Firebrand preacher John the Baptist faces a backlash over his attacks on King Herod.
The Baptist has repeatedly criticised Herod for abuses of power and having sex with his brother's wife. But leaders of the Sanhedrin have said that John's policy of "speaking truth to power" will leave him outside the palace inner circle.
"You've got to decide what is more important," said High Priest Caiaphas. "Is it access to important men who, whatever their sexual misbehaviour and ghastly political strategy, are extremely powerful - or the kingdom of God?
Do you want influence here on earth, where it matters - or in heaven which is, let's face it, a wholly less likely proposition? Surely we can overlook a few minor issues with sexual morality and dictatorial tendencies, in order to ensure that we get ourselves heard at high table?"
John the Baptist was unavailable for comment.