Via Wally Campbell I have encountered yet another version of the whole “Jesus Was An Anchor Baby (In Yo’ FACE, Righty!)” meme. Sigh. These are always well-meaning, in that they want us to realise that we should treat people better and guide our lives with Christian principles if we claim to adhere to that faith. But they’re always so NASTY underneath. There’s this whole attitude of “I know Jesus better than you” and “Gotcha! You so bad!” This particular one I had to just sort of drill down a little bit because in trying to make his point, this dear brother of mine stretches some historical facts and massages a few others.
(By the way, if you already saw what I wrote on Wally’s Facebook status, you can just skip this next part, because it’s a repeat.)
1) In the days of the Roman Empire all of the areas encompassed by “Judaea” were ruled by the same ruler–Herod, with the imprimateur of Caeser Augustus. So going from Nazareth to Bethlehem was more akin to me going from Tennessee to Indiana to register for the census, since I was born there but live here. No one would call me an “illegal immigrant” to Indiana.
2) Were I to have a baby in Indiana, that baby wouldn’t be my “anchor baby”, because I’d be as free to choose to live in Indiana as I am to live in Tennessee, with or without issue.
3) Jesus wouldn’t have taken a carpentry job away from a legal Nazarene. Carpentry was a trade to which one would be apprenticed. It wasn’t working in a call centre. Granted, Joseph could have tendered another apprentice, perhaps, had he not had a stepson ready to enter service. But such event would be unlikely in a community as fertile as Judea. Especially since, as we will recall, all the boys of Jesus’ age were dead. There would actually be a SHORTAGE of young men to apprentice. So instead of “taking a job from a legal Nazarene” Jesus would be a boon to a seriously depressed economy suffering a huge labour shortage.
4) This whole “Y’Shua was An Anchor Baby, Oh Noes!” meme has been going around the Left/pro-immigration sites for a good long while now. I get really tired of the politicisation of the various lives and views of Jesus by both sides of any issue. It always sort of misses the points of both Christianity and exegesis. Christianity is about making over our lives in service to God and Grace. Exegesis is about critical interpretation of scripture to aid us in that transformation. At no point in either discipline is “Nyah-nyah-nyah” a relevant outcome.
Now, I’ve already written a long prooftext/essay on my reasons for become an Open Border type person. So please don’t start haranguing me with assaults on a belief-system you assume I hold. I want people to come here. I want to share hope and opportunity with anyone who wants to work for it. But I don’t think we need to abuse history and scripture to make that happen.