Sunday, December 02, 2007

Not this crap again

Sooner or later this Advent I'm going to hear the "Joseph and Mary were illegal immigrants/homeless so it's a sin to be worried about the 50 increasingly as the day goes on, drunk or sexually suggestive guys standing at the day labor lot next to your office or to rush past the hulking young man who's demanding a dollar from you after Mass," argument.

Crap.

First off, Joseph was not an addict who has consumed all the family's money. Nor was he insane and in need of medical care. He and Mary were on their way to Bethelehem to pay his taxes. Bethehem was a one horse town then and it was full of people doing the same thing.

A few years ago Rocky and I were traveling through Blacksburg, Virginia. We were tired and decided to spend the night at a hotel. Alas, Virginia Tech was playing a football game that weekend and there wasn't a hotel room available for a 50 mile radius. That didn't make us homeless, it made us out of luck, hotel wise.

Second, Joseph and Mary were not entering Egypt illegally to work. They fled to Egypt to avoid Herod, yes but they were not technically refugees. Egypt belonged to the Roman empire as did most of the known world. As Roman citizens they were free to go anywhere in the empire. In the face of Roman power Egypt's borders meant nothing.

Third, Joseph and Mary did not bring any social problems to Egypt. They did not demand that their Egyptian neighbors speak Hebrew or Aramaic to them. They certainly didn't demand that the Roman soldiers speak something other than Latin. They did not get onto the Egyptian welfare system, had there been such a thing.

Using the Holy Family to push a political agenda is wrong. Illegal immigrants are working for substandard wages, in often shameful conditions. Creating a permanent underclass of 30 million people who we only want to do our hard work for us is unAmerican and will come back to bite us all. Perhaps it would be best if that day comes sooner rather than later. In the mean time let's not use the Holy Family as slogans.

3 comments:

Carolina Cannonball said...

absofreakinlutely!

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

"Nor was he insane and in need of medical care."

Quite a lot of guys whom you worry about might not be that either.

Some may even be in their situation due to too much "medical" care in their previous existence.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

"As Roman citizens they were free to go anywhere in the empire."

Sure they were so? If so, how come Christ was Crucified?

St Paul who WAS a Roman Citizen was beheaded.

"In the face of Roman power Egypt's borders meant nothing."

It meant the end of Herod's political power which there was on the other side of the frontier.

"Third, Joseph and Mary did not bring any social problems to Egypt."

Depends on whether antagonising Jews of Alexandria who might have been pro-Herod or inflaming some perhaps otherwise also existing anti-Herod sentiments by fleeing counts as introducing a social problem.

When Herod visited Alexandria (not sure if during or before the Flight to Egypt) ... sorry, looked it up, it was actually after Crucifixion, in the time of Herod Agrippa that Karabas was pardocally honoured as king or prince.

"They did not demand that their Egyptian neighbors speak Hebrew or Aramaic to them."

Some neighbours were actually Jewish.

And thus spoke Hebrew or Aramaic. At least in so far as they went to Alexandria.

"They certainly didn't demand that the Roman soldiers speak something other than Latin."

I thought at least officers would be speaking Greek?

And yes, I think Christ did know Greek from this childhood in Egypt. If the Holy Family went outside Alexandria much, they must have known Coptic as well.

"They did not get onto the Egyptian welfare system, had there been such a thing."

Excellent point.

But perhaps more against welfare systems than against immigrants.

"Illegal immigrants are working for substandard wages, in often shameful conditions."

You can say that again.