Far be it from me to make a judgment in the case of Norfolk City Treasurer Anthony Burfoot, who earned a conviction on the day after Easter Sunday, might prefer a comparison to Jesus Christ.
Such was the comparison his pastor made after Burfoot was convicted to six years imprisonment by a federal justice according to the Virginian Pilot.
In truth, those who abuse the public trust have another patron saint in mind: Judas Iscariot.
Let’s review the litany of… well… wrong…
- Burfoot was convicted on public corruption and perjury charges. Quick poll: who was guilty of both corruption and lying? It wasn’t Jesus Christ… in fact, he was convicted for the opposite reasons.
- Quick — what’s the going rate for 30 pieces of silver from Judas’ time to today, give or take inflation? About $464,000… which is how much Burfoot allegedly stripped from the public purse.
- Corruption in office.
- …and get this — a case where the folks who were bribing you are totally open about bribing you, per the Virginian-Pilot:
“I was not going to plead to something that I did not do,” Burfoot said, maintaining his innocence. “If I had it to do all over again, I would do what I did.”
During Burfoot’s five-week trial last year, several developers testified they bribed him in exchange for votes and other help while he served on the council.
Brothers Dwight and Curtis Etheridge said they paid him to support their company, Tivest Development and Construction. Businessmen Ronnie Boone Sr. and Tommy Arney also testified they bribed Burfoot to support their ventures.
Those 30 pieces jingle pretty hard in someone’s pockets.
…so I really hate to take a moment to reflect on the comparisons of Burfoot with Jesus Christ, a comparison so obtuse as to bear little more than ridicule rather than reflection, more hyperbole than holiness…
…but it has to be done.
Hopefully Burfoot can find a spiritual director that allows him to take on his own sins before comparing himself to a sinless sacrifice. The first step on the road to redemption in the Christian tradition is a recognition of one’s fallen nature. We forget that there were two disciples that betrayed Christ during the Passion: Judas… and Peter.
Peter entered a cave and wept bitterly after realizing what he had done. Judas hung himself in a field. Hopefully, the next six years will allow Burfoot the opportunity to reflect on the example of Peter and behave in persona Christi… rather than thinking himself an alter Christus.