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The Corner

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When Citizenship Meant Something



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To think, they could have simply assassinated him:

The chief captain commanded Paul to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him.

And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman citizen, and uncondemned?

When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman citizen.

Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a citizen? He said, Yea.

And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I my citizenship. And Paul said, But I was a citizen born.

Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a citizen, and because he had bound him.

George Will is going to have to think of a more ambitious term than caesaropapism for the cult of the American presidency, inasmuch as even Caesar was limited by citizenship, and the vicar of Christ only asks for 10 percent.



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