It has become almost as common as Christmas trees and Christmas lights this time of year — liberals lying about the Christmas story as a way to advance this or that progressive cause. This year, Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) somehow worked in his opposition to President Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall along our southern border as part of his version of the Christmas story.
It seems that Gutierrez argued that the circumstances faced by the Holy Family (Jesus, Mary, and Joseph) were quite similar to those faced by immigrant families today, even going so far as to say that had Trump’s policies been in effect in Jesus’ day, He would have been killed.
Gutierrez used his time during a congressional hearing with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to say, “It is repugnant to me and astonishing to me that during Christmas — I like to call them ‘the holiday seasons’ to be inclusive, but ‘during Christmas’ because the majority always wants to just call it Christmas — but during Christmas, a time in which we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, a Jesus Christ who had to flee for his life with Mary and Joseph, thank God there wasn’t a wall that stopped Him from seeking refuge in Egypt.” (One should note that the liberals alternatively argue that the wall would not work, then argue, like here, that it would work, using whichever argument suits their purpose at the time.)
Gutierrez continued. “Thank God the wall wasn’t there and thank God there wasn’t an administration like this or He would have too perished on the 28th, the Day of Innocents, when Herod ordered the murder of every child under two years of age. Maybe I haven’t gone a lot to Bible school but I know that part.”
It is certainly believable that Gutierrez hasn’t read much of the Bible, but his display of ignorance is really quite common among progressives when they make their annual uninformed statements about the circumstances surrounding the birth of Christ.
First of all, his comment “thank God there wasn’t an administration like this [the Trump administration] or He would have too perished” is nonsensical. No, Donald Trump did not rule Judea at the time. As Gutierrez went on to say, the ruler was Herod the Great, the man who had all the boy children (not “every child” as Gutierrez said — Herod had no interest in the girl children) under two killed, because he feared one of them might overthrow his rule.
As convoluted as Gutierrez’s argument is, it is quite true that no wall existed to prevent the Holy Family from fleeing into Egypt after God warned Joseph to take Jesus and Mary and escape Herod’s evil order. No wall was needed, of course, as Egypt and Judah were both parts of the Roman Empire at the time. Travel was quite common from Palestine to Egypt, because a coastal road alongside the Mediterranean Sea, known as “the way of the sea,” often took Jews from Palestine to Jewish settlements in northeastern Egypt.
If one wanted to use the Christmas story to make a political point, one could just as well compare the lack of respect for human life exhibited by Herod with modern liberal disregard for the lives of the unborn.
But Gutierrez’s “wall” comments are far from the first time that progressive politicians have tried to usurp the actual story of Christmas — that God the Son became a human being and was born of a virgin woman. In fact, many liberals such as Gutierrez do not even like to use the word “Christmas,” preferring “the holiday seasons,” as he said.
Another example of taking the biblical story of the Incarnation of Jesus, and using it to advance the latest liberal cause is when Jesse Jackson used the occasion of his talk at the 1992 Democratic National Convention to call Mary and Joseph “a homeless couple.”
Jackson told the delegates, “We hear a lot of talk about family values, even as we spurn the homeless on the street. Remember, Jesus was born to a homeless couple, outdoors in a stable, in the winter. He was the child of a single mother. When Mary said Joseph was not the father, she was abused. [There is no evidence of this, biblical or otherwise.] If she had aborted the baby, she would have been called immoral. If she had the baby, she would have been called unfit, without family values. But Mary had family values. It was Herod — the Quayle of his day — who put no value on the family.”
Now, Representative Gutierrez, by his own admission, does not know much about the Bible. But Jackson goes by “the Reverend” Jackson, which indicates that he has had some instruction on the Scriptures. Still, Jackson is either woefully ignorant of the biblical Christmas story, or he is knowingly blasphemous. Mary was not a single mother. She had a husband — his name was Joseph. True, they had not consummated their marriage, because the Bible clearly states that she was a virgin. That is because Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary by a direct action of the Holy Spirit — without any man, including Joseph, involved. Jackson’s remarks about Herod being “the Quayle of his day” are particularly hateful. Vice President Dan Quayle had famously declared that children were generally better off with both a mother and a father in the home. This hardly justifies comparing him to a murderous tyrant such as King Herod.
And they were not homeless. The Bible states quite clearly that after the pregnant Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth (the mother of John the Baptist), she “then returned to her home” (Luke 1:56). Actually, the reason Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem was to be counted for a Roman census, designed to raise taxes for the Roman Empire. One could just as reasonably argue that the Christmas tale is a story about how government oppresses the people with taxation.
Others have espoused similarly politicized versions of the Christmas story, which is really about Jesus entering the world to bring the hope of salvation to it. Barbara Reynolds, a former columnist for USA Today, for example, misused the Christmas story to castigate Christians who have a low opinion of government welfare programs: “They should recall that Jesus Christ was born homeless to a teen who was pregnant before she was married.”
This is an example of telling the truth, without telling the whole truth. Mary and Joseph had a home --- back in Nazareth --- to which they eventually returned. And, in regard to the blasphemous comment that Mary “was pregnant before she was married,” I can respond with the words of God’s angel to Joseph: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20). It would do all of these liberals good to actually read what the Bible says about the birth of Christ, in the first two chapters of Matthew and the first two chapters of Luke, which does not interject their leftist agenda.
Painting: Vittore Carpaccio, “The Flight into Egypt,” c. 1500