Catholic priest embarrasses himself with Christmas remarks on Jesus

If Christians continue to revise the biblical text to politicize Jesus as a ‘Palestinian,’ are they still worshipping the same Messiah?

By Ryan Jones | | Topics: palestinians, Jesus
Christmas parade in Bethlehem. The Palestinians have tried hard to claim Jesus as one of their own, and many Christians in the West have bought the lie. Photo by Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90
Christmas parade in Bethlehem. The Palestinians have tried hard to claim Jesus as one of their own, and many Christians in the West have bought the lie. Photo by Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90

‘Tis the season to rewrite Jesus’s identity. For decades at Christmastime we have been treated to proclamations by Palestinians, both Muslims and Christians, that Jesus was one of theirs, ie. a “Palestinian.”

In more recent years, as the Christian West has become increasingly progressive, this revision of biblical history can be heard also from America and Europe.

A good example this year came from a Father Edward Beck, a religious commentator and author, who told CNN on Christmas morning that “the story of Christmas is about a Palestinian Jew born into an occupied country, having to flee as refugees into Egypt.”

Father Beck was almost giddy at the prospect of how closely his revision of the biblical text parallels current events.

“What I’m so struck by is that the story of Christmas is about a Palestinian Jew. How often do you find those words put together? A Palestinian Jew born into a time when his country was occupied, right? They can’t find a place for her to even give birth, his mother. They’re homeless,” explained Father Beck.

But, putting aside the “Palestinian” issue for a moment, we see already the erroneous revisions to the biblical text creeping in.

Joseph and Mary were not “homeless.” They had come from their home in Nazareth down to Bethlehem to fulfill a decree from Caesar Augustus regarding taxation (Luke 2).

Mary ended up giving birth outside in the cold because the town was overcrowded due to the Roman census, not because she was homeless.

An educated priest should know this. But when trying to politicize the biblical text, it’s more expedient to cherry-pick passages and give alternative interpretations.

Father Beck’s next error comes when he says: “They eventually have to flee as refugees, into Egypt, no less. I mean, you can’t make up the parallels to our current world situation right now.”

Two problems here:

  1. It does not parallel our current world situation because Egypt today is outright denying refuge to Palestinians; and
  2. Joseph, Mary and Jesus fled not from the occupying power (the Romans), but from their own paranoid king, Herod, who feared Jesus had come to unseat him.

And about that “Palestinian” label Father Beck and others are so eager to apply to Jesus, hopefully at this point we no longer need to explain that the term didn’t even exist at the time of Jesus. The Romans applied the term “Palestine” to the region many years after Jesus’s death and resurrection.

The biblical text is quite clear that Jesus was born in Judea (Matthew 2:1). As Jake Wallis Simmons, editor of London’s Jewish Chronicle, noted: “To retrospectively call him ‘Palestinian’ suggests a political agenda.”

Hussain Abdul-Hussain, a research fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, suggested that Beck stop watching Al Jazeera and actually read the New Testament.

That would be prudent advice for many Christians, especially those pastoring churches in the Holy Land.

With thanks to JNS.

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9 responses to “Catholic priest embarrasses himself with Christmas remarks on Jesus”

  1. G. Ian Goodson says:

    Joseph and Mary’s home town – city of David. Who would a man with a pregnant wife stay with? No room in the guestroom. So staying with somebody. If the gospel of John gives a clue, I think it does, then it was Tabernacles. No address, just a booth with a manger and a newborn in swaddling bands. Which fits with what the shepherds were told.
    Seriously, a Jewish woman giving birth in a stable full of domestic animals that are NOT house trained? Cattle go anytime, anywhere. Which is why a cow-byre needs mucking out after every milking session. Same for horses and donkeys.

    • Ryan Jones says:

      I agree that this all likely took place at the time of Tabernacles. Would have also been easier for the Romans to conduct their census and levy new taxes when everyone was gathered together for a pilgrimage feast.

      But I didn’t want to go into all that for the sake of debunking this priest’s very clear errors.

  2. G. Ian Goodson says:

    The first time I heard the “Jesus was a Palestinian” lie was from the lips of Dr. Hanan Ashwari, way back in the 70’s I thought she had taken leave of her senses, quite literally. Apparently not.

  3. psalm100al says:

    When will Israel realise that Catholicism is definitely NOT Christian?

    That so called priest is blasphemous because Jesus Christ, born a Jew, the Son of God said,
    John. 23/9. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

    • Esther Wischer says:

      psalm100al, you have spoken the truth! Every true believer in Yeshua knows that the Roman Catholic church is ruled by and worships satan. Perhaps it would be worth studying what they believe – money buys forgiveness for sin – people go to purgatory when they die if they aren’t considered worthy of heaven, but if a relative gives enough money to the priest, their passage out of purgatory to heaven is assured. Not to mention the worship of and prayers to Mary, “the mother of God”! Just a few of their beliefs! The Harlot in Revelation – no mercy for her – she is the RC church. What about the martyrs? How many true believers were martyred by the RC church? Read and understand.

  4. Susan says:

    Kataluma is “guest room”, not inn. Joseph had family in Bethlehem. There was a census. In the private home where Joseph and Mary stayed the guest room was already occupied by other family members. So, since the cattle were in the field, Joseph and Mary stayed in the animal shelter attached to, and part of, the house. Hebrew midwives were common at this period of time. Joseph didn’t have to deliver Yeshua out in the cold by himself.

    We know that since the animals were in the field, it could not have been during the rainy season, but most likely late summer or early Fall. If it had been winter, the animals would have been occupying the space.

    The picture painted of unthinking Joseph frantically seeking shelter is a lie. In Luke, we are told that “after some time”, Mary gave birth. She didn’t just travel a long distance and deliver on the spot. Preparations were made. I think this has been a distortion to minimize the closeness of Hebrew families.

    • Ryan Jones says:

      Very good points, Susan. And I agree that December 25 is almost certainly NOT the right date for Yeshua’s birth. We also know there were shepherds in the fields at night, which would not be possible in December.

  5. Wes Lee says:

    I agree completely that the priest is wrong and seems to be both politically motivated and ignorant. I am not catholic, but to attack the catholic church, or any other religion, to claim it worships satan and is The Harlot, is as little helpful as screaming that the Jews murdered Christ and Israel is a colonialist apartheid regime. We are all familiar with the venom many groups spew at each other. Let’s not go there. The priest is wrong as so many here eloquently and effectively proved. It helps nobody to try to eradicate people with cruel language. It just feeds stubborn stereotypes on both sides.

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