some men stood and gave this false testimony: “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this Temple made with human hands, and in three days I will build another, made without human hands’” (from vv. 55–59). True followers of Christ refuse to demonize others—whether for personal, corporate, social, or economic gain.
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