The Christian church has forgotten who he was. Maybe a better way to say it is that the Christian church has reinvented him down through the centuries. The story they/we were and are selling doesn't work without a bad guy, a snitch, a backstabber. Judas, as portrayed by the gospels, doesn't really fit neatly into any of those categories. Misguided, overzealous - those are more accurate, but those won't sell quite as well. There's a reason for that.
Judas wasn't a turncoat. He wasn't trying to "betray" anyone. He thought he was doing something good. He thought his actions would force the hand of the conquering Messiah that the OT texts had promised, whom he believed Jesus to be, and finally Israel would rise as the glorious nation God intended as Jesus smote the Romans, chased the heathen gentiles away, and ruled, victoriously, over the ungodly nations. The problem was, he really didn't know who Jesus was at all. Jesus didn't want a political revolution, but a spiritual, personal revolution within the hearts of men and women. Wherever he went, he made things better - healing people, feeding people, loving people. That's all he wanted his followers to do, too. Judas didn't get it, as it wasn't enough to satisfy his religious hunger and fervor. Surely those simple things weren't enough. He chose to take a drastic measure based on his own interpretations and expectations of God and Christ. He took action.
That was Judas.
The lead story on my local news a few minutes ago started with something like "In churches all across North Carolina this morning, congregants were encouraged to vote on Amendment One this Tuesday...", with the implication being that they were encouraged to vote for Amendment One, naturally. All of the pro-AOne ads have spoken of "protecting marriage as God defined it", have shown images of bibles and such, or have used prominent church leaders like Franklin and Billy Graham (which would lead me to wonder about the tax-exempt status of the organizations they head up). What it is is one group of religious people trying to tell another group of people, "You're only entitled to freedoms that WE control based on our religious beliefs, religious beliefs which we're transposing into legislation and State Constitution amendments." That's pretty much it in a nutshell. Before we even get into the religious aspect of it, I'll just go on the record and say that I believe, with my whole heart, that such is blatantly un-American, and very much the way fundamentalist Islamic nations (those people that rabid fundamentalist Christian right-wingers consider "the enemy") operate. Consider this from the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States...
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..."
You might say, "Yeah, but that's the US Constitution, and we're talking about a State Constitution. This is about States' rights." Hmmm. States' rights is the "men in black" of the political landscape. It only shows up when somebody wants to either deny something or outright take something away from someone else, and the first somebody needs something to hide it all behind. Every disgusting, ugly thing that our society has endured over the last couple of centuries has been guarded and protecting eagerly and zealously behind the "States' rights" flag, including things like slavery and segregation. Sadly, the last refuge for those issues and cruelties was also the fundamentalist south. Just like with the same-sex marriage thing, when the majority of the nation has no real beef with it (whether they actually like or agree with it or not), and in a national vote it'd be shot down, the states in the fundamentalist south are putting it to exclusive votes, claiming "States' rights" to uphold another round of ugliness in a long line of religiously justified fundamentalist bigotries.
Why do fundamentalist Christians only seem to care about politically charged issues? Why aren't we voting on a Constitutional amendment against adultery (which is a thousand times greater threat to marriage than homosexuality ever was or will be)? Why do we fund "foreign missions", as if there's no greater task a Christian can undertake, when people sitting in the pews are physically hungry, and especially when, if you go to the logical conclusions of the propaganda, there are so many liberal godless infidels right here in the USA (the people who aren't fundamentalist/evangelical Christians), and even one in the White House *gasp*? Why does so much of the offering go into bigger buildings, repaving the parking lot, or building the "Family Life Center" (known to most rational people as a "gym")? Because the agenda has become more important than the people it's consuming. That's why.
A lot of people will vote for Amendment One because they feel as though their faith will be in the balance if they don't, as if it's a mark God will hold against them, as if random, stinkyfied life will cease to be random, stinkyfied life if only all Americans would live, believe, and behave as fundamentalist Christians. I mean, fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity has already adopted 2nd Chronicles 7:14 as its mantra for America - when it has nothing whatsoever to do with America, and never will. They've convinced themselves that America would be such a drastically better place if only we had a "godly" President, "godly" leaders, "godly" laws. It's time to ACT. It's not just your right and privilege - as an American Christian, it's your duty. Vote your religion. Impose your religion. Take America back!!! Once you take action, God will take action!!!
This is the church.
The church and Judas aren't similar. They're the same. No wonder they had to reinterpret and reinvent him.
The church IS Judas.