Monday, 31 May 2010

Folk hero in Temple fracas!

Headline from the Jerusalem Chronicle AD 10

A charge has been referred to the TPS (Temple Prosecution Service) against a thirty year old travelling preacher from Nazareth for breach of the peace, public affray and religious harassment.

One witness claimed ‘he sounded angry, kept quoting Bible verses and acted like he owned the place, saying it should be a house of prayer. So much for all the talk about meek and mild’. His followers have provided the police with a different version of events (Matthew 21: 12)

The charge sheet alleges that a leader of the Messiah sect ‘attacked’ Temple foreign exchange kiosks, brandishing a makeshift weapon made from cords. It is also alleged that he ‘harassed’ staff at Court of Gentile Exchange Services with ‘den of thieves’ comments.

Court of Gentile took over the half-shekel temple forex market as part of a recent privatisation scheme.

The scheme has proved unpopular with overseas worshippers, who view this as yet another scam aimed at fleecing foreigners. They claim an extra charge on foreign currency introduces a racist element into God’s worship.

Antique currency desks were overturned during the protest that could lead to a further charge of criminal damage. Insurers are presently assessing the overall bill for furniture repair.

A spokesman for Court of Gentile explained: ‘As everyone knows the temple is central to the religious life of Judea. The temple relies on the valuable foreign exchange to maintain financial stability in these difficult times. The half-shekel is part of the priceless Temple Experience. Currency exchange is labour-intensive and requires careful accounting. While Court of Gentile is doing everything possible to keep to charges down, foreign converts to our faith must bear some of the costs incurred. It’s unhelpful and unfair to say that we are extortionate. Our charges are perfectly legal and are in line with private sector financial ‘best practice’.’

Religious leaders have deplored the act as an escalation of hierophobia (priest hatred), following a recent torrent of abuse, including an unfavourable comparison to ‘whited sepulchres’. With the loss of income estimated at over 20,000 shekels, they also mention possible job losses as a result of the incident, stating ‘it is yet another blow to the fragile economic recovery of Jerusalem’.

Page 10: ‘Losing everything for heaven': A psychologist profiles the Messiah sect.

Page 15: Chief priest’s cousin held on fraud charges

STOP PRESS: Charges dropped as a result of people power! Temple authorities to reconsider tax policy.

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