“[Today’s Repugnican Tea Partiers] are most surely at odds with the spirit of Christmas,” concludes the Washington Post’s Harold Meyerson, adding, “Walls on the border, religious tests for admission, despising the poor — good thing Joseph and Mary didn’t have to encounter our modern-day defenders of the right as they scrambled from one country to another, desperate to save their son’s life.”
Of Mary and Joseph, Meyerson writes:
They were refugees, fleeing for their lives from one Middle Eastern country to the next.
As Matthew tells the tale, Joseph, fearing that the government had marked his newborn son for death, gathered up his wife and child and stole away by night across the Judean border into Egypt. And just in time: Unsure who, exactly, to kill, that government — a king named Herod, who’d heard some kid would one day become a rival king — proceeded to slaughter every remaining child in Bethlehem under the age of 2.
This isn’t a chapter of the Christmas story that has made it into the general celebration, but it’s there in the gospel, for those who give the gospels credence and for those who don’t.
For both groups, it’s clear that the authors of the New Testament intended to recount (for the believers) or compose (for the nons) a story that echoed the Old Testament’s concern for strangers, foreigners and refugees (“The stranger among you shall be as one born among you,” says Leviticus, “and you shall love him as yourself”), that foreshadowed Jesus’ teachings to care for castaways and the least among us, and that laid the foundation for institutional Christianity’s transnationalism.
Which is, perhaps, a long way of asking the question: Who’s really waging a war against Christmas in 2015? Secular multi-culturalists who, stealthily and nefariously, have somehow rendered Starbucks’ coffee cups a tad less festive? Or the self-proclaimed culture warriors on behalf of traditional values, who demand we leave refugees — even small children, as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has made pitilessly clear — at the mercy of the latter-day Herods? Who condemn entire religions? Who fear and loathe strangers? …
Indeed, while I don’t believe the “miracles” in the Bible, such as the virgin birth, Jesus’ raising of the dead and his resurrection, it’s clear that today’s “Christians” don’t follow their own supposed beliefs, as exemplified by their rank xenophobia against Mexicans and others from Latin America (and Latinos in general, except for right-wing Cuban Americans [such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio]) and Muslims and other Middle Easterners, perhaps especially refugees from harsh sociopolitical conditions in the Middle East that the United States’ greedy, military meddling helped to create, and it’s clear that we secular humanists, ironically, are far more Christian in our morals than the “Christians” are.