Thought for the Week
Scapegoats were the animals the ancient Hebrews laid their hands on in order to cast away their sins. It was a symbolic act, meaning, “I’m ashamed of the evil in myself and I publicly disown it.” The key to healing was humility: “The goat is innocent, but I am not.”
Modern scapegoatists, however, live in denial of their sins, insisting that the “goat” is to blame. They punish others for what they cannot bear to acknowledge in themselves. The Nazis blamed the Jews. White supremacists blame Blacks. Nationalistic xenophobes blame foreigners. Strict fundamentalists blame atheists; new atheists blame believers. Abusers blame their victims. There are only two things everyone seems to agree on: 1) Someone is to blame, 2) and it’s not me
What can we do to stop scapegoatism?
We can stop blaming our own “goats.” We can be transparent about our sins, economic, moral and otherwise. We can admit to bullies and other agitated souls that we are no more naturally virtuous than they are. We can live lives of repentance and renewal, and by so doing give others implicit permission to do the same. We can demonstrate that it’s not only OK to admit our failings, but that it’s the first step to moving forward…