In the age of fashionable Trump-hatred, nothing is sacred. This much is obvious from the anti-Trump opinion piece published at Christian Post, a site that is usually pretty balanced. That’s the risk of an opinion section; don’t shoot the messenger. The author, one John L. McCullough, absolutely mutilates the story of Jesus birth to characterize the President as a wicked, terrible person for saying that the U.S. can’t take any more immigrants right now, which is backed up by the absolutely catastrophic mess at the border. As concerning as his bad-faith Trump hatred is, what is more concerning is his willingness to completely butcher scripture to score political points and demonize someone he doesn’t like.
Mr. McCullough’s most glaring error is characterizing Mary and Joseph as refugees fleeing persecution in their homeland when they were turned away from the inn in Bethlehem because there wasn’t any room. The account in Luke 2:1-7 presents a different story:
Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Mary and Joseph weren’t fleeing from anything when the inn turned them away, they were reporting for the census, just like everybody else. Also, there is no hint of animosity from the innkeeper in the text. It says there was no room. The innkeeper couldn’t take them in because he (or she) was out of space. That’s not wrong, it’s just reality.
The only parallel between the story of Christ’s birth and our immigration crisis is that, like the innkeeper, we can’t take any more people. Mary and Joseph weren’t trying to sneak into another country for economic opportunity, while the vast majority of illegal immigrants are doing just that. Mary and Joseph were keeping the law; all illegal immigrants are, by definition, breaking the law. He claims that this story “powerfully demonstrates that there is always room for the outcast and the migrant.” This story demonstrates no such thing, powerfully or otherwise. Mary and Joseph weren’t outcasts or migrants. This story is the fulfillment of prophecy, God Himself taking on human flesh to save His people from their sins. But who cares about that when we can bash Trump?
That’s what’s so concerning and dangerous about Mr. McCullough’s Trump-hating screed. He willfully ignores what scripture actually says, in favor of what he wants it to say, so that he can bash a president he doesn’t like and promote Christians helping people to break the law (Romans 13:1 anybody?). Scripture was not given so we could bash our political opponents. Christians need to take great care that we cite scripture accurately and in context when we employ it to discern what is right and wrong in the world of politics. Otherwise we risk mutilating God’s unchanging revelation to vent our hatred (which we shouldn’t have) for a political leader, and missing what God has revealed.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15
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