Along the Tracks

Monday, December 16, 2002

I’ll bet they’re glad they’re Christians

Last week, we had a preacher in Europe telling little kids that Santa Claus (St. Nicholas in the Christian tradition) is dead. Now, this Anglican bishop is hammering the traditional “O Holy Night” view of Christmas, calling the shepherds the dregs of society, the wise men collaborators with Herod’s plans to kill baby Jesus, and the Christchild and his family outcasts and “refugees.”

A couple of thoughts. First, isn’t Christmas supposed to be about celebrating God’s gift of redemption, made physical in the birth of Jesus. You know, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son ....” Arguments about Santa's secondary development, the low socio-economics of shepherds and the moral outcast status of Mary, Joseph and Jesus may be true, but that’s not what we’re celebrating. The bit about the magi is just bizarre.

Second, why have we not heard Jerry Falwell and Franklin Graham, and even Pope John Paul II, condemning these “traitors to Christianity” and calling for all good Christians to neither eat nor sleep until the two have been hacked to bits with machetes? Oh yeah, even the most “fundamentalist” of Christians don’t approve of murder, let alone call for it. Makes an interesting contrast with today’s Islamic leaders, no?

P.S. - I wouldn’t be surprised if some imam somewhere does issue a fatwa on the Anglican bishop ripping the Christmas story. Jesus, after all, is a secondary prophet in Islam’s grand scheme, and “offensive” statements about him regularly earn the speaker a death sentence. Nice, huh.

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