The Modern Dangers of Mob Rule

In Roman times, when Jesus walked among us, it was customary at Passover for the Roman government to allow the crowd to free one prisoner. When the people were given the choice between freeing Barabbas, a “notorious criminal” and freeing Jesus, incited by the high priests, the crowd chose Barabbas. Thus the wisdom of mob rule.

In the modern day mob rule of public opinion, I find the crowd’s wisdom has made no progress as evidenced by public reaction to two present day high profile criminals.

Bernie Madoff robbed wealthy friends and their trusting families of billions of dollars. He will spend the remainder of his life in prison. The media has been gleeful in covering his conviction, sentencing and imprisonment.

At the age of forty-four, Roman Polanski plied a thirteen-year-old girl with alcohol and drugs and then raped and sodomized her. To avoid the court ordered consequences of his actions, Polanski fled the country where he has continued to live and work since 1977. This week, he was arrested on the old charges by Swiss authorities and there has been a public outcry.

Hollywood giants, movie moguls and television personalities viciously attack Bernie Madoff and believe no punishment is harsh enough for the aging thief. Madoff is Jewish, though not an observant Jew, and on Yom Kippur the headlines read “No forgiveness for Madoff.” On late night TV, he is spoken of only in the harshest, most condemning terms.

Polanksi’s arrest, however, is decried by most of Hollywood. After all, they argue, it’s been so long since he raped the little girl; can’t we all just be friends? He’s a brilliant director, they argue. A creative genius. Hasn’t he suffered enough having to live in Europe instead of America? We were all a little crazy in the seventies. The girl’s a grown-up now. She’s gone on with her life. Why continue to hold him accountable for child rape? Don’t we have better things to do with our legal resources?


So steal some money and you’re a low-life who deserves to die in prison with no hope and no forgiveness. Drug and rape a child, run from the consequences, elude the law for thirty-three years and we’d like to just forgive and forget.

What’s up with that exactly?

Can a society be judged by what it condemns? By what it values? By what it forgives and by what it forgets? If so, what does media reaction to these two immoral criminals have to say about where we are?

I think it says wake up! Speak up! We are hurtling toward complete darkness. Do what you can to be a light where you are before nightfall completely overtakes our culture!

Both of these men are guilty of heinous crimes and both deserve to face the legal consequences of their actions. Creative brilliance is no excuse for immorality. What is the statute of limitations on stealing a child’s freedom of choice, her innocence, her sexual safety? Yes, the victim is free to forgive him so she can move on with her own life but society should demand he face the consequences of his actions. In prisons, those who rape children are considered the lowest rung of society. Why don’t the Hollywood elite share that opinion?

2 Timothy 3: 1-5 says “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”

It is frighteningly simple to succumb to mob rule. Days before the crowds condemned Jesus to death by crucifixion and freed the notorious criminal, Barabbas; they were hailing Him with Hosannas and crying out to Him to be their king as He rode through the streets of Jerusalem. The same crowds were easily incited to cry out “Crucify”.

We are that crowd. As clever as we are, put us in a group and we can become as dumb as sheep.

At this time of year, the media is full of warnings about the danger of crowds. It is flu season and we are advised to take precautions when we are in the midst of crowds because it is there that we are more likely to be infected.

I agree.

Take precautions against the viral forces of public opinion.

Pull away alone to pray, to search the scriptures, to meet with mature believers and to be informed by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit  –  lest you be infected with the same blindness that causes people to laud an exiled child rapist as a creative legend deserving not only pardon but Academy awards.

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  1. Joe Crowley says:

    Once again, very well put! Thank You, Sis!!!