by Frank O'Gorman
20 December 2010
The majority of you, being Christian, are no doubt eager to celebrate Christmas with your families.
This year as you hear the familiar scriptural accounts of Jesus' birth, pretend you are listening to them for the first time:
Recall how Jesus' parents were forced against their will into migration to Bethlehem because the Roman Empire left them no other option. The empire used military force to crush indigenous liberation movements such as the Zealot uprisings. The Roman defense budget was largest in the world and needed ever increasing taxes to sustain itself. Thus the census that brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.
Remember that Jesus' parents were effectively homeless in Bethlehem without any health care. The defense budget's appetite ensured there would be no social programs. So Jesus was born in a feeding trough for animals, an outrageous act of solidarity with the working poor!
Recall how Jesus' birth was announced by angels to lowly shepherds who performed some of the most dangerous and thankless work of that era.
Take note that the angels referred to Jesus as "Savior, Messiah and Lord" thus foreshadowing his life's mission to liberate his people economically and politically from the power of the empire, an empire that drew its justification to oppress the world's poor from a racist, cultural exceptionalism that ultimately manifested in the worshipping of Caesar Augustus as god.
Hear how this prophesy of Jesus as Liberator of the Poor is repeated days later by both Anna and Simeon when Jesus is presented in the temple.
Consider how King Herod and the ruling Jerusalem aristocracy were distraught about the messianic mission of the infant Jesus!
Contemplate how the Holy Family was forced once again to migrate, this time to Egypt, to escape a political, genocidal reign of terror.
Yes, this Jesus whom you worship as God was an undocumented immigrant in an alien land!
Recently, you had the opportunity to make the lives of immigrants a little easier. The DREAM Act would have offered young people the hope of citizenship and the promise of a life free from the fear of deportation.
The choice before you was literally life or death.
In casting a NO vote, you sided with neo-colonialism, U.S. economic hegemony, militarism and political repression of Latin America.
Oh and if that weren't scandalous enough, you voted to ensure the wealthiest 1% of Americans will receive 25% of all the benefits of the latest tax bill.
Instead of voting for the "Prince of Peace" and all that Jesus struggled and died for, you voted for Caesar Augustus. You voted for U.S. Empire.
Contrary to all your religiosity, your vote took the Christ out of Christmas for millions of young people.
To paraphrase St. John, the Beloved Disciple, how can you love God whom you cannot see if you do not love the Jesus in the migrant worker whom you do see?
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