As the Ebola epidemic unspools, one of the phenomena that reliably rears its head among humans terrified for their own skins is scapegoating. Whether it is foolish Liberian bishops blaming the plague on homosexuals or demagogic FOX news talking hairdos seeking to drive all victims from our soil in mindless panic, the pattern is the same: the terrified community selects victims upon whom to lay the blame for the plague and seeks to punish them. It’s a pattern in human behavior Rene Girard noticed is immemorial and one which is fundamentally subverted by Jesus Christ.
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